Actions of the Corporation

Corporation elects new fellows, trustees

May 24, 2013  |  Media Contact: Mark Nickel |  401-863-1638
At its regular Commencement Weekend meeting, the Corporation of Brown University elected two new fellows and ten new trustees to its ranks. The Corporation also accepted gifts totaling more than $38 million, advanced 13 faculty members to named chairs, and, at an earlier session, discussed issues related to coal divestment.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its business meeting this morning (Friday, May 24, 2013), the Corporation of Brown University elected two new members of its Board of Fellows and ten new members of its Board of Trustees. The Corporation also formally accepted gifts to the University totaling more than $38 million and appointed 13 faculty members to named chairs.

In a plenary session Thursday, the Corporation discussed an interim report from an ad hoc committee that is studying issues related to divestment from companies involved in coal mining and consumption.

Divestiture from coal

Earlier this spring, Brown’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) recommended to President Christina Paxson that the University divest itself of any holdings in 15 specific companies that either mine or burn coal for the production of power. Paxson appointed an ad hoc committee of the Corporation, composed of members with expertise in public policy, science, health and financial markets, to review the recommendation and to help advise the Corporation in its deliberations. As part of their work during the last several weeks, members of the ad hoc committee met with ACCRIP and student leaders from Brown Divest Coal.

At a session yesterday that included current and emeriti members of the Corporation, the ad hoc committee presented an interim report. Two student representatives from the Brown Divest Coal campaign, the chair of ACCRIP, and two faculty members with expertise in environmental science attended the Corporation session and answered questions. Members engaged in a comprehensive discussion of the issue and expressed appreciation of the Brown Divest Coal campaign’s thoughtful approach to highlighting the role of coal in climate change, which the Corporation agrees is a pressing global problem.

During the business meeting of the Corporation, members asked the University to identify ways to work with students, faculty, staff, peer institutions, and other strategic partners to develop a robust response to climate change and to assume a greater leadership role on the issue of CO2 emissions. Corporation action on the issue of divestment was not expected at this meeting, and the Corporation confirmed that the complexity of the divestment issue warrants further discussion before responding to the ACCRIP’s recommendation.

“Brown’s commitment to issues of environmental sustainability is longstanding and is a value shared widely by students, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters of the University,” Paxson said. “We are grateful that the Brown Divest Coal campaign has underscored the significant role that the mining and burning of coal plays in climate change and we thank ACCRIP and the ad hoc committee for their work. We look forward to working with them and others to develop a thoughtful and comprehensive approach that is aligned with our mission of teaching, research and service.”

Two new fellows

The Corporation, governing body of Brown University, comprises a 12-member Board of Fellows and a 42-member Board of Trustees. It is responsible for establishing broad policies for the operation of the University, for selecting a president to carry out those policies, for approving senior administrative officers and tenure-track faculty members, and for approving annual operating funds and capital projects for the University.

The two boards meet together to conduct the business of the Corporation. Certain powers, including the actual awarding of Brown degrees, are reserved for the Board of Fellows by the University’s original charter. Members of the Board of Fellows customarily serve terms of 11 years. The fellows elected today include:

Richard A. Friedman, New York, N.Y.
Richard A. Friedman is head of the Merchant Banking Division at Goldman Sachs & Co. He was first elected to the Brown Corporation as a trustee in 2005. Friedman joined Goldman Sachs in 1981 after graduating with an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago; he became a partner in 1990. Friedman serves on the boards of the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES), Hyatt Hotels. and Mount Sinai Hospital. The Richard A. and Susan P. Friedman Family Foundation provides funding primarily for education, hospitals, health associations, and other community organizations.

O. Rogeriee Thompson, Cranston, R.I.
Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, a 1973 Brown graduate, was elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 1999. She is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. Prior to that appointment in 2010, Thompson was an associate justice on the Rhode Island State Superior Court and an associate judge with the Rhode Island District Court. Thompson has been a senior partner with Thompson & Thompson, an assistant city solicitor for the city of Providence, an associate with McKinnon and Fortunato, and a senior staff attorney for Rhode Island Legal Services Inc. She earned her J.D. from Boston University in 1976.

