She Opened the Door (SOTD) fosters a powerful network of women whose connection with the university broadens their potential and impact in the world, both personally and professionally.


She Opened the Door seeks to unify, align, and position Columbia University’s (CU) program as a vital initiative with a relevant and crisply articulated value proposition so as to continue to attract a broad audience of CU women - alumnae, students, faculty, staff, and friends. SOTD hosts education sessions, conferences, and social events to bring CU women together.

Origin of Its Name

She Opened the Door received its name from the incredible story of Winifred Edgerton Merrill, the first woman to receive a graduate degree from Columbia University. Ms. Merrill opened the door for women to gain admission to CU's graduate and professional schools at a time when co-education for women was under heavy debate. In 2018, Columbia organized a historic conference to celebrate women's achievements, which evolved in the SOTD organization.