Many early Mount Holyoke graduates went on to teach or were involved in missionary work around the world.
Alice Gordon Gulick, who attended Mount Holyoke from 1863 to 1867, and taught philosophy at the College from 1868 to 1870, was part of this tradition. After marrying the Reverend William H. Gulick in 1871, she traveled to Spain as a missionary. While there, she founded a school for girls, the International Institute for Girls in San Sebastian (later known as the International Institute for Girls in Spain).
Gulick hired graduates of Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, and other colleges to teach at the institute, which flourished and relocated to Madrid in 1903. After visiting Gulick and her school, Jane Addams wrote: “The school has evoked and at the same time filled a wonderful opportunity in Spain and should have the cooperation of all women interested in the higher education of women.”
After Gulick died in 1903, work began on a building to be named in her honor, and in 1910 the Alice Gordon Gulick Memorial Hall was completed.
Mount Holyoke began the practice of awarding honorary degrees at Commencement in 1894. That year, in honor of her efforts in advancing educational opportunities for women, the College awarded Gulick one of its first honorary degrees.