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Bryn Mawr College – founded 1885
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr is known for its elite educational institutions, many of which got their start in the last quarter of the 19th century. Bryn Mawr College was founded in 1880 with an endowment from a Quaker businessman and physician, Dr. Joseph Wright Taylor. Taylor had seen the frustrations of a friend's daughter who was unable to pursue graduate study. That woman was M. Carey Thomas, who became Dean and later President of the college.

Taylor died in 1880 and bequeathed much of his estate to fund an institution "for the advanced education of females" providing "all the advantages of a College education which are so freely offered to young men" – a reference to Haverford College. Taylor wished to establish a college to advance education for females and would encourage students in the beliefs of the Society of Friends. The College formally opened in 1885 upon the completion of Taylor Hall. It was originally under the management of the Society of Friends.

By 1893 the Trustees broadened the college's mission by deciding that Bryn Mawr would be non-denominational. They determined that excellence in scholarship was more important than religious faith, although the college remained committed to Quaker values such as freedom of conscience. The College established undergraduate and graduate programs that were widely viewed as models of academic excellence in both the humanities and the sciences. It was also the first institution in the United States to offer fellowships for graduate study to women. In 1892 Bryn Mawr College established a self-government association, the first in the country, that granted students the right not only to enforce, but to make all of the rules governing their conduct.

Bryn Mawr College – Rockefeller Hall
In 1912, at the bequest of an Alumna, the Graduate Department of Social Economy and Social Research made Bryn Mawr the first institution in the country to offer a Ph.D. in social work. During the 1960's Bryn Mawr strengthened its ties to Haverford College, Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania when it instituted mutual crossregistration for all undergraduate courses. In 1969 they augmented their special relationship with Haverford College by establishing a residential exchange program that opened certain dormitories, at each college, to students of the other college. During the 1990s Bryn Mawr undertook a thorough re-examination of the women only status of its undergraduate college and concluded that providing the benefits of single-sex education for women, in cultivating leadership, self-confidence and academic excellence, remained essential to the College's mission.

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