As the University of Maryland developed over the course of the 20th century, slowly becoming more inclusive, many exceptional women stepped forward as pioneers, leading the way for other women to follow. The next few blog posts will highlight these pioneering women and their experience at the University of Maryland.
Our first feature is Elizabeth Hook. Elizabeth Hook was the first woman to graduate with a four year degree from MAC. As we noted in the last blog post, she matriculated in the fall of 1916, shortly after the school became Co-educational. During her first semester, she was the only female student, as Charlotte Vaux did not arrive until the spring semester.
Hook studied Entomology, the study of insects, which was under the department of “Plant Industry” as at the time, the university departments were organized by industry. We don’t know much about Hook’s day-to-day experiences, but can imagine the challenges of being the only female student at the institution!
In spite of being the only women in the Class of 2020, Hook did not shy away from involvement on campus. Throughout her time at Maryland, she was a Class of 1920 officer. She was also involved in the Maryland Review, the school newspaper, and the Baltimore City Club. She was a founding member of Sigma Delta, the first women’s sorority at MAC.
After graduating, Hook worked as a high school teacher at Hyattsville High School, and she later married Franklin D. Day, another UMD alumnus. Their son, Franklin Jr., was the first student to attend the University of Maryland who had two alumni as parents!
For our next pioneering woman, we will jump forward to the 50s with Elaine Johnson Coates! Come back next week!