Brown Corporation approves academic changes

May 25, 2008  |  Media Contact: Mark Nickel |  401-863-1638
At its regular Commencement Weekend business meeting Friday, May 23, 2008, the Corporation of Brown University approved changes in academic programs and policies; established new endowed chairs; received a number of gifts to the University; elected two new fellows and four new trustees; elected a new treasurer and secretary; and authorized the sale of the former Old Stone Bank building.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its regular business meeting today (Friday, May 23, 2008), the Corporation of Brown University took a number of actions with regard to academic life, including the awarding of degrees, creation of three new endowed professorships, and formal acceptance of gifts totaling nearly $20 million. The Corporation also elected six new members and two new officers and authorized the sale of the former Old Stone Bank building.

Actions on Academic Matters

Upon the recommendation of the University's faculty, the Corporation approved 2,211 academic and honorary degrees to be presented during the University's 240th Commencement on Sunday, May 25.

The Corporation approved a new policy for promotion of associate professors as recommended by the faculty. The policy requires that all tenured associate professors be reviewed for promotion to professor after 10 years and at least every five years thereafter, if not promoted. Associate professors have the option to defer this review.

The Corporation also approved the recommendations of the faculty to rename the Center for Latin American Studies as the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, to rename the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization as the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and to transform and rename the existing Brain Science Program into the Brown Institute for Brain Science.

Endowed positions established

Having received sufficient funding, the Corporation established the following endowed positions, in accordance with University policy:

  • the Joukowsky Family Professorship in Archaeology;
  • the Louise Lamphere Visiting Professorship;
  • the Rahel Varnhagen (1771-1833) Professorship of International Affairs, Law and Modern Culture, a 15-year term professorship in the Watson Institute; and
  • the Mary Ann Lippitt Head Coaching Chair in Women’s Swimming and Diving.

Gifts accepted

University policy requires formal acceptance by the Corporation of all gifts to the University of $1 million or more. At its Friday morning meeting the Corporation formally received:

  • from the estate of W. Duncan MacMillan, a 1953 Brown graduate, a bequest of $4,823,502 for W. Duncan MacMillan ’53 Hall;
  • from an anonymous donor, a gift of $4,315,717 to establish the Rahel Varnhagen (1771-1833) Professorship of International Affairs, Law and Modern Culture, a 15-year term professorship in the Watson Institute;
  • from the Suna and Inan Kirac Foundation, a gift of $3 million to establish the Suna Kirac Fellowship and Research Fund in Molecular Biology and the Suna Kirac Fund for Brain Sciences;
  • from an anonymous donor, a gift of $2 million for the Creative Arts Building;
  • from an anonymous donor, a gift of $1,338,750 to establish two endowed medical scholarship funds;
  • from André R. Desmarais and France G. Chrétien-Desmarais, Brown parents, a gift of $1 million, $900,000 of which is designated for the France & André Desmarais People's Republic of China Scholarship and $100,000 for the Brown Annual Fund;
  • from anonymous Brown parents, a gift of $1 million for the renovation of Faunce House;
  • from Louise Lamphere, a former Brown professor of anthropology, a gift of $1 million to establish the Louise Lamphere Visiting Professorship;
  • from the Lawrence and Carol Saper Foundation, a gift of $1 million for the Creative Arts Building and related arts priorities;
  • from Kent M. Swig, a 1983 alumnus, a gift of $1 million for the new natatorium.

The co-chairs of the University’s comprehensive campaign announced that, as of Commencement Weekend 2008, the Boldly Brown campaign has passed the $1.2-billion mark on the way toward a goal of $1.4 billion.

New members of Board of Fellows

The Corporation comprises a 12-member Board of Fellows and a 42-member Board of Trustees, all elected by the Corporation itself. Fourteen members of the Board of Trustees are alumni/ae trustees, nominated by the Brown Alumni Association through a vote by the University's alumni body and elected to office by the Corporation.

Mark S. Blumenkranz, M.D., is chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University. He is a noted vitreoretinal surgeon who served as co-director of the retinal service at Stanford for five years before assuming the chairmanship in 1997. His areas of interest include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and cataract problems.

