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Douglass Residential College

Douglass Residential College
Established 1918 (Degree granting college); 2007 (residential college)
Dean Jacquelyn Litt
Students 2,500
Location New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Nickname Template:If empty
Affiliations Institute for Women's Leadership

Douglass Residential College, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It is a non-degree granting organization which succeeded the liberal arts Douglass College (originally New Jersey College for Women) when it was merged with the other undergraduate liberal arts colleges at Rutgers–New Brunswick to form the School of Arts and Sciences in 2007.

Students enrolled at academic undergraduate schools at Rutgers–New Brunswick, including the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Mason Gross School of the Arts, etc., may participate in Douglass Residential College, at which they must satisfy additional requirements specific to the college.


Douglass Through The Decades

1910 - 1919

New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs persuaded Mabel Smith Douglass to head a committee that would establish a women’s college as part of Rutgers University. Rutgers trustees agreed to the project, and the Federated Women’s Clubs raised funds to support it. In September 1918, the New Jersey College for Women opened its doors to 54 students.

1920 - 1929

The New Jersey College for Women grew rapidly during its first full decade of existence, establishing new academic departments, constructing five academic buildings and the Voorhees Chapel, and opening of three residence campuses.

1930 - 1939

In this period, under Dean Margaret Trumbull Corwin, the harsh realities of the Great Depression stumped both growth in enrollment and construction of new facilities.

1940 - 1949

The decade opened with most of the college community actively supporting the allied cause in the World War II. With the war’s end and with the likelihood of greatly increased enrollments, Dean Corwin led the planning for a larger institution with new programs and facilities.

1950 - 1959

In 1955, the New Jersey College for Women became Douglass College, in honor of its founder. Halfway through the decade, Dean Mary Ingraham Bunting moved into the Dean’s Home at 23 Nichol Avenue. She established new programs for summer research internships and college re-entry for mature women.

1960 - 1969

Dean Ruth Marie Adams oversaw the completion of the largest group of building projects in the college’s history: a library, the Neilson Campus residence and dining halls, the Gibbons residence complex, and three new classroom buildings. She created the college’s first honors program and first program for economically disadvantaged students. The decade’s end saw the social upheavals of the civil and women's rights movement and the Vietnam War.

1970 - 1979

With Margery Somers Foster as dean, Douglass College discontinued its curfew, abolished the honors system, and reduced foreign language offerings. During this decade, Douglass established the Women’s Studies Program for Rutgers University. The college resisted pressure to become co-educational. In the later years of the decade, following the conversion of the formerly all-male Rutgers College to co-educational status, Douglass experienced a temporary decline in the academic standing of the student body. However, Dean Jewel Plummer Cobb implemented the Douglass Scholars Program and new initiatives in student recruitment.

1980 - 1989

In 1981, the establishment of Faculty of Arts and Sciences in New Brunswick effectively ended the distinct Douglass College faculty. Dean Mary S. Hartman created the Douglass College Fellows and moved to restore strong liberal arts graduation requirements. Douglass joined the National Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), initiated the Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering, and became the home of the Blanche, Edith, and Irving Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women’s Studies.

1990 - 1999

In this decade, new opportunities included a certificate program in International Studies, residence in Bunting-Cobb Science and Math Residence Hall, a new mandatory "Shaping a Life" a course for all first-year students, and the establishment of the Institute for Women’s Leadership.

2000 - 2010

Douglass began the new century with its ninth dean, Carmen Twillie Ambar, who oversaw such programs as the "Transitional Leadership for the Workforce," a teleconferencing course offered jointly with Ewha Womens University in Seoul, Korea, and the Global Village, a collection of special interest houses.

In 2005, Rutgers University President Richard Levis McCormick unveiled plans to merge Douglass College with the University's other undergraduate liberal arts colleges at Rutgers–New Brunswick — Rutgers College, Livingston College, Cook College, and University College — to create the School of Arts and Sciences. The plans proved controversial, resulting in numerous open forums and town hall meetings.[1]

In 2007 the Douglass Residential College was formed, a residential college within Rutgers University, as the result of a compromise between those who wanted a complete merger and those who wanted the college to remain as a separate, degree-granting institution.[2][3][4]

2010 - Present

In August 2010, Dr. Jacquelyn Litt was appointed as the tenth dean of Douglass and the first dean of the Douglass Residential College. She initiated a new Global Education Program, a Douglass Career Development Program, and a renewed focus on programs to support women in STEM fields, including a new residential learning community for first year women students enrolled in the School of Engineering.

