This Week in History
A Pioneer of Women's University Education
|This story was initially published in 2000
On May 25, 1875, Grace Annie Lockhart received her Bachelor of Science and English Literature from Mount Allison College, becoming the first woman in the British Empire to earn a university degree.
The College was founded in Sackville, New Brunswick, to provide a complete university program to men and to train Methodist ministers. But due to low enrollment and universities in the United States accepting women, Mount Allison opened its doors to both sexes in 1872. It decided that women could receive university degrees, just as did the male students. In 1874, Lockhart registered at Mount Allison College thus becoming the first women to be admitted to a Canadian university on the same terms as a man. One year later, on May 25, 1875, she received her Bachelor of Science and English Literature marking the first time a woman in the entire British Empire had earned a university degree!
Lockhart's feat defined her as a pioneer of women's university education and provided clear evidence that women could compete with men on any level, including academic. In 1993, the Minister of Canadian Heritage commemorated Grace Annie Lockhart for her role in the emerging women's rights movement with a federal plaque at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick.
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