Our Mission and Our History

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Dedicated to helping the talented young women who have chosen to pursue graduate degrees at Boston University, the Boston University Women's Council advances the educational experience of these women by raising scholarship funds, providing subsidized housing, and promoting programs that enable women to draw on the University's rich resources.

The Council had its origins in 1912 when a group of women graduates got together to promote Boston University's interests and help support its women students. One of its members, Louisa Holman Fisk, convinced the University President and Board of Trustees of the need for a Dean of Women. When the University gave the women the challenge of raising $150,000 to endow this position, they succeeded, and at the 1924 fall convocation Lucy Jenkins Franklin was inducted into office as the University's first Dean of Women. With this achievement behind them, the group met the following spring and under Fisk's leadership established the Boston University Women's Council. Among its goals were raising the funds to provide a women's dormitory and creating more opportunities for women students to take part in University life.

The Council met its first goal by 1933. That year, with a gift of $15,000, the Council helped the University purchase a lovely brownstone at 146 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's Back Bay, where many of the University's colleges were located. Named for the Council's first president, Fisk House still provides a residence for 16 women graduate students at nominal cost. To this day, Fisk House remains the only subsidized graduate student residence at Boston University.

To increase opportunities for students and members to get involved in University life, the Council also established a series of Tuesday afternoon programs. Faculty and students from around the University, as well as outside authors, scholars, artists, and public figures come to discuss work, perform, or generally to bring the audience up to date on developments in their fields. Held in Fisk House, the programs are open to the public.

Membership in the Boston University Women's Council is open to all women dedicated to supporting women students of Boston University and to enhancing their educational experiences. No affiliation with Boston University is required.