Sarah · Lawrence · College Archives

Timeline of the History of the College

This is a timeline of important events throughout the history of Sarah Lawrence College. Compiled by Abby Lester, July 2007.

Click on the photos to view a larger version.

Jump to: 1930s - 1940s - 1950s - 1960s - 1970s - 1980s - 1990s - 2000s

1924
  • William Van Duzer Lawrence.

    William Van Duzer Lawrence, ca. 1925. Photographer unknown.

    William Van Duzer Lawrence approaches Henry Noble MacCracken, President of Vassar College, regarding the founding of a junior college for women in honor of his wife, Sarah Bates Lawrence.

1926
  • William Van Duzer Lawrence writes the Letter of Instruction regarding the founding of the College.

  • Marion Coats.

    Marion Coats, ca. 1929. Photograph by Mrs. W. Burden Stage.

    Marion Coats, Principal of Bradford Academy, is hired as President-Designate of Sarah Lawrence College for Women. She begins her term as the first President (1926-1929).

  • Sarah Bates Lawrence.

    Portrait of Sarah Bates Lawrence by Violet Oakley, 1910.

    May 7 - Sarah Bates Lawrence dies.

  • December - Provisional charter granted to incorporate Sarah Lawrence College for Women.

1927
  • May 16 - William Van Duzer Lawrence dies.

  • May 25 - Affiliation with Vassar College Ratified.

  • June 1 - By-Laws adopted by the Board of Trustees.

  • The Official Sarah Lawrence College Seal.

    Official College Seal designed by Violet Oakley.

    June - Seal of the College adopted. Designed by Violet Oakley, the seal includes the motto “Wisdom with Understanding.”
1928
  • Bates Hallu (originally called Tower Hall).

    Bates Hall, ca. 1938. Photographer unknown.

    June - Bates Hall (originally called Tower Hall) completed.

  • Beatrice Doerschuk begins term as Director of Education (1928-1946).

  • Bates Hallu (originally called Tower Hall).

    Aerial view of Titsworth and Dudley Lawrence dormitories, ca. 1930. Photographer unknown.

    October - First three dormitories (now known as the “Old Dorms”) are completed.

  • October - The College welcomes its first students.

1929
  • Perkin's House (9 Mead Way) purchased.

  • Wayside Cottage (7 Mead Way), later named Warren House, purchased. Served as the President’s House from 1929 to 1947.

  • Initial Class 1928-1929.

    Excerpt from the 1929 yearbook.

    June - First commencement with one graduate, Ruth Wilmot '29.

  • President Constance Warren.

    Constance Warren, 1941. Photograph by Irene Drew-Oggiano.

    Constance Warren begins term as second President (1929-1945).

1930
  • June - First graduating class (117) receives the diploma.

  • MacCracken Hall.

    MacCracken Hall, ca. 1935. Photographer unknown.

    November - MacCracken Hall completed.

1931
  • September 10 - Absolute charter to grant B.A. degree awarded.

1932
  • Henry Noble MacCracken.

    Henry Noble MacCracken, Board of Trustees, 1926-1936.

    Affiliation with Vassar College terminated with proviso that the President of Vassar College remain an ex-officio member of the Sarah Lawrence College Board of Trustees.

1933
  • June - First Bachelor of Arts degree awarded to Isabella Hayes at Commencement.

1934
  • Robinson House purchased (2 Meadway).

1935
  • Andrews House.

    Andrews House with original pool, ca. 1930s Photographer unknown.

    May - Andrews House purchased.

1936
  • December 9 - Charter Day is celebrated signifying the 10th anniversary of the granting of the provisional charter.

  • December 9 - Affiliation between the Board of Trustees of Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College terminated. At the termination of the affiliation, Henry Noble MacCracken resigns from the Board of Trustees.

1937
  • Children playing Follow the Leader at Nursery School.

    Student teacher at the Nursery School, ca. 1940. Photographer unknown.

    Nursery School, predecessor to the Early Childhood Center, opens on campus.

  • Morris House purchased (8 Meadway).

1945
  • President Taylor.

    Harold Taylor, ca. 1949 Photographer unknown.

    Harold Taylor begins term as third President (1945-1959).

1946
  • The first men to attend Sarah Lawrence -- Veterans admitted under the G.I. Bill.

    Veterans attending SLC under the G.I. Bill, 1950. Photographer unknown.

    First men are admitted as undergraduate students under the G.I. Bill.

  • Esther Raushenbush appointed Dean of the College (1946-1957).

1947
  • February 28 - Name of the College officially changed from Sarah Lawrence College for Women to Sarah Lawrence College.

  • May - Second President’s House (24 Brook Road) purchased. (Demolished in 1953 to build Sprain Brook Parkway).

1949
  • July 15 - Amendment approved by Regents to grant M.A. degree. The College introduces programs leading to individualized M.A. degrees.

1951
  • First M.A. degrees granted (2 to men, 2 to women).

  • Kober House.

    Kober House, 1970s. Photographer unknown.

