Douglass Residential College

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Douglass Residential College
Established 1918 (Degree granting college); 2007 (residential college)
Dean Jacquelyn Litt
Students 2,500
Location New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
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. It offers a community that focuses on closely developing student's success. Douglass Residential College provides opportunities to reside in specialized residence halls, to participate in various organizations, and to develop leadership skills.

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

At the start of the 20th century’s second decade, the State of New Jersey offered limited higher education for women. That changed when the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, active in the women’s rights movement at that time, convinced Mabel Smith Douglass to head a committee that would establish a women’s college as part of Rutgers University. Through a mix of dedication and persistence, Mrs. Douglass convinced the Rutgers trustees to support the venture. The Federated Women’s Clubs raised funds to support the project, in addition to receiving revenue from the Smith-Hughes Act, which supported Home Economics education. 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. Under Dean Douglass’ leadership and employing both private and state funds, the college created new departments and constructed five academic buildings. This period also saw the building of the Voorhees Chapel, as well as the opening of three residence campuses, which served as the focal points of an active and vibrant residence life program. The Class of 1922 created the first yearbook, newspaper, Yule Log, Sacred Path ceremony, and the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College.

1930 - 1939

In this period, under Dean Margaret Trumbull Corwin, the harsh realities of the Great Depression stumped growth in enrollment. The construction of new facilities came to a standstill. Yet during this decade, the New Jersey College for Women saw greater diversity in its student population with its first Latina, African-American and Asian-American graduates. The college also developed its first recruitment plan and the Associate Alumnae become a vital organization with a professional staff.

1940 - 1949

The decade opened with the college community actively supporting the allied cause in the World War II. Students and faculty formed relief organizations, rolled bandages and entered war production industries. 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

The '50s ushered in a period of conservatism among students, who found a place for traditional activities in the newly constructed College Center on the Douglass campus. In 1955, the New Jersey College for Women became Douglass College, in honor of its founder. To mark the occasion, the college introduced a new Alma Mater and College Seal. 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— the first such programs in the nation at a traditional college.

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 New 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. While the college established committees to address this social landscape, other changes on campus included more flexible graduation requirements, the end of mandatory chapel attendance, and formal affirmative action policies.

1970 - 1979

With Dean Margery Somers Foster at the helm, Douglass College reacted to the turbulent '70s. The college discontinued its curfew, abolished the honors system, established the Educational Opportunity Fund program, and launched a pub in the College Center.

During this decade, Douglass centralized admissions, financial aid, registration, and scheduling. It also established the Women’s Studies Program for Rutgers University -- among the first and best in the nation. Dean Foster and the entire Douglass community resisted substantial pressure to become co-educational and the college retained its historic mission of providing an education for women. Dean Jewel Plummer Cobb implemented the Douglass Scholars Program and new initiatives in student recruitment as the College responded to co-education in the other New Brunswick colleges.

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, began the Emerging Leaders Program, and became the home of the Blanche, Edith, and Irving Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women’s Studies.

During this period, Rutgers started the School of Business in New Brunswick, which offered Douglass students for the first time the opportunity to receive joint degrees with many Rutgers professional schools.

1990 - 1999

Douglass College entered its 75th year with a very successful capital campaign. “Freshmen” became “first-year students” and enjoyed new opportunities to pursue a certificate in International Studies, live in the cutting-edge Bunting-Cobb Science and Math Residence Hall, or undertake a Mabel Smith Douglass Honors thesis. Douglass also introduced "Shaping a Life," a course mandated for all first-year students, established the Institute for Women’s Leadership, wired residence halls for Internet access, and replaced volunteer house chairwomen with paid resident assistants.

Dean Barbara A. Shailor recognized the increasing importance of technology and was instrumental in strengthening relations between the college and its corporate and foundation partners. Under her leadership, Douglass College also undertook major renovations in two of the college’s landmark buildings—College Hall and Voorhees Chapel.

2000 - 2010

Douglass began the new century with its ninth dean, Carmen Twillie Ambar. Dean Ambar 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 that prepare Douglass students for the world of globalization.

During this period, Rutgers undertook a major transformation of undergraduate education in New Brunswick. As a result, in the fall of 2007, the new first-year students entered a transformed Douglass that provided a women-centered educational experience for any woman undergraduate at Rutgers. Under the leadership of Interim Dean Harriet Davidson, the college began the process of developing new programs for the women joining Douglass.

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. Under her leadership, the college has developed a new organization and innovative strategies for enhancing programming and leadership opportunities for its enormously diverse and academically talented students. Dean Litt recognizes the importance of engaging students in experiential learning through common learning opportunities, community service, leadership opportunities, and engagement in peer mentoring. 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.

Douglass participates in the Rutgers Capital Campaign and is undertaking its largest campaign in history, led by the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College, which has a $34 million goal.

Douglass Difference[edit]

Knowledge and Power Global Village Bunting Program Women in STEM Douglass Advising

Notable Alumnae[edit]

  • 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[1] 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[2] '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. [1]
  • 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,[3]
  • Jeanne Fox DC'74: President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  • Jean Griswold NJCW'52: Founder, Griswold Home Care[4]
  • Elizabeth Cavanna Harrison NJCW'29: Noted author as Betty Cavanna and under the pen names Elizabeth Headley and Betsy Allen.[5]
  • Barbara J. Krumsiek DC'74: President and CEO, The Calvert Group, Ltd.[6]
  • 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). Past president, American Statistical Association.
  • Carole Frandsen St. Mark DC'65: Director, Gerber Scientific[7]
  • 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. ^ "Her Work Opened The Doors." The Star-Ledger. 22 February 2008.
  2. ^ Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni
  3. ^ " Appoints Sharon A. Fordham CEO." <>.
  4. ^ "Our Story"
  5. ^ "Betty Cavanna Papers". de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. The University of Southern Mississippi. May 1994. Retrieved 2013-06-22.  With biographical sketch.
  6. ^ "Calvert Management." The Calvert Group, Ltd
  7. ^ "Carole St. Mark Profile." Forbes.Com

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°29′02″N 74°26′06″W / 40.484°N 74.435°W / 40.484; -74.435