Mary G. Slocum
Mary G. Slocum
Date of Birth
Born 1851 Died 1933
In an age when women were often relegated to the home, Mary G.Slocum had the vision, vigor, courage, and administrative skills to galvanize both campus and community in creating a place for women on the Colorado College campus and in the greater world. The organization she founded and inspired, the Woman’s Educational Society, continues to assist students in setting and reaching their educational goals and finding their place in the world, while strengthening connections between the college and community to the ongoing enrichment of both.
When Mary’s husband William became the president of Colorado College in 1888, it had one permanent building, 50 students and four faculty. Students had to board in town, making many families reluctant to allow their daughters to enroll. She was interested in finding ways to encourage women to attend. Already familiar with an innovative “cottage” system that could provide a home away from home for young women on campus, she convened a meeting in 1889 of more than 100 women to consider “the formation of a society whose special purpose would be to aid the young women in attendance upon Colorado College.” That night, 36 women joined Mary Slocum in forming the Woman’s Educational Society of Colorado College (WES).
With Mary as its president, the WES raised the funds, planned, and furnished the first women’s dormitory. Three more residence halls for women would be built during the next 27 years under her leadership. All four buildings still house students today. She recruited faculty, staff, alumnae, and community members with a strong interest in the education of women to join WES and to work together to identify and eliminate barriers. WES also provided scholarships to deserving young students, offered advice, helped them find work, and even established a revolving loan fund. Since 1889, WES has provided scholarships to more than 900 women and since 2003 alone, has awarded more than $2 million in scholarship funds.
Mary’s activism extended to her active and enthusiastic support of the Red Cross and the YWCA. She served as a director on the first National Board of the YWCA.
Her legacy lives on through WES at Colorado College, continuing to inspire and enable young women and men to go to college and change their communities and the world.