emma willard - 5 of 45

education reigns supreme in  21st century america; children are ushered through doors of elementary schools regardless of income, doors are opened by degrees, and student loan reform is on the tip of every potential presidential candidates tongue.  

emma willard was a pioneer in the realm of education and helped ensure that women were offered the same opportunities as men.  she was born into a family that, while not wealthy or highly learned, did encourage emma in her quest for knowledge.  she was enrolled in school and within two years graduated from student to teacher.  

after lengthy petitioning, broken promises of financial aid from the government, and a discussion of the religious ramifications of educating women, emma willard opened the first school to offer higher education to women.  she broke boundaries that restricted women from utilizing their incredible brain power; she created the necessary fissures in the foundation laid by our male ancestors and allowed women to construct a new educational structure.  

the emma willard school was an attractive option for the societal elite, but had we elected as president in 1817, her impact on education reform for women could have been much farther reaching.  would we have had to wait another half-century until a woman graduated from college?  would quality education still be a by-product of a family's financial success?