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Distributed August 27, 2003
Contact Kristen Cole

240th Opening Convocation
Cultural historian Carolyn Dean to address new students Sept. 2

Carolyn Dean, professor of history, will deliver the Opening Convocation address to incoming students Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003, at noon on The College Green. Brown President Ruth J. Simmons will declare the 240th academic year – her third as Brown’s 18th president – officially open.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Carolyn Dean, professor of history at Brown, will address the undergraduate Class of 2007 and entering graduate and medical students during Opening Convocation Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003, on The College Green. Her address, titled “Critical Thinking,” will reflect upon Dean’s experiences at Brown during the last 12 years – experiences that forced her to question assumptions – and on how teaching, in particular, has been crucial in making that questioning possible.

The ceremony will begin at noon with a procession of faculty, administrators and students through the Van Wickle Gates. Brown President Ruth J. Simmons will declare the 240th academic year officially open and welcome the 1,400 first-year students, 413 newly arrived graduate students and 68 new medical students.

Dean’s research interests span modern cultural and intellectual European history, French history and gender history. Her books include The Self and Its Pleasures: Bataille, Lacan, and the History of the Decentered Subject; The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies of Interwar France; and the forthcoming Empathy, Numbness, and Indifference after the Holocaust. She recently served as a scholar-in-residence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center at Bellagio, Italy. Dean has been honored with numerous teaching awards, among them the Rhode Island Professor of the Year Award, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She received her doctorate in history from the University of California–Berkeley in 1987.

The Class of 2007

  • Brown welcomes 1,400 members of the Class of 2007, selected from an international pool of 15,157 applicants.
  • Women account for 53 percent of the incoming class (742 women to 658 men).
  • The class includes 153 valedictorians and 88 salutatorians.
  • Forty-seven states and 41 countries are represented in the Class of 2007.
  • At least 29 percent of the entering freshmen are minority students. Thirteen percent are Asian American, 8 percent are Latino, 7 percent are African American, and 1 percent are Native American. Thirteen percent did not identify an ethnic origin. Additionally, 7 percent are foreign citizens.
  • Thirty-seven percent of incoming undergraduates intend to study science and math, 26 percent humanities, 21 percent social sciences, and 8 percent engineering. Eight percent have not yet chosen an area of study.


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