Milwaukee-Downer College was a pioneering women's college in the Midwest, with roots dating back to the 1850s. It was formed in 1895 with the consolidation of two women's colleges: Milwaukee College and Downer College of Fox Lake, Wisconsin.  With over 650 living alumni fondly referred to as "Downerites," the College is not just a part of Lawrence's history; rather, Milwaukee-Downer College remains an enduring part of who we are now—and what we will become.

1st Hat Girl top hat

The women of Milwaukee-Downer College shared their voices with grace, dignity, and intelligence—and continue to speak up as vibrant, vital members of our community.  This song, written as remembered by Carolyn Stephens M-DC ’62, paid tribute to their Class President, Caroline Meci.

Caroline Meci! Where are you? City Student! Physics Major!
I last saw you in New Mexico. You’d finished work at Los Alamos.

Betty said, “Use Lawrence magazine to talk about singing at Downer”
…Heavy oak staircases…songs rising up trough the Tower.

You were President, and I wrote your song for you.
…Forty red jackets, crunched on the stairs,
Sang “That’s Amore” with gestures, like Dean Martin,
That soared to the to the top in the air.

Whea - ther mornin’ or night, if she’s doin’ alright
Its’a Meci.
She will walk through the snow when its forty below.
Its’a Meci.
If there’s work to be done, and you ain’t got time
For to wor- r- ry,
Well the girl you should see, shes’a got lots energy
Its’a Meci!

“Red Class- 1962,”  Milwaukee-Downer College, 1961



Milwaukee Downer Alumnae 2017

You may read the complete text of The Consolidation: Effects of the Consolidation of Milwaukee-Downer and Lawrence Colleges and Affects on Milwaukee-Downer Alumnae by Carolyn King Stephens M-D'62 here.

Lawrence's archives contain volumes of material about Milwaukee-Downer College and material by Downerites.  These stories are a part of our shared past, and the voices of Milwaukee-Downer alumnae continue to shape our ways forward as an institution.

Milwaukee-Downer College - A Lasting Tradition

This documentary, filmed in 2010, shines a light on how Milwaukee-Downer College is a piece of our history and also a vital, vibrant part of who Lawrentians are today.

Audio file

Milwaukee-Downer Alma Mater

Enjoy this recording of the Milwaukee-Downer Alma Mater.

Watch the ceremony and learn about how the women of Milwaukee-Downer College continue to support, sustain, and extend Lawrentians' light.