February 19, 2009

February 19, 1919: "Pres. Resigns: Dr. Lyon G. Tyler Resigns After Thirty Years of Faithful Service"

After serving as president of the College of William and Mary since 1888, the February 19, 1919, article regarding President Lyon G. Tyler's resignation appeared in the student newspaper The Flat Hat. The article chronicled the tenure of President Tyler, highlighting his most important accomplishments on behalf of William and Mary. For example, Tyler secured state funds for the College by overseeing its transfer to the Commonwealth of Virginia, transitioning its private institution status to a public institution. Another significant highlight during Tyler's tenure and the college's history is the historic admittance of women, as mentioned in the article:

"Another and more recent development in William and Mary was the establishment of the women's department. At the last legislative meeting, a bill was introduced with sympathetic support of the president, admitting women to all the courses at William and Mary. This great innovation in the higher educational field in Virginia was successfully begun this session with a promising enrollment of representative students."
The article continues to discuss the new Home Economics department established and the role of the dean of women. It ends with:

"This victory for the higher education of women by the state marks with distinction the closing session of President Tyler's thirty years of service and of the first quarter of the third century in the history of William and Mary."

Regardless of how the male and female students may have felt about their co-education, there appeared to be a consensus of the monumentality of educating women in addition to President Tyler's vision of William and Mary. What a way to end one's career, on a historic high note.

This post was composed by Jeffreen Hayes.

For additional information about the first women students at the College of William and Mary see: When Mary Entered with her Brother William: Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945 by Laura F. Parrish; "The Petticoat Invasion": Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945; The Martha Barksdale Papers; and the Women at the College of William and Mary page on the Special Collections Research Center Wiki.

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