In some important ways, Pacific University was ahead of its time when it came to educating women. But in other ways, women who lived, learned and taught here had to blaze their own trails. We take a look at some of the important women who shaped Pacific in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
One of the most insightful thinkers and teachers ever to be employed at Pacific was Anna Berliner, a psychologist by title, but also an anthropologist, sociologist, optometrist and visual researcher.
When Dr. Martha Rampton arrived on Pacific’s campus as a history professor in 1994, female professors still were sometimes treated like secretaries, being asked, for example, to fetch coffee for their male colleagues.A year later, Pacific had its first Feminist Studies program.
Andrewa Noble was mathematics pioneer, attending Pacific in the 1920s and earning a PhD in mathematics in 1936. She was a a professor and chair of the Pacific University Math Department before her retirement in 1965. She was also chair of the chemistry, physics and math section of the Northwest Scientific Association.
Mary Frances Farnham was an important bridge from Tualatin Academy, the original educational institution in Forest Grove, to Pacific University, which educated scholars of both genders from around the world.
In 1869, when the nation was just beginning to heal from the Civil War, Harriet Hoover Killin became the first woman to graduate from Pacific, joining two men to make up the university’s fifth graduating class.
Neither Lillian Kurahara nor Yukie Katayama Sumoge cut a wide swath when they were students in Forest Grove in the early 1940s. Japanese-American students interned during World War II, they were awarded honorary degrees by the university in 2007 because of the circumstances around their departures.
Mary Richardson Walker and her husband donated part of the land that became Pacific's Forest Grove Campus. After her husband's death, Mary remained active in the early life of the school and the community of Forest Grove. The qilin statue that became Boxer, Pacific University's mascot, was donated to the school in her honor.
Even if she had done nothing else at Pacific, Varina French ’56, MS ’65 would have been remembered for her 17 years spent coaching women’s volleyball, softball, track and field and gymnastics, and for becoming the first female physical education department chair in the West.
Tabitha Moffatt Brown was already an elderly woman when she came to the Oregon Territory in the late 1840s. That didn't stop her from helping to establish the Tualatin Academy, a school that would educate children in 1849. By 1854, the school officially began offering college classes as Pacific University.