Dear Members of the Brown Community,

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; elected new members to its Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows; named members of the faculty to endowed chairs; accepted many generous gifts in support of students, faculty and staff; and engaged in discussion with faculty, students and administrators on a range of topics affecting academics, planning, and campus life. Here are some of the highlights:

Brown Physicians, Inc.

On Thursday evening, members of the Corporation joined with guests from the community and the presidents of six medical practice foundations in signing a formal agreement to establish the nonprofit Brown Physicians, Inc. (BPI). With the Warren Alpert Medical School as a key partner, BPI will allow for greater integration of patient care, research and education across Rhode Island’s health care sector.

The foundations are the Neurology Foundation, Inc.; University Emergency Medicine Foundation; University Medicine Foundation; University Surgical Associates, Inc.; Brown Urology, Inc.; and Brown Dermatology, Inc., all dedicated to fueling advances in health care in the state and the region. Together, they employ more than 500 doctors, all of whom are also members of the Warren Alpert Medical School faculty, and many of whom work side-by-side in Rhode Island’s hospitals with physicians and other health care providers employed by local hospitals.

The creation of BPI will enhance the ability of its members to serve the community’s health care needs, to optimally educate the next generation of medical professionals, to grow their combined research portfolios, and to contribute to the state’s plans to cultivate a thriving biomedical economy in Providence and the greater region. Partnering more closely than ever, the physicians, the medical school and the hospitals will be better equipped to collaborate on educational initiatives and opportunities, to pool resources, to support research, and to coordinate clinical care and administrative functions.

I would like to thank Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Jack Elias and his leadership team for their persistence and vision in this exciting landmark for Brown and for the health care sector more broadly in Providence and Rhode Island.

Performing Arts Center

The Corporation approved two critical steps toward realizing the University’s vision to create a cutting-edge performing arts center (PAC) on campus. Following a thorough selection process, the Committee on Facilities and Campus Planning approved the selection of the award-winning architecture firm REX, known for its imaginative approach to cultural buildings, to design the PAC. The Corporation also approved the site for the building, between Angell and Waterman streets on the west side of The Walk, adjacent to other arts-centered academic facilities in the heart of campus.

REX is led by Joshua Prince-Ramus, and the firm’s portfolio includes pioneering cultural buildings such as the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center site in New York, and the Seattle Central Library. We are delighted to work with architects of this stature and experience on such an important building for Brown. The new performing arts center will build on our rich arts heritage, serve as a venue for groundbreaking new works and strengthen our connection to the greater community.

The approved site places the PAC at the center of a vibrant collection of campus arts facilities that includes the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Rites and Reason Theatre, and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center. The Walk also presents the possibility of using outdoor space for performances and accommodates traffic and loading needs. Other sites that were considered – along Meeting Street southeast of Alumnae Hall and on Brook Street between Meeting and Cushing Streets – failed to offer the critically important academic program adjacencies found on The Walk. The approved location supports the academic vision for the PAC as a hub for the arts at Brown.

With the architect and site approved, detailed planning for the PAC is slated to begin in earnest this summer. The target completion date for the project is late Fall 2020.

Strategic Planning and Other Business

In various committees and meetings of the whole, members of the Corporation discussed progress in the areas of sustainable academic excellence;

BrownTogether fundraising success; and other academic priorities. These included discussions regarding success in faculty recruitment, faculty leadership in areas of integrative scholarship, undergraduate student housing goals and priorities, Brown Athletics, and updates from Financial Aid and College Admission. Throughout the meetings, members of the Corporation expressed gratitude for the hard work of faculty, staff and students to make all that Brown does possible.

On Wednesday, members of the Corporation engaged in informal discussion groups with students on two topics of great importance:​ Inclusive Classrooms and​ Campus Climate Post-Election. This was part of the continued effort to increase communication and engagement between members of the Corporation and the student body. The Committee on Campus Life also hosted a breakfast discussion with graduating seniors.

Election of Trustees, Fellows and Other Actions

The Corporation elected the following new Trustees: Bernadette Aulestia ’94, Guoqing Chen P’17, Libby A. Heimark ’76, Galen V. Henderson MD’93, Jim Yong Kim ’82, and Kenneth H. McDaniel ’69. Chichi A. Anyoku ’14 will serve a two-year term as a New Alumni Trustee, the first to hold this position following a new election process in which current students and recent alumni participate directly. Craig E. Barton ’78 and Thomas J. Tisch ’76 were elected to the Board of Fellows. Brief biographical notes on the new Trustees and Fellows are available online.

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

  • Shahzad Bashir, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities;
  • Rebecca Burwell, Albert D. Mead Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences;
  • S. James Gates, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics;
  • Jonathan Kurtis, Stanley M. Aronson Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine;
  • Rafael LaPorta, Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney University Professor of Economics;
  • Diane Lipscombe, Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science;
  • Robert Preucel, James Manning Professor of Anthropology;
  • Laurence Smith, John Atwater and Diana Nelson Atwater University Professor of Environmental Studies;
  • Peter Szendy, David Herlihy University Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature;
  • Margaret Weir, Wilson Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science;
  • Ellen Rooney, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Professor of English and Modern Culture and Media;
  • Bjorn Sandstede, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Professor of Applied Mathematics;
  • Thomas Bartnikas, Manning Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine;
  • Hannah Freed-Thall, William A. Dyer, Jr. Assistant Professor of the Humanities;
  • Stefanie Tellex, Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

The Fellows also approved the candidates for more than 2,500 degrees, to be awarded at Commencement on Sunday, May 28.

Acceptance of Gifts

The Corporation formally accepts gifts and pledges in the amount of $1 million or more. At this week’s meeting, the Corporation formally accepted 20 gifts and pledges made since February in the amount of $1 million or more. Totaling more than $40 million, these generous commitments provide critical support to a wide range of Brown’s academic priorities. The success of theBrownTogether campaign to date and in the future builds from gifts of many dollar amounts, and all are essential to our success and deeply appreciated.

One gift in particular is especially meaningful: Anonymous donors have made a generous commitment of $5 million to establish scholarships for undocumented and refugee students who have been displaced by strife in their home countries. The gift will support the financial needs of recipients at the undergraduate, graduate or medical school level, covering the full cost of tuition, room and board, books, travel costs and fees for co-curricular activities. We are grateful to these donors for their leadership in supporting refugee students.

The Corporation approved the naming of the head coaching chair in Women’s Crew as The Loyalty Coaching Chair with the generous support of Dr. Kathryn Quadracci Flores ’90 along with other alumni, parents and friends.

The Corporation also approved the naming of spaces:

  • the first-level common area in the new School of Engineering building as Hazeltine Commons with the generous support of a gift from Theresia Gouw ’90;
  • the outdoor plaza of the new School of Engineering building as Giancarlo Plaza with the generous support of a gift from Charles H. Giancarlo ’79, P’08, P’11;
  • the baseball field at the Terrence Murray Baseball Stadium as the Attanasio Family Field with the generous support of a gift from the Attanasio family; and
  • a green adjacent to the Terrence Murray Baseball Stadium as the Flanders Family Field with the generous support of a gift from Robert G. Flanders, Jr. ’71 and Ann I. Flanders.

Finally, the Corporation endorsed resolutions of appreciation for several senior officers stepping down from their leadership roles this year: Dean of the School of Public Health Fox Wetle; Vice President for Research David Savitz; Vice President for Academic Development, Diversity and Inclusion Liza Cariaga-Lo; Senior Vice President for University Advancement Patricia Watson; and Vice President for Human Resources Karen Davis. The Corporation thanked each of these individuals and wished them all great success in their future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Christina H. Paxson