Date December 16, 2021
Media Contact

The year in stories — 2021

At Brown, calendar year 2021 was brimming with breakthroughs, reflections, an unshakeable sense of community and the determination necessary to move forward — here are 21 stories that offer a glimpse at that activity.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —  From a student earning a Ph.D. in physics at age 89, to Brown community members capturing a Nobel Prize, Rhodes Scholarship and MacArthur “genius grant,” there was no shortage of individual achievements to celebrate in 2021.

But in a calendar year still framed significantly through the COVID-19 pandemic, success was about much more than academic accomplishments: the University achieved a near-universal COVID-19 vaccination rate, and in-person operations returned to a campus that began to feel a bit more like pre-pandemic Brown. Scholars at the School of Public Health, Warren Alpert Medical School and in other academic departments offered their expertise to help safely navigate the new normal, including by developing an innovative virtual course that helped leaders tackle pandemic challenges in real time.

The year at Brown witnessed myriad scientific discoveries and innovations in research — from breakthroughs in brain science to a watershed analysis of the impact of climate change — that left their marks well beyond campus. The University released a second, expanded edition of its pioneering Slavery and Justice Report, and on the solemn 20th anniversary of 9/11, the community gathered to remember and honor those lost.

And all of that is just a snapshot. As the Brown community bids farewell to 2021, here in reverse chronological order are 21 of Brown’s most noteworthy and best-loved stories of the year.

2021: The Year in Stories