50th Reunion, class of 1974


In this interview, Marjorie Neifeld Grayson, Jane Heitman Green, Pamela Farrell Lenehan, Mary Aguiar Vascellaro, and Donna Erickson Williamson, members of the Brown University class of 1974, share their memories of their time on campus in honor of their 50th reunion.

Interviewees begin by introducing themselves and their concentrations. They share why they chose to attend Brown, citing reasons such as a strong math department, the open curriculum, and financial aid packages. They explain that they were the second to last class admitted to Brown through the Pembroke College admissions office and emphasize that their experience was coed from the start, even though Pembroke College – the women’s college in Brown University – existed for their first year before dissolving in 1971. They also discuss the academic rigor of their programs, their paths to finding the right concentration, and the lack of career and academic counseling.

The group recalls experiences with gender inequality on campus and in the workforce. This included their short time under parietal rules that they remember were then voted out by students in the Pembroke dorms. In thinking about other on-campus memories, they share that while national events such as the War in Vietnam, the Watergate trials, and the passing of Roe v. Wade, were important to them personally, on-campus student engagement on those topics was minimal. They go on to share stories about how those national events impacted their lives and note that they did not realize the prevalence of abortion needs on campus until many years after graduating. However, many of them recalled the director of health services, Dr. Roswell Johnson, and his willingness to prescribe the birth control pill to students as it became a national controversy.

As the interview closes, participants remember some of their favorite courses and professors and the lack of women faculty members. They also reminisce about the lifelong friendships they created during their time at Brown.


Recorded on March 4, 2024 on Zoom
Interviewed by Amanda Knox, Pembroke Center Assistant Archivist

Suggested Chicago style citation: 50th Reunion, class of 1974. Interview. By Amanda Knox. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. March 4, 2024.


The Brown University class of 1974 entered in 1970 under President Donald Hornig. They were the second to last class to enter as Pembroke College students with admissions offices, dormitories, and parietal rules separate from the men’s college for only their first year. National events that impacted their time on campus included the War in Vietnam, the Watergate trials, and the passing of Roe v. Wade.