    Kober House purchased.

  • The last of the men on the G.I. Bill graduate.

1954
  • The President's House.

    President’s House, n.d. Photographer unknown.

    Third President’s House (935 Kimball Avenue) with attached Morrill House purchased.

1955
  • Tweed House purchased.

1957
  • Laura Bornholdt appointed Dean of the College (1957-1959).

1959
  • Marshall Field House.

    Marshall Field House, n.d. Photographer unknown.

    May - Marshall Field House purchased.

  • Gerard Fountain appointed Acting Dean and then Dean of the College (1959-1961).

  • Harrison Tweed.

    Harrison Tweed, 1959. Photographer unknown.

    Harrison Tweed appointed Acting President for 1959-60.

1960
  • President Paul Ward.

    Paul Ward, ca. 1960. Photographer unknown.

    Paul Ward begins term as fifth President (1960-1965).

1961
  • Marjorie Downing appointed Dean of the College (1961-1964).

1962
  • Center for Continuing Education Brochure Cover.

    Center for Continuing Education brochure cover.

    Center for Continuing Education established as the first full-scale undergraduate program in the country designed for returning adult students.

1963
  • Mansell House (10 Meadway) purchased.

1964
  • Helen Merrell Lynd and one of her classes.

    Lynd House is named for Helen Merrell Lynd, Philosophy Faculty, 1929-1964. Photographer unknown.

    May - Lynd House purchased.

  • Esther Raushenbush appointed Acting Dean of the College (1964-1965).

  • August - Brebner House purchased.

1965
  • Jacquelyn Mattfeld appointed Dean of the College (1965-1971).

  • President Esther Raushenbush.

    Esther Raushenbush, 1965. Photographer unknown.

    Esther Raushenbush begins term as sixth President (1965-1969).

1967
  • North Building completed.

1968
  • Women wave to men from a window in their dorm.

    Women waving to men on campus, 1959. Photograph by Gary Gladstone.

    The College becomes coeducational.

1969
  • Marc Slonim, Literature Faculty and Director of Foreign Studies, 1943-1976.

    Slonim House is named for Marc Slonim, Literature Faculty and Director of Foreign Studies, 1943-1976. Photographer unknown.

    Slonim House purchased.

  • April 25 - Charter amended to grant M.F.A. degree in the performing arts and creative writing.

  • The Human Genetics Graduate Program is established as the first graduate-level genetic counselor training program in the U.S.

  • President Charles DeCarlo.

    Charles DeCarlo, ca. 1975. Photograph by Gary Gladstone.

    Charles DeCarlo begins term as seventh President (1969-1981).

1970
  • Swinford House purchased.

  • Lyles House purchased.

1971
  • Robert Wagner appointed Dean of the College (1971-1977).

1972
  • Women’s History Graduate Program established as the first M.A. program of its kind.

1974
  • The Performing Arts Center.

    Performing Arts Center, n.d. Photographer unknown.

    Performing Arts Center completed.

  • Esther Raushenbush Library.

    Esther Raushenbush Library, ca. 1975. Photograph by Gary Gladstone.

    Esther Raushenbush Library completed. (Dedicated as Esther Raushenbush Library in 1980).

1976
  • Slonim Woods completed.

1977
  • Alison Baker appointed Dean of the College (1977-1980).

1980
  • Health Advocacy Graduate Program established.

  • Ilja Wachs appointed Dean of the College (1980-1985).

1981
  • President Ilchman.

    Alice Stone Ilchman, President, 1981-1998. Photographer unknown.

    Alice Stone Ilchman begins term as eighth President (1981-1998).

1984
  • Purchase of Faculty House (161 Hampshire Road).

1985
  • Art of Teaching Graduate Program established.

  • Barbara Kaplan appointed Dean of the College (1985-2007).

1987
  • Child Development Institute established and housed in the newly acquired 123 Boulder Trail.

1989
  • Andrews Court.

    Andrews Court housing complex. Photographer unknown.

    Fall - Andrews Court completed.

1990
  • Schmidt House (6 Mead Way) purchased.

1994
  • Ilchman Science Center.

    Science Center, 1994. Photographer unknown.

    Science Center completed.

1998
  • Campbell Sports Center completed.

  • President Michele Tolela Myers.

    Michele Tolela Myers, 2001. Photograph by Susan Woog Wagner.

    Michele Tolela Myers begins term as ninth President (1998-2007).

2001
  • Hill House purchased.

2004
  • Heimbold Visual Arts Center.

    Heimbold Visual Arts Center, 2004. Photograph by Don Hamerman.

    Heimbold Visual Arts Center completed.

  • 45 Wrexham purchased.

2007
  • Pauline Watts appointed Interim Dean of the College (2007-2009).

  • President Karen Lawrence.

    Karen Lawrence, 2006. Photograph by Chris Taggart.

    Karen Lawrence begins term as tenth President (2007- ).

2009
  • Jerrilynn Dodds appointed Dean of the College (2009- ).