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Wellesley first opened its doors to students on September 8, 1875.At the time of its founding, Wellesley College's campus was actually situated in Needham; however, in 1880 residents of West Needham voted to secede and in 1881 the area was chartered as a new town, Wellesley. There have been thirteen more presidents in its history: Alice Elvira Freeman Palmer, Helen Almira Shafer, Julia Josephine Thomas Irvine, Caroline Hazard, Ellen Fitz Pendleton, Mildred H.The money was raised by 1907 and construction began June 5, 1909.In 1915 Carnegie gave another ,446 towards an addition.Notable alumnae include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Katharine Lee Bates, Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Nora Ephron, Pamela Melroy, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Soong Mei-ling and Bing Xin.
The original name of the college was the Wellesley Female Seminary; its renaming to Wellesley College was approved by the Massachusetts legislature on March 7, 1873.
It has been suggested that an electrical or chemical accident in this laboratory—specifically, an electrical incubator used in the breeding of beetles—triggered the fire.
A group of residence halls, known as the Tower Court complex, are located on top of the hill where the old College Hall once stood.
After the loss of the Central College Hall in 1914, the college adopted a master plan in 1921 and expanded into several new buildings.
The campus hosted a Naval Reserve Officer Training program during the Second World War and began to significantly revise its curriculum after the war and through the late 1960s.