'Dean Branham's Story Room' opens in Newhouse

April 16, 2019

Dedicated space is open to anyone wishing to remember Dean Lorraine Branham.

On April 2, the Newhouse School lost Dean Lorraine Branham, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Following a memorial service at Hendricks Chapel, attendees placed orange ribbons on the branches of the trees outside of the Newhouse complex to honor her memory. Now, tucked away in the balcony near Food Dot Com and overlooking the Newhouse 3 lobby, Professor Ken Harper has set up Dean Branham's Story Room, a dedicated space inside Newhouse for anyone wishing to remember the dean.

"This was a way for me to show my respect for the dean," says Harper, "and to create a public space for people to think about what Dean Branham has done for each of us individually."

The space—assembled with the help of Harper's family, budget office director Shelly Collins and her husband, and television radio and film senior Sam Shapiro—includes a seating area for thoughtful remembrance, note cards for visitors to write down their memories of the dean and a tent where visitors can leave a video message about what Dean Branham meant to them. Plans are for the room to remain open for a couple of weeks, at which point the messages will be collected and given to Dean Branham's family. Harper says that he also hopes to use some of the messages, with permission, to create a memorial later.

"In graphic design, we call it the en-dash, the space between the two dates [of birth and death]," Harper says. "I think Dean Branham personified the ability to pack as much living into the en-dash as humanly possible."

Volunteers will be available to assist visitors with creating their messages. A sign-up sheet is available online for anyone wishing to volunteer.