25 June 1678 : The First Woman Who Graduated

elena cornaro

25 June 1678 :  Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia  ( 1646 – 1684) was the first woman to receive an academic degree from a university: she was awarded a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Padua.
She had applied for a doctoral degree in theology, but the Church had objected to the official legitimation of a female theologian, and had denied her application. Her second application for a doctorate in philosophy was accepted.

However,  immediately after her graduation, university rectors issued a directive prohibiting the granting of further degrees to women.

She then became a mathematics lecturer at the University of Padua, but she soon retired from academic life to devote herself to charity.
She died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-eight.


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