Sarah Lawrence Firsts

Sarah Lawrence College has long been a pioneer in education. But do you know just how many firsts the College has notched along the way? Here’s a look at some of the policies and programs Sarah Lawrence was first to adopt.

Sarah Lawrence College was the first to…

Adopt the Ideals of a Progressive Education

Sarah Lawrence College (along with Bennington) was the first college to incorporate the ideas and ideals of progressive education into its curriculum. The College was also among the first colleges in the US to include the arts within its curriculum, underscoring the belief that development of the creative faculties plays a central role in the growth of the individual.

Go Dissection-Optional

Sarah Lawrence was one of the first schools, and is still one of only a few schools, to have an alternative to dissection policy, which allows students to have a choice in whether to dissect or not in their pursuit of knowledge. The policy was enacted as a result of student campaigns.

Establish a Laboratory Pre-School

In 1937, the Early Childhood Center (ECC), one of the earliest laboratory preschools in the country, opened at Sarah Lawrence College. Today, the ECC continues to integrate undergraduate and graduate students with preschoolers in a dynamic and nurturing environment.

Bring Education Opportunities to Adult Learners

In 1962, the College opened its doors to adult women who had not completed their undergraduate degrees when it launched The Center for Continuing Education (CCE). CCE was one of the first programs of its kind and, over the years, served as a model for other institution's programs.

Train Genetic Counselors

In 1969, the Human Genetics Graduate Program was established as the first master's-level genetic counselor training program in the US. Today, the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics is the nation's largest such program, and has trained more than half of the country’s genetic counselors.

Grant Master's Degrees in Women's History

In 1972, Sarah Lawrence founded the nation's first graduate program in Women's History, making the College the first to offer a master's degree in the field.

Train Health Advocates

In 1981, the College established the nation's first master's degree program in health advocacy. Today, the Health Advocacy graduate program continues to play a leading role in the ever-growing field of patient advocacy and healthcare reform.

Study Abroad in Cuba

In 2001, the College created the first semester-long liberal arts study abroad program in Havana, Cuba. Sarah Lawrence remains one of the only American colleges operating an international program in that country.

Go Green in the Arts

The Heimbold Visual Arts Center, completed in 2004, is the first LEED certified college or university visual arts building. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system.