Monday, February 27, 2012

Mary Mason Lyon - Educator Extraordinaire

One might ask "Who was Mary Lyon?" She was an extremely important Christian woman in the history of American education and women's affairs.

Her life and achievements are inspiring and continue to influence women throughout the world. Mary Lyon  overcame obstacles which would discourage other people who were not as determined to accomplish her objectives and purposes.

Historians have called Mary Lyon's accomplishments as "an astonishing feat." She was among the most important women who changed the course of higher education for women in the United States. She became a pioneer in the struggle to establish institutions of higher learning for women which were equal to the best colleges which were available to men.

This school teacher from Massachusetts wasn't merely an American pioneer in the field of education. She was a remarkable woman who founded a model of higher education for women worldwide. She lived in an era when people held contempt and scorn at the idea of women attending colleges to become doctors and lawyers.

Mary Lyon was a woman of foresight, courage, and daring who did not resign herself to the discouragement of people who did not hold her high ideals concerning the abilities of women. She became the founder of the first women's college in America which is known today as Mount Holyoke College.

Mary Mason Lyon (28 February 1797 - 5 March 1849) was born in Buckland, Massachusetts in the remote western region of the historic state. She was the sixth of eight children; the fourth daughter of Aaron and Jemima Shephard Lyon. This charming little girl would grow up to become a most influential Christian educator. Her family who owned a farm in Buckland, Massachusetts.

Mary's parents were strong devout Christians who traced their lineage to the earliest days of the Massachusetts coloney. Her parents struggled to provide for their family which became more difficult after Mary's father died when she was five years old. Consequently, she grew up learning skills necessary for a girl of her era: spinning, weaving, sewing, and helping with the necessary chores on the family farm. Mary walked several miles to the nearest school when she was a little girl of four years old. Eventually, she would stay for periods of three months at a time with relatives and friends in order to attend school. She would pay her host for the priviledge of staying in a home by performing duties such as cooking and cleaning. She continued to attend school until she was thirteen years old which was common in her era.

Hard work became a way of life for Mary; she continued to work hard at whatever she sought to accomplish throughout her childhood into her adult life.

Her mother remarried when Mary was thirteen and moved from the family farm into town with her husband. Mary chose to stay behind at the family farm in Buckland and kept house for her older brother Aaron. He accepted the responsibility to keep the family farm and gave her a dollar a week for her help on the farm. Mary frugally saved the money she earned to further her education.

She treasured with great pleasure memories of her years as a child at the family farm in Buckland.  Mary described what she could see from her home in Western Massachuestts:

"The far-off mountains in all their grandeur, and the deep valleys, and widely extended plains, and more than all, that little village below, containing only a very few white houses, but more than those young eyes had ever seen."

She had a strong desire to learn and a love of education. Mary continued to work and save the small amount of money she earned in order to attend school for a few months at a time.

She attended schools in various districts intermittently. In 1814, she was offered her first teaching position at a summer school in Shelburne Falls a small town near Buckland. She was seventeen years old when she began teaching in a one-room local school although she had no formal training. Mary was paid seventy-five cents a week and received meals and a place in which to live. 

Mary wasn't very successful as a teacher at first for she had difficulty controlling her students. She was always ready to heartily laugh with her students being only a few years older then her pupils. Her reputation among the people of Shelburne Falls as an excellent student was accepted by them as her qualifications. The parents of her students saw her skill and ability.

Large numbers of men were moving west in seach of better economic opportunities which became available. Hence, female teachers were in great demand.

Mary chose to commit herself to extending the educational opportunities of girls from families of modest income and the poor. As a teenager Mary had a profound thirst and hunger to learn and knew that other girls had the same desire to learn as well. The modest beginnings from which she began became the impetus to foster a commitment to provide educational opportunities to girls who had similar economic backgrounds as her own. While teaching as a teenager, Mary earned some money to continue her own studies at various academies and schools.

Beginning to teach at the age of seventeen; she eventually taught in several schools which include Adams Female Seminary at Londonderry, New Hampshire and Zilpah Polly Grant's school in Ipswich.

Mary began a long intensive period of study and teaching when she twenty years of age. At the age of twenty, she was earning 75 cents a week plus board. The burden of working and studying often left her with only four hours of sleep each day.

Sanderson Academy was a new private secondarly school which opened for women in Ashfield, Massachusetts. She created and sold coverings for books frugally saving the money she earned as a teacher to attend Sanderson Academy.

