The college held no formal inauguration for M. Carey Thomas. In her biography of Thomas, The Power and Passion of M. Carey Thomas, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz comments on her election as president:
"By a vote of seven to five, the Bryn Mawr College board of trustees elected M. Carey Thomas president. She was not made a trustee.... The board announced the decision to the press. In a faculty meeting Rhoads was overcome and 'nearly wept, and altogether it was a most melancholy occasion.' Carey Thomas shook hands with the professors, who 'congratulated me, and many of them added the college also.' Despite this reassurance, it was not the occasion of which she had so long dreamed.... With her return to work in the fall, M. Carey Thomas became the president of Bryn Mawr College. It was a sober prelude to a twenty-eight year term."
--Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, 1994
But during her twenty-eight year term, as well as preceding it, Thomas played an unparalleled role in shaping Bryn Mawr. The following quote is from her article "Should the Higher Education of Women Differ from That of Men?", published in 1901:
"Women while in college ought to have the broadest possible education. This college education should be the same as men's, not only because there is but one best education, but because men's and women's effectiveness and happiness and the welfare of the generation to come after them will be vastly increased if their college education has given them the same intellectual training and the same scholarly and moral ideals."
--M. Carey Thomas, 1901