Lillian Shoushan Berberian Klanian, class of 1957

Lillian Shoushan Berberian Klanian, class of 1957

Lillian Shoushan Berberian Klainian was born in Providence in 1935 to Agavne and Misak Berberian, Armenian natives who were proprietors of several small neighborhood businesses, including a grocery store and theatre. Lillian's mother had immigrated with her parents; her father’s died in a massacre in Turkey.  She describes her neighborhood as an ethnic neighborhood.  Lillian taught school after graduating from Brown in 1957 with an AB in Sociology.

This interview concentrates on Lillian's family life and her experiences as a commuter student. She explains that her parents expected her to live at home while she attended Pembroke, and she describes her days on campus  as “an outsider.” She reminisces about life-long friendships with other city girls (they had celebrated their 30th reunion together shortly before this interview).

Lillian discusses Brown's fraternities and the changes that have taken place to the campus with the interviewer, Michael Gates '91. This leads to a conversation about her Armenian parents, their history, language, and behavioral expectations, and also about the interviewer's Polish family.  Lillian participated in International Club and volunteered at Nickerson House. She recounts her early teaching career, meeting her husband through the Armenian community, choosing to stay at home with her children, and returning to teaching in 1979 as a substitute. She and Michael end the interview by addressing three topics: the rigor of their college experience, minority students, and, finally, Lillian’s daughter’s impression of Brown as she awaited acceptance.

Loading Video...

Media Type: 
Part 1
Recorded on May 12, 1988

Providence, RI

Interviewed by Michael Gates