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Dr. Rowine Brown Truitt, Class of 1961

Dr. Rowine Brown Truitt was born in 1913 and grew up in Harvey, Illinois. She graduated from Stanford in 1933 and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. As one of only 7 women in her class, Brown later told the Chicago Tribune that most male doctors at the time referred to women doctors as “hen docs” or “skirts,” which only inspired them to work harder. In 1950 she was appointed administrator of the Cook County Children’s Hospital, which put her in the position of answering an increasing number of medical questions that had legal ramifications. She enrolled in night school at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and after eight years of classes in addition to a full schedule as a clinician and administrator, Dr. Brown earned her law degree in 1961. She was named to a state commission on child abuse and helped draft the first statutes dealing with the issue in the history of Illinois law. She lectured at every hospital in Chicago on children’s rights to medical care and taught a seminar in medical law at Chicago-Kent. In 1973, she became the first female medical director of the hospital, and served as president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois from 1975-1976. In 1979, Truitt received the Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni Medal, and in 1987, she received the Mary Thompson M.D. Award. In a 1987 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Brown remarked “It was unusual in my day for a woman to go into the professions, as I did, and to go into two of them was even more unusual. The average person that I went to school with, both high school and college, was getting married. But if you have nobody except yourself, you have nobody to blame except yourself if you don’t do it.” Dr. Truitt passed away in 1999 at the age of 86.