Distributed June 19, 2003
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Freid to enter doctoral studies program, will step down as executive VP

Laura Freid, executive vice president for public affairs and University relations since 1996, will step down Aug. 14, 2003, to enter an executive doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Laura Freid, executive vice president for public affairs and University relations (PAUR), will leave her post Aug. 14, 2003, to begin graduate studies through an executive doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Freid intends to focus her doctoral research on issues involving the introduction of the Brown curriculum in 1969, and she will work out of temporary office space on campus as she begins her studies.

“Laura Freid and her staff in public affairs and University relations have served Brown well during an extraordinary period of transition in the University’s history,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons. “Her steady hand on communications and media relations and on community and government affairs helped keep Brown on track, and the creative work she and her staff have done in publications, marketing and strategic communications has helped prepare the University for future growth.”

During Freid’s seven-year tenure, PAUR helped Brown make progress on several fronts:

  • a focused effort on marketing and communications helped the Office of Summer Studies increase pre-college applications and attendance more than 300 percent between 2000 and 2002;
  • a larger and more varied program of lectures enriched the day-to-day intellectual life of the campus community;
  • a campuswide graphic identity program, to be inaugurated this summer, will give University publications, correspondence and signage a fresh, consistent appearance;
  • the Brown Alumni Magazine underwent graphic and editorial redesign and has won the CASE gold medal as best university magazine in the country two years in a row;
  • the University’s Web presence has been streamlined and redesigned. A new Office of Web Services within PAUR has responsibility for the “look and feel” as well as the editorial content on the University’s top-level Web pages;
  • new communications via e-mail and the Web now bring news releases, events information, the weekly George Street Journal and daily media notes to thousands of subscribers;
  • the new Thayer Street Improvement District will involve Brown, the City of Providence, and Thayer Street merchants in a coordinated effort to improve safety, sanitation and the aesthetic appearance of this important commercial area;
  • a new hardcover pictorial book, Brown: Images of the University, an updated Brown University: A Short History, a new guide for parents, and other publications have given alumni and friends a new perspective on the University.

“I feel privileged to be able to pursue my lifelong ambition of continuing my learning,” Freid said. “My experience in higher education, particularly these seven years working closely with the executive leadership of Brown, has been extraordinary, but I have not had a chance to reflect and write. I now hope to produce a doctoral dissertation that will contribute something of value to the field of higher education.”

Freid was named vice president for University relations at Brown in July 1996 by Vartan Gregorian, Brown’s 16th president. She served as chief institutional spokesperson and a member of the cabinet for four presidents (Gregorian, E. Gordon Gee, Sheila E. Blumstein and Simmons). Prior to her arrival at Brown, Freid was a senior communications officer at Harvard University, publisher of Harvard Magazine, and had served as editor and publisher of Bostonia Magazine.

“Brown University could not have had a more skillful, creative or hard-working representative during the last seven years than Laura Freid,” said Elizabeth West, a University trustee and vice president at CBS News, who chairs the Brown Corporation’s committee on University relations. “We owe Laura a tremendous debt of gratitude for safeguarding and enhancing Brown's good name during a critical time in the University's history.”

Melanie Coon, assistant vice president for public affairs and University relations, will serve as interim vice president while the University conducts a national search for Freid’s successor.

“I want to thank the students of Brown for inspiring me to join their ranks and the faculty of Brown for encouraging me to consider a future in their incredible profession,” Freid said. “I am grateful to Brown for providing me with such a highly talented and dedicated staff during my tenure here.”