Fairfield University welcomes one of its first women graduates as Convocation speaker


Image: Brenda Joyce YoungOne of the first women to enter the newly coed campus of Fairfield University in 1970 is returning to speak at Fairfield's Seventh University-wide Convocation on Friday, Sept. 14, at 11 a.m. in Alumni Hall. The public is welcome.

Brenda Joyce Young, Ph.D., who graduated from Fairfield in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in English, went on to earn a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies and a doctorate in African American Studies from Emory University in Atlanta. She will be speaking on "My American Journey."

Dr. Young was affiliated with Clark Atlanta University from 1988 to 1999, except for a year spent at Emory University as a graduate assistant from 1989 to 1990. At Clark Atlanta she served as Freshman Orientation Instructor and later as assessment coordinator where she analyzed student outcomes. Following the awarding of her Ph.D. in 1996, she was appointed an assistant professor of English.

While at Clark Atlanta, Dr. Young published a book with her colleagues entitled "Fracturing the Cannon: An Interdisciplinary Humanities Reader." Selections from the book were given to Fairfield's incoming freshmen to read over the summer.

In 2000, Dr. Young joined Dillard University in New Orleans as Academic Dean in the Office of Academic Affairs and held the rank of associate professor of English. There her responsibilities included reviewing and reforming the core curriculum, proactive student retention initiatives, development of new academic programs global studies programs and the first-year student experience.

Dr. Young grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., the oldest of five daughters raised by their mother. A friend, whose son had gone to Fairfield, encouraged her mother to send Brenda to Fairfield where she would "have a chance to shine." Eventually her mother and all her sisters earned college degrees as well.

Fairfield University had been an all-male school until 1970 when women undergraduates were admitted for the first time. Dr. Young was a member of that ground-breaking class.

Among her academic awards, Dr. Young was named a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow in 1990 and a UNCF/Mellow Faculty Doctoral Fellow in 1995. She was a Bradley Fellow at the Graduate Institute for Liberal Education at St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for three consecutive summers, 1997-1999 and in 1998 was awarded the CAU NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 15, 2001

Vol. 34, No. 44