Flora Stone Mather Center for Women




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A Brief History


The contents of these pages were taken from a compiled book
made with the help of CWRU archives by:

Barbara Dale Collins, Class of '56
Flora Stone Mather College, Western Reserve University

The book was compiled for:
The Center for Women at CWRU, to Commemorate and celebrate the opening of the Center for Women at Case Western Reserve University October 2003.

There is a photo display of the Deans of the College and Flora Stone Mather, in Thwing's 3rd floor hallway just outside the Center for Women.

Right - The Flora Stone Mather Memorial Building

FSM Building

Flora Stone MatherWomen’s College Given New Name “Flora Stone Mather”
Chosen to Honor Beloved Benefactor
Plain Dealer
February 22, 1931

The College for Women of Western Reserve University, known under that name since its founding in 1888, was renamed “Flora Stone Mather College” by the university board of trustees yesterday. 

President Robert E. Vinson, announcing the action of the board, said that for some year the question of a distinctive name for the college has been under consideration, and that in accordance with a suggestion originating in the alumnae association, the change was made.

Other universities will at once receive formal announcement that the college has been given its new name “in loving and grateful memory of one who in its early days needed support and who through personal service over many years helped to mold its character and ideals.”

“Wife of First Citizen”

Flora Stone Mather, who died in 1909, was the wife of Samuel Mather, Cleveland’s “first citizen.”  She was the daughter of the late Amasa Stone, who refounded Western Reserve University and brought it from Hudson, O., to Cleveland in 1882.  Mrs. Mather was a sister of Adelbert Stone, for whom Adelbert College was named.

The removal of Western Reserve University to the city came at just the time when increasing numbers of women were seeking higher education.  So many applied for admission that the university, faced with opposition by men students, established a separate college for women during the presidency of Dr. Hiram C. Haydn.

Mrs. Mather built the first dormitory for the college, naming it Guilford House, in memory of Miss Lucinda Guilford, the first woman teacher at Reserve.  She also gave Haydn Hall, the commons building of the college.

Shortly after her death Samuel Mather and his children erected the Flora Stone Mather Memorial, the main teaching and administrative unit of the college.  A $500,000 addition was made to this building last year.   

Flora Stone Mather House, another dormitory, was presented the college by alumnae and friends.  Before her death Mrs. Mather and her sister, the late Mrs. John Hay, gave Amasa Stone Chapel to Adelbert College.

Besides all these material gifts given directly or inspired by Mrs. Mather, she had always taken a personal and active interest in the management of the college, visiting it daily and assisting in all its problems.  She was president o the college advisory council and for 20 years took friendly interest in all its officers from president down to janitors.

“The change of the formal name of the college to Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University is wise and fitting,” Dr. Charles F. Thwing, president emeritus of the university, said last night.  “The change has important historical, institutional and personal meanings.  For many years the suggestion has been made and has been brought to a conclusion by the progressive president, Dr. Vinson. 

Well Beloved

“Mrs. Mather throughout her life was most beloved and useful.  She was a member of many societies and associations of Cleveland to which she gave her wisdom and personality as well as her wealth.  To name these societies would be to name more than a score of great organizations.

“To all these interests she brought a keen intellect, a broad and discriminating appreciation of human values, a judgment wise and solid, a warm heart, and a deep sympathy with suffering.  Her breadth of understanding was joined with a noble judgment on problems of both the community and the individual.  The formal action giving her name to the college she helped to found, and which she loved, will be heartily approved by the whole community.”

Miss Helen M. Smith, dean of the college, declared that the change to a distinctive name realized the hope of the faculty and alumnae for years, and that “no name could have been more appropriate.”

“Mrs. Mather was a sweet one,” said Frieda Wanser, Guilford House dining room maid for the past 37 years, when told of the change.  “She used to be at the college very day.  At lunchtime she would drop in at Guilford to eat with the girls having just what they had.  She knew every girl and every maid, and was always trying to help everyone.  There was never anyone like her.

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