For access to a 150th photo database, please contact Jean Hayes: Email | 206-616-5475 (office), 206-954-3764 (cell)
Asa Shinn Mercer, the first faculty member and president of the Territorial University of Washington, helped to build the foundations of the UW in ways that his successors never had to — he was a laborer who helped construct the building that housed the Territorial University.
Clara McCarty of Puyallup became the first student to receive a bachelor’s degree, which was based on the “scientific course.” She became a teacher, the usual career for an educated woman at the time. In 1879, she was elected superintendent of schools in Pierce County. McCarty Hall, a UW student dormitory, is named in her honor.
The Territorial University closed four times in its first 15 years (1863, 1867-69, 1874 and 1876 after granting its first bachelor’s degree, to Clara McCarty). It might have closed forever when the Territorial Legislature failed to appropriate any funds for it in the session that ended Dec. 7, 1881. It was financier Henry Villard’s two gifts of $4,000 that paid the salaries of faculty and provided operating expenses.
Susan Pierson Brown
Email | 206-409-4693
University of Washington
Email | 206-616-5475 (office), 206-954-3764 (cell)