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Lee F. Browne Oral History Interview with Shirley K. Cohen

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2016-02-17-000050

Dates

  • Other: 2016 February 17

Abstract

Interview in one session, June 14, 1999, with Lee F. Browne, Lecturer in Education, emeritus. Browne served as Director of Secondary School Relations and Special Student Programs at Caltech from 1970 until 1990. The interview briefly covers Browne's youth in the 1920s in North Carolina, his natural curiosity, and the importance of his education to his family; his time at Storer College prep school in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Failure to be admitted to Duke University and lack of permission to live on campus at Michigan State for race reasons discourages him. He then applies to West Virginia State College, graduates in biology and chemistry. Details about service in World War II in desegregated division of the U.S. navy. He moves to Los Angeles as teaching assistant at UCLA, then eventually gets permanent job at Valley Junior College and buys house in Pasadena, then Altadena. Change to secondary school teaching in chemistry, first at Muir High School, then Blair High School in Pasadena. Remarks about bussing in Pasadena in the 1970s. Teaching the children of Caltech faculty. He tells about his recruitment to Caltech and a general mandate to get good students, beginning around 1970. Survey of the programs he started, including summer classes; problems of recruiting and funding good students from minority backgrounds. Comments on race relations on campus. Notes change in direction of minority recruitment activity during the late 1980s to 1990, leading to his retirement. Concludes with an assessment of Caltech's success or lack thereof in getting and keeping African-American and Latino students.

Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

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