Then, Now, Next: Women in Philanthropy: Arlene Duffy


93-year-old Arlene Duffy has lived next to PC her whole life. She was interested in Providence College even before PC enrolled its first class of women in 1971. “Back in the day, the fellas said, ‘How come you’re not going to Providence College?’ “And I said, ‘They don’t take girls!’ I was asked the question again and again. So they were talking about it for 20 years, back in 1950.”

As PC celebrates Then, Now, Next: 50 Years of Women at providence College in 2021, we recognize the impact of women like Arlene Duffy on the College’s history. Arlene has included a planned gift for the college, in honor of her late father, Francis J. Duffy ’23, a member of PC’s first graduating class, and her late brother, Fr. Francis Charles Duffy, O.P. ’53G.

“I wanted to honor my father and brother, and I wanted to do something in science, which I’m not terribly talented in, to increase the department because it’s an unsung hero, out of tribute to both of them, because they both were struck down by something that should have been discovered in a lab long ago.”

She hopes her gift will encourage new scientific discoveries like the one R. Seth Pinches ’16 made while a student at PC. Pinches found a mycobacteriophage in his biology lab that was used to treat a patient with a drug-resistant infection. “What the next step in this atmosphere is going to be, none of us know,” Duffy says. “And every step you take you hope is the right one.”

Do you want to learn more about how you can make a difference with a planned gift? Contact Andrea Krupp, Esq at 401.865.2451 or