The seminary replaces the college


Former private women's college in Washington, DC, now part of George Washington University

The Mount Vernon Seminary and College was a private women's school in Washington, DC. It was bought by George Washington University in 1999 and is now known as the Mount Vernon Campus of George Washington University.

Established Mount Vernon Seminary and 204 F Street, NW [edit]

Mount Vernon College was founded in 1875, but its roots date back to 1868 when Elizabeth J. Somers began teaching schools for the young daughters of prominent Washington men at her home on 204 F Street, NW in Washington, DC Girls' Education in Washington, DC Her first three students were the daughters of Judge Dennis Cooley - Clara, Minnie, and Mary. Her father, Judge Cooley, approached Ms. Somers and asked her to teach his daughters in preparation for their visit to Vassar College.[1] When Mrs. Somers started teaching the Cooley girls, she received similar requests to teach other children. Their little school grew.

Seven years later, in 1875, Elizabeth Somers officially opened Mount Vernon Seminary, a day school for young women that offered six years of instruction, including four years of high school and two years of post-high school college. The school was named after the Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church in Baltimore founded by Somer's ‘brother Thomas Eddy. The school included in its students the daughters of prominent men in Washington, including senators and congressmen.[2] The school and students used their Washington, DC location to continue their education. According to reports, students visited Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Place lab to test the newly invented phone. Bell's daughters, Elsie Bell Grosvenor (class of 1897) and Marian Bell Fairchild (class of 1895), all attended Mount Vernon Seminary as well as some of his granddaughters and nieces.[3]

1100 M Street, NW: 1880-1917 [edit]

Enrollment in the seminary increased, and within five years the school had outgrown its F Street location. Mrs. Somers relocated the school to a new location on 1100 M Street, NW. The school stayed on M Street for 37 years.

During these years the school experienced a period of enormous expansion. By 1882, Ms. Somers had bought three more houses in addition to the original location. They built an enclosed courtyard as a break area as well as a tennis and basketball court.[4] Between 1890 and 1917 the student body numbered more than 100 boarding school students and 50-day students.[5] By this point, the school had established a supportive alumnae base that was returning to the school for alumnae events and reunions. The group was organized as the Mount Vernon Alumnae Association in 1885 and has existed continuously since then.[5]

During this period, beginning in 1893, the last two years of the school became known as the "College Course".[6] Designed to prepare young women for entry into four-year colleges. By 1905, Mount Vernon Seminary graduates were admitted to leading four-year women's colleges. The school had a rigorous academic curriculum. To graduate, students in the seminar had to complete the formal process of “Senior Essays,” in which they completed primary research and wrote on a current political or social topic. These essays were read during the initial exercises, and the best essays received awards. Topics included controversial issues of the time such as women's suffrage, child labor, the impact of poverty on children and the prohibition.[7]

During this time, students from all over the US came to visit Mount Vernon as well as Hawaii, Japan and Syria.[8] In 1915, Mrs. Somers announced her resignation and Adelia Gates Hensley, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, became the second president of Mount Vernon Seminary. The school grew out of its M Street location and the number of enrollments continued to increase.[9]

Nebraska Avenue Campus, 1917–1942 [edit]

In 1917 the school moved to 15 acres (61,000 m)2) Campus on Nebraska Avenue. Although Ms. Somers was retired, she continued to run the school. She sold her property on M Street to the YWCA to educate girls and young women.[10]World War I forced students to quickly become involved in war effort such as organizing first aid courses and rolling bandages for wounded soldiers. A ward at Walter Reed Hospital was assigned to the seminar, and the students created care packages for hospital soldiers.[11]

Of the 20 graduates in the 1920 class, eight continued their education at four-year colleges, including the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, the University of Montana, Stanford University, and the University of Texas. This was not common for women at the time, and testified to the solid training they had received during the seminar. By 1923, graduates attended the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Smith College, Wellesley College, and the University of Chicago.[12]

Adelia Gates Hensley died in 1923 and Elizabeth Somers died a year later. Although Ms. Somers was the founder of the school, Ms. Hensley had seen the school go through a period of tremendous growth and she is credited with improving the faculty significantly.[13] She was replaced by Jean Dean Cole, a former seminary student and graduate of Mount Holyoke College. Under her direction, the school established a junior college as a separate unit. Mount Vernon Seminary and Junior College worked together, but with a clear distinction between the two - the four-year preparatory school and the two-year junior college section. Up until that point, students had to study for six years before receiving a diploma.[14]

In 1936, Jean Dean Cole resigned. Mr. George Lloyd became the fourth president of the college and his wife, Ms. Olwen Lloyd, became headmistress in 1938. During World War II, volunteer war work became a part of life at Mount Vernon, with students participating in air raid drills, nurses ‘relief training, and Red Cross work. In 1942, the United States Navy notified Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd that they would take over the Nebraska Avenue campus and use its facilities for the war effort. referred to as the Naval Communications Annex for secret service work. The students went home during the Christmas break without knowing whether their school would reopen after the holidays. The board of trustees was looking for a new location for the school.[16]