It was at Sanderson where she began to study more difficult subjects which included: science, history, and Latin. A friend who attended Sanderson with her wrote that Mary was "gaining knowledge by handfuls." 

It has been reported that Mary actually memorized a complete book the Latin language in three days. It was while she studied at Sanderson; she received the basics of her education. Sanderson was among several academies in which Mary eventually taught. 

Mary felt that her handwriting needed much improvement in order to be read clearly. At twenty-one, she chose to attend a local public school where she would sit among children in order to improve her writing skills.

Despite her financial burden and busy teaching scedule; she was determined to further her education. She chose to spend time in the classroom and attend lectures alternately with teaching and running her school. There were times when she would travel by carriage three days in order to enroll at a school. Members of her family advised against her choice to cash in a small inheritance which she received from her father in order to pay for her education. She was frugal, resourceful, and thrifty, saving portions of her small salary to pay for her education. Mary traded coverlets and blankets which she had woven to pay for room and board.

Adams Female Academy and the Ipswich Female Seminary were run by Zilpah Grant. Mary developed her vision for Mount Holyoke Female Seminary which resembled Zilphah Grant's schools in many respects. She hoped her school would draw students from a much wider socio-economic spectrum which included girls of modest means. Her college would be founded by people of modest means to serve their daughters rather than the wealthy families.

The Reverend Joseph Emerson was the brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson and wrote "Discourse on Female Education" (1822). He advocated the position in which women should be trained to be teachers rather than 'to please the opposite sex.' Reverend Emerson was the headmaster at Byfield Seminary in eastern Massachuestts. It was while Mary attended Byfield that she became acquainted with Reverend Emerson and his assistant was Zilpah Polly Grant. 

Mary Lyon was raised as a Baptist but under the influence of Reverend Joseph Emerson; she eventually became a Congregationalist.

Mary spoke highly of Reverend Emerson. She admired him because he "talked to ladies as if they had brains." Furthermore, she praised him because he treated men and women equally concerning education. Emerson became a key influence in Mary's life by encouraging her creativity. He was the one who encouraged her to start teaching women by opening a school of her own. In the era in which Mary Lyon grew to maturity; it was unusual to see a woman outside the home working in respectable positions except in positions where women taught school.

Byfield was infused with a commitment to Christianity and Mary absorbed the ethos of rigorous academic education at the school.

After three years, she opened a school for young women in the village of Buckland which Mary named the Buckland Female Seminary. She held classes in a room which was on the third floor of a house. Students praised her ability to teach for she proposed new methods of teaching which included discussion groups in which students could exchange ideas. Mary Lyon's reputation as a gifted teacher spread beyond her school in Buckland. Throughout the next twenty years, she taught in schools in western and eastern Massachuestts as well as in southern New Hampshire. Her experience in teaching and managing schools before opening her own school provided invaluable lessons.

Mary Lyon was becoming a leading authority on education for women. While at Buckland, she developed an educational philosophy and gained invaluable experience in managing a school. She expanded opportunites for young women who were preparing to become teachers in an era when few professions were open to women.

It was while she taught young women at Buckland that she conceived of the idea of establishing a private school that would be open to the daughters of farmers and skilled workers.

In the early 19th Century, it was very difficult for an intelligent woman of modest means to achieve an education. Private academies, which were often called seminaries, sprang up throughout New England. Unfortunately, women of modest means could not afford the tuition and fees to attend those institutions. Furthermore, fortunate women who were able to further their education were taught a curriculum in private schools which included skills such as drawing, needlework, sewing, French, and music.

Consequently, those academies were far less challenging than the schools and colleges in which male students were enrolled. Those schools offered classes in the sciences, geomerty, and Latin. Mary sought to teach and educate young women but not operate a school primarily for profit. Schools of higher learning in her era were usually supported by people interested in the profitability of their investments. Consequently, private schools were established for the wealthy and neglected opportunities of higher learning for girls who were not from well-to-do families.

The advancement of women's education was important to Mary Lyon. She worked diligently to create a school which would provide women with the opportunity to obtain a higher education of quality caliber.

She formulated a plan to open a school in which common folks could afford to send their daughters. She thought that students could actually do some of the domestic work at the school which would cut operating costs thereby reducing tuition. In the early 1900s, an abundance of educational opportunities for women did not exist.  Mary dared to contemplate the novel idea that women should be included in an educated citizenry able to attain lofty dreams. She believed that women would measure up to the challenges of the century. American citizens reaching their greatest potential should include women too.

