Diversity Timeline 1880s


Thursday, January 1, 1880

The first female students admitted into degree programs were Mary Alice Bennett, M.D. and Anna H. Johnson, to the School of Auxiliary Medicine. Bennett received a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in June, becoming the first woman to receive a degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

A Certificate of Proficiency in Science was awarded to Mary Thorn Lewis.


Saturday, January 1, 1881

The Wharton School was founded.

The Law School accepted its first female student, Caroline Burnham Kilgore.

James Brister graduated from the Dental School, the first African American to earn a degree from Penn.

Sunday, January 1, 1882

Nathan Francis Mossell graduated from Penn with a Doctor of Medicine after completing his undergraduate work at Lincoln University. He is the first African American admitted to the medical school and the first to graduate.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was founded.

Monday, January 1, 1883

William Adger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and is the first African American to graduate from the College. Adger planned a career in the ministry and was a student in the Divinity School of the Episcopal Church, Philadelphia. Unfortunately he died at a young age in 1885.

Vet School

Tuesday, January 1, 1884

The School of Veterinary Medicine was founded.

Rev. Sabato Morais

Saturday, January 1, 1887

Rev. Sabato Morais, Minister of the Congregation Mickvéh Israel, Philadelphia, founder and President of the Jewish Theological Seminar of America at New York City received an honorary LL.D. He was the first Jewish recipient of an honorary degree.

Hospital Training School for Nurses

Sunday, January 1, 1888

Elizabeth Weston, a Native American, graduated in the first class of the Hospital Training School for Nurses