This Month in our History - February



February 1938 - First Women Admitted

The University of Scranton would not become fully coeducational until 1970, but women began taking classes at the University as early as the 1920s. Marywood College student Nellie Brown was the first woman to attend St. Thomas College, though she took only one course required for medical school. She later became the first practicing woman physician in Scranton.

In 1938, after an amendment to the College’s charter (which had specified that St. Thomas was a “college for the education of men”), women students were officially eligible for admission into the University’s summer and evening courses. In September 1943, Miriam Wilner received a University of Scranton Bachelor of Arts degree and became the University’s first alumna.

February 1943 - First Cafeteria

A new University cafeteria, located on the ground floor of the Annex building, opened for the use of faculty members and students late in February 1943. The cafe was operated by the Athletic Association under the direction of "Doc" Boylan, who was assisted by a group of the University's athletes. Pete Carlesimo acted as maître d’hôtel.

First prize in The Aquinas, "Name the Cafeteria Contest," was awarded to Robert Gallagher, senior arts, whose suggestion of "The Dugout" won the approval of the committee of judges. He received a five dollar meal ticket, redeemable at "The Dugout." Per the Aquinas, “Selection of the name was difficult, since the contest afforded excellent feeding grounds for both the wits and nitwits of the school. Both were abundant.”

Excerpt from 3/12/43 issue of The Aquinas: “The Athletic Association is to be congratulated on the opening of their fine cafeteria. Much complimentary talk has been heard on their venture and student cooperation should be high. The cafeteria is run entirely for the benefit of the athletes, by the athletes and coaches. The cafeteria boasts one of the best cooks in town in the person of Doc Boylan, for what Doc can't cook isn't worth cooking.”

February 1972 - Coeducation

Though women had been attending St. Thomas College and the University of Scranton for summer and evening classes since 1938, the University finally became fully coeducational in February 1972, when the women students (all commuters, and all transferring from other institutions) enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences. The following fall, the first women residential students moved into Fitch Hall. At the time, Dr. Ellen Casey, who had been hired in 1969, was the only woman on the University faculty.

February 12, 1975 - Women’s Athletics

The first women’s varsity basketball team was organized in early 1975, not long after the University went coed. The team, coached by Wallenpaupack Area High School teacher Ann Pietroeon, played a 12 game schedule in their first season, opening against College Misericordia. Women’s tennis, field hockey, and volleyball teams were organized soon after.

February 29, 2008 – The DeNaples Center Dedicated

The Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center, dedicated on February 29, 2008, was the largest and most ambitious building project in the history of the University. Located on Mulberry Street, the 118,000 square-foot, four-story building includes dining facilities, a unique Student Forum, the Ann and Leo Moskovitz Theater, a fireplace lounge, bookstore and mailroom, ballrooms and meeting rooms, and the offices of University Ministries and Student Affairs.

As part of the University's commitment to sustainability, the DeNaples Center earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification from the United States Green Building Council in 2009.

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