Candace Heald, class of 1974


In this interview, Candace Heald, Brown University class of 1974, discusses her experiences as a member of the last Pembroke College class, as well as her experiences learning about and adapting to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Heald begins by detailing her family’s legacy at Brown, her admission process, and her path to becoming a history concentrator. She describes the benefits of the open curriculum, which was just beginning at the time, as well as other changes on campus such as coed dormitories and bathrooms. She shares stories of taking gym class with Arlene Gorton, and male students going to the Pembroke campus for “panty raids” when female students tossed underwear out of their windows.

Heald fast forwards to 2020 and remembers how she first learned about COVID-19. She describes running an event for AHA! – Arts, History, and Architecture – in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in early March 2020. She mentions people asking if she would cancel the program, and deciding to host it anyway. She explains that the next day the Mayor of New Bedford prohibited any events that would attract more than 10 people. She recalls considering how her work would have to adapt and embracing the ways technology allows people from across the globe to share in the same program. Heald also talks about preparing her family for lockdown by upgrading her technology and stocking up on food that she could easily preserve and prepare if she got sick. Additionally, she speaks about the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police. She acknowledges the ways the pandemic has highlighted racial and socioeconomic inequalities, but says she is glad to see diverse crowds protesting injustices.

Heald closes by imploring listeners to “Go out and vote, be active, be vocal, be visible. And if you’re not somebody who likes to go out and vote and be vocal, visible, and all those things, be a mentor, contribute, be a friend, be an ally, you have that power.”

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on June 4, 2020 via Zoom
Interviewed by Amanda Knox, Pembroke Center Assistant Archivist

Suggested Chicago style citation: Heald, Candace. Interview. By Amanda Knox. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. June 4, 2020.


Since 2007, Candace Lee Heald has served as the Director of AHA! New Bedford’s 2nd Thursday FREE Art and Culture Night. AHA! is the longest continuously funded grant for place-making and the creative economy from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and continues to have one of the best returns on financial investment in the Commonwealth. Heald was one of the authors for the original AHA! grant in 1999 and has been on the Steering Committee from the beginning as Program Chair or Steering Committee Chair until she was hired as staff. Previously, she was Vice-President of Programs, Education and Exhibitions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum where she oversaw educational and public programs, exhibitions and library functions as well as visitor services and volunteers. During her tenure, the Museum won the Mass Cultural Council’s Award for excellence in community programming. Her undergraduate degree in American History is from Brown University, class of 1974, her Master’s Degree in American History and Museum Studies is from the University of Delaware, and her Ph.D. is from Lesley University. She has been adjunct teaching faculty at Lesley University, Tufts University, and UMASS Dartmouth. She has served on the Governor’s Creative Economic Development Council as well as other non-profit boards and is currently on the Board of the New Bedford Art Museum as well as the Board of MassHumanities and serves as President of the Mattapoisett Library Trust. Heald has twin sons and is proud that one of them, Nathaniel Fuchs, is a MPH, class of 2020. With COVID-19, he was set to down the Hill on his grandmother’s 70th reunion, Joan Trescott Heald, class of 1951.