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The First Lady

In the early summer of 1876, the Territorial University of Washington handed out its very first diploma. Clara McCarty, a young girl from the Puyallup Valley, was the UW’s first—and only—graduate out of a class of 17 students. It wasn’t the only time she would be the first. In 1879, she became the first woman to be elected superintendent of schools in Pierce County, after a teaching career and postgraduate work in California. McCarty died in 1929, but is still remembered at her alma mater through the dormitory named after her: McCarty Hall.—Katie Melton

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