Members of the Brown Community,

I am delighted to announce that Vicki Leigh Colvin, currently vice provost for research and the Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University, will join the Brown Community as its 12th Provost, effective July 1, 2014.

The provost is the University’s chief academic officer and is a leader and critical partner in advancing the University’s strategic agenda. Many of the University’s senior positions report directly to the provost, including the deans of the College, Graduate School, and faculty; the University librarian; dean of admission; director of financial aid; vice president for research; and chief information officer. The provost chairs a number of committees designed to establish and propel University priorities, including the University Resources Committee and the Academic Priorities Committee. The provost serves as the senior officer in charge of the University in the absence of the president.

Dr. Colvin is an accomplished scholar and proven academic leader, and is particularly well-prepared to assume the role of provost at this important juncture in the University’s history. She began her academic career at Rice University in 1996 as assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry after serving two years at Bell Laboratories. She was appointed co-director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology in 2008, and served in this role until becoming vice provost for research in 2011. She also served as director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology from 2001-11. She earned her B.S. in chemistry and physics at Stanford University, and her doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of California–Berkeley.

She has received numerous honors and awards, including a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for junior faculty. She has authored or co-authored more than 140 journal articles or book chapters and has been honored as a Sloan fellow, AAAS fellow, and fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Dr. Colvin has been actively engaged in professional service. She has been a member of the NSF’s Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering, the Intelligence Science Board, and she chaired the National Institutes of Health’s Nanotechnology Study Section. She has also served on editorial boards and advisory councils for a number of journals and professional organizations, and has also been an advocate for public communication about science and research.

Many thanks to the search committee that led this successful national search for Brown’s provost, which was composed of the following members:  Iris Bahar, professor of engineering; Wendy Edwards, professor of visual art; Peter Friedmann, professor of medicine; Sharon Krause, professor of political science; Charles Larmore, the W. Duncan MacMillan Family Professor of the Humanities and professor of philosophy; Glenn Loury, the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of economics; Kimberly Mowry, the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor of Biomedicine and professor of biology; Jack Mustard, professor of geological sciences and environmental studies; Crystal Ngo, a graduate student in American studies; Daniel Pipkin, an undergraduate in the Class of 2014; Kavita Ramanan, professor of applied mathematics; and David Rand, professor of biology. Thanks, too, to Assistant to the President Kimberly Roskiewicz, who staffed the committee.

Please join me in welcoming Vicki Colvin to the Brown community.


Christina Paxson