In Memoriam: Rhoda M. Dorsey, 1927-2014

Rhoda M. Dorsey, the first woman to serve as president of Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, died on May 10 at a retirement community in Cockeysville, Maryland. She was 86 years old.

A native of Dorchester, Massachusetts, Dr. Dorsey was a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She earned a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Newnham College in Cambridge, England, and a Ph.D. in history at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Dorsey joined the Goucher College faculty in 1954 as an assistant professor of history. At that time, the college admitted only women students. In 1968 she was named academic dean and became the first woman president of the college in 1974.

Dr. Dorsey was a staunch supporter of women’s colleges but in 1986 she agreed with the trustees’ decision to admit men. Today, women make up 66 percent of the 1,500-member undergraduate student body at Goucher College. Dr. Dorsey retired in 1994 after serving 21 years as president. The College Center building is named in her honor.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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