Office of the President
February 12, 2024

February 2024 Corporation Meeting: Academic Priorities, Strategic Discussions, Fiscal Year 2025; and acceptance of gifts and endowed positions.

From the President

News from the Corporation Meeting

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

The Corporation of Brown University recently completed its winter meetings. The Corporation (the name given in the Charter of the University, written in 1764) is the University’s governing body. The Corporation comprises a Board of Fellows and a Board of Trustees and is responsible for matters of policy and long-term planning. More information about the trustees and fellows as a whole, biographies of members, and their roles and responsibilities can be found on the Corporation website:


In various committees and as a whole, trustees and fellows discussed a wide range of academic priorities and planning matters. The Committee on Academic Affairs engaged with four distinguished Brown faculty members from across the disciplinary spectrum in a discussion regarding the opportunities and challenges presented by generative artificial intelligence.

Several committees also heard presentations on the Integrated Life Sciences Building (ILSB) led by Provost Francis J. Doyle, III along with the senior academic leaders planning for that facility: Tejal Desai, Dean of Engineering; Mukesh K. Jain, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences; and Diane Lipscombe, Director of the Carney Institute for Brian Science. The deans explained how the ILSB will deepen collaboration and foster high-impact research. The most significant problems we are facing in science, technology and health demand a multidisciplinary approach that draws on the talent and creativity of faculty and students from across a range of fields who are able to employ a diverse set of tools and techniques to have a transformative impact on these problems. Brown is positioned very well to undertake these sorts of approaches, and the ILSB will provide the literal and metaphorical foundation to do so.

With the geopolitical conflict and escalation of violence in the Middle East, members of the Corporation also held thoughtful discussions about the ongoing intense debates – on campus and nationally – about the role of universities concerning the national issues of institutional neutrality, divestment campaigns and engaging in dialog across differences. They considered how deeply personal the issues have become for many across the Brown community.

Members of the Corporation shared how moved they were by the conviction of the activists holding protests throughout the meetings, including the group of students advocating for divestment during a days-long protest that ended Friday evening. Discussions explored the central role of protest as a powerful form of expression, as well as Brown’s rich history of activism as a way to elevate issues of importance to our community.

With many Corporation members having their own experiences with activism in their time at Brown, the members reflected on how activists can feel seen, heard and listened to. Corporation members also discussed education efforts to ensure the community is aware of the long-established mechanisms to formally request that the University consider divestment proposals. No new proposals for divestment had gone through this process to allow consideration at the weekend’s meetings.

Prior to the meetings, the student activists were informed by the University that the first step would be to submit a proposal to the Advisory Committee on University Resource Management, or ACURM. The committee, which includes faculty, students, staff and alumni, makes recommendations to the president, who may decide to take recommendations to the Corporation. Student activists have been informed of my determination in 2021 that a 2020 proposal currently supported by the activists, which was developed by ACURM’s predecessor (the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Practices, or ACCRIP), “did not adequately address the requirements for rigorous analysis and research as laid out in ACCRIP’s charge, nor was there the requisite level of specificity in regard to divestment.”

At the same time, we have communicated that the bar for divestment is high, requiring a demonstration that the University’s investments in the assets of specific companies create social harm that divestment will alleviate. And while a proposal to ACURM is the start of the divestment process, we have been clear that any proposal seeking to use Brown’s endowment to “take a side” on contested political issues would not be approved, as Brown’s financial assets serve the entire University community. During our meetings, the Corporation reviewed the University’s current policies and practices regarding ethical investing, including standards for divestment and how environmental, social and governance criteria are used in making investment decisions.

Corporation members also reviewed enhancements to Brown’s processes for addressing discrimination and harassment, as well as the extensive programming taking place this semester to provide opportunities for fostering constructive dialogue and cultivating a caring and supportive community. Members expressed appreciation for the many faculty, staff and students who are planning, leading and engaging in these efforts.


At the February meeting, the Corporation considers the mid-cycle report and recommendations of the University Resources Committee (URC), which is composed of students, faculty and administrators. The URC operates on a full-year schedule and will present to me their recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2025 later this semester for action at the May meeting of the Corporation. At this meeting the Corporation approved undergraduate, graduate and medical school tuition and the highest employee salary pool in 16 years.

The approved employee salary increase pool of 4.5% for FY25 continues a trend of investments to strengthen Brown’s ability to recognize, reward and retain its talented employees and remain competitive in the national labor market. In recommending the high pool — which has typically been in the range of 2.5% to 3.5% over most of the previous decade — the URC considered factors including recruitment and retention trends, regional cost of living and persistent economic inflation across the nation. Funds from the pool are allocated by academic and administrative leaders to support annual performance-based salary increases for employees, equity adjustments, retention and promotions over the course of the fiscal year. Given the pool’s use to fund all of those employee support measures, annual merit increases for faculty and staff will not in most cases reflect the full 4.5%.