Throughout the 19th Century, education for women was not considered as an important priority in the United States. People supporing advancement in education for women faced several problems which seemed insurmountable. Although states did require that each town provide for the schooling of their children; teachers were often ill prepared to meet the challenge. Hence, the marjority of young women were not able to continue their education in private schools.

Mary Lyon became one of the most famous women during the 19th Century through her passionate desire to educate young women. It was her firm opinion that women were educators both in the classroom and in the home. Mary Lyon believed that the advancement of education for young women served the kingdom of God. Hence, women who were well educated would become better teachers in the schools and in the home throughout the United States and several nations across the globe.

Mary contracted typhoid fever in 1828 and upon regaining her health she chose to leave Buckland to join Zilpha Grant who began Ipswich Female Seminary.

Mary was responsible for teaching one hundred and thirty students while at Ipswich. Mary became the assistant principal while at Ipswich Seminary.

Although Ipswich was among the best schools in the country it lacked the necessary financial support to continue. It is likely and believed that the reason the school lacked financial support was because "good men's fear of greatness in women."

Zilpah Grant and Mary Lyon urged that Ipswich be provided with buildings which were necessary for the school to become a permanent institution; their appeals ultimately failed. 

Tragically, Mary resigned from Ipswich Female Seminary in 1834 to focus her time and efforts on acquiring the funds to establish her own institution of higher learning for women. For three years, she tirelessly crusaded for the funds to create her school.

By 1834, Mary Lyon had been teaching for nearly sixteen years when she chose to leave the classroom to raise funds to build an academy for her young women. It wasn't an easy task to raise funds to create an academy for girls in the era in which she lived.

Mary helped establish Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachuestts which opened in 1835 and is now known as Wheaton College.

The Panic of 1837, a terrible economic depression,  left several Americans jobless, homeless, and helpless. The nation was in severe economic depression which made it difficult to raise the necessary finances to open a school. Mary persisted in achieving her goal by writing circulars and ads in which she announced her plans for a school for women of modest means. She began to raise money to bring to reality her dream of a permanemt non-profits school of higher education for women.

Eventually, she succeeded in raising the necessary funds to open her school with the help of prominent men to back her venture. She courageously endured  ridicule from those people who believed that her ambitious undertaking was 'wasted' on women. Her constant travels in the effort to gain support for her venture left her in a state of exhaustion. She never doubted her belief that young women deserved the same opportunities for a higher education as men. Within two years, she was able to raise $15,000 to build Mount Holyoke School and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary which is now named Mount Holyoke College.

She opened her new school to educate young women as the country entered a severe economic depression. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary wasn't filled to capacity when it opened but Mary Lyon wasn't discouraged. She was determined to offer women the kind of education which was available only - until then - in men's colleges. Despite the financial crisis which gripped the nation, Mary was able to raise enough funds to open her school. She received financial assistance from Christians who were interested in her goals and purposes which honored God. 

She developed a curriculum after visiting schools where she spoke to educators as far away as Detroit, Michigan. She chose the location for her school as well as supervising the design and construction of the building. Mary bought the necesary equipment, hired teachers, and selected the first students for her new school.

She decided that her school should own its own property and be guided by an independent group of directors. Therefore, the necessary finances would be the responsibility of the directors and not investors seeking lucrative financial profits. Furthermore, her school would not be dependant upon any one person in order to continue educating women in the future.

Mary Lyon didn't forget that as a young girl of poor means; she had a strong desire to learn. Therefore, she sought to give young women of moderate means the opportunities which she desired for herself as a young girl. She conceived the idea of having students share in cleaning and cooking as she had done in her youth. Hence, costs could be kept to a minimum thereby reducing tuition.

Mary achieved her goal of establishing a committee of advisors who helped in planning and building the school. She collected the first thousand dollars for the school from the women of Ipswich and the surrounding area. She even chose to lend the committee her own savings which she carefully accumulated through years of work. Mary chose not to receive any money as pay until the establishment of her school in which she would become the headmistress.

Mount Holyoke Seminary for Women opened in 1837 in the small town of South Hadley, Massachusetts. The school for which she diligently worked to established was about ten miles south of Amherst, Massachuestts. It was the first school of higher learning for women in Massachusetts.

