Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women

The Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women was incorporated in 1896 with 36 charter members under the leadership of Sarah Doyle, principal of the girls’ department of Providence High School. In January 1895 President E. Benjamin Andrews had asked Miss Doyle for the names of influential women in Rhode Island and Mrs. Andrews had invited them to tea. The plan was to enlist their aid in raising money for a building for the women students. The group of women was organized as the College Fund Committee with Miss Doyle as chairman and launched a campaign to raise $75,000. After collecting enough money to begin building in February 1896, the committee was disbanded and the Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women was established in its place. After Pembroke Hall was built, the Society still continued to lend support by providing furnishings for the women’s dormitories and cultural entertainment for the students. In 1911, Miss Doyle, observing that the Alumnae Association was on a firm footing, suggested the disbanding of the Society, but her fellow members thought otherwise, and the students added their appreciation of the Society by dedicating the Brun Mael of that year to the Society “to whose interest and enthusiasm our College owes so much beauty and comfort.” Among the projects of the Society were the loan fund established early in the century and turned over to University management in 1941, the equipping of the infirmary, Doyle House, and the building of Howard Terrace, named for Mrs. Elisha H. Howard, a president of the Society. On September 14, 1971 (75 years to the day after its incorporation) the Society, which had become known as RISCEW or the “society with the long name,” came to an end at a final luncheon featuring physical education director Bessie Rudd, who spoke on the history of the Society.