Tuition for Brown’s undergraduate education will increase 4.5% for the 2024-25 academic year. Most master’s and doctoral programs will increase 4.5%, and medical school tuition will increase by 2.75%. Each of those tuition increases is lower than last year’s. The URC recommendations strove to keep tuition and fees increases as low as possible, even as those funds continue to provide the largest share of revenue for the University’s budget. The funds are instrumental in Brown’s ability to sustain investments in research, teaching, student support, financial aid and other priorities in a national environment where the impact of inflation has translated into higher operating costs for Brown and other schools.

With increases to room, board and required fees factored in, total undergraduate tuition and fees will increase by 4.75%. Those increases will be coupled with a significant increase in Brown’s financial aid budget. While the full budget presented to the Corporation in May will solidify financial aid resources across master’s, doctoral and all groups of students, the undergraduate financial aid budget is projected to increase by approximately $13 to $15 million (in the range of 6% to 7%). Undergraduate aid has long been among the fastest-growing elements in the annual budget, with the University introducing a growing array of financial support measures as part of its commitment to expanded access. Brown meets 100% of each undergraduate’s demonstrated financial need; replaced loans with scholarships in University financial aid packages; eliminated consideration of home equity in considering families’ financial circumstances; reduced summer earnings expectations for high-need students; and plans to become need-blind for international undergraduate students in the next admissions cycle. Brown covers full tuition for families earning $125,000 or less with typical assets, while students from families making less than $60,000 a year with typical assets receive scholarships that cover all expenses — tuition, room, board, books and other expenses.

The Corporation also approved room and board rates and student fees for 2024-25, with some fee increases assisting Brown departments in removing or reducing required fees for activities on campus. An increase from $80 to $90 in the student recreation fee, for example, will enable the Division of Athletics and Recreation to continue to eliminate direct charges for most group fitness and intramural sports and expand offerings. Separately, an increase in the undergraduate student activities fee comes as Brown offers no-cost participation in many large student events, including Spring Weekend and Senior Week — a shift that reflects Brown’s commitment to removing barriers to participation for students across the financial spectrum.


The Corporation formally accepted individual gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more made since October. Totaling more than $55 million, these generous commitments provide critical support to a wide range of Brown’s academic priorities. The success of the BrownTogether fundraising campaign depends on gifts of many dollar amounts, and all are essential to our success and deeply appreciated.

The Trustees and Fellows also approved the establishment of a number of endowed positions in recognition of generous gifts having been received. Professorships established at this meeting include the following:

-- The Keogh Family Director of Lacrosse Operations was established with the generous support of John W. Keogh '86, P'19 and Lauren A. Keogh P'19;

-- The Basaviah-Ganesan Family Assistant Professorship in Biology was established with the generous support of Preetha Basaviah '91 MD'95 and Venky Ganesan;

-- The Mark L. Shapiro and Judy C. Lewent University Professorship was established with the generous support of Mark L. Shapiro '64 and Judy C. Lewent. The professor appointed to this position will be affiliated with the Center for Philosophy, Politics and Economics and will also hold an appointment in either the Department of Economics or the Department of Philosophy;

-- The Donna McGraw Weiss and Jason Weiss Assistant Professorship in the Division of Biology and Medicine was established with the generous support of Donna McGraw Weiss '89, P'25, P'27 MD'31 and Jason Weiss P'25, P'27 MD'31.

The Corporation approved the appointment of the following faculty members to named chairs:

-- Linda Brown, Frances Weeden Gibson-Edward A. Iannuccilli Md Professor of Emergency Medicine

-- Edward Huey, Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior;

-- Mahesh Jayaraman, Charles and Elfriede Collis-Frances Weeden Gibson Professor of Diagnostic Imaging;

-- Audrey Tyrka, Mary E. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.

The Corporation formally approved the previously announced site of the Indoor Turf Facility within the Erickson Athletic Complex on the current Meister-Kavan Field. This facility will move existing activities to an enclosed building and mitigate noise impacts on neighbors, and will greatly advance Brown's capacity for varsity, intramural and recreational sports activity throughout the year. Construction is anticipated to begin this summer.

The Committee on Campus Life heard a presentation from the president of the Graduate Student Council and convened discussions with graduate students over breakfast Friday morning. The Fellows met with officers of the Medical Faculty Executive Committee to learn about issues of concern to Brown’s faculty members in our affiliated teaching hospitals.


Christina H. Paxson