11 Mar 2013

Harvard Business School Celebrates 50 Years of Women in Business Education with New Exhibit

First 8 women admitted to first year of MBA program, 1963. HBS Archives Photograph Collection: Student Life. Harvard Business School

BOSTON—In 1937, the Training Course in Personnel Administration at Radcliffe College (later known as the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration), a certificate program that Harvard Business School (HBS) professor Fritz Roethlisberger called “the first daring experiment in ‘practical education’ for women,” opened the door for women to study business at Harvard University. Twenty-six years later, in 1963, the first eight female students enrolled in the two-year MBA program at Harvard Business School (HBS), alongside 676 men. By 1970, women were fully integrated into the program.

As HBS celebrates the 50th anniversary of women in the MBA program, Baker Library Historical Collections has opened a new exhibit, Building the Foundation: Business Education for Women at Harvard University, 1937–1970. It traces the programs and events that led to the 1962 HBS faculty vote to admit women directly into the first year of the full MBA program.

Baker Library Historical Collections (Harvard Business School) and the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (Radcliffe Institute). The telling documents reveal how program directors, faculty, and administrators shaped business education for women at the University, preparing students to take their places in the business world.

“Women who enrolled in business education programs at Harvard University during this formative period were true pioneers,” said Melissa Banta, curator of the exhibit. “These students paved the way for future generations of women to make meaningful contributions and assume positions of leadership in the business world.”

The exhibit, free and open to the public, will run until September 22, 2013, in the North Lobby of Baker Library | Bloomberg Center at HBS. An accompanying website features some of the items on display, including photographs and oral-history videos of several revolutionary women who studied business at Harvard in the 1950s and 1960s.

About Baker Library Historical Collections
Baker Library Historical Collections (www.library.hbs.edu/hc/) is a rich resource for scholarship in business and economic history and cross-disciplinary studies. Thousands of items - including business records, diaries and correspondence, research papers, rare books, ephemera, and visual materials - provide the documentary evidence that allows scholars to investigate firsthand the important business theories, organizations, movements, and individuals that have shaped our nation's history and globally influenced progress and developments today.


Kristen Raymaakers

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.