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History of The Slade Society

In May 2000, the Board of Trustees established The Caroline McCormick Slade Society to honor one of Bryn Mawr's earliest fundraising volunteers, Caroline McCormick Slade, Class of 1896. Celebrating her philosophy that one should give generously oneself and inspire others to do the same, The Slade Society recognizes the exceptional commitment of alumnae/i, parents, and friends who make leadership gifts to Bryn Mawr and encourage others to make a similar investment in the College.

Not long ago, the name Caroline Slade was familiar to most everyone in the Bryn Mawr community. In 1919, President M. Carey Thomas urged Caroline Slade to return to Bryn Mawr to lead an effort to raise money for faculty salaries at the College, the first broad-based alumnae/i campaign for endowment. Inspired by Thomas' vision for the College, Caroline Slade took on the challenge to raise $2,000,000, a remarkable sum at the time. As she embarked on this effort, the men she consulted discouraged her from such a bold endeavor. Upon successful completion of this drive, with $2,438,541 raised from more than 75% of alumnae, she said, "Somehow that seemed to me the most hopeful thing that anyone had said, because if men could not do it, then the time had come when women had better do it" (Alumnae Bulletin, March 1921).

Caroline Slade joined the College's Board of Directors in 1920, on which she served for over 30 years, including several as Vice-President. Through her work on the Board, Caroline Slade quickly became someone on whom Bryn Mawr presidents relied heavily for sound counsel and unfailing energy and leadership. In directing the College's first three major fundraising efforts, Caroline Slade expected much of herself and her fellow alumnae/i, and worked tirelessly to see that those expectations would be fulfilled. She challenged alumnae/i and friends to assume the "responsibility to pass on to those who come after us opportunity, experience, and training comparable to what we have secured…to plan for the future of the College, so that they in their turn shall say…All Hail Bryn Mawr!"

Members of The Slade Society provide critical support so that Bryn Mawr is able to offer students an education of the highest caliber year after year. Bryn Mawr relies on leadership gifts to remain strong and distinctive, to provide students with necessary financial aid, offer competitive faculty salaries, maintain current technological and library resources, and preserve the buildings and grounds of the campus.