Ten new trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees customarily serve six-year terms, with young alumni trustees serving for three years. Fourteen of the 42 trustees are nominated by the Brown Alumni Association; the remaining 28, including young alumni trustees, are nominated by the Corporation’s Committee on Trustee Vacancies. All trustees are elected to office by the Corporation. Trustees elected by the Corporation today include:

José J. Estabil, Newton, Mass.
As director of entrepreneurship and innovation for MIT’s Skolkovo and Portugal programs, José Estabil is helping to launch the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, a school the size of Cal-Tech. He is also co-architect and co-director of a million-dollar venture competition sponsored by the government of Portugal. Estabil holds eight patents and has co-authored more than 20 publications. He has volunteered extensively for organizations that create leadership opportunities for underrepresented minorities at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels. A Brown graduate (Sc.B, 1984; Sc.M, 1988), Estabil will serve as an alumni trustee.

Todd A. Fisher, New York, N.Y.
Todd A. Fisher, a 1987 Brown graduate (A.B., biology), is the global chief administrative officer of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a publicly traded global investment firm specializing in private equity, real estate, energy and infrastructure, and a range of debt and public equity investing. Fisher is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, the Advisory Board of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. Fisher holds an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He will serve as a term trustee.

Robert P. Goodman, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Robert P. Goodman is a managing partner of Bessemer Venture Partners, a global venture capital firm, where he focuses on investments in software, mobile, digital media, and healthcare IT. Goodman is a 1982 graduate of Brown (A.B., Latin American studies) and served as co-chair for the 30th reunion gifts committee. He earned an M.B.A. in 1986 from Columbia Business School. Goldman will serve as a term trustee.

Nancy Hyde, Westwood, Mass.
Nancy Hyde, a 1980 Brown graduate, is chair of the Board of Selectmen in Westwood, Mass., where she has been involved in redevelopment of the town’s primary commercial district and other initiatives, including an update of the town’s governing documents. Hyde is a board member and incoming president of the Brown Alumni Association. She is co-president of the Class of 1980 and has served as a class officer in various capacities since graduation. She will serve as an alumnae trustee.

Paula M. McNamara, Rumford, R.I.
Paula M. McNamara is president of the Murray Family Charitable Foundation. Previously, she worked for more than 21 years at Fidelity Investments in Boston and in Smithfield, R.I. In 2011, Gov. Lincoln Chafee appointed McNamara to the Rhode Island State Investment Commission. She is currently president of the Board of Trustees at The Lincoln School. At Brown, McNamara has served the Brown University Sports Foundation (BUSF) in various capacities since 1995 and is currently the first female president of its board. A 1984 Brown graduate, she will serve as an alumnae trustee.

Srihari S. Naidu, New York, N.Y.
After graduating from Brown (Sc.b., 1993, M.D., 1997), Srihari S. Naidu trained in internal medicine at Cornell and in interventional cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania. A tenured associate professor, he runs the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Treatment Center at Winthrop University Hospital. He is editing a textbook on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death among athletes. Naidu was treasurer of the Undergraduate Council of Students and chair of the Undergraduate Finance Board during his years at Brown. He is now president of the Brown Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors and will serve as an alumni trustee.

Ronald O. Perelman
Ronald O. Perelman, a Brown parent, is chairman, chief executive officer, and owner of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., a diversified holding company with interests in consumer products, entertainment, financial services, biotechnology, and gaming. He holds a B.A. and M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a trustee emeritus of that university. Perelman is a director of NYU Langone Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, Columbia University, Ford’s Theater, the Apollo Theater Foundation, and Carnegie Hall. He is a benefactor for higher education and for research and clinical programs in cancer, dermatology, and reproductive medicine. He will serve as a term trustee.

Joan Wernig Sorensen, Providence, R.I.
Joan Wernig Sorensen, a 1972 Brown graduate and Brown parent, was first elected to the Brown Board of Trustees in 2006. She has had a long career in development, alumni relations, and higher education administration and has been a fundraising consultant to numerous nonprofit organizations in Providence and in Deer Isle, Maine. She served as a regional vice chair for the $1.6 billion Campaign for Academic Enrichment, as a member of the Brown Annual Fund Leadership Council, and on a variety of University committees, including the 250th Anniversary Committee. Sorensen has received the Alumni Service Award, the Brown Bear Award, and the H. Anthony Ittleson Award. She will serve as a term trustee.

