Anna C. Renzi was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, to Italian-immigrant parents. She decided to pursue engineering at Pembroke College, the women’s college in Brown University, after taking several mechanical drawing and drafting classes at Mount Pleasant High School. On June 16, 1947, Renzi became the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Civil Engineering from Brown University. Within months, Renzi moved to Washington, DC where she began her first job as a statistical clerk, working in the planning department to develop a strategy to connect Virginia and Maryland highways to DC. She moved up through the department and left in June 1963 as Chief of the District Highways and Traffic Department’s programming division.
Renzi married Ross Wallace Wright, Commander in the United States Navy, in 1963, and the couple had two daughters, Cathy and Julie. They followed Wright’s assignments all over the country, including Hawaii, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Rhode Island, and they eventually settled in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Renzi continues to stay engaged as a Pembroke College alumna, attending Kent County Alumnae Association meetings and speaking at Brown.
In 2018, Renzi donated her papers to the Pembroke Center's Christine Dunlap Farnham Archive. They are available for research. Click here to view finding aid online.