Mary raised more than $12,000 which was enough to build a five story building. The first 80 students enrolled in the Seminary arrived in the fall of 1837. Mary's dream of her school was being fulfilled. There were four teachers and a class of eighty young women who lived and studied in the new building. In the year that followed, there would be one hundred and sixteen students enrolled in her school. She insisted that the school not be named after her. Hence, the school was named after a nearby mountain peak.

Several of the young women who were enrolled in the Seminary traveled two or three days by carriage and stagecoach as Mary had done in her youth. Each of the young women passed a difficult oral examination in English, grammar, math, U.S. history, and geography. The young women enrolled in her Seminary were instructed to bring a Bible, an atlas, a dictionary, and two spoons.

The motto of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary was: 

"That our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace." Psalm 144:12

Mount Holyoke Female Seminary was the first college in the United States designed specially for women. Mary Lyon's school of higher education for women was consecrated to her Lord Jesus Christ as was her personal life. Her academy was highly regarded; it was unique school having a reputation of strong values, noble purpose, and frugal operation and administration. Numerous other schools would eventually be established and modeled on Mount Holyoke.

Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, founded in 1837 nearly a century before women gained the right to vote.

Mary Lyon made the following declaration which may be spoken of as the school's motto:

"Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do."

Those words have inspired young and older women as they continue to inspire the students of Mount Holyoke today.

When Mary Lyon opened the doors of Mount Holyoke in 1837; a new era of women's education opened in the United States.

Mary strove to maintian high academic standards and set rigious entrance exams admitting no students under the age of sixteen. The tuition was limited to $60 a year which kept true to her socio-economic vision of providing an excellent education for women of moderate means. Tuition at her school was approximately a third of the tuition Zilpah Polly Grant charged at the Ipswich Female Seminary.

Mary believed in the importance of daily exercise and required each student to "walk one mile (1.6km) after breakfast."

The requirement was reduced to 45 minutes during New England's cold snowy winters. Teachers taught calisthenics - a form of exercise - to students in unheated hallways until a storage area was eventually transformed into a gymnasium.

According to her plan, Mary required each student to perform domestic tasks which enabled her to reduce costs in the school and making tuition more affordable. Hence, she created an early version of work/study. Dedicated teachers, including herself, were paid relatively poorly. Although her policies were considered somewhat controversial, the seminary attracted a target student body of 200 students.

Mary anticipated a change in the role of women in the future generations. She chose to equip her students with an education that was rigorous, innovative, and comprehensive. Her curriculum included a particular emphasis on science.

There were seven courses in the sciences and mathematics at Holyoke in order for a student to graduate. Furthermore, there were rigorous studies in history and theology.

This educational requirement was unthinkable in other seminaries that were established for women. Mary was an educator which was ahead of her time. Furthermore, she introduced students to "a new and unsusual" way in which to learn science. Mary introduced laboratory experimentation in which students would participate in the venture. She organized field trips on which students collected plants, rocks, and various specimens for laboratory experiments. The students would inspect geological formations and dinosaur tracks which had been uncovered.  Mary invited distinguished scientists and men of learning to lecture and inspire the young women to pursue careers in sciences as college teachers and researchers.

Mary personally taught chemistry. Her personal interest in the sciences and her high expectations for women sparked a tradition of leadership in the field of science education which continues at Mount Holyoke College today.

As more students were enrolled at Mount Holyoke, it began to grow and it became necessary to increase the size of the building. 

Mary Lyon was the principal for the first twelve of the seminary's fledgling years. She established a model of excellence and a life lived for her Lord and Savior.

Mary Lyon was a woman with a radiant personality shining with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. She spoke with captivating conviction to students, faculty, parents, and members of the community. Mary led chapel lectures from the wisdom of Proverbs and delivered other messages which were appreciated by her students. Mary was known to give timeless spiritual advice which provided them with practical applications to utilize throughout life.

She was preparing young women to take part in the development of the fledgling nation which she loved. She hoped the knowledge and wisdom which her students received at Holyoke would be carried with Christian Good News throughout the world. 

Mary was devoted to serving her Lord Jesus Christ through whom she would serve her students and women with whom she became acquainted in her life. She sincerely desired to have her pupils become active consecrated Christians dedicated to God and seeking His will and purpose in whatever tasks in which He would lead. She sought to cultivate a missionary spirit in students and faculty.