Alison D. Stewart, New York, N.Y.
Alison Stewart, a 1988 Brown graduate, began at MTV shortly after leaving Providence, winning a Peabody Award for MTV News’ influential “Choose or Lose” election coverage in the 1990s. She has reported for all the major news networks. She was the anchor of the PBS newsmagazine “Need to Know” and was most recently host of the debut season of “The TED Radio Hour,” a co-production of NPR and TED that was named one of iTunes’ Best New Audio Podcasts of 2012. This summer her first book, First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School, about her parents’ alma mater will be published. She will serve as an alumnae trustee.

Diana E. Wells, Arlington, Va.
Since 2005, Diana Wells, a 1988 Brown graduate (A.B., South Asian studies), has been president of Ashoka, an international nonprofit that supports social entrepreneurs. She created one of Ashoka’s core programs — Fellowship Support Services (now Fellowship) — which provided a wide array of information, resources and services to social entrepreneurs and connected them and their ideas to one another. She took a leave to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology at New York University and returned to Ashoka, where she is responsible for Ashoka’s geographic expansion and the significant increase of fellow elections. She will serve as a term trustee.

The trustees and fellows elected today will be formally engaged at the Corporation’s next meeting in October.

Gifts accepted

By University policy, all gifts of $1 million or more require formal acceptance by the Corporation. At its Friday business meeting, the Corporation accepted or ratified previous acceptance of a number of gifts totaling more than $38 million. These include:

  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $13,981,000 to the University’s Donor-Advised Fund;
  • From donors who wish to remain anonymous, a gift of $5 million, of which $4 million is to establish an endowed professorship in the humanities with preference for a faculty member in the literary arts and $1 million is for an associated teaching and research fund;
  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $5 million, of which $4 million is to establish an endowed professorship in the Watson Institute for International Studies and $1 million is to be used at the President’s discretion for innovative student initiatives;
  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $5 million, of which $4 million is to establish an endowed professorship in International Relations/Studies associated with the Watson Institute for International Studies and $1 million for an associated endowed research fund;
  • From anonymous parents, a gift of $3 million to support collaboration between Brown and leading Brazilian institutions;
  • From 1988 Brown graduates Richard and Laurel Reed Caputo, a gift of $2.25 million, of which $2 million is for the Athletics Initiative in support of Men’s and Women’s Crew, Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse and other endowment and facility priorities of Brown Athletics, and $250,000 is to support the Brown Annual Fund in celebration of their 25th Reunion;
  • From Trustee Robert J. Carney, a 1961 Brown graduate, and Nancy D. Carney, a new gift of $1 million to the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Innovation Fund for the Brown Institute for Brain Science;
  • From an anonymous donor, a gift of $1 million, of which $750,000 is to establish the Engineering Graduate Fellowship Fund, $150,000 is for the Engineering Dean’s Discretionary Fund, and $100,000 is to support the Political Theory Project;
  • From Brown parents Suzanne and Terrence Murray, a gift of $1 million to the University’s Donor-Advised Fund;
  • From Brown parents Lisa and Lance West, a gift of $1 million pending designation.

Named chairs

The Corporation appointed 13 professors to named chairs, effective July 1, 2013, except as noted:

  • Jonathan Eaton, the William R. Rhodes 1957 Professor of International Economics;
  • Mary Louise Gill, the David Benedict Professor of Classics and Philosophy;
  • Susan Ashbrook Harvey, the Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence;
  • Bonnie Honig, the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media (appointment is effective July 1, 2014);
  • George Karniadakis, the Charles Pitts Robinson and John Palmer Barstow Professor of Applied Mathematics;
  • James Morone, the John Hazen White Professor of Public Policy;
  • Jill Pipher, the Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor of Mathematics;
  • Robert Self, the Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence;
  • Edward Steinfeld, the Dean’s Professor of China Studies;
  • Laurel Bestock, the Vartan Gregorian Assistant Professor of Archaeology and the Ancient World and Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies;
  • James Hays, the Manning Assistant Professor of Computer Science;
  • Erika Larschan, the Richard and Edna Salomon Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry;
  • Thomas Serre, the Manning Assistant Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences.

The Corporation also established two new named chairs:

  • The Richard C. Holbrooke ’62 LLD’97 Professorship in International Studies, established effective immediately with gifts in honor of the late Ambassador Holbrooke;
  • The Rothman Head Coaching Chair for Men’s Lacrosse, established effective July 1, 2013.
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