PAINESVILLE, Ohio — Just five miles from the coast of Lake Erie in Painesville sits Lake Erie College. The institution was founded in 1856 first as a seminary for women. Eventually, the campus receiving its charter and state accreditation.
Currently, the college offers more than 30 majors for students to choose from.
“This area has a lot of great history that people just don’t know about,” said Dr. Katharine Delavan.
From seminary to an accredited charter, there were individuals who worked to make sure students were being offered the highest standards. One of those women included Mary Evans.
Evans served as the former president to the college. After graduating from Mount Holy Oak in Massachusetts, Evans moved into Painesville to lead Lake Erie College - at the time served as an all-female seminary. But she was determined to change the way the world viewed women.
“She believed that women should relieve higher education that they can be independent and can take of themselves. they have rights,” said Delavan.
Delavan said there’s not much history written about Evans but she described her as a quiet woman. One who was viewed as a trailblazer for women’s suffrage.
Lake Erie College officials have discovered correspondence between Evans and Susan B. Anthony, among many others. She often invited speakers to campus, pro women’s suffrage and those who were against the movement, to speak to students.
On Thursday night Evans, along with Frances Casement, another woman heavily involved in the women’s rights movement, will be honored at a Pomeroy Historical Marker Dedication ceremony on Lake Erie’s campus. The dedication taking place on the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
“We’re the first to get a Pomeroy marker in this area,” said Delavan. “It puts us on the map and recognizes the hard work that was accomplished by our faculty, administration and alumni.”
The campus also plans to unveil a brand new Women’s Rights Walkway. It will be dedicated to women in higher education and alumni of the college who are making a difference for women all over the country.
Delavan said the ceremony should serve as a reminder of the rights women have today and the role Lake Erie College played in the movement to get the 19th amendments ratified.
“All these ladies fought for those rights and I think current generations have…don’t know,” she said. “We just take for granted what we have and don’t realize how hard it was to get what we have.”