Timeline of Women at Xavier University


  • New regulations drive many women with religious vocations to seek teaching certification.  Xavier opens a summer school for women to attend.


  • At St. Xavier College's downtown campus, 93 sisters enroll to complete certification.


  • First 3 sisters graduate summer school teaching certification program.
  • During WWI the shortage of men allowed women to attend Xavier?s School of Commerce. After the end of the war, women continued to attend some weekend courses.


  • Out of the 175 students in the teacher training program, all but 8 were women religious. President McCabe and Fr. Finn speak with Archbishop Moeller about the creation of a full teaching college for women.


  • A group of early St. Xavier College women graduates organize (along with President Brockman) the Alumnae Association. Catherine Carter, a School of Law graduate, becomes the first president. Luella Sauer, also a charter member, helps to create an annual scholarship.


  • Xavier has more than 1100 Men and Women enrolled in the downtown evening division.


  • Despite the possibility of several women students needing to make up credits at the undergrad level, the Archbishop and Trustees approve of Xavier creating a graduate school.
  • At first all the students are religious: 112 nuns and 5 priests.
  • Still no lay women on faculty.


  • The rule excluding the hiring of women faculty members ends.
  • Male students mention the possibility of admitting women students in the Newswire.


  • Board of trustees began to discuss whether Xavier should admit female students in the undergradraduate day school.


  • XU petitions the Jesuit Provincial for women?s admission to the College of Business. There was no other business school that women were permitted to attend in Cincinnati, yet the petition is denied.


  • President O?Connor mentions the possibility of admitting women students at a talk in Indianapolis.
  • This discussion continues at the spring board meeting, but no action occurs.
  • Through conversation with Our Lady of Cincinnati, Xavier makes special arrangements to allow some female students take select classes at Xavier and vice versa.


  • A Xavier poll indicates that 64% of students want to go co-ed. 19% of students did not want to adopt a change. 17% of students were indifferent.
  • Articles continue to appear in the student paper with more frequency about the desire to admit women as students.


  • Xavier is officially a Co-educational institution.
  • The University cites many reasons for the decision to adopt co-education, such as its financial concerns, the possibility of making males more civil, and to decrease interfaith marriage.
  • Trustees state that women on campus is ?advantageous?, more natural, and will allow access to more excellent students. Also, women will spur men to achieve higher.
  • Xavier was one of the last Jesuit institutions to go co-educational.
  • 52 women, 23 first-year and 29 transfer, enrolled in classes.
  • Mary Louise Faeth is named University?s first Dean of Women
  • According to Roger Fortin's novel, To See Great Wonders, there was still some resistance, ?If we have equal numbers of girls and fellows, hardcore intellectual thinking will be lost? 264.
  • Outrage appears in the newspaper about women living in Kuhlman. ?Our university condescended to allow women to enroll in day and night classes, but to allow them in our dorms! Never!? 264.
  • Fr. B talks about the cafeteria not attending to women?s dietary means as an example of Xavier?s slow change. Also, he cites cat calls running rampant in the cafeteria.
  • Xavier hires its first temporary woman faculty member- Dr. Finke for the Biology department.


  • Only 2 full-time female faculty members are employed at Xavier.


  • An ad hoc committee on Women?s Concerns in conjunction with the English department, the education department, and NOW hosts a 3 day seminar to sensitize Xavier to women?s roles, needs, and societal issues.


  • Lay men are added to Board of Trustees.


  • Nelida Fontana and Janet Fortin apply for and receive the Danforth grant to open the Breen Lodge Women?s Center.

June 1972

  • First Breen staff move in.
  • Important Breen programs this year: ?Marriage as an Institution? ?Male View of Women?s Liberation?, ?Nuclear Family and Day Care?, Debate on the ERA, ?Women in Politics?.
  • FREE UNIVERSITY is opened by Breen


  • Important Breen programs: ?Life Options?, ?Women in Politics?, ?Sexuality Symposium?
  • Danforth Forum begins at Breen


  • Important Breen programs: Self Defense classes, ?Taking our Bodies Back? Helath Care Task Force to improve health services
  • Bioethics Forum begins at Breen


  • Important Breen programs: ?Women in Politics?, ?Jewish Women: The Myth of Lylith?, ?Contemporary Women?, self-defense classes
  • Fireside Chats begin at Breen


  • Important Breen programs: ?Changing Role of Women in China?, Sexuality Symposium, self-defense classes, discussions of violence against women, Assertiveness Training


  • Important Breen programs: ?Men?s Liberation?, ?Syzygy?-women writers publication, discussions of violence against women, Assertiveness Training, ?Psychology of Women?


  • Important Breen programs: ?Women in Politics?, ?Sex Roles in American society?, discussion of ?Pope John Paul II?s Views of Women in the Church?, self-defense classes, Assertiveness training, ?Alcoholism?
  • Movies: ?Growing up Female?, ?Joan at 34?, ?Men?s Lives?-year unclear

February 1980

  • Breen notified of closure from Fr. Mulligan.
  • Protest and petition of Fr. Mulligan?s decision ensues.

Spring 1980

  • Fr. Mulligan closes Breen.
  • 100 letters and 1,500 signatures in protest.
  • To See Great Wonders states that Fr. Mulligan could only support Romero or Women's Center and chose Romero.


  • Acquisition of Edgecliff college. This brought female enrollment to 49% of the population.
  • Xavier took 20 faculty temporarily from Edgecliff; 10 were women, and of the 10, 4 were religious.


  • The election of Phyllis Smale, Xavier?s first woman trustee.


  • Fr. Charles Curie supports on-site childcare center.


  • Women become the majority of the student body; 51% and 47% in the grad programs.


  • Alumni news includes Edgecliff grads.


  • Dr. Joan Connell became Xavier?s new academic Vice President and first woman Vice President.


  • Childcare Committee Forms once again.
  • 10 years of prior discussion and possibility

Oct 1990

  • American Association of University Professors had an appeal for childcare program. Facilities Planning Committee was to find space.

Nov 1990

  • Unanimous decision that childcare is not appropriate for Xavier's location.

May 1991

  • Childcare Committee releases a Report and Proposal.
  • Literature released suggesting the overwhelmingly positive effects of on-site childcare


  • 25 yr. anniversary of undergraduate women. Women 1/3 full-time faculty, 84% of academic staff, and holding 9 chairs in 25 academic departments.
  • Room for improvement- 92 out of 233 full-time faculty. But only 4 were full professors among the 58.
  • WORTH (women offering rights, truth & happiness) forms. The group offered services to women, discussed stereotypes and discrimination. Also ad hoc committee on status of women forms.


  • Childcare committee releases another report. 80% of faculty and staff would use childcare on campus and believe it is important.


  • Faculty Committee reaffirms XU?s commitment to promote equality. ?foster an environment in which the achievement of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service is assessed impartially and without regard to gender.?-Society of Jesuits congregation.


  • Dawn Rogers becomes athletic Director- 1st woman.


  • Take Back the Night and SGA representatives write a proposal for a women?s center.
  • Letters from club presidents, faculty, admin, and offices (57) and student-signed petition (500) also came in support of the women?s center.
  • LEAD, OMA, Student Development, CAPS also helped plan. Cheryl Nunez moderated the committee.

Dec 2005

  • Newswire writes about the reopening of the women?s center.

Jan 2008

  • Women?s Center Officially Opens