Brown University shieldBrown University

10/3/2011: Letter to the Community from Chancellor Tisch

October 3, 2011

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I am writing to outline the search process we intend to pursue to select the nineteenth president of Brown, to succeed Ruth Simmons. As I noted in a letter to the alumni the day of Ruth’s announcement, responsibility for selection of the president of the University rests with the Corporation. However, successful fulfillment of that responsibility requires an inclusive process, active communication with, and engagement by alumni, faculty, students, and staff. The Corporation is fully committed to that principle, and the search process will emulate in many respects that which led to Ruth’s appointment in the fall of 2000.

As was the case in that search, we will form a Presidential Search Committee of the Corporation that will be aided and advised by a Campus Advisory Committee. Two committees are consistent with Brown’s custom and tradition in selecting a president over the past several decades, but it will be very much a partnership with members of both committees meeting jointly and participating actively in the search. The Campus Advisory Committee will be comprised of members of the faculty, including the Alpert Medical School faculty; student representatives from the College, the Graduate School, and the Alpert Medical School; and representatives of the staff. The Campus Advisory Committee will be led, by a faculty chair and vice chair, as has been the case in past searches.

I have asked the leadership of the respective governance bodies for each constituency to appoint members to the Campus Advisory Committee in a timely manner, with the goal of having both committees fully formed by mid-October. The Corporation will simultaneously appoint members to the Presidential Search Committee, which, as is traditional at Brown, I will chair in my role as Chancellor. The membership of both committees will be announced to the campus when the appointment processes are complete. We believe that it will be beneficial to the search process for our committees to be supported by the services of a search firm, and a process to select such a firm is taking place.

As the search gets underway this fall, we will actively seek input and engagement from the campus and alumni communities as well. While the nature of a presidential search is naturally confidential, we will seek out the opinions and perspectives of all members of the community to guide us in our work. The qualities and characteristics of leadership the Brown community is seeking in our 19th president will be highly instructive and essential to our ultimate success. Toward that end, I welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions at anytime at

In identifying the best candidates to lead Brown into its next era of continued excellence and growth, we will invite nominations and applications from all quarters. I would encourage members of the community to think of and suggest individuals, inside the Brown community and out, who you feel would be suitable candidates. While we anticipate that the position of president of Brown will be a highly attractive opportunity, it will be the responsibility and priority of both committees to develop a pool of candidates that is both deep and broad, and representative of the diversity, in all its aspects, that characterizes the strength of the Brown community today.

I will provide periodic updates to the campus as the search process unfolds, although members of the community should expect in advance that those updates will be sparse in detail. The confidentiality of candidates interested in the position will be of paramount importance, and members of the committees will be unable to speak about individuals or the status of the search in any detail while we are underway.

Brown is in a fortunate position of tremendous strength, due in large part to the visionary leadership of Ruth Simmons. Members of the Corporation look forward to working closely with representatives of the campus community to identify our next president who can build upon the great accomplishments of her presidency.


Thomas Tisch Chancellor