Women and Medicine

First Three Women to Graduate from the School of Medicine

Women who wanted to study medicine, architecture, botany, engineering, and other technical fields were soon applying to the University.

With encouragement from Grace Jones, president of the Children's Hospital, the Executive Faculty at the School of Medicine voted to accept female students in 1918.  Carol Skinner Cole and Aphrodite Jannopoulo entered the School of Medicine as freshmen in 1918. Faye Cashatt transferred in as a junior in 1918.  In 1921 she became the first woman to graduate with a medical degree from Washington University. Cole graduated in 1922, and Jannopoulo - who needed one additional class - in 1923.

 Jannopoulo wrote in her diary on September 26, 1918:

"At last my dreams are realized, and I registered in the medical school this morning. 
Mrs. Cole is the only other co-ed [woman], so we will have to face the storm alone."

The first women to study in these disciplines not only earned their degrees, but also helped set a pattern for inclusion and diversity, which is reflected by the student body on campus today.  In October 1993 Washington University School of Medicine commemorated the 75th anniversary of the admittance of women to the medical school with a special symposium, “Realizing the Dream.”  Today, nearly 300 women attend the School of Medicine, making up around fifty percent of the student body. 

 

For more information, browse the online exhibit:
Origins and History of the Washington University School of Medicine