1920: first woman graduates from WU business school

  • March 16, 2017
  • By Melody Walker
  • 2 minute read

The black and white photograph in the 1920 Hatchet yearbook shows 10 seniors standing on the steps of Brookings Hall.

First graduating class of Washington University’s School of Commerce & Finance
First graduating class of Washington University’s School of Commerce & Finance

The nine men and one woman formed the first graduating class of Washington University’s new business school. There had been one graduate the year before, Henry Duncker, but this was the first class, the first cohort, and the first woman to graduate with a degree from the School of Commerce & Finance, as it was known then.

Margaret Haase told an interviewer many years later that “a degree in business was a necessity for her. The untimely death of both of her parents and the responsibilities of inheriting one third of the family food importing business—the A.C.L. Hasse Co.—made a business education essential.”  Her brother Walter graduated from the Business School in 1921 and took over the family business, but Margaret became a director and worked with the company’s investment portfolio.

Women’s Council
1920 Women’s Council

Margaret married a lawyer, John Calhoun, soon after graduation. She had three daughters and was active in community service. She served in various capacities with the Girl Scouts of Greater St. Louis including over three years as the president and later as the finance committee chairperson.

Margaret Haase Calhoun passed away Dec. 20, 1999, at the age of 102, at her St. Louis home.

Pages from the 1920 Hatchet highlight the many activities that Margaret Haase participated in at WashU.

Margaret was extremely athletic and played field hockey, basketball, baseball, and was a tennis singles and doubles champion. She also was a winning swimmer and shotput record-holder.  She served on the Women’s Council; vice president of the W.A.A; vice president of the Commerce Club; and several other student clubs.

About the Author

Melody Walker

Melody Walker

My nickname around the office is "Scoops" because I always have the latest news from the halls of Simon, Starbucks, or the STL startup scene. Thanks to staff and student bloggers, I'm not alone in reporting on the Olin community here on the Blog. Don't be shy, post a comment or send us your story. New bloggers always welcome!

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