Peggy J. McKearney, class of 1975


Peggy J. McKearney begins Part 1 of her interview with a brief description of her family background, including her childhood in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She says that her love of the Boston Bruins determined her decision to attend Brown University in the first year after its merger with Pembroke College because Pembroke had established the country’s first intercollegiate women’s ice hockey team.

McKearney describes the strong Pembroke influence that still survived on campus immediately following the merger in 1971. She also fondly remembers Spring Weekend and comments on the large amount of drugs and alcohol on campus. McKearney discusses her time as an ice hockey player in detail and explains the blatant inequity between men’s and women’s sports at Brown. She also mentions social life on campus, relationships between male and female students, and relationships between female students and male professors.

McKearney also talks about her work on the Brown Daily Herlad, taking photos and writing sports stories, and recalls the diversity of the student population. She considers what her expectations were for life after graduation and details her path to her current position as business writer for King Arthur Flour. She speculates on life after retirement and goes on to describe her volunteer work and her secondary position as reiki practitioner. She concludes Part 1 with gratitude for her time at Brown.

Part 2 is an unplanned portion of the interview, added after McKearney looked through some yearbooks. Lasting only five minutes, this part includes more memories of the inequities between men’s and women’s sports at Brown, and Mckearney emphasizes the importance of Title IX on women’s sports.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on April 18, 2016 in Alumnae Hall, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Whitney Pape

Suggested Chicago style citation: McKearney, Peggy J. Interview. By Whitney Pape. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. April 18, 2016.


Peggy J. McKearney was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She grew up mostly in Connecticut, and then in Massachusetts. Her father was a school teacher, and her mother was a stay-at-home mom before becoming a secretary and then going back to school to earn a Master’s degree in library science. Attending high school in Massachusetts, McKearney fell in love with the Boston Bruins and decided to attend Brown University because she could play ice hockey on the first college women’s ice hockey team in the country. During her four-year tenure on the team, McKearney started every single game as the goalie.

Attending Brown in 1971, she was part of the first class of Brown women after the Pembroke-Brown merger. She studied Anthropology and English at Brown, also becoming involved with the Liber Brunensis yearbook committee, the concert band, field hockey, lacrosse, and the Brown Daily Herald, in addition to her four years of ice hockey. She describes Brown as a “big, fun romp in athletics and photography and writing.”

Upon her graduation in 1976, she pursued a career in photography and writing, which she calls “an inevitable path.” She held positions in multiple local newspapers, including the Scituate Mirror and The Camden Herald. When she was 47, McKearney was diagnosed with breast cancer. She began volunteering at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in New Hampshire where she was treated for cancer and expressed a desire to give back to the place that saved her life. She also volunteered at Plimouth Plantation in Massachusetts, teaching visitors about baking.

At the time of this interview, McKearney was the senior digital content editor at King Arthur Flour in Vermont, as well as the Breast Cancer Community manager of She has published a cookbook, The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, which received the James Beard Awards North American Cookbook of the Year in 2004. Her website has also earned the Website of the Year award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals Digital Media Awards. McKearney has one son and lived in Massachusetts at the time of this interview.