|From||United States of America|
|Birth||10 January 1863|
Katharine Gibbs (1863–1934) was the founder of Gibbs College, now a for-profit institution of higher education.
Katharine Ryan was born in Galena, Illinois on January 10, 1863. Her father was a successful meat packing merchant who sent her to be educated by two spinsters from New England who provided her with a cultural education. She then graduated from the Manhattanville Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City and married William Gibbs. They had two sons before her husband died in 1909 in a boating accident. In 1910 Gibbs’ sister, Mary Ryan, enrolled in the Providence School for Secretaries in Providence Rhode Island and became an assistant teacher at the school. The school’s owner asked Mary if she would like to purchase the school, and Mary and Katharine decided to purchase it together for $1000 with Mary teaching and Katharine serving as an administrator. They changed the curriculum to focus on secretarial training rather than stenography and experienced great expansion at the time of World War I when many men left jobs to fight in the War. Gibbs expanded the schools to create a branch near every major Ivy League university, expanding to Boston by 1917 and to New York by 1918. After her death, Katharine’s son, Gordon Gibbs, served as President and expanded the school to other cities.