After earning three degrees at Brown (A.B.,1972; M.D., 1975; M.M.Sc., 1976), Blumenkranz continued his postdoctoral studies at the Bascom Eye Institute at the University of Miami.

Robin Lenhardt first joined the Board of Trustees in 2000. She received her A.B. in English with honors from Brown in 1989 and holds advanced degrees from Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School of Government, and the Georgetown University Law Center. Lenhardt is an associate professor of law at the Fordham University School of Law, where she specializes in matters pertaining to race, civil rights, family law, and constitutional law. Prior to accepting her position at Fordham, Lenhardt was a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, a fellow and adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, and an adjunct professor at the Howard University School of Law.

New members of Board of Trustees

Steve Cohen, a Brown parent, is founder and chairman of SAC Capital AdvisorsLLC. In addition to equities, SAC trades securities including bonds, currencies and commodities. Cohen attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, earning his bachelor’s degree in economics. Upon graduation in 1978, he became a junior trader in options arbitrage at Gruntal & Co. He remained at Gruntal until he established SAC Capital in 1992. Cohen is a well known art collector and philanthropist.

Charles H. “Charlie” Giancarlo, a 1979 Brown graduate, became a managing director at Silver Lake Partners, a leader in private investments in technology, technology enabled, and related growth industries, in January 2008. He was formerly executive vice president and chief development officer of Cisco Systems Inc., which he joined in 1994. He holds multiple patents in communications technologies.

After earning his Sc.B. in engineering at Brown, Giancarlo earned advanced degrees from the University of California–Berkeley (M.S.E.E., 1980) and Harvard (M.B.A., 1984).

Nancy Fuld Neff, a 1976 Brown graduate, is a former principal in investment banking at Morgan Stanley & Co.. serving at the firm from 1979 to 1988. Currently Neff serves on the boards of the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, Camp Ramapo, a summer camp which serves special-needs and high-risk children, and the Center for Social and Emotional Education. She is also a trustee of The Dalton School, where she has served as board chair and co-chair of the school’s endowment and capital campaign.

Barry Rosenstein, a Brown parent, is the founder and managing partner of JANA Partners LLC. Before starting JANA, he was the founder and managing partner of Sagaponack Partners LP, a private equity fund.

Rosenstein graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1981 from Lehigh University and earned his M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1984. A certified public accountant, he began his career as an investment banker, specializing primarily in mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch in New York.

Officers of the Corporation

The Brown Corporation has five officers: the University president, chancellor, vice chancellor, secretary, and treasurer. At its Friday morning meeting, the Corporation elected two new officers: Alison Ressler, a trustee, will succeed Matthew Mallow as treasurer, and Donald Hood, a fellow, will succeed Wendy Strothman as secretary.

Alison Strasburger Ressler, a 1980 Brown graduate, earned her J.D. degree at Columbia Law School in 1983. She joined the Los Angeles law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell in 1984 and became a partner of the firm in 1991. She is responsible for the firm's practice in California, is a member of the firm's management committee, and serves as co-head of the private equity group.

Donald P. Hood, who earned advanced degrees at Brown (M.Sc., 1968, Ph.D., 1970), is the James F. Bender Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, where he has been a faculty member since 1969. During that time, he has researched the neuroscience of visual processes and taught courses dealing with the relationship between the brain and behavior, as well as special topics on vision. Hood served as chairman of the psychology department in the late 1970s and was the school's first vice president for arts and sciences.

Old Stone Bank building

The gold-domed Old Stone Bank building has been a familiar part of the Providence cityscape for more than a century. It has changed only slightly since 1898, when the Providence architectural firm of Stone Carpenter and Willson enlarged a smaller facility on the site, designed in 1854.

The University bought the building and the adjacent Benoni Cooke House (1828) in the fall of 1995 for $1.15 million, intending to renovate it as the new home of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Although that plan proved unworkable, the University renovated the Benoni Cooke House to create offices for its general counsel and internal auditor.

The Corporation authorized the sale for “an amount not less than $2.3 million.” The University will lease back the Benoni Cooke House for three years and will retain the right of first refusal to repurchase the property should it become available again.

The closing is expected in late July or early August of this year.

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