In Memoriam: Bobbie Brown Knable, 1936-2022

Bobbie Knable, a longtime administrator at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, who served as dean of students for the School of Arts and Sciences from 1980 to 2000, died on November 15. She was 86 years old.

A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, her mother died during childbirth. She was initially raised by her great-grandmother. When her great-grandmother died when Knable was 5, she went to live with a great-aunt in Cleveland. After high school, Knable enrolled at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, graduating in 1958. Knable worked in the national office of the Congress for Racial Equality in New York before moving to Boston in 1965.

Knable joined the staff at Tufts University in 1970 beginning as an instructor in the English department, and then, in succession, becoming director of the Real Program for Women, dean for first-year students, and, finally, serving as dean of students for 20 years. During these years, Knable was instrumental in establishing the Asian American Center, the Women’s Center, the Latinx Center, and the LGBT Center.

Katrina Moore, senior director of the Africana Center at Tufts University, stated that Knable “believed the educational experience is enriched for everyone when institutional membership is accessible to diverse groups. It was a great honor to engage with her and learn from her vast Tufts experience.”

Knable was given the title of dean emerita upon her retirement in 2000.

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