Speakers

Beatrice Elizabeth Coleman, class of 1925

Beatrice Elizabeth Coleman graduated from Hope High School in Providence, Rhode Island before entering Pembroke College at Brown University, where she majored in Latin. After teaching in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Coleman returned to work in Providence. Coleman was a longtime member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She passed away on April 3, 2014 at age 109. At the time of her death, she was thought to be the Brown University's oldest alumni. 

Finch Collins, class of 2021

Finch Collins ’21 is a concentrator in Modern Culture and Media and American Studies, with a focus on queer theory and trans studies. Hailing from Arlington, VA, Finch came to Brown to study the humanities after four years of a STEM magnet school. Outside of class, Finch spends much of his free time making sure student theater processes run smoothly. When he’s not social distancing, Finch is most likely found working at the Rock or Production Workshop - or taking photos of his roommate’s cat.

Carolyn Ann Converse, class of 1964

Carolyn Converse grew up in Wilton, Connecticut, with two sisters and one brother. Her father died when she was fourteen years old, which left her and her family with financial struggles for much of her younger life. After graduating high school, Converse went on to attend Pembroke College on a partial scholarship and she graduated in 1964 with an S.B. in Biology. She went on to obtain her PhD and pursue postdoctoral work at Oxford University where she met her husband and fellow scientist Alan Cooper.

Charlotte Nell Cook, class of 1964

Charlotte Nell Cook was born in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 1942, and raised in Loudon County, Virginia. She earned her A.B. in from Pembroke College in 1964, and her M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1970) from Stanford University. A scholar of medieval literature, she taught in the English department at Yale from 1969 until 1976, when she became a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She was twice the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and retired in 2011. 

Ruth Elizabeth Cooke, class of 1914

Ruth Elizabeth Cooke graduated from Brown University as a Classics major in 1914. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she taught at Classical High School, where she graduated in 1910. As a teacher she became an unofficial dance instructor to the Juniors and Seniors before Prom. She stayed at Classical until 1925, when she married. Later in life she opened her own decorating studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1939. As a hobby, she collected toll ware, including 41-inch trays and canisters.

Susan Cowell, class of 1969

Susan Cowell was born in New York City and grew up in Westwood, New Jersey. She graduated from Brown in 1969 with a degree in Chinese Studies. Cowell served in the Peace Corps in Korea, and has earned degrees from Harvard University and Yale University.  She has spent her career working for social change, serving as a vice president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union from 1987 until 1995, and as the Executive Director of 32BJ Benefit Funds.

Helen FitzGerald Cserr, Faculty

Helen FitzGerald Cserr was born on June 23, 1937, in Boston, Massachusetts. She joined the Brown University faculty in 1970 after serving as a researcher at Harvard University, where she received a Ph.D. in physiology in 1965. She was also a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont where she received her B.A. in chemistry.

Lydia Curliss, Staff

Lydia Curliss is a subject librarian for the physical sciences, and Native American and Indigenous studies at Brown University, which she started in 2019.  At Brown, she engages and supports faculty, students and staff in her subject areas, and is a team member for the Center for Digital Scholarship’s Database of Indigenous Slavery in the Americas project. She holds her MLS and MIS from Indiana University, which she received in 2018, and a BA in Geology from Oberlin College, which she received in 2013.

Kimberly Dan, class of 2006

Kimberly Dan graduated from Brown University in 2006 with an AB in economics. She lives in the Philippines with her son.

Gloria E. Del Papa, class of 1946

Gloria E. Del Papa was born on June 3, 1925, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Graduating as Valedictorian of her high school class, Del Papa studied English at Pembroke College where she would finish as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Soon after, she received her Masters degree in education before pursuing a career as a teacher. She taught in the Pawtucket school system for 38 years saying she loved teaching and thought it was what she was destined to do. She was a member of the Pembroke College Club of Providence and spent time volunteering at Amos House, Pawtucket Elementary School, and St.

