Office of the President
May 23, 2014
Tags Community Messages

May 2014 Corporation Meeting: Strategic Plan, Sexual Assault, Trustee Elections

From the President

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I am writing with an update regarding the recently completed May meeting of the Corporation of Brown University.

Strategic Planning

The Corporation engaged in discussion and took action on a number of priorities in support of Building on Distinction. As noted below, the Corporation accepted a momentous gift in the amount of $25,000,000 to establish a Fellowship Fund that will provide twenty-five named fellowships supporting highly accomplished doctoral candidates in the Graduate School. Enhancing support of graduate education is a key component of the strategic plan, and this gift significantly strengthens our ability to do so.

On Wednesday evening, members of the Corporation joined the boards of Lifespan and Care New England Health System for dinner and discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities facing health care locally and nationally. A stimulating lecture on this topic was delivered by Darrell G. Kirch, MD, the President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the first-ever joint gathering of the three governing boards provided an opportunity for meaningful discussion of these important issues.

Significant progress was reported and discussed on a number of fronts related to academic priorities and campus development. In February, with one-half of the fundraising goal for a new building for the School of Engineering having been met, the Committee on Budget & Finance authorized the administration to proceed with architect selection for that project. At this meeting we were able to report, thanks to the tremendous generosity of our donors, that the full fundraising goal for the building has been achieved. While continued fundraising for Engineering remains a high priority, fully meeting the goal for this critically important capital project is an important milestone and the Corporation expressed gratitude and appreciation for the donors and volunteers who have made it possible.

Given this forward momentum, the Corporation approved the site for the new Engineering building, which will be located along Manning Walk west of Barus & Holley. This site was selected following the extensive planning and data analysis conducted over the past year that demonstrated the compelling curricular and faculty collaboration need for new Engineering facilities to be located adjacent to existing programs. An architect selection process for the new building is underway, and at this week’s meetings the Committee on Facilities & Campus Planning approved the selection of architects for two necessary enabling projects. A new building for the Division of Applied Math, to house faculty and graduate students displaced from buildings on the site of the new Engineering building, will be sited along George Street, near the primary home of Applied Math at 182 George, and designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO). ARO designed the Friedman Study Center in the Sciences Library and the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) space at 121 South Main Street. In addition, the Committee approved the selection of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol as landscape architects for the overall site of the Engineering and Applied Math projects. A preliminary conceptual rendering of the site is available online.

The Board of Fellows approved the recommendation of the Faculty to establish a joint degree Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) offered between Brown and the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Brown has partnered since 2011 with IE to offer a degree granted solely by IE with great success. The joint degree — to be housed at Brown in the newly renamed School of Professional Studies — strengthens Brown’s commitment to the program, which offers an innovative curriculum in a fifteen month blended online and in residence course of study.

The Corporation received updates on planning for the South Street Landing redevelopment project. This public-private partnership between Brown, Commonwealth Ventures, the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College envisions a $206 million investment in Providence and Rhode Island by revitalizing the vacant power plant in the Jewelry District, across Eddy Street from the Alpert Medical School. The project will be an opportunity for Brown to relocate a number of administrative offices to space that more effectively enables staff members to do their work in support of the University’s academic mission. In keeping with the principles of the strategic plan, these moves, which are still in the planning stages, will free up a significant amount of space on College Hill that can be reallocated to high priority academic needs better suited for the campus core. URI and RIC will locate a shared nursing education facility in the building, with opportunities to collaborate on medical education training with Brown. The project will also result in new housing suitable for medical, graduate and nursing students; structured parking; and retail and incubator space. This is a complicated development project with many steps remaining to be completed, but progress is being made by all involved parties.

Other strategic planning topics discussed with the Corporation include progress on a number of integrative scholarship themes; an ongoing needs assessment in the performing arts, with a particular focus on programmatic goals and facility needs for music and dance; faculty recruitment and hiring; graduate education; athletics; and planning for a comprehensive campaign to support the goals and objectives of the plan. There was great enthusiasm among members of the Corporation for progress being made under the strategic plan, and appreciation for the hard work of faculty, students and staff behind that progress.

Sexual Assault

In several committees and as a whole, the Corporation engaged in discussion regarding the issues and concerns that have been raised at Brown and across the country about the manner in which colleges and universities address sexual assault. Members of the Corporation are supportive of the immediate action steps announced earlier this month and look forward to receiving the report of the Task Force at the end of the fall semester. They affirmed our collective goal that Brown should be a national leader in prevention and response to sexual assault.

In addition to discussing sexual assault, the Committee on Campus Life met with students who will be graduating on Sunday to hear about their experiences at Brown. The Committee also met with students who have been working on issues related to student engagement with governance bodies at the University, including ideas to further enhance student engagement with the Corporation. Those discussions will continue into next academic year.

Election of Trustees and Other Actions

The Corporation elected four new Trustees for six-year terms: George S. Barrett ’77 P’06 P’15, Genine Macks Fidler ’77 P’04 P’12, Alexandra Robert Gordon ’91, and Ralph F. Rosenberg ’86 P’17. In addition, Nancy Fuld Neff ’76 P’06 P’14 will serve a second term through June 30, 2016 to coincide with her term as co-chair of the Brown Annual Fund. Brief biographical notes on the new Trustees are available online.

Upon recommendation from the Nominating Committee the Corporation voted to reappoint Treasurer Alison S. Ressler ’80 P’09 P’10 P’13 P’15 and Secretary Donald C. Hood ScM ’68 PhD ’70 to their third three-year terms in their respective offices, through June 30, 2017. The officers of the Corporation may serve up to three three-year terms in their positions.

