In this interview, Theresa Atta Ifogah, Willow Darsie, Sandy Kent Carielli, Mary Swerczek Sparacello, and Meredith TenHoor, members of the Brown University class of 1998, share their memories of their time on campus in honor of their 25th reunion.
The interviewees begin by explaining what drew them to Brown. TenHoor mentions the Brown/RISD dual degree program as well as Brown’s strong science programs. Sparacello talks about the open curriculum and A Day on College Hill. Carielli and Ifogah both recall Amtrak rides up to Providence for A Day on College Hill and Ifogah also notes the Black Experience at Brown program. Darsie remembers being drawn to the open curriculum and her acceptance letter asking her to begin in January as a mid-year student.
They go on to share some of their earliest memories including Convocation, the Third World Transition Program, and bonding with new friends in the dorms. They discuss some of the places to eat on and around campus, mentioning the Gate, Josiah’s, Ocean Coffee Roasters, delicious pizza, and up-and-coming pita pockets with falafels. The interviewees also discuss trying to make social plans in a pre-cellphone world and having some of their most enriching activities with the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the coed fraternity, Delta Psi Saint Anthony Hall, and at Harambe House.
In speaking about academics, the interviewees emphasize the impact of the open curriculum, group independent study projects, independent study with Elizabeth Weed during the Pembroke Seminar, and study abroad experiences. They also touch upon the nascent internet and computer science. Additionally, they mention extracurricular activities such as Fusion Dance Troop, working at the Brown Daily Herald, teaching English as a Second Language, and serving as a Meiklejohn Advisor – a program where peer academic advisors who partner with a faculty or staff advising partner to provide academic advice and counseling primarily to first-year students.
In closing, the interviewees remember Spring Weekend events, supporting students who participated in the Million Man March, Rhode Island Democratic Party gatherings downtown, and the feeling of safety on campus and in Providence.
Recorded on Mar 24, 2023 via Zoom.
Interviewed by Amanda Knox, Pembroke Center Assistant Archivist
Suggested Chicago style citation: 25th Reunion, class of 1998. Interview. By Amanda Knox. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. Mar 24, 2023.
The Brown University class of 1998 entered in 1994. During their tenure, Bill Clinton was the President of the United States; the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal made international headlines; NFL player O.J. Simpson was tried, then acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman; and the hit TV show Friends aired for the first time. Meanwhile on campus, Vartan Gregorian was the President until 1997 when Gorgon Gee took over; Spring Weekend was a big hit featuring concerts from Bob Dylan, Bo Diddley, the Fuji’s, and Indigo Girls; and students rallied for financial aid and LGBTQ rights.