The Third World Center had its beginning when Afro House at 227 Bowen Street, which had been in use since 1969, was about to be be razed for the building of the New Pembroke dormitory complex, and new quarters were provided in 1972 in the basement of Churchill House. At this time it was decided that the new Center should serve all Third World students, Asian, Black, Latino, and Native American. Calvin Hicks was coodinator from 1976 to 1979. Felipe Floresca ’73 was appointed coordinator in April 1980, and was succeeded by Robert G. Lee in October 1981. Originally designed to meet the needs of the Third World student in adjusting to college, as better prepared students enrolled, the focus was reassigned to helping them to make use of their Brown experience in their career choices. In 1985 Preston Smith was appointed director of the Center, and in 1986 the Center moved from Churchill House to Partridge Hall. Jeanne Smith was acting director in 1989-90, and Tommy Woon became director in 1990. The Center publishes an annual journal, Third World Review and a monthly newsletter.
Brown has more than forty third world organizations, among them African Students Association, Asian American Student Association, Brown Taiwanese Society, Brown Organization of Multiracial and Biracial Students, Federacion de Estudiantes Puertoriquenos, Fillipino Alliance at Brown, Hong Kong Students Association, Japanese Culture Association, Korean Students Association, Latin American Student Association, MECHA (Movimiento Estudiantil Dhicano de Aztlan), Native Americans at Brown, Students of Caribbean Ancestry, South Asian Students Association, Association of South East Asians, and Vietnamese Students Association. Third World alumni of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American descent presently number over 3,500. The first Third World All-Alumni Reunion held during the Commencement weekend of 1990 included social activities and discussion sessions. Harold Wright Cruse, professor emeritus of history and Afro-American studies of the University of Michigan, was the keynote speaker at the awards banquet.