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Sunday, June 05, 2011

June 5th


Born this day in 1646, Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman to receive a doctrine degree. A daughter of Italian nobility, Piscopia's education began at the age of seven, studies in Greek, Latin, grammar, music, mathematics, astronomy, but her favorite subjects were philosophy and theology. A talent for languages, Piscopia added Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Arabic. Fluent in all these languages.
Piscopia's father sent her to the University of Padua to further her studies. A little unusual for the time. She only sought to continue her education but her father wanted his daughter to be recognized for her accomplishments. The Catholic Church did not want to Doctor of Theology upon a woman.
Piscopia applied again with her father's support and the Church allowed Piscopia to apply for a Doctorate of Philosophy.

Elena applied, again, at her father's insistence. This time the Church agreed Elena Piscopia could apply for a Doctorate of Philosophy.
The news spread and the University Hall for which the examination was to take place was too small for all who came to watch and so it was moved to the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin, Padua.
Elena Piscopia impressed her examiners. June 25th, 1678,Piscopia received the Doctrine of Philosophy degree from the University of Padua. Crowned with the Laurel Crown with a Doctor's Ring, Teacher's Ermine cape. Piscopia became the first woman to receive a Doctorate degree. She was 32.