The “sweetly austere” Helen E. Pelletreau served as the third president of the Pennsylvania Female College, guiding it through a financially tumultuous period which saw drastic reductions in the salaries of all employees. Although there was doubt as to whether the college would survive, Miss Pelletreau remained committed to instilling her educational theory in a shrinking student body. Of equal importance to college scholarship, she contended, were high ideals of living, kindly thoughtfulness, and courtesy. (from the JKM Library Blog).
"The year the Pa College opened I was Preceptress in the Pittsburg College on Eighth St., and at the close of the winter Holiday received an invitation to a similar position here. I asked to be released that I might accept it, but was told by the President...that only marriage or death released a teacher before the end of the year. `Alas! I said, `I am ready for neither, so I must remain.' I wrote declining the offer and was surprised a few days later to receive word that I would engage to come at the beginning of the second year the position would remain open. I promised to do, and in the afternoon on September 18, 1871, I came to the College. Little did I dream then that so large a part of my life-work would be done on this spot."