Life in College

Jan 24, 2020  | 1 min 34 sec  | Ep 2020

Carrie Chapman Catt fought for women’s equality even during her time as a student at what is now Iowa State University.


Carrie Chapman Catt is one of Iowa State University’s most notable alumni. So much so that Catt Hall was named in her honor in 1995. She enrolled at Iowa State Agricultural College in 1877 as one of six women in her class of 27 students.

To afford room and board, she taught, washed dishes and served as a librarian’s assistant. She fought for women’s equality throughout her entire college career, founding a women’s drill company and winning the right for women to give speeches in the debate society.

Catt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general science in 1880 as the only woman in her class. After spending much of her life after graduation fighting for women’s suffrage on the national level, she returned to her alma mater to give the commencement speech in 1921. In her speech, she urged graduates to fight for a better future and to be “men and women of vision.” “To the wrongs that need resistance, to the right that needs assistance, to the future in the distance, give yourselves.”