Office of the President
October 29, 2016
Tags Community Messages

October 2016 Corporation Meeting: Strategic Planning, Diversity and Inclusion, New Alumni Trustees

From the President

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

The Corporation of Brown University recently completed its fall meeting on campus. As always, the meeting provided opportunities to engage and advance important conversations about initiatives that are strengthening the elements at Brown’s core — our student-centered learning culture, emphasis on collaboration, and commitment to Brown as a community that makes an impact in enumerable ways.

Over the course of the past several days, members of the Corporation engaged with students and faculty; discussed progress on ​Building on Distinction, ​Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion, and the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign ​BrownTogether; and approved a proposal to enable graduating students and recent alumni to participate in the election of New Alumni Trustees. The weekend meetings were full of enthusiasm for the work of the Brown community.

Corporation members met with students on several occasions, including in discussion groups organized with the Undergraduate Council of Students that focused on the experience of international students, and the support students receive as they consider fellowships, internships and positions after graduation. Graduate students met with members of the Campus Life Committee, and a number of faculty leaders of departments and the integrative themes developed through the strategic plan met with the Academic Affairs Committee as well as the Corporation as a whole. The Board of Fellows met with the officers of the Faculty Executive Committee.

As part of an ongoing effort to continually improve its effectiveness, the Corporation is piloting a modified meeting schedule this year that allows all members to participate in meetings of the Committees on Academic Affairs, Budget & Finance and Campus Life on a rotating basis. At this week’s meeting, Academic Affairs was held as a committee of the whole, and all members participated in discussion of a variety of topics related to academic planning and priorities. The agenda included Building on Distinction performance metrics developed by the Provost and a look at major academic initiatives with a particular focus on programming underway at the Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship led by its recently appointed director, Daniel Warshay.

In other sessions, the Corporation heard updates from the architects for the renovation of Wilson Hall and the expansion of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs; received progress reports on fundraising for a Performing Arts Center; and were briefed on actions taken under Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion, including the academic department diversity and inclusion action plans developed this summer.

Also this weekend, six new Trustees were welcomed to the Corporation. The new Trustees are: John B. Ehrenkranz ’87, Charles H. Giancarlo ’79, Pamela Reeves ’87, Matthew I. Sirovich ’87 and Zachary J. Schreiber ’95. Mya L. Roberson ’16 will serve a three-year term as a Young Alumni Trustee. Jerome C. Vascellaro ’74 and Brian T. Moynihan ’81 joined the Board of Fellows. These were the first Corporation meetings under the leadership of new officers: Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff ’78, Vice Chancellor Alison S. Ressler ’80 and Treasurer Theresia Gouw ’90. Biographical information for these individuals and other members of the Corporation can be found here.

​​New Election Process for New Alumni Trustees Approved

Over the past year, the Corporation has engaged in a self-assessment of its overall governance practices and procedures, including the processes for selecting trustees. A significant change was approved this weekend to the method of selecting New Alumni Trustees that will enable, beginning this year, students in their final year of study and recent alumni to vote on a slate of candidates for that position. The New Alumni Trustees, currently referred to as young alumni trustees, contribute an important perspective grounded closely in the student experience, often acting as an interface with current Brown students.

Beginning July 1, 2017, the Corporation will reserve two positions among its membership for New Alumni Trustees, appointed for staggered two-year terms. New Alumni Trustees will be chosen by an annual election, voted on by undergraduate, graduate and medical students in the final year of study, and undergraduate, graduate, and medical alumni one to five years after their date of graduations. Eligibility for New Alumni Trustee positions will be limited to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students who, when their term begins, are between zero and three years from graduation.

An advisory committee, comprised of students, faculty and administrators, will be charged with advising the Corporation on the slate of candidates. Further information regarding this process can be found here. Additional details will be forthcoming this fall, and the first election will take place in the spring semester.

​​Acceptance of Gifts, Establishment of Endowed Positions, and Other Actions

The Corporation formally accepts gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more. At this weekend’s meeting the Corporation formally accepted 19 gifts and pledges made since May in the amount of $1 million or more. Totaling more than $91 million, these generous commitments provide critical support to a wide range of Brown’s academic priorities. The success of ​BrownTogether 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 also approved the establishment of a number of endowed positions in recognition of gifts having been received. These include the following:

  • A Watson Institute University professorship in China studies with the generous support of anonymous parents from Hong Kong;
  • The Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney University Professorship in Economics with the generous support of Trustee Robert J. Carney ’61 and Nancy D. Carney;
  • The Carole and Lawrence Sirovich Professorship for Public Health with the generous support of Trustee Matthew I. Sirovich ’87 and Meredith A. Elson ’91;
  • The Edens Family Chair in Healthcare Communications and Technology with the generous support of Wesley R. Edens P’16 and Lynn M. Edens P’16;
  • An assistant professorship in public health with the generous support of anonymous donors; and
  • The 1976 Hall of Fame Hockey Team Director of Operations for Brown Men’s and Women's Ice Hockey with the generous support of anonymous donors.

Finally, in recognition of gifts having been received, the Corporation approved the naming of a room in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center as the Freedman Family Lounge as well as an anatomy lab within the Warren Alpert Medical School in honor of the Poch Family.


Christina Paxson