Office of the President
May 29, 2019
Tags Community Messages

February 2019 Corporation Meeting: Building on Distinction, Sustainability Goals, FY20 Budget

From the President

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

The February meeting of the Brown Corporation took place over the past several days. Trustees and Fellows approved Brown’s budget, tuition and fees for next year; engaged with faculty, students and staff around numerous topics of strategic importance to the University, including developments in academic programs, the University’s sustainability goals and capital projects; and discussed ongoing investments in Brown’s priorities via the BrownTogether campaign.

Building on Distinction: Educational Leadership

The Corporation received a number of presentations from academic leaders and engaged in discussion with faculty from a range of disciplines. Topics included strategic planning in the School of Public Health, new initiatives in modern languages, work being led by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities in the Building on Distinction theme of Understanding Human Experience, and academic excellence in Computer Science. Faculty from the academic units that have recently moved into 164 Angell Street discussed their research and teaching with members of the Corporation on Friday, and faculty from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs did the same that evening. Members of the Corporation were deeply impressed with the breadth and quality of disciplinary and interdisciplinary academic work taking place across the University.

The Corporation had the opportunity in committees and as a whole to engage in discussion regarding the University’s sustainability goals. Further information about those goals will be announced early this coming week.

Members of the Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning received updates on the Performing Arts Center and a presentation from William Rawn Associates, the architects selected to design the new health and wellness center and residence hall to be located along Brook Street, facing Pembroke Field. The Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning selected William Rawn Associates at the end of last semester, and design planning began in January. The Committee on Budget and Finance authorized the administration to proceed with architect selection for a new lacrosse and soccer facility to be constructed adjacent to Stevenson-Pincince Field.

FY20 Budget, Tuition and Fees

The February meeting of the Corporation includes consideration of the report and recommendations of the University Resources Committee (URC), chaired by Provost Richard M. Locke and composed of students, faculty and administrators. The URC engages in a deep and thoughtful review of University priorities and available resources and recommends strategic allocations in support of academic excellence and access to a Brown education. I encourage all members of the Brown community to read the URC report, which I endorsed and recommended to the Corporation for approval.

The Corporation approved a $1.2-billion consolidated budget for the University’s Fiscal Year 2020 that includes increased funding for undergraduate financial aid, enhanced support for graduate students and investments to advance strategic priorities. The Corporation also set undergraduate, graduate and medical school tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year. The approved budget includes increased funds for the recruitment of talented faculty and staff, infrastructure to amplify the impact of research by Brown scholars, and advising and community-building programs for students, among a wide range of investments to support an exceptional student experience, build Brown’s excellence in research and scholarship, and develop the physical campus.

The URC spent considerable time assessing the tuition rate and Brown’s priority to offer a world-class education. The URC recommended a 5 percent increase in total undergraduate student charges and a $6.2 million expansion to the undergraduate financial aid budget. As noted in the URC report, “The undergraduate tuition revenue will help support the significant investments Brown has made in the past few years to ensure student success.” The budget further ensures that Brown can continue to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all students while providing additional funds to enhance the overall student experience. The expanded undergraduate financial aid budget is $143.1 million, more than a 6 percent increase over current year expenditures. This includes additional funding for the reduction in the summer earnings requirement for students who receive financial aid, from $2,800 to $2,700 for first-year students, and from $3,250 to $2,900 for sophomores through seniors. Over the last 10 years, the undergraduate financial aid budget has increased by more than 87 percent. And with the launch this year of The Brown Promise initiative, Brown has removed loans packaged in all University financial aid awards for all undergraduate students.

The Corporation approved an increase in graduate student stipends to cover increases in cost of living; enhanced support for graduate students who are parents; and a transitional stipend for newly matriculated Ph.D. and master of fine arts students during the summer before their first year. The budget also allocates $15.6 million in funds for initiatives across a wide range of academic and administrative departments, including the following: funds for the Office of College Admission to offer wages to student tour guides; investments in research support in departments such as the Office of Industry Engagement and Commercial Venturing, which facilitates the translation of research discoveries at Brown into products and services with societal and economic value; additional funding for Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards from the Office of the Dean of the College; increased support for the Brown Arts Initiative; and new access to specialized scholarly tools for research and teaching in finance, economics and entrepreneurship.

The full URC report is available here:

Acceptance of Gifts and Other Actions

In light of ongoing national discussions about philanthropy and intersections with the missions of nonprofit institutions, the Corporation engaged in a discussion about Brown’s philosophy and principles for accepting gifts. At the meeting, the Corporation formally accepted gifts and pledges made since October in the amount of $1 million or more. Totaling more than $110 million, these generous commitments provide critical support to a wide range of Brown’s academic priorities. The success of the BrownTogether campaign to date and in the future builds from gifts of many dollar amounts, and all are essential to our success and deeply appreciated.

The Corporation approved the establishment of a number of endowed positions in recognition of gifts having been received. These include the following:

  • Three Annenberg Professorships in Education;
  • The Rosenberg Family Professorship in Brain Science with the generous support of the Kim and Ralph Rosenberg Family Foundation;
  • The Elaine I. Savage Professorship in Engineering with the generous support of multiple donors;
  • The John E. Savage Assistant Professorship in Computer Science with the generous support of Elizabeth J. Savage ’89, P’17;
  • An Assistant Coaching Chair for Men’s Basketball with the generous support of an anonymous donor. The Corporation approved the appointment of the following faculty to named chairs at this and other recent meetings:
  • Nadje Al-Ali, Robert Family Professor of International Studies; Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies;
  • Jeremiah Schuur, Frances Weeden Gibson-Edward A. Iannuccilli MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine;
  • Wael Asaad, Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual Sciences, and Neuroscience;
  • Rishi Lulla, Alan G. Hassenfeld Associate Professor of Pediatrics. The Corporation approved the naming of campus spaces, including:
  • The Fidler Family Campus/Community Center at the Swearer Center’s Community Collaborative with the generous support of Genine M. Fidler '77, P'04 P'12 and Josh E. Fidler '77, P'04 P'12;
  • The lobby area of the Stephen Robert ’62 Hall named in loving memory of Christina Eileen Watson with the generous support of an anonymous donor;
  • The café area located within the Stephen Robert ’62 Hall named as Anne's Café with the generous support of Anne M. Pedrero '91 and Robert Pedrero;
  • The exterior courtyard of the Stephen Robert ’62 Hall named the Duncan A. Chapman Family Sun Court with the generous support of Duncan A. Chapman P’18 P’19 and Barbara B. Chapman P’18 P’19.

Students met with members of the Committee on Campus Life over breakfast on Friday morning; the Fellows met with officers of the Medical Faculty Executive Committee to learn about issues of concern to Brown’s faculty members; and other Corporation members had an opportunity to engage in informal discussions with students on Thursday evening. In addition, members of the Corporation toured 164 Angell Street and Stephen Robert ’62 Hall at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and expressed gratitude to the many Brown community members who made those projects such a success.

Finally, upon recommendation from the Governance and Nominating Committee, and after a review and consultation process involving all members of the Trustees and Fellows, the Corporation voted to reappoint Chancellor Samuel Mencoff ’78, Vice Chancellor Alison Ressler ’80, and Treasurer Theresia Gouw ‘90 to second three-year terms in their respective offices, through June 30, 2022. The officers of the Corporation may serve up to three three-year terms in their positions.


Christina Paxson