Remembering DePaul’s First Laywoman Graduate

by Beth A. Murphy

Minnie E. Daly listed as a DePaul graduate in the General Alumni Catalog, 1918. Image courtesy of DePaul University Archives.

Who was one of the first women to graduate from DePaul? In celebration of Women’s History Month, we decided to find out.

While the first religious women graduates from DePaul earned their degrees in 1912, Minnie E. Daly (1865 – 1934) was the first laywoman graduate of DePaul University when she earned an A.B. degree in Education in 1914. She was close to 49 years old when she graduated. She attended by means of the Extension Program, which means she attended classes on Saturdays.

Minnie came to DePaul in 1911 to further her education and be a better teacher. Her DePaul transcript shows she had high school credits and attended classes at Lewis, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago – to name a few. Minnie was commuting from two addresses from Rodgers Park. She was a parishioner at St. Ignatius Catholic Church.

Minnie was a public grade school professional. She was principal of Hendrick’s School (43rd and Princeton) from 1922 to 1924; in the late 1920’s, she was the first principal of John B. Murphy School (3539 West Grace). William Adams at Chicago State states that Mary E. Daly (Minnie’s full name) attended Cook County Normal School in the academic year of 1879-80 (when she was 14 years old). Chicago directories for 1885 and 1889 have Minnie listed as a teacher, living at 332 Ohio.

Daly marker
Image courtesy of Brother Mark Elder, CM.

Minnie never married and lived in an apartment building with her siblings Eleanor, Elizabeth, James and John. She died at the age of 69 on June 30, 1934 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Evanston on July 3, 1934. In fall 2015, a head stone was placed at her grave as a result of the efforts of Brother Mark Elder, CM and Father Dennis Holtschneider, CM.

Our gratitude to Brother Mark Elder, CM who contributed to this post.

Beth A. Murphy is a member of the Marketing & Communications team for DWN, and an associate professor in the School of Accounting at DePaul.

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