In this interview, Charlotte Lowney, looking back on a 40-year career with Pembroke College and Brown University, details her upward trajectory through the ranks of the institution’s administration, beginning with her position as the secretary to Brown President Henry Merrit Wriston. In 1962, she became the director of career placement at Brown, during both an exciting and tumultuous period on the Pembroke-Brown campus. Describing the politics of the administration, Lowney notes the lack of equal pay between men and women throughout the University, attributing the disparity to both circumstance and discrimination.
Lowney became Associate Dean of Pembroke in 1966, and—recalling the turmoil of the decade—tells stories of controversial speakers coming to the University, including Brown alumni George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, who spoke at a public event at Alumnae Hall. In 1969 Lowney stepped in as the interim Dean of Pembroke, during a year she calls “horrendous,” referring to the chaos of Anti-Vietnam and Cambodia campus protests, and various attacks on Pembroke from the Brown Daily Herald—as talk of the merger was coming to the forefront of discussion. Lowney sets the record straight, reminding listeners that the 1969 Black student walkout was lead and initiated by the Black women of Pembroke, the men following suit. She recounts her horror at the Brown provost’s reaction to the event, his mocking and refusal to take it seriously.
Transitioning to more stable times, Lowney explains her job as the Director of the Resumed Undergraduate Education Program and extension school—a position she cared passionately about and held from 1971 to 1975. She then tells of her becoming the Associate and Coordinating Dean for the classes of 1992 and ‘93, and advising the study abroad program for about ten years, calling this period one of her life’s highlights.
The Harris Room at the John Hay Library, Brown University