PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At Brown, scholarship on issues related to race, diversity, equity and inclusion continues to expand, and the communities engaged in academic work continue to become more diverse. Meanwhile, across College Hill and the globe is an increasingly diverse population of Brown students who aspire to make the world more just and inclusive through their studies, lives and careers — students who can focus increasingly on their academic goals with the financial support to pursue a Brown education.
This is possible, in part, because of growing momentum among donors who recognize that Brown’s teaching and research is exponentially stronger when individuals from a wide range of perspectives come together to solve complex problems and make an impact well beyond campus.
Over the course of this academic year and the last, gifts and grants exceeding $20 million toward the University’s ambitious BrownTogether fundraising campaign have offered new support for faculty positions, research initiatives, student financial support and other priorities outlined in Brown’s diversity and inclusion action plan. This is part of more than $157 million Brown has committed, as of January 2021, toward the plan’s priorities through a combination of operational funds and donor contributions to support diversity and inclusion over the past five years.
“As our nation continues to confront racism and discrimination while battling a pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color, the importance of addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion has never been more clear,” University President Christina H. Paxson said. “It is wonderful to see an increasingly wide range of generous donors contribute to bringing together scholars who offer a diversity of insights for the education, scholarship and research that is critical for advancing knowledge about issues facing society and communities around the globe.”
At the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, for example, scholars from across the academic spectrum are convening for urgent explorations on how anti-Black racism permeates American public health, criminal justice and election procedures. Nearby, at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, faculty and students are collaborating with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to gather stories from descendants of slaves — a project that will generate the world’s largest collection of oral histories about racial slavery and its legacies.
The generosity shown by Brown alumni, parents and friends in support of the work of these academic centers and other departments across campus, Paxson noted, is a testament to the University’s commitment to creating and sustaining an academic community that embodies the social and intellectual diversity of the world. This is important not only for strengthening the impact of teaching and research across many fields of study, but also for preparing students for successful lives and careers.