Office of the President
May 25, 2019
Tags Community Messages

May 2019 Corporation Meeting: Strategic Planning, Admissions, Annenberg Institute, Campus Life

From the President

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; named members of the faculty to endowed chairs; accepted many generous gifts in support of students, faculty and staff; and elected new members to its Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows. Here are some of the highlights:


In various committees and meetings of the whole, members of the Corporation discussed progress in the areas of sustainable academic excellence; the 2019 Annual Report of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan; BrownTogether fundraising success; and other academic priorities. They heard and discussed presentations on academic research led by Professor John Friedman regarding higher education and social mobility, and on important campus work taking place regarding access and equity in admissions from Dean of Admissions Logan Powell and ensuring student engagement and success from Dean of the College Rashid Zia.

The Committee on Academic Affairs engaged in in-depth discussion regarding a range of issues related to academic excellence, including external reviews of academic programs, ongoing efforts to support students in their academic work, and updates from College Admission and Graduate School Admission. The committee also heard a compelling strategic plan for the Department of Education from Professor Tracy Steffes, the department’s chair. She has worked closely with colleagues and with the director of the Annenberg Institute, Professor Susanna Loeb, to develop a comprehensive plan that re-envisions the undergraduate program, restructures the graduate programs, and repositions Education for scholarly excellence in partnership with Annenberg, inspired by a vision for integrating research, teaching and practice.

Acting upon the recommendation of the Committee on Campus Life, and following the year-long work of a review committee comprising students, faculty and staff, the Corporation approved a new Code of Student Conduct to take effect July 1, 2019. The new Code reflects the core values established by the review committee to be educational, multi-partial, fair, transparent and socially just.

The Corporation formally approved the siting of the Health and Wellness Center and Residence Hall along Brook Street, facing Pembroke Field, and the Center for Lacrosse and Soccer adjacent to Stevenson-Pincince Field. The Corporation Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning also received design update presentations from the architects on both projects, as well as the Performing Arts Center.

Members of the Committee on Campus Life had breakfast with students from the Alpert Medical School on Friday morning, and other student leaders joined the Committee’s business meeting later that day. This was part of the continued effort to increase communication and engagement among members of the Corporation and the student body. Officers of the Faculty Executive Committee met with the Board of Fellows. And on Thursday evening, the Corporation joined the community in celebrating the dedication of Stephen Robert ‘62 Hall at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.


The Corporation elected the following new Trustees: Orlando Bravo ’92, Kate Burton ’79, A. Richard Caputo Jr. ’88, Joseph E. Edelman, Jill Furman ’90, Oliver Haarmann ’90, Mitchell R. Julis, Frayda B. Lindemann, Sara Savage ’90, Donna McGraw Weiss ’89 and Nancy G. Zimmerman ’85. Amanda Boston AM’16, PhD’18 will serve a two-year term as a New Alumni Trustee, following an election process in which current students and recent alumni participate directly. Sangeeta N. Bhatia ’90 and Jim Yong Kim ’82 were elected to the Board of Fellows. Brief biographical notes on the new Trustees and Fellows are available in the University’s news release:

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

-- Dan Abramovich, L. Herbert Ballou Professor of Mathematics;

-- Tina Campt, Owen Walker Professor of Humanities and Professor of Modern Culture and Media;

-- Wafik El-Deiry, Mencoff Family University Professor of Medical Science;

-- Andrew Foster, George S. and Nancy B. Parker Professor of Economics;

-- Mary Gluck, Dorot Professor of History and Judaic Studies;

-- Mark Johnson, Royce Family Associate Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of Biology;

-- Sharon Krause, William R. Kenan University Professor of Political Science;

-- Emily Oster, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence and Professor of Economics;

-- Tayhas Palmore, Elaine Savage Professor of Engineering;

-- Jesse Shapiro, Eastman Professor of Political Economy;

-- Kevin Bath, Joukowsky Assistant Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences;

-- Melody Chan, Manning Assistant Professor of Mathematics;

-- Lorin Crawford, RGSS Assistant Professor of Biostatistics;

-- Theresa Desrochers, Rosenberg Assistant Professor of Brain Science and Neuroscience;

-- Yu-Wen Alvin Huang, GLF Translational Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry;

-- Tyler Jost, Watson Institute Assistant Professor of China Studies;

-- George Konidaris, John Savage Assistant Professor of Computer Science;

-- Myles Lennon, Dean's Assistant Professor of Environment and Society and Anthropology;

-- Katherine Mason, Vartan Gregorian Assistant Professor of Anthropology;

-- Elena Shih, Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies;

-- Daniel Vaca, Robert Gale Noyes Assistant Professor of Religious Studies;

-- Shipra Vaishnava, Manning Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology;

-- Rachel Wetts, Acacia Assistant Professor of Environment and Society and Sociology;

-- Tyler Wray, Edens Family Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

The Fellows also approved the candidates for 2,896 degrees to be awarded at Commencement on Sunday, May 26.


The Corporation formally accepts gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more. At this week’s meeting, the Corporation formally accepted 24 gifts and pledges made since February in the amount of $1 million or more. Totaling more than $70.5 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 Christopher Chan P’20 and Michelle Ma P’20 Professorship with the generous support of Christopher Chan P’20 and Michelle Ma P’20;
  • The PDBF Distinguished Professorship in Economics with the generous support of an anonymous donor;
  • The University Professorship in Migraine Research and Clinical Sciences with the generous support of an anonymous donor;
  • The Jeanette and Richard Given Head Coaching Chair for Men’s Ice Hockey with the generous support of David Given ’75;
  • The Adrienne Minassian Professorship in Islamic Art and Architecture with the generous support of Marilyn Jenkins-Madina ’62. The Corporation also approved the naming of spaces:
  • The plaza located at the Center for Lacrosse and Soccer named the Thomas F. Gilbane Jr. ’69 and Mary Gilbane P’97, P’98, P’00 Plaza for the Center of Lacrosse and Soccer, with the generous support of a gift from Thomas F. Gilbane III ’97;
  • The elevator foyer, located on the second floor of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, named the Greg ’83 and Anne Thorson Family Foyer, with the generous support of a gift from Greg ’83 and Anne Thorson;
  • The main lecture hall located on the second floor of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, named the Liz Lange Lecture Hall, with the generous support of a gift from Liz Lange ’88, P’23 and David Shapiro P’23.

Members of the Corporation expressed gratitude and appreciation for the hard work of students, faculty and staff to make all that Brown does possible.


Christina H. Paxson