Moment #012: First Woman Receives Diploma
POSTED ON: May 24, 2019
Rosalinda H. Palmer becomes the first woman to receive a Cooper Union diploma, and earns the only Cooper Union Medal awarded that year. The medal was awarded to "such pupils as shall complete the full course of study prescribed by the Trustees, and shall at each examination have received a first class certificate, the Cooper Union medal is given as the highest honor of the Institution," according to the seventh annual report.
Upon presenting the medal to Ms. Palmer, Peter Cooper was recorded as saying:
"The Medals of this Institution, requiring as they do, a thorough course of instruction in all the important branches of positive science, are exceedingly difficult to obtain. This year, the Medal—the highest prize of the Institution— has only been awarded to a single individual, and that person a lady of extraordinary merit.
"The life of the lady who is now to receive this medal, should be written in letters of light. Such a life would show how great and uncommon difficulties can be met and overcome, when all the powers of body and mind are brought into requisition to do the work of an honorable and useful life. Miss Rosalinda H. Palmer, to whom it is now my pride and pleasure to tender this Medal, stands before you, an honor to her sex. (Turning to Miss Palmer,) I now hand you this medal with, I am sure, the best wishes of all present, that you may enjoy health and happiness through life.”