Distributed March 31, 2003
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Initiatives for Academic Enrichment

Chancellor Robert announces $500K challenge to Brown Annual Fund

To honor Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons, Chancellor Stephen Robert, a member of the Class of 1962, has made a $500,000 challenge gift to the Brown Annual Fund, a gift designed to spur participation.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – One month after the Brown Corporation renewed its support for the University’s ambitious plans for growth and academic enrichment, Chancellor Stephen Robert has announced a personal challenge to the Brown community in honor of President Ruth J. Simmons. If the Brown Annual Fund can attract gifts of any size from 25,000 donors by June 30 – a 10-percent increase in donors over last year – Robert will make a half-million-dollar gift to the Annual Fund.

“My aim, first and foremost, is to honor Ruth Simmons and to emphasize the critically important role that the Brown Annual Fund plays in supporting the Initiatives for Academic Enrichment,” said Robert, a 1962 graduate of Brown, as he announced his challenge gift today. “This is an exciting moment in Brown’s history, a time when the support of alumni, parents and friends can make a significant difference. I want to help enlarge the circle of annual support for Brown.”

The Brown Annual Fund is the University’s most important source of unrestricted current-use gifts. In the 2001-02 academic year, it achieved unprecedented growth, raising more than $17 million. That figure represented a 14.4-percent increase over the previous year’s total and was made possible by a 16.5-percent increase in the number of donors.

“On behalf of the entire Brown community, let me first thank Steve Robert for his extraordinary generosity. Sustaining double-digit growth in the Brown Annual Fund’s donors would be an ambitious goal even in strong economic times, but that is what the Chancellor’s challenge will help us accomplish this year,” said Jerome C. Vascellaro, a 1974 Brown graduate and national chair of the Brown Annual Fund. “Brown is moving forward on the Initiatives for Academic Enrichment and already has plans beyond those initiatives. The Chancellor and I are confident that Brown’s alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and other friends will support President Simmons’ bold vision for the University by making a gift to the Annual Fund this year. We hope the entire Brown community will want to be part of this exciting opportunity.”