Grit, determination, and persistence have long defined members of the Barnard community.
Over one hundred years ago, Gulli Lindh — Barnard Class of 1917 — made history when she became one of the first women to be admitted to Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S).
It was Lindh’s personal advocacy that made this possible. Growing up with dreams of becoming a doctor, she was determined to challenge Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons’ tradition as an all-male medical school. She began a letter-writing campaign to apply to P&S, soon attracting the attention of Barnard Dean Virginia Gildersleeve, Ph.D. To help Lindh’s efforts, Dean Gildersleeve called on P&S Dean Samuel Lambert, MD. Even after multiple refusals by Lambert — and a request to raise $50,000 (approximately 1 million in today’s dollars) for overhauled facilities to accommodate female students — Lindh and Dean Gildersleeve refused to give up.
In the fall of 1917 — thanks to their relentless advocacy — 10 young women were admitted to Columbia’s medical school. Four years later, six women received medical degrees. Gulli Lindh Muller, who married during medical school, graduated first in the class. 2021 marks the centennial of these women earning a Columbia MD.