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Sept 15: Letter from Chancellor Thomas Tisch '76

September 15, 2011

Earlier today, President Ruth Simmons informed the Corporation and campus community of her intention to step down from the presidency of Brown at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 academic year and return to the Brown faculty. Having begun her duties as Brown’s 18th president in July 2001, Ruth will have completed eleven years of inspired and inspiring service at the conclusion of her term.

Ruth's leadership at Brown has been monumental. From the moment of her arrival on College Hill, Ruth has continually raised our sights while providing the wisdom, direction, and leadership to achieve our highest aspirations. Over the course of her tenure, she has paid careful attention to every critical facet of the University, from renewing our commitment to shared governance, to reaffirming our essential role in tackling even the thorniest of issues through respectful and informed civil discourse.

In her inimitable way, Ruth demanded broad engagement in developing and executing the Plan for Academic Enrichment, the thoughtful, concise and straightforward blueprint that has guided our work for the past decade. The Plan, elegant in its simplicity and profound in its implementation, called for expanding and supporting the faculty — the core of any University; committing to need-blind admission to attract the most talented minds to Brown; strengthening the graduate and medical schools; supporting research, teaching and learning at the highest levels; and transforming the campus with new and renewed facilities. Brown is stronger than at any point in its history as a result of Ruth’s vision, courage, and hard work. We are exceedingly grateful to her for all that she has accomplished for Brown to date, and for her leadership throughout the course of this year as the campus continues to move forward on many fronts.

Given the strengths of Brown, our robust governance, and engaged community, we are confident that we will find an inspiring leader to succeed Ruth, and to build upon the many significant accomplishments of the past decade. We are equally confident in our capacity for a seamless transition.

As prescribed in the Brown Charter of 1764, 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. We will be outlining the steps we will take in that regard in the coming weeks.

Ruth enjoys the esteem, respect and admiration of every reach of our community, and I know that we all look forward to honoring her in countless ways in the weeks and months to come. Perhaps the most meaningful and enduring tribute will be our resolve to continue to build upon the extraordinary successes that Ruth has achieved at Brown.


Thomas Tisch ’76