A black and white photo of PhD graduates in robes

On This Day: June 5, 1929

First Woman Receives PhD from Duke

On June 5, 1929, Rose May Davis (center) became the first woman to receive a doctoral degree from Duke. Davis had earned her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in 1918, and went on to become an attorney. But in 1925, she returned to Duke to pursue chemistry. About four years later, Davis became the first woman to receive a doctorate from the university, one of the first four Ph.D.s awarded by the Department of Chemistry.