The Corporation approved the appointment of the following faculty to named chairs, effective July 1, 2014:

  • Peter Andreas, John Hay Professor of International Studies;
  • Nitsan Chorev, Harmon Family Professor of Sociology and International Studies;
  • John Cronan, Charles and Elfriede Collis-Frances Weeden Gibson Professor of Diagnostic Imaging;
  • Karen Furie, Samuel I. Kennison, M.D. and Bertha S. Kennison Professor of Clinical Neuroscience;
  • Richard Gaitskell, Hazard Professor of Physics;
  • Leela Gandhi, John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English;
  • James Green, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Professor of Modern Latin American History;
  • Christopher Hill, William Herbert Perry Faunce Professor of Philosophy;
  • Jane Kamensky, Mary Ann Lippitt Professor of American History;
  • Greg Landsberg, Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Physics;
  • Lawrence Larson, Rush C. Hawkins University Professor of Engineering;
  • Rose McDermott, David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of International Relations;
  • David Rand, Stephen H. Olney Professor of Natural History;
  • Andrew Schrank, Olive Watson Professor of Sociology and International Studies;
  • Massimo Riva, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Italian Studies;
  • Joseph Silverman, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Mathematics;
  • Patrick Vivier, Royce Family Associate Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice;
  • Robert Blair, Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies;
  • Stephen Bush, Manning Assistant Professor of Religious Studies;
  • ​J​eff Colgan, Richard Holbrooke Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies;
  • Eric Darling, Manning Assistant Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology;
  • Jo Guldi, Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of History;
  • Nicholas Miller, Frank Stanton Assistant Professor of Nuclear Security and Policy;
  • Elias Muhanna, Manning Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature;
  • Paul Nahme, Dorot Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies;
  • Prerna Singh, Mahatma Gandhi Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies.

In addition to approving the joint IE-Brown EMBA degree program, the Board of Fellows approved the recommendation of the faculty that the name of the Department of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies be changed to the Department of Egyptology and Assyriology. At a meeting earlier this spring, the Fellows approved the recommendations of the faculty to establish the Institute for the Study of Environment and Society and to change the names of the Geological Sciences Department and the Slavic Languages Department to the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Slavic Studies, respectively. The Fellows also approved the candidates for baccalaureate and advanced degrees, to be awarded at Commencement on Sunday, May 25.

Establishment of Endowed Positions, Acceptance of Gifts

The Corporation established several endowed professorships and accepted a number of gifts. These included the following:

  • The John Hawkes Professorship in the Humanities, established by anonymous donors;
  • The Professorship in Nuclear Security and Policy, established with the support of The Stanton Foundation and the Thomas J. ’37 and Olive C. Watson Foundation;
  • The Hugh W. Pearson 1958 Family Professorship in Technology and Entrepreneurship established with the support of Hugh W. Pearson ’58;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $25,000,000 to establish a Fellowship Fund, which will underwrite twenty-five named fellowships supporting highly accomplished doctoral candidates at the University;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $5,000,000 pending donor designation;
  • From Hugh W. Pearson '58, a gift of $2,196,530, in addition to prior gifts, to establish the Hugh W. Pearson '58 Family Professorship in Technology and Entrepreneurship;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $2,000,000, of which $1,000,000 is designated to support a post-doctoral fellowship at the Watson Institute, with preference for scholars working on South Asia/India or India in comparative perspective; $600,000 to support research in pulmonary fibrosis and other pulmonary disorders; and $400,000 to support the Brown Annual Fund;
  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $2,000,000, of which $1,800,000 is allocated to the President's Flexible Fund and $200,000 will support the Brown Annual Fund;
  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $1,500,000, of which $1,000,000 is designated to support the President's Flexible Fund; $400,000 to support the Brown Annual Fund; and $100,000 to assist in the maintenance of the Ladd Observatory;
  • From anonymous donors a gift of $1,000,000 for expenses related to hiring an architect and producing plans for the School of Engineering's new building;
  • From Mr. Howard M. Reisman ’76, P’09, a gift of $1,000,000 to assist in the construction of the new Engineering building;
  • From Ms. Judith V. Bassoul ’77, an unrestricted bequest intention of $1,000,000;
  • From anonymous donors a gift of $1,000,000 to underwrite undergraduate teaching assistants in support of the Computer Science undergraduate curriculum;
  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $1,000,000 to support undergraduate scholarships at the University, with a preference for high-need students;
  • From anonymous donors a gift of $1,000,000, of which $900,000 is designated to pilot a program on Ethical Leadership and $100,000 is designated to support the Brown Annual Fund;
  • From The Stanton Foundation, a second gift of $1,000,000 to support the establishment of an endowed professorship in international security issues, with a particular focus on policy relevant nuclear security studies;
  • From Andres Santo Domingo ’00, a gift of $1,000,000 to increase the Andres Santo Domingo Class of 2000 International Scholarship Fund;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $1,000,000 to establish the Head Coaching Chair in Women's Soccer.

The Corporation also approved the naming of the lower lobby of 89 Waterman Street, the home of the Institute for the Study of Environment and Society (ISES), as the Sharpe Family Lobby, in honor of gifts received from Henry D. Sharpe, Jr, ‘45, LLD’70 and Peggy Sharpe P’77. On Thursday evening members of the Corporation joined the Sharpes, and faculty, students, and staff to celebrate the launch of ISES in their spectacular new home. Finally, the Corporation also endorsed a resolution of appreciation for Provost Mark Schlissel for his service to Brown and wished him great success as President of the University of Michigan.


This academic year has been a time of both challenge and accomplishment for the Brown community. I have appreciated the continued deep commitment of faculty, students, and staff to constantly improve all that we do. Members of the Corporation join me in expressing gratitude for your work and your dedication.


Christina H. Paxson

Further information about the Corporation is available on-line.