Receiving the First Ph.D.s

The first student to earn a Ph.D. at Washington University was Anna Isabel Mulford, in 1895. (A faculty member, Edmund Engler, earned the first Ph.D. in 1892; Engler would later become dean of the School of Engineering.) Graduating from Vassar College in 1886, Mulford came to St. Louis and enrolled in the Shaw School of Botany. For her doctoral dissertation, she researched Agaves in the United States and subsequently discovered several species—some, including Mulford's milkvetch, were named after her. Mulford (1848-1943) had a long teaching career and taught at both St. Louis Central High School and McKinley High School in St. Louis.