148 years of headlines and highlights leading to Friday’s inauguration. 

September 2015 – As Drew’s 13th president, MaryAnn Baenninger is the first woman to hold the job full-term—yet another first in the history of the school. Here are 30 others.


Daniel Drew
Daniel Drew

1866: Daniel Drew becomes the university’s first benefactor, giving $250,000 to establish a Methodist theological seminary in the New York area.

1867: John McClintock is appointed the first president of Drew Theological Seminary, and the first students arrive on campus.

1869: The seminary graduates its first class, of nine men.

1889: B.F. Wheeler becomes the first African-American to graduate from the seminary.

Sayoko Nakata
Sayoko Nakata

1897: Wives of students and faculty establish the Mead Hall Study Circle, the seminary’s first women’s organization.

1915: The seminary awards its first doctorate of theology degrees.

1918: Ruth Havighurst becomes the seminary’s first female student.

1928: The first class is enrolled at the all-male Brothers College, established from a $1.5 million gift from brothers Arthur and Leonard Baldwin. William Pearson Tolley is named the first dean.

1928: The Acorn publishes its first issue, with a front-page photograph of Brothers College President Ezra Squier Tipple.

Our Field Hockey Rangers
Our Field Hockey Rangers

1929: Basketball becomes the first undergraduate sport at the newly named Drew University.

1932: Mildred Moody Eakin appointed as the seminary’s first full-time female faculty member.

1932: The inaugural issue of Oak Leaves, the Drew yearbook, is published.

1943: Nora Mielke, wife of a seminary student, becomes the first woman to enroll at Brothers College.

1944: Sayoko Nakata, the daughter of Japanese parents and the wife of an American soldier, becomes the first woman to earn a diploma from Brothers College.

1946: Field hockey becomes the first varsity sport for Drew women.

George Kelsey
George Kelsey

1951: George Kelsey is named the first African-American faculty member of Drew Theological School.

1955: Stanley Romaine Hopper is named the first dean of Drew’s newly formed graduate school, known today as the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

1956: Maud Jensen, T’43, becomes the first woman to obtain full clergy rights in the Methodist Church.

1961: Drew establishes the London Semester, its first study abroad program.

George deStevens
George deStevens

1962: The first contingent of Drew students embarks on the newly formed Semester on the United Nations, today the nation’s longest-running such program.

1967: A. Vernon Carnahan C’39, is elected president of Drew’s Board of Trustees, the first College of Liberal Arts alumnus to lead the board.

1968: Nelle Morton teaches the first feminist theology course in the country.

1972: Inez Nellbach is named Drew’s first female dean.

Thomas H. Kean
Thomas H. Kean

1976: Mead Hall, a Greek Revival mansion constructed in 1834 and long used as Drew’s administrative headquarters, becomes the first building on campus named to both the state and national registers of historic places.

1979: George deStevens, a former research director at CIBA-Geigy, is named the first director of the Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti.

1984: Drew becomes the first college in America to provide personal computers to all incoming students.

1989: Thomas H. Kean becomes the first former New Jersey governor to occupy the office of Drew president.

1999: Dena Pedynowski C’99, a biology major, becomes Drew’s first Rhodes Scholar.

President Baenninger on campus
President Baenninger on campus

2005: The first concert inside the new 430-seat Dorothy Young Center for the Arts features a variety of student ensembles, culminating with New Day Hallelujah, composed and conducted by Professor of Music Garyth Nair and performed by the Drew Orchestra and Chorale.

2009: Drew opens McClendon Hall, the first LEED-certified “green” residence hall in New Jersey. The new dorm features water-efficient fixtures and geothermal heating and cooling.

2015: MaryAnn Baenninger, a Philadelphia native, erstwhile psychology professor and former president of the College of Saint Benedict, in Minnesota, is formally inaugurated as the first full-term female president of Drew University.