Revivals of authentic Christianity broke out at Mount Holyoke in which Mary preached to her students and wherever she was invited. Although she was not an ordained minister, Mary became a member of the fellowship of New England's New Divinity clergy. Consequently, she played an important role in the revival of teaching, thoughts, and preaching of Jonathan Edwards. During her era, the works of Jonathan Edwards were read more frequently than during his lifetime. She was attracted to his ideas of self-restraint, self-denial, and disintrested benevolence. Edwards was among the most learned brilliant men in colonial America who was fascinated with various subjects. He had a well rounded interest in the sciences as well as Christian theology.

Mary was a woman who put great emphasis upon the development of the spiritual life of each of her students. Mary and the instructors of her seminary would pray with devotion for the conversion of each of her students. Those periods of revival at the seminary were definite answers to their devout prayers.

Twice each day, students were given half hour periods for private prayer and meditation. Teachers would visit each of the students to converse and pray for the young women. Special prayer meetings and days of fasting were held from time to time as well as regular prayer meetings.

The conversion of the world for Jesus Christ was the object of prayer which was observed on the first Monday of each January. Revival of college and religious institutions was the object of prayer on the last Thursday of February. Each Saturday, a half hour was set aside to study the activities of various missionary agencies. Consequently, the leaders of various missionary societies were invited to speak to the students and faculty of Mount Holyoke.

Hence, Mount Holyoke was to play an important part of the blossoming of missionary spirit throughout America. Graduates of her seminary became foreign missionaries in several countries. Not few of the graduates of Mount Holyoke became missionaries to the American West. Some of her graduates went west to establish academies for female education on the frontier. The institutions which graduates established gained a well deserved reputation for high academic standards. 

Mary Lyon's Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in Hadley, Massachusetts became source of cornerstones which Mary polished for God's service.

A student named Eliza Hubel attended the school from 1840 until 1844. Ms. Hubel took the following notes from Mary's lessons:

"Religion is fitted to make us better in every situation in life. Our common duties will be more perfectly discharged if we are under the control of the Holy Spirit's influence."

"She inculcated the duty of committing Scripture to memory and of having a plan for self-teaching in regard to it."

"Character is made up of little things, and it is greatly important that we know ourselves in little things. Avoid trifling, volatility, anything which will lessen self-respect if you would retain the respect of others. See how the Bible regards small things: Eve, Achan, etc."

"She did not wish us to be like soap stone which crumbles as it is rubbed, but like gold which shines brighter, the more it is used."

Through Ms. Lyons' tireless efforts and influence, the seminary became a training school for Christian workers and missionaries. The college continued for several years in the spirit and purpose of Ms. Lyon. She fused intellectual challenge and Christian moral purpose valuing socioeconomic diversity. 

Mary Mason Lyon was principal of Mount Holyoke for twelve years until her death in 1849. Mary Lyon, Christian educational pioneer, died at the age of 52 on March 5, 1849 at South Hadley, Massachuestts. Mary died of erysipelas which was possibily contracted from an ill student which was in her care.

Her work continues to be carried on by the dedicated faculty and students of the beloved school which she established. There are now more than 2,000 students enrolled at Mount Holyoke. Mary Lyon's reputation and that of her school grew as the alumni of Mount Holyoke went out into the world taking with them the ideals, educational philosphy, and teaching methods they learned at Mary's school. She graciously left behind a legacy in the area of higher education for women and a school which gave women of modest means the opportunities which she desired as a young girl. Upon her death, Holyoke had no debts and had financial support for the future provided by thousands of dollars which were received as gifts.

Eventually, the three year curiculum was expanded to four years in 1861. In 1893, the seminary curriculum was phased out; the name of the institution reflected the change by becomeing Mount Holyoke College. In 1893, Mount Holyoke became a college under state law. Mount Holyoke College became the first college to offer women the same kind of education and opportunities which were offered to men.

People who have studied the life of Mary Lyon affirm that she wasn't fighting a battle of equality between men and women but desired more educational opportunities for young women. It was through the labor and effort of Mary Lyon that led to the spread of higher education for women in the United States. She became the strongest influence upon the education of American young people during the middle of the nineteenth century. Not few of her students went on to teach other young women thereby spreading her lasting influence throughout the nation.

Mary Lyon proved that women were as intellectually capable as men. Furthermore, she showed that an institution of higher learning offering a curriculum for women could survive financially. Gradutates from Mary's school carried her ideas and methods of teaching to Alber Lea, Minnesota; Marion, Alabama; Bitlis, Turkey; Honolulu, Hawaii; Umzumbe, South Africa; Kobe, Japan; Clinton, New Jersey, and the Cherokee nation.

