female firsts

Female Firsts...

First Women Faculty (1911-12), East Tennessee State Normal School

Delle Dulaney Smith, Della Stround, Elma Lillian Rankin, Elizabeth Evans Slocumb, Sadie Lone Brooks, Elizabeth Miller Carr, and Mary Moore Davis

First woman to serve as vice-mayor and mayor of Johnson City

May Ross McDowell '16

First female graduate of ETSU admitted to practice law in the county and state courts of Tennessee/ first female Tennessean to be presented to the United States Supreme Court

Carrie Elizabeth Hunter '17

First Woman to serve as Dean of Students

Ella V. Ross '28

First Female to be Editor-in-Chief of the East Tennessee Bulletin (later the East Tennessean)

Christine Burkleson '29

First Woman to become Department Head

Eliza Evans Slocumb 1917-1926

First ETSU graduate to receive Ph.D. Degree

Virginia Nelle Bellamy
(Bachelor's ETSU '45/ Ph.D. Duke University '52)

Mrs. Donna Perry Netherland (BS '49) received ETSU's first honorary degree, the Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, at the December 2004 Commencement.

First woman appointed Honorary Consul-General of Japan

Mariko Terasaki Miller '53

First female ETSU graduate to become a CPA

Paula Gail Keen '68

The first women's athletic director at the University of Tennessee

Gloria S. Ray '69

First female graduates of the ROTC program

Darcy Armstein and Sandra Cross '74

First officer employed by the Johnson City Police Department, Chief inspector of the Judicial Security Division for the U.S. Marshals Service

Rebecca Jill Marshall '75, '77, '94

First female ETSU graduate to become a dentist

Dr. Teresa Wexler Garland '76

The first woman to be elected as Student Government Association president, First woman elected as Circuit Court Judge, First Judicial District of Tennessee. Later served as Justice to the Tennessee Supreme Court

Penny J. White '78

The first woman to graduate with a minor in Women's Studies at ETSU

Rebecca Tolley-Stokes '94

1929 - First time women were awarded athletic letters

1974 - First time women athletes were allowed to join the intercollegiate athletic program

1974 - First year women qualified as regular ROTC students, making them eligible for ROTC scholarships as well as regular commissions

The Foremothers of the Women's Studies Program at ETSU

Dr. B.J. Bryson, Dr. Linda Kerley, Ms. Ann Clarke, Dr. Anne LeCroy, Dr. Bettie Cole Dr. Gail Stenstad, Dr. Martha Copp, and Dr. Marie Tedesco

East Tennessee State Teacher's College

The first Diploma Graduates with two-year degrees, from 1912.

Jaunita Badgett

Ora Taylor Bankenship

Katherine Carolyn Gilmer

Jennie Ellen Hatcher

Lucy Louise Hatcher

Lucy Dabney Sitton

Beulah Lee Smith

Ida Margaret Smith

Mabel Gertruee Harrison

The first four-year degrees (Bachelor of Science) were awarded in May, 1926.

Glenna Marie Cloyd

Anna Laura Gresham

Vera Virginia Gresham

Mabel McKenzie Gross

Mary Stuart Henderson

Iva Caroline Hicks

Margineal Alma Lynch

Mary Lynette McLeod

Carolyn Swafford Miller

Vera Elizabeth Ross

Fannie Elliene Ross

Bessie Mae Walker

Mary Elsie White





East Tennessee State College

The first graduate degrees (Master of Arts) were awarded in June, 1951. Of the four graduates, three were women.


Nell Refsnes Payne

Hilde Anne Roesel

Emeline Whisnant


The first Bachelor of Arts degrees were awarded in 1953. Of the four graduates, three were women.


Nelia June Nelson Kallio

Drina Cushman Parkey

Mariko Terasaki Miller


College of Medicine

Dr. Patricia K. Schaefer & Dr. Johnsie C. Grigg completed the Family Medicine residency program in 1980. They were the first female residency graduates.

Dr. Susan A. Stern was the first woman to earn a PhD from ETSU in May 1981, in biomedical sciences.


Three out of twenty-two of the first MD graduates in May 1982 were women.

Dr. Carolyn G. Newton

Dr. Catherine M. Page

Dr. Judy Bowen-Kowalski

Dr. Leslie J. Cargile, also a member of the first MD entering class, graduated in December 1982.

Dr. Bonnie Aldine Burnette-Vick was the first female “double doc,” earning a PhD in 1991 and a MD in 1997.

Dr. Julie A. Dunn (MD '91) & Dr. Anita D. Cobble (MD '93) were the first females to serve at ETSU as chief resident in Surgery, completing in 1998.

Dr. Anita Smith Everett (MD '85) was the first inspector general of Virginia Mental Health and Mental Retardation Facilities.

C ollege of Nursing

The first graduates with a degree in Nursing
(Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the School of Health ) were Caroline Bennett Prince and Barbara Jean Lewis Kincheloe in June 1955.


All 10 of the first class of Master of Science in Nursing (December 1992) were female.

Susanne Saylor Bradford

Paula Darlene Cox

Jamie Deresa Moore Hall

Jacqeuline Michele Hinshaw

A. Joanna Sympson Meyer

Carol René Chapman Pippin

Sheila Dianne Russell

Nancy Susan Curtis Shisler

Janice Marie Hill Tillman

Paula Kaye Wright

The first Doctor of Science in Nursing (December 2004) was Dr. Amy L. Reeves.

Public and Allied Health

T he first Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology degrees were granted in August 1962; one of the two, Sandra Jeanne Braly Blanton, was female.

The first woman to earn a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health was Mary Margaret O'Dell Arnold, in August, 1970.

The first Master of Science in Environmental Health degrees were granted in August 1973; one of the 21, Reba Fern Overbey Hilton, was female.

The first three graduates of the Marshall T. Nave Paramedical Center , with Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology degrees, in June 1978, were all female .

Susan Lynn Bearden Gott

Patsy Lynn Jarvis

Donna Lee Moore

Three of the six of the first Master of Public Health degrees were given to females in December 1986.

Donna Kay Garland Robbins

Selene D. Skonie-Hardin

Maggie Burrows Turner

All of the first three to earn the Doctor of Audiology degree in May 2005 were female.

Dr. Sarah Joy Fillon

Dr. Andrea Danielle Rose

Dr. Elizabeth Ann Townsend

Two of the first three to earn the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in December 2005 were female.

Dr. Amber D. Daniels

Dr. Melissa Dawn Ogle

College of Business

The first female Master of Accountancy was Donna Jo Hall, May 1984.

The first female Master of Business Administration was Rita Sue Farmer Ratliff, August 1968.

The first female Master of City Management was Rosemarie Newsom Capon, August 1977



College of Arts and Sciences

The first Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts was awarded to Teri Traner in August 1967.

The first female to earn a Master of Fine Arts was Sylvia Margolis Smith, August 1973



School of Continuing Studies


The first degrees from this school (Bachelor of Continuing Studies) were awarded in December 1990. Three of the four were female.

Elise S. Brice Bourne

Linda Marie Crowder Morefield

Brenda A. White Wright

The first female to earn the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies was Vivian Ruth Yonkey in December 1998.


College of Education

The first Master of Arts in teaching degrees were awarded in August 1969. Four of the eleven were female.

Lorraine Jean VanDyke Brown

Joyce Allen Enochs Moore

Kathryn Louise Hayes McKee

Margaret West Miller

The first female to earn a Doctor of Education degree was Dr. Bobby Jean Peak Rice, in June 1974.

The first female to earn a Specialist in Education was Elizabeth Sue Peterson Hoilman, one of the first three to earn the degree in April 1975.

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