Office of the President
May 26, 2018
Tags Community Messages

May 2018 Corporation Meeting: Sustainability Goals, Performing Arts Center, Strategic Planning

From the President

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I am writing to share news of the recently completed May meeting of the Corporation of Brown University. Over the past few days, the Corporation engaged in discussion and took action on a number of priorities in support of our strategic plan, Building on Distinction; elected new members to its Board of Trustees; named members of the faculty to endowed chairs; accepted many generous gifts in support of students, faculty and staff; and discussed with faculty, students and administrators a range of topics affecting academics, planning and campus life. Here are some of the highlights:

Brown's Sustainability Goals 

The Corporation engaged in a discussion of the University's developing plans to cut Brown's net greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero. Sustainability study committee co-chairs Leah VanWey (professor of sociology and environment and society, and associate provost for academic space) and Stephen Porder (associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and, effective July 1, assistant provost for sustainability) presented the outline of a plan to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (those from on-campus burning of fossil fuels and from generation of electricity that we use on campus). This work involves campus facility investments to transition the University's heating system to electric-powered heat pumps and the purchase of electricity from renewable sources. Toward that end the University is currently evaluating responses to our request for proposals from developers to create a renewable energy project to generate up to 95,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. The Office of the Provost and Facilities Management are collaborating to refine the Scope 1 and Scope 2 plan, to integrate it fully with academic space planning, and to present a comprehensive set of goals and objectives, including a timeline, to the Corporation in the fall. In addition, the committees are engaged in ongoing work to define, measure and reduce or offset the University's Scope 3 emissions, which are a consequence of the operations of the University - considerations such as greenhouse gases produced by faculty, staff or students who drive to campus or air travel as they conduct research or fieldwork. The Corporation expressed appreciation for the substantive and thoughtful work being conducted in this regard and highlighted the importance of University leadership in limiting global climate change through on-campus activities and the integration of sustainability into the education of global leaders.

Performing Arts Center 

The Corporation formally approved a site between Angell and Olive streets for the performing arts center. The site is part of a revised plan for a new PAC on College Hill approved by the Providence City Plan Commission in April.

Strategic Planning and Other Business

In various committees and meetings of the whole, members of the Corporation discussed progress in the areas of sustainable academic excellence; the 2018 Annual Report of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan; BrownTogether fundraising success; and other academic priorities. These included discussions regarding progress on capital projects, external reviews of academic areas, and updates from Financial Aid and College Admission. Throughout the meetings, members of the Corporation expressed gratitude for the hard work of faculty, staff and students to make all that Brown does possible.

Students engaged in informal discussion groups with members of the Corporation on Wednesday, and other students met with members of the Committee on Campus Life on Friday morning. This was part of the continued effort to increase communication and engagement between members of the Corporation and the student body. On Thursday evening, the Corporation joined the community in celebrating the dedication of the Engineering Research Center.

Election of Trustees and Other Actions

The Corporation elected the following new Trustees: Preetha Basaviah '91 MD'95, Pablo Legorreta P'21 and Perri A. Peltz '82. Viet Nguyen '17 will serve a two-year term as a New Alumni Trustee, following an election process in which current students and recent alumni participate directly. Brief biographical notes on the new Trustees are available online.

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

  • Gilad Barnea, Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual Sciences and Neuroscience;
  • Mark Blyth, William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics;
  • David Christensen, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Philosophy;
  • James Dreier, Judy C. Lewent and Mark L. Shapiro Professor of Philosophy;
  • Thalia Field, Adele Seaver Kellenberg Professor of Creative Writing;
  • Michael Frank, Edgar L. Marston Professor of Psychology;
  • Julie Kauer, Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual Sciences and Neuroscience;
  • Kavita Ramanan, Roland George Dwight Richardson University Professor of Applied Mathematics;
  • James Russell, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences;
  • Stephen Salloway, Martin M. Zucker Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior;
  • Daniel Smith, Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. Professor of International Studies;
  • Alexander Fleischmann, Provost's Associate Professor of Brain Science;
  • Kathaleen O'Connor-Giles, Provost's Associate Professor of Brain Science;
  • Chanelle Howe, RGSS Assistant Professor of Epidemiology;
  • Jasmine Johnson, John Atwater and Diana Nelson Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies;
  • Wang Lu, David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music;
  • Eric Nathan, David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music;
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Manning Assistant Professor of History;
  • Ashley Webb, Richard and Edna Salomon Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry.

The Fellows also approved the candidates for more than 2,700 degrees to be awarded at Commencement on Sunday, May 27.

Acceptance of Gifts 

The Corporation formally accepts gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more. At this week's meeting, the Corporation formally accepted 18 gifts and pledges made since February in the amount of $1 million or more. Totaling more than $51 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 generous gifts having been received. These include the following:

  • the Mencoff Family Directorship for the Brown Institute for Translational Science;
  • the Mencoff Family University Professorship in Translational Science;
  • the Mencoff Family Translational Research Professorship;
  • the Zisson Family Assistant Coaching Chair for Men's Soccer with the generous support of William J. Zisson '63, P'91; Nancy Steinhaus Zisson '65, P'91; and the Zisson Foundation, Inc;
  • the Barry Family Endowed Brown Sailing Chair with the generous support of the John and Daria Barry Foundation.
  • The Corporation also approved the naming of spaces:
  • a locker room at the new sailing center as the Starkweather Locker Room with the generous support of a gift from Roger Altreuter P'14 and Martha Starkweather Altreuter '79, P'14, and Todd Halloran and Julie Starkweather Halloran '85;
  • a meeting room at the new sailing center as the Davis/Emma Team Meeting Room with the generous support of a gift from Larry Davis P'17, P'20 and Donna Emma P'17, P'20;
  • the office of the head football coach as the Burke Family Head Football Coach's Office with the generous support of a gift from James J. Burke, Jr. '73, P'05, P'06, P'10.

Finally, the Corporation endorsed resolutions of appreciation for several senior officers stepping down from their leadership roles this year: Dean of the College Maud Mandel, Vice President and General Counsel Beverly Ledbetter, and Vice President and Chief Information Officer Ravi Pendse. The Corporation thanked each of these individuals and wished them all great success in their future endeavors.


Christina H. Paxson