Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American University, paving the way for female doctors. However, the reason she finally got to enroll in the Geneva Medical College wasn't because the times were becoming more progressive — it was because the entire male student body voted to allow her to study with them as a joke. Gag or not, she took them up on their offer.

She completed her degree in 1849, and then went on to open the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, which accepted female doctors who were denied work at other institutions because of their gender.