50th Reunion, class of 1969

yearbook cover photo


This interview with members of the Pembroke College class of 1969 documents the undergraduate experiences of Kathryn H. Au, Rita Ann Chao, Maria Garcia, Kathryn Troyer, and Lucy Jane Wollaeger, at their 50th reunion.

Interviewees begin by introducing themselves, mentioning where they come from geographically, their parents’ educational backgrounds, and what attracted them to Brown University. They move on to broadly consider some of their earlier memories of their time on campus. Troyer and Chao discuss their experiences as women in the sciences and their interactions with male classmates. Au and Wollaeger reminisce about living away from home and dormitory life.

The Alumnae recall in detail the parietal rules that, in part, governed their dress and curfew in addition to the notion of gracious living. They also share some of their best memories of being on campus which include conducting summer research, serving on the University Council on Student Affairs, and taking courses at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Additionally, interviewees spend some time discussing politics on campus including their participation in anti-war demonstrations and stereotypes of Asian-American students. This leads to a brief discussion of gender discrimination in the workplace after graduation. The Alumnae conclude their interview by sharing some final thoughts on their time at Brown and summarizing their careers.

See also: Rita Ann Chao, class of 1969


Recorded on May 25, 2019 in Pembroke Hall, Brown University, Providence, RI.
Interviewed by Mary Murphy, Nancy L. Buc ’65 LLD‘94 hon Pembroke Center Archivist

Suggested Chicago style citation: 50th Reunion, class of 1969. Interview. Mary Murphy. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. May 25, 2019.


The Pembroke College class of 1969 entered campus in 1965. The students’ experiences were very much dictated by world events including the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Women’s Movement. Sympathy with these causes permeated campus in the forms of protests, rallies, and sit-ins. In the midst of this period, women students lived a bifurcated existence on campus. Antiestablishment ethos permeated campus culture and yet women were governed by parietal rules that dictated curfews and dress codes and that schooled them in the art of “gracious living” in addition to their regular programs. The parietal rules came to an end by their senior year when Brown’s leadership, including University President Ray Heffner and Pembroke College Dean Rosemary Pierrel, loosened the women’s social restrictions.