Women are a part of Rice from the very beginning, although their presence is rather disconcerting for some. In her International Dictionary of University Histories, Carol J. Summerfield writes:

“Although women were welcome at the institute — the charter directed that both sexes should attend — Lovett and a few of the faculty members felt some discomfort at having women in their classes, no doubt due to their own past experiences of all-male classes and separate educational facilities for women. During the first year of the institute’s opening, classes were separated by gender. Women were to be off of the campus grounds by 5:00 p.m. Such was the concern about the sexes mingling that even the available benches weren’t placed in any shady spots where a couple might be tempted to linger."

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