Welcome from the Principal

One of the most compelling aspects of being Principal of The Women’s College is the pleasure it affords in observing and encouraging the profound personal transformation which young women undergo in the college environment. Many of our students enter College straight out of high school; for most, coming to College is their first experience of living away from home, the first time they have studied at a university, their first taste of true independence and freedom. By the time they leave Women’s College in three or four years’ time, they exit as young professionals, well equipped to navigate the working world ahead of them. What occurs in the interim is a result of the collective inspiration, aspiration and motivation that is a natural part of this community of women scholars.

When the College opened on its present site in May 1894, its first Principal Miss Louisa Macdonald stated in her opening speech her belief that residential colleges had “given to women students the joys of life as well as of learning,” and she expressed her hope that “the women of the future should be trained to know what true union means, and to feel the privileges and responsibilities of being members of a corporate body.” Louisa’s objective for her students was to foster their independence, as well as their interdependence. Collective endeavour and mutual support amongst women was seen as a means of benefiting individual students, as well as society at large.

Louisa’s vision was a wise portent of what was to come. Generations of students have enjoyed the many benefits of spending their university years living in close proximity with like-minded women, whose collective and common goal is always that of mutual respect, encouragement and friendship. Having held the post of Vice Principal under four Principals of Women’s College before being appointed to the post myself in 2020, I have had time to reflect on the long-term benefits that College life brings. In choosing to come to Women’s College, students not only enhance their experience of university life in every way; they also become members of a lifelong community, one that will continue to set benchmarks and forge new pathways for women in the future.

Dr Tiffany Donnelly


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