The Nebraska Avenue campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Spring Valley, 1943-1946 [edit]

In early 1943, the campus was moved to the top floor of a Garfinckel department store building in the Spring Valley neighborhood of Washington, DC. All but nine students returned to the school, which reopened on February 1, 1943.[17] This was a distributed campus in the store and various houses being bought in the neighborhood; 162 students had to drop out. During her stay in Spring Valley, the school began reviewing its programs and found that it operated essentially two different schools, the seminary and junior college. This placed the school under a heavy financial and administrative burden.[18] The school considered closing one arm of the school, but then put the idea up. The school applied for accreditation and awarded Associates of Arts degrees to junior college graduates in 1944.[18]

Foxhall Road 1946-1999 [edit]

In 1944, Mount Vernon received $ 1.038 million in compensation from the United States Navy for the military takeover of its property. It was originally offered $ 800,000, a fraction of what the buildings and grounds were worth.

The school then bought 85,000 m2) of the property for a new campus on Foxhall Road in Washington, DC. An academic building, four dormitories and a dining room were built, and other buildings were gradually added.[19] In the 1960s, Junior College developed new majors to highlight the subjects that go well with the capital, such as: B. in the areas of government and politics, international relations and fine arts. The interior design program at Junior College has also expanded. The school has discontinued its professional programs such as home economics and secretarial studies to develop its higher education curriculum. During the same period, the seminary remained one of the most academically rigorous private secondary schools in the country[citation needed] and drew record numbers of students from across the country and completed the largest classes in the seminary's history. However, the Board of Trustees decided it was financially impossible to run two separate institutions and in 1965 decided to close its historic, prestigious seminary in order to build its college program. The last seminar class was completed in 1969.[20]

The school was then officially renamed Mount Vernon Junior College. Mount Vernon strove to remain a women's college but had significant financial problems due to declining enrollments. The opening up of what used to be male-only facilities for co-education negatively impacted Mount Vernon and all facilities for women during this period.[21] To meet the needs of women today, the school began awarding the Bachelor of Arts in 1973, initially in Public Affairs and Government, followed by Business Administration, Childhood and Special Education, and Visual Arts.[22] In order to generate additional income, the college started an advanced training program. In 1976 Mount Vernon College became an accredited four-year college.

Recent history, 1999 - today [edit]

In 1997 the Board of Trustees decided to close the College as an independent institution. On June 30, 1999, Mount Vernon was affiliated with George Washington University. The school is now known as George Washington University - Mount Vernon Campus [1].[23] Before the purchase by GW, only female students lived on campus, now male and female students live on campus. GW also built new sports fields and other facilities.

Notable alumnae [edit]

  • Khadija al-Salami, first Yemeni film producer
  • Barbara Allen, former Kansas State Senator
  • Nazenin Ansari, Managing Editor of Kayhan London, Trustee of the Foreign Press Association in London, Member of the Board of Directors Encyclopædia Iranica
  • Susan Elizabeth Ford, daughter of the late President Gerald Ford, author, chairman of the Betty Ford Center.
  • Marjorie Merriweather Post, Celebrity and Owner of Post Foods. Post Hall and Merriweather Hall are named in her honor.
  • Charlsie Cantey, horse racer
  • Courteney Cox, actor (dropped out after first year)
  • Ada Comstock, first president of Radcliffe College
  • Frances Dodge, internationally known rider and heir to the car company
  • Eleanor Lansing Dulles, PhD Harvard University, US State Department, educator.
  • Dorothy Fratt, painter.[24]
  • Anne Hearst, socialite and heiress of publishing
  • Philippa Malmgren, former member of the National Economic Council
  • Evalyn Walsh McLean, heiress of mining fortune, celebrities
  • Heather Nauert, Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (Acting) [2] (2018 - present), State Department spokesman [3] (2017 - present); Fox News Channel newscaster and co-host
  • Barbara Ingalls Shook, heiress and philanthropist.

See also [edit]

Quotes [edit]

  1. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 17th
  2. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 20th
  3. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), pp. 21, 235
  4. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 29
  5. ^ abMikhalevsky (2001), p. 30th
  6. ^Mount Vernon College Faculty Handbook, 1988–1989, History.
  7. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 32
  8. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 33
  9. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 50
  10. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 71
  11. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 72
  12. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), pp. 77, 81
  13. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 80
  14. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 100
  15. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 124
  16. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 132
  17. ^ abMikhalevsky (2001), p. 133
  18. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 155
  19. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 189
  20. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 193
  21. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 194
  22. ^Mikhalevsky (2001), p. 228
  23. ^Jules Heller; Nancy G. Heller (December 19, 2013). North American Women Artists of the 20th Century: A Biographical Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN.

References [edit]

External links [edit]