1892 was a historic year for the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, as Auburn was then known. Not only was it the first year of football at the college, but it was also the year that women first entered the school.
Willie Gertrude Little was one of the first three women to enter A&M in 1892, graduating with a BS in 1894. Willie Gertrude Little, Katherine Conway Broun and Margaret Kate Teague, made history by being the first women to enter an institution of higher learning (four-year university) in the state of Alabama.
Little and her husband George Clark were the first Auburn alumni to marry. Shortly after Clark earned his B.S. in 1892 and C.E. in 1893, he married Little in 1896.
Today, Little’s great-great granddaughters Emma and Catherine Clark are attending Auburn. They are carrying on the tradition of 125 Years of Women at Auburn as descendants of Little and Clark. Catherine and Emma are the fifth generation of Auburn students.
The sisters are currently on academic scholarship. Emma is enrolled in the School of Architecture (class of 2019) and Catherine is studying Kinesiology (class of 2020).
Little’s family had been heavily involved with the Auburn community throughout the years. Her father Charles E. Little was the mayor of Auburn and her brother Felton graduated from API with a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in 1906.
Pieces of the Little family history can be found all over the city of Auburn.
Felton was a successful Auburn merchant, and the city park on East Glenn Avenue was named in his honor as Felton Little Park. This was the first Auburn city park and it was founded on land the Little family donated to the city.
The Little family home, built in 1892 at 225 N. Gay Street, still stands. This Victorian home has been restored and is now known as the Landmark.
Little’s name is most recognizable to Auburn students at the Quad Center, where the dorms are located. Quad Dorm 3, built in 1938, was named in her honor.