The success of Mount Holyoke opened the doors of higher education for women across the country. Western College for Women, Vassar College, and Wellesley College were patterened after Mount Holyoke.

One of her graduates founded the first public school in Oklahoma in which classes were held in a tent. The quality of elementary and high school education experienced vast improvements across the nation through the work of Mount Holyoke's dedicated alumnae teachers. Consequently, the presence of well-educated teachers in the Americn classroom offers exemplary role models for bright aspiring girls and young women.

Mount Holyoke became the first of Seven Sisters. Mary Lyon's academy for women is equal to the Ivy league colleges which were once predominantly male institutions of higher learning. Mary's Seminary led the way in higher education for women becoming a model on which other colleges for women were established. Mount Holyoke is an educational institution well known for academic excellence and is synonomous for brilliant teaching. Furthermore, Mary's Seminary provided the leadership for several women's colleges which would eventually follow.

Henry Durant, a trustee of Mount Holyoke, founded Wellesley College. Ada Howard became Wellseley College's first president. She was an alumna of Mount Holyoke class of 1853. John Greene, a trustee of Mount Holyoke, was instrumental in founding Smith College. Susam Tolman Mills was a graduate of Mount Holyoke, class of 1845, who founded Mills College in California with her husband. Mary Lyon's seminary school became the model on which Western College for Women in Ohio was established. In fact, Western College is known as the "Mount Holyoke of the West." Western College was opened in 1855 by Helen Peabody and Daniel Tenny became the first president of the college. Tenny gave invaluable assistance to Helen Peabody without which she could not have opened the college. Tenny was married to a Holyoke graduate and eventually came to Miami University in 1851. The level of education at Miami excited and impressed Tenny. Fortunately, he desired to establish a seminary for women that was similiar to Miami which focused on solid academics. Daniel Tenny was a gentleman with foresight who believed in higher education for women. He found land that was appropriate for an institution and exerted the necessary energy to create a seminary. He incorporated a governing board of "The Western Female Seminary" by 1853.

"The Virgin Daughter of Holyoke" was the title by which Western Female Seminary became known. Western Female Seminary was consecrated to the ideals and practices inherited from Mary Lyon.

As a pastor, Daniel Tenny became the president of trustees. In 1855, the Seminary welcomed 150 students upon opening day.  Several of the teachers of Western Female Seminary were graduates and former members of the staff of Holyoke.

The Mary Lymon dormitories at Swarthmore College, University of Massachuestts Amherst, and Plymouth State University are named in honor of Mary.

In 1837, Mary Lyon, the teaching staff, and students of Mount Holyoke gathered together in the Seminary building. They could not envision that their beloved Seminary would continue for over one hundred and seventy years. Mount Holyoke would have 2,200 women enrolled from the continental United States and almost seventy countries. Mary's school would eventually grow till it encompassed 800 acres while offering 48 different majors to young women. There are now more young women enrolled in colleges than young men and her beloved Seminary is on the front lines of higher education for women.

Scores of missionary wives received their education at Mount Holyoke. Not a few single females received their education at Holyoke also. Mary sought to teach the whole woman, liberal arts, domestic work, and ministry. She aimed to "teach nothing that cannot be made to help in the great work of converting the world to Christ."

Her school nestled 80 miles from Andover was well situated for partnership with Andover in its role involving foreign missions. Through the courage of Mary Lyon, young women enjoyed greater freedom to serve in missions on their own. The young female missionaries could minister more freely with internationals abroad than at home in America. Mary Lyon's school proved indespensible to the labors of missionaries throughout the world.

Mary Lyon would not be surprised that graduates of her Seminary have risen to every challenge becoming leaders in their professions throughout the communities of America and the world.

Mary Lyon's courgeous example has made a profound difference for women throughout the United States and the world. She was honored by the United States Postal Service when her likeness was engraved and printed on a 2 cent Great Americans series U.S. postage stamp. Mount Holyoke was honored when four alumnae and Mary Lyon's image were placed on United States postage. In 1905, Mary Lyon was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in the Bronx, New York City, New York.

"That our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace." Psalm 144:12

"teach nothing that cannot be made to help in the great work of converting the world to Christ."

"Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do." 

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