History

“Go Where No One Else Will”

Chemist and educator Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke College (then called Mount Holyoke Female Seminary) in 1837, nearly a century before women gained the right to vote. Today, her famous words—"Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do"—continue to inspire Mount Holyoke students.

As the first of the Seven Sisters—the female equivalent of the once all-male Ivy League—Mount Holyoke has led the way in women's education. A model upon which many other women's colleges were patterned, it quickly became synonymous with brilliant teaching and academic excellence. In 1861 the three-year curriculum was expanded to four, and in 1893 the seminary curriculum was phased out and the institution's name was changed to Mount Holyoke College.

A Tradition of Educating Leaders

Throughout the 20th century, academic programs and physical facilities grew, with the 1960s witnessing the construction of many new academic buildings and residence halls. Mount Holyoke's reputation for excellence grew as well, with many of our notable alumnae breaking new ground in the sciences, the arts, and the women's movement.

Plans for an Unsurpassable Learning Environment

The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2021 outlines priorities for the College that both renew and reimagine our commitments to liberal learning, and the importance of both presence and place in the residential experience.