Wheelock Alumna Writes of the Passing of Her Mother, a Former Wheelock Administrator

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M’Lou Peebles Douglass ’70/’90MS recently wrote to Wheelock College to tell of the passing of her mother, Katherine Peebles, a former Wheelock College administrator. Mrs. Peebles was the Wheelock College director of Admissions and Financial Aid from 1964 to1970. M’Lou says many Wheelock students knew her mother as a person who encouraged them to pursue their teaching careers beginning in their admissions interviews. She also says, “She also had a reputation as a tough interviewer, and some high school students intentionally met with her to ‘prep’ for interviews at other colleges.”

During the late 1960s, M’Lou says, there was much turmoil due to the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. Despite the unrest, Mrs. Peebles led a determined effort to recruit a more diverse Wheelock College student body. She even traveled to the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles shortly after the 1965 riots to encourage African-American girls to pursue goals to become teachers. And she was able to obtain financial aid for many students who might not have been able to afford a Wheelock education.

Wheelock College did not escape the chaos of the 1960s; in 1969, students staged a sit-in at the Administration Building, protesting an article in a Wheelock College publication about the new black students Mrs. Peebles recruited.

Mrs. Peebles left Wheelock College for a position as dean of Student Activities at Wellesley College, her alma mater, and later became a special assistant to the president of Bennett College in New York.

In the 1980s, M’Lou says her mother began to support world hunger organizations. She founded Valentine Vision, a program for teachers and students with the purpose of educating children about world hunger. On Valentine’s Day, teachers from around the world led students in a simultaneous moment of silence, envisioning a world without hunger. Many Wheelock College graduates participated in the program with their elementary school students, making Valentines with messages of peace which were distributed to schools in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America.

M’Lou says her mother was involved in supporting children and teachers throughout her entire career. In 1950, she founded Meadowbrook Day Camp in Weston, MA. The camp still thrives today and will begin is in its 67th season.

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  1. Mimi Noering Wicker May 27, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss Mary’Lou.
    Mimi Wicker