Tejal Ashwin Desai, class of 1994

Tejal Ashwin Desai was born in Huntington Beach, California in 1972 to Indian parents and spent most of her early life in Santa Barbara.  She attended Brown University where she received her bachelor of science in biomedical engineering in 1994. In 1998, she graduated with a Ph.D. from the joint University of California – San Francisco and University of California – Berkeley Bioengineering department. Desai held professorships at University of Illinois – Chicago and Boston University.

Esther Amelia Dick, class of 1934

Esther Amelia Dick grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania, where she went to an all-girls high school. She graduated from Brown University in 1934 with a degree in botany. She worked at Brown from the time of her graduation until her retirement in 1975.  During her career as a botanist she published numerous papers and a book on fungi in collaboration with her husband, Walter Henry Snell, who was a professor at Brown.

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie, class of 1926 - First Interview

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie was born in Providence on April 25, 1905. She was brought up by her aunt and uncle, the Dickies, in a very religious family that belonged to the First Baptist Church in Providence. After attending Hope Street High School, she received a scholarship to Pembroke, where she specialized in languages and fine art. Upon her graduation from Pembroke College in 1926, she attended Northwestern University in Chicago at the Hull House, studying to become a social worker.

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie, class of 1926 - Second Interview

Martha Alice Ingham Dickie was born in Providence on April 25, 1905. She was brought up by her aunt and uncle, the Dickies, in a very religious family that belonged to the First Baptist Church in Providence. After attending Hope Street High School, she received a scholarship to Pembroke, where she specialized in languages and fine art. Upon her graduation from Pembroke College in 1926, she attended Northwestern University in Chicago at the Hull House, studying to become a social worker.

Katani A. Eaton, class of 1985

Katani A. Eaton grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She attended Lexington Public Schools and entered Brown University in 1981. She graduated from Brown in 1985 with her AB in Psychology and several years later earned her teacher certification as a language and literacy specialist from Harvard University. She now works in Newton, Massachusetts, as a METCO counselor/Engagement Specialist and Co-Director of the Legacy Scholars Program while also serving as a band lander and performing musician.

Wendy Edwards, Faculty

Wendy Edwards was born and raised in Virginia, the third of four children. During her high school career, she attended the Corcoran School of Art and studied under Sam Gilliam. In 1972, she graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts, with her BFA in painting. She went on to earn her MA in art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Edwards joined the Brown University faculty in 1980 as the first tenure track woman member of the Visual Arts Department.

Barbara E. Ehrlich, class of 1974

Barbara E. Ehrlich received her bachelors of science in applied mathematics and biology from Brown University in 1974. She went on to University of California – Los Angeles where she earned her PhD in physiology in 1979. She served as a postdoctoral fellow and then instructor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine before becoming an assistant professor at University of Connecticut – Farmington in 1986. In 1997, Ehrlich was appointed tenured professor at Yale University School of Medicine where she maintains her lab today.

Mary Carpenter Emerson, class of 1927

Mary Carpenter Emerson was born in Louisiana where she lived until the age of eleven. She moved to Rhode Island with her mother after her father passed away. After graduating from Pembroke College in 1927, she received a Bachelor of Education degree from the Rhode Island College of Education. She travelled extensively with her husband, an officer in the Navy,  and taught in various schools throughout the world. She had two children, born in the Philippines and Hawaii. Emerson passed away in May of 2004. 

Lydia L. English, class of 1985

After a decade-long career in banking, Lydia L. English decided to attend Brown University where she received her A.B. in anthropology in 1985. She went on to earn a Ph.D. from Yale in 1991. She then returned to Brown, accepting a position at the Dean’s Office, and teaching part-time in the African American Studies department. 

Marcella F. Fagan, class of 1944

Marcella F. Fagan was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1923. She graduated from Hope High in 1940 and Brown University in 1944. As a student, she was elected to the War Council and directed Camel Cigarette week, which sent cartons of cigarettes purchased by Pembrokers to troops serving in World War II. Fagan earned her College Teacher Certification from Wheaton College in 1966 and taught in Illinois and Minnesota before returning to Providence in 1986. She was and active volunteer with her church, the Cub Scouts, the Girl Scouts, and the American Cancer Society.