Ruth B. Quarles, 92

Morgan State professor

January 23, 2007

Ruth B. Quarles, a retired Morgan State University professor and widow of noted African-American scholar and writer Benjamin A. Quarles, died Jan. 16 at Doctors Hospital in Lanham of complications after hip surgery. The former Morgan Park resident was 92.

The former Ruth Brett, who used her maiden name professionally, was born in Murfreesboro, N.C., and raised in Winton, N.C., the daughter of a farmer and a homemaker.

She earned her bachelor's degree from Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., in 1935 and a master's a year later from Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. In 1945, she earned a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

Dr. Quarles began her academic career in 1938 as assistant dean at Spelman College in Atlanta and later was assistant dean of women at Dillard University in New Orleans.

Before coming to Morgan in 1956, she held academic positions at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., was co-director of student personnel services at Tuskegee University in Alabama, and dean of students at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.

"During her 24 years at Morgan, she developed and administered a comprehensive center for counseling and academic advising, which encompassed a range of programs and services involving specialized staff, faculty members, professional counselors and part-time physicians, including psychiatrists," said her daughter, Pamela A. Quarles of Falls Church, Va.

She added: "Emphasis was on discovering the needs of each student and providing the development of the whole person."

Dr. Quarles had been a member of the national board of YWCA USA and was a member of the American Council on Education's Commission for Women in Higher Education and the Maryland International Women's Coordinating Committee.

She was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Congress of Racial Equality, Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Southern Christian Leadership Council. While living in Baltimore, she had been an active member of Grace Presbyterian Church.

Since 1988, Dr. Quarles had resided at the Collington Episcopal Life Care Center in Mitchellville, where her memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Jan. 31.

Her husband of 44 years taught at Morgan for 21 years and authored nearly a dozen books on African-American history, including a critically acclaimed biography of Frederick Douglass. He died in 1996.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include a stepdaughter, Roberta Q. Knowles of St. Croix, Virgin Islands; three sisters, Esther Oliphant of Reidsville, N.C., Bernice Colson of Oxford, N.C., and Carolyn Goins of Richmond, Va.; and three grandsons.

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