Notable Alumnae

  • Adrienne Scotchbrook Anderson NJCW '45: engineer, higher education advocate
  • Alice Aycock DC'68: Sculptor
  • Margaret Ayers DC'63: Social activist (women's rights and the arts)
  • Julia Baxter Bates[5] DC'38: Civil Rights Pioneer
  • Elise Biorn-Hansen Boulding NJCW'40: Sociologist, social activist
  • Linda Brady DC'69: Chancellor, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
  • Leonie Brinkema DC'65: Judge, U.S. District Court, E.D. Va.
  • Elise M. Boulding NJCW'40: Peace activist
  • Ruth Ann Burns DC'67: Director, WNET's Education Resources Center
  • Patricia Smith Campbell[6] 'DC'63: Chemist, inventor of the transdermal patch
  • Carol T. Christ DC'66: President, Smith College
  • Sandra Clark Consentino DC'59: Documentary director. Winner of 3 Emmys. [2]
  • Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett NJCW'46: Advocate for women's education, her Johnson children donated the Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett building on Douglass campus
  • Janet Evanovich DC'65: New York Times best-selling author
  • Edith Morch Faste DC'38': Glass Artist
  • Sharon Fordham DC'75: CEO,[7]
  • Jeanne Fox DC'74: President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  • Jean Griswold NJCW'52: Founder, Griswold Home Care[8]
  • Elizabeth Cavanna Harrison NJCW'29: Noted author as Betty Cavanna and under the pen names Elizabeth Headley and Betsy Allen.[9]
  • Barbara J. Krumsiek DC'74: President and CEO, The Calvert Group, Ltd.[10]
  • Jaynee LaVecchia DC'76: New Jersey Supreme Court Justice
  • Yolanda Mapp DC'53: physician, medical school professor
  • Susan Ness DC'70: FCC commissioner (1994–2001). President and CEO, Women's Radio Network, LLC.
  • Janet L. Norwood DC'45: economist, US Commissioner of Labor Statistics (1979–1991).
  • Carole Frandsen St. Mark DC'65: Director, Gerber Scientific[11]
  • Joan Snyder, DC'62; artist and awardee of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.
  • Judith H. Wizmur DC'71: Chief Judge, U.S Bankruptcy Court, D. N.J.
  • Freda L. Wolfson DC'76: Judge, U.S. District Court, D. N.J.
  • Joanne Yatvin, NJCW'52: President of the National Council of Teachers of English (2006–2007). Author of books and articles for teachers.


  • Mabel Smith Douglass (1918–1932): A graduate of Barnard College, Mabel Smith Douglass was a leader of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs.
  • Margaret Trumbull Corwin (1934–1955): A graduate of Bryn Mawr with a master’s degree from Yale. It was during Dean Corwin’s tenure that the New Jersey College for Women became Douglass College.
  • Mary Bunting (1955–1960): A graduate of Vassar with advanced degrees in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin. She resigned to become president of Radcliffe.
  • Ruth Marie Adams (1960–1966): An Adelphi graduate with a doctorate in English from Radcliffe. She resigned to become president of Wellesley.
  • Margery Somers Foster (1967–1975): A graduate of Wellesley with a doctorate in economics from Radcliffe.
  • Jewel Plummer Cobb (1976–1981): A graduate of Talladega College in Alabama with advanced degrees in cell biology from New York University. She resigned to become president of California State University at Fullerton.
  • Mary S. Hartman (1982–1994): A graduate of Swarthmore with an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in history, Mary S. Hartman became a member of the Douglass History Department in 1968 (Institute for Women’s Leadership, 2004, p. 1). She served as director of the Women’s Studies Institute from 1975 to 1977, was named acting dean in 1981, and dean in 1982. She resigned to become director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University.
  • Barbara A. Shailor (1996–2001): A graduate of Wilson College with a master’s degree and doctorate in classics from the University of Cincinnati. She resigned to become Director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. She was appointed the Deputy Provost for the Arts at Yale University in 2003.
  • Carmen Twillie Ambar (2002–2008): A graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Carmen Twillie Ambar earned a law degree from Columbia School of Law and a master’s in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. In 2008, Ambar resigned to become president of Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA.
  • Jacquelyn Litt (2010–present): A graduate of William Smith College with an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from University of Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ "Students Rally to Save Douglass" The Home News & Tribune September 2, 2005. [1]
  2. ^ Alaya, Ann M. "DOUGLASS ENTERS A NEW ERA", The Star-Ledger, July 11, 2007. "Starting this fall, Douglass will no longer award academic degrees but will continue to offer single-sex dormitories and women-only classes -- as part of a four-year, women-centered experience."
  3. ^ Douglass Residential College. Accessed July 15, 2007.
  4. ^ Board Approves Reorganization at Rutgers
  5. ^ "Her Work Opened The Doors." The Star-Ledger. 22 February 2008.
  6. ^ Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni
  7. ^ " Appoints Sharon A. Fordham CEO." <>.
  8. ^ "Our Story"
  9. ^ "Betty Cavanna Papers". de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. The University of Southern Mississippi. May 1994. Retrieved 2013-06-22.  With biographical sketch.
  10. ^ "Calvert Management." The Calvert Group, Ltd
  11. ^ "Carole St. Mark Profile." Forbes.Com

External links

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