Alumnae Club and Early Women Graduates
The University of Chicago experience was designed to prepare women to meet the challenges and opportunities of the wider world. Early women graduates pursued a variety of careers and lifestyles. While some went on to graduate study, others worked in offices, in educational institutions, and in hospitals. Still others became full-time homemakers. Many women graduates of the college remained in Hyde Park, working in University offices or furthering their education at Chicago despite informal quotas that often limited the number of women accepted each year to the professional schools.
Alumnae, women graduate students, and even faculty wives also engaged in woman-centered philanthropy and community service. As early as 1892, women's committees funded departmental fellowships for female graduate students and supported the first campus building projects, including men's and women's dormitories on campus.
Another channel for former students' energies was the Chicago Alumnae Club. The organization was founded by in 1898 by twenty-seven women residents of Nancy Foster Hall who wanted to remain connected to their house friends after graduation. Their Alumnae Club was an active organization, holding social and academic events, granting scholarships, and organizing community service programs. Typical gatherings celebrated women's careers and continuing education.
When Ida Noyes Hall opened, it contained an Alumnae Room for club meetings, teas and classes. The Chicago Alumnae Club provided a crucial outlet allowing University of Chicago women to maintain their ties to the University and each other.