Mary Rippon, a profile --

Personal --

Professional --

  • High school education at Illinois Normal School, Normal, Illinois. Joseph Sewall was one of her teachers. Mary Rippon graduated spring, 1867.

  • Studied at universities in Hannover, Germany; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Paris, France, 1871-1876. No record of any degree, not even a bachelor's.

  • Taught German at Detroit High School, Detroit, Michigan, 1876-1877 and fall of 1877.

  • Joined faculty of University of Colorado as an instructor in January, 1878, during CU's first academic year. Joseph Sewall was CU's first president. He, Justin Dow, and Mary Rippon were the first faculty members. Mary Rippon was first woman professor at CU. She taught French and German. (Boulder was a "frontier" town of 3,000 at the time.)

  • Promoted to full professor and Chair of Department of modern languages, spring, 1881. Still taught French and German.

  • Became Chair of the Department of German language and literature, 1891. From then on, only taught German.

  • Served as unofficial Dean of Women before first dean was hired in 1901. Was highly respected and loved. Was role model to female students.

  • Retired from CU in June, 1909. First at CU to receive Carnegie Pension.

  • Remained in Boulder and followed development of CU until her death in 1935.

Mary posed for this photograph on a
visit to Illinois in 1882. In her
passport application she described
herself as having a "high forehead,
gray eyes, long nose, small mouth,
short chin, light brown hair,
light complexion, and an oval face."
Author's collection.

Miriam Housel Rieder, Mary Rippon's daughter, also taught at CU. She was an instructor and then associate professor in the Romance language department from 1920 to 1956. She died in 1957.

[Mary Rippon Home Page] [Book Reviews & Ordering info]
[Time Line of Mary's Life] [Poetry]
[Author's Questions & Answers]

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If you have comments or questions, please e-mail Silvia Pettem.

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