Nuala Pell, widow of Sen. Claiborne Pell, died this morning at age 89. President Christina Paxson issued the following statement on behalf of the Brown University community.
The Brown community joins with citizens of the state and admirers locally and globally to mourn the loss of Nuala Pell. While I regret that I did not have the opportunity to meet Mrs. Pell, I have long been aware of her commitment to education, the arts and humanities, and her unwavering support of public service and diplomacy. Together with Senator Claiborne Pell and through her own work, Mrs. Pell devoted much of her life to strengthening our state and nation, and by all accounts did so with distinctive grace, dignity, and humor.
Her many contributions were recognized in 1997 by then President Vartan Gregorian, when, in his ninth and final Commencement, he awarded the President’s Medal to Mrs. Pell, the highest honor a Brown University president may bestow. When he invited her to the stage to present her with the award, he acknowledged Mrs. Pell’s quiet and steady influence that was essential in Senator Pell’s success and that yielded enormous benefits for our state and nation. President Gregorian stated, “I wanted my last act as president to honor Rhode Island, the nation, women, and the spouses who help great leaders succeed.”
We are grateful for her enduring legacy and extend deepest sympathies to the entire Pell family during this time.