Sarah Parke Morrison

Sarah Parke Morrison
(September 7, 1833 – September 9, 1919)

Sarah Morrison was the first female to attend classes and graduate from Indiana University. Education was important to the Morrison family and at the age of 34, with years of education behind her at both the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and Vassar College, Ms. Morrison was persuaded by her father, a former president of the Indiana University Trustee Board and the State Treasurer, to appeal to the university to allow women to attend. After a review, the trustees voted to become just the fourth public university in the country to allow women.

Ms. Morrison had no desire to attend IU and hoped another woman would step forward. But when none did and fearing others would then think her foolish for having even brought up the subject, she entered as a sophomore in the fall of 1867.

Two years after her enrollment, Ms. Morrison graduated with a bachelor’s degree and then received a master’s degree two years later. She also became the school’s first female faculty member, serving as an adjunct professor in the English Department from 1873-1875, causing some fraternity members to dub her “Queen of the University.” Even after leaving her teaching position, she continued to press the IU Board to allow women on the board, writing frequent letters seeking their appointment and marking her election ballots as “For Some Woman.”

In 1942, IU renamed part of the Wells Quadrangle Morrison Hall in her honor and in 2005, the “Sarah Parke Morrison Society Scholarship” was established to recruit Indiana women into the Computer Science Program.

Location: Section 4, Lot 107; GPS (39.8183361, -86.1732505)