The idea of college was conceptualized in the 1600s, with the first college being officially established in 1636. As we currently view it, college was built on a mountain of history. The very first college, Harvard College, was founded by the Massachusetts Bay Colony and ran and attended by Caucasian men. But once women earned the chance to participate in college, through protests and unwavering attitudes, in December 1831, they began contributing to the construction of the foundation on which the notion of college was initially built. Here are three impressive women who made college history.

Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia

A native of Venice, Italy, Piscopia was born June 5, 1646. She came from a noble family. She grew from being a young woman with a privileged background to blossoming into a Venetian philosopher. Piscopia studied at the University of Padua. She would go on to perform so colorfully that she would hold the title of one of the first women to have been given an academic degree from a university. Piscopia was also the first woman to receive a doctor of philosophy degree.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler

She was the first Black woman to obtain a medical degree in the United States. Crumpler was born in Delaware in 1831, and she studied at New England Female Medical College. Later she would go on to extend her expertise to different mediums. In 1883, she published her Book of Medical Discourses. In it, she reflects on her time as a doctor and discusses the setting parameters for maternal and child health.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Blackwell was born Feb. 3, 1821, in Bristol, United Kingdom. She studied at Geneva Medical College. Blackwell would also become the first woman to acquire a medical degree in the United States. From this, she pursued the life of a British and American physician. She also decorated another atmosphere with her feminine energy by achieving the prestigious title of the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council for the United Kingdom.

These women are just a single drop in the ocean of notable women that have left stains riddled through college history. The introduction of women into the higher education system has forever changed the college landscape. As time passes, women will continue making monumental shifts by impacting others with brilliance, determination and skill sets. Are there other women of note that should’ve been added to this list? If so, who?

Zada Luby is a first-year student at Gwinnett Technical college; she’s a nursing major who loves art, nature and helping her community grow. Follow her interests and more here.