Early Women Leaders

In honor of Women’s History Month, AU Archives is paying tribute to some of our early women leaders.

Mary Louise Brown (1887-1965) was AU’s first woman Dean. She served as Dean of Women from 1925 until 1944. She was also a professor in the English Department. Brown earned her B.A. from DePauw University and her M.A. from the University of Michigan. The Woods-Brown Amphitheater is named in her honor as well as that of the long time Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, George B. Woods.


Dean of Women Mary Louise Brown

Mary Louise Brown


Ann Henderson (1913-2000) was AU’s first female editor in chief of The Eagle (1934-35). She founded and edited for many years What Every Woman Knows, a publication for members of The Union Church in Hinsdale, Illinois.


Ann Henderson

Ann Henderson


Helen Miller (1919-1998) was AU’s first female student government president (1939-40). Miller went on to earn her M.A. from Syracuse and served in the Red Cross during World War II. She was awarded the Kinsman Cup and served as President of AU’s Alumni Association from 1953 until 1955.


Helen A. Miller

Helen A. Miller


Catheryn Seckler-Hudson (1902-1963) became the first woman Dean of a school or college at AU when she was appointed Dean of the School of Government and Public Affairs in 1957. She was also the first woman to become a full professor. Seckler-Hudson earned her B.A. from Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, her M.A. from the University of Missouri, and her Ph.D. from American University. She also served as Chair of the Political Science and Public Administration departments. There is a student achievement award in her honor.


Dean Catheryn Seckler-Hudson

Catheryn Seckler-Hudson