100 Years of Coeducation

by MainGate Staff
Spring 2022

One hundred years ago was a time of upheaval both within and around the campus of the American University of Beirut, which had just undergone a name change from the Syrian Protestant College. The region had been rocked by drought, famine, the First World War, and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, at AUB, the 1,001st student had registered, setting an enrollment record. More change was coming as the university began accepting women into professional programs.

Starting in 1920, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools of pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry promised to open their doors to women for programs with at least three applicants. This was only the beginning of an ever-increasing flow of female students from different parts of the region, bringing coeducation to this American university abroad before most of its counterparts in the United States voted in the 1960s to open their own doors to women.

AUB has been celebrating the centennial of women at the university since spring 2021. After looking back at the pioneering female students, professors, and alumni, who brought so many “firsts” to the region, it was fitting to host events on campus this year acknowledging the ongoing bravery and determination of AUB’s women. The pioneering spirit of these women is more alive than ever, and they are eager to push for more change, progress, and “firsts” in the region.