This year Newcastle University has been celebrating its connection with civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Fifty years ago the university awarded him with an Honorary Degree; the only UK university to do so in his lifetime and at a time when, as Professor Richard Davies Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Internationalisation notes, he was becoming “an increasingly controversial figure”. However this is not the only instance of Newcastle University’s pioneering spirit. Sixty-three years prior to Dr. King’s acceptance speech, in 1904, the university (then known as Armstrong College) appointed 28-year-old Mabel Atkinson to the position of Lecturer in Philosophy and Assistant Lecturer in Classics. This was at a crucial time for the University; they were in the middle of construction of the Armstrong Building which still hosts the Department of Classics and Ancient History today. It was also at a crucial time for the women’s movement.