Joyce Wetherald, class of 1947

Joyce Wetherald, class of 1947

Joyce Wetherald was born in 1926 and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1943 she received the Rhode Island Regional Scholarship to Pembroke College, where she studied English. Her father was an importer of jewelry, and his business had been impacted dramatically by the stock market crash of 1929. Her gratitude for the opportunity to go to college made her anxious to give back to Brown University. During her time at Brown she was class president, and after her graduation she worked on the Rhode Island Regional Scholarship Committee.

In Part 1 of this interview, Joyce Wetherald begins by discussing the experiences she had as a Pembroke student that made her want to become an active alumna, especially the gratitude she felt at having had the opportunity to go to college with the Rhode Island Regional Scholarship. She discusses the experience of being at Pembroke during World War II, speaking on the minimizing effect the war had on both gender barriers and academic concerns. Wetherald also explains the function of the Brown Corporation and its committees.

In Part 2, Wetherald expands on her role in the Corporation, especially with regards to her gender. She interprets the purpose of the Corporation as a body of knowledgeable people who understand the strengths and weaknesses of the University at any given time and will work to enhance its strengths and correct its weaknesses. She also reflects on her views of the Pembroke-Brown Merger, expressing concern that all of the work women had done in a specifically women’s educational institution would be lost.

In Part 3, Wetherald reflects on her pride in the successes of women in her Class of 1947. She ends her interview by considering the ways by which social change happens, explaining that educational institutions are important places where questions can be asked and agitation can occur safely. 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3
Recorded on Dec 1, 1992

Barrington, Rhode Island

Interviewed by Susan Ferber