PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its regular spring business meeting today (Friday, May 22, 2009), the Corporation of Brown University formally accepted a gift of $30 million for undergraduate financial aid. The gift, from the Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, accounted for nearly half of the $62.7 million in new gifts accepted by the Corporation today and brought the total for undergraduate financial aid funds raised to date by the Campaign for Academic Enrichment to $285 million.
“In her earliest messages to faculty, staff and students about the likely impact of the coming recession, President Simmons named undergraduate financial aid as one of the core institutional programs that would be preserved at all costs,” said Brown Chancellor Thomas J. Tisch. “The consistently generous support of Corporation members, alumni, parents and friends for this crucially important effort has been deeply gratifying to the entire Brown community.”
In October 2005, when it launched the $1.4-billion Campaign for Academic Enrichment, the University set an ambitious goal of raising $300 million for undergraduate financial aid. In October 2008, with more than 80 percent of that goal attained, the Corporation increased the goal to $400 million, despite the growing signs of global financial turmoil. Meeting that larger financial aid goal will be one of the highest priorities for the remaining 19 months of the campaign.
At its previous meeting in February, the Corporation advised the administration to consider repurposing and renovating existing buildings as a way to meet urgent facilities needs quickly at a lower cost and with less debt service than new construction. Earlier this week, the Corporation’s Facilities and Design Committee and its Budget and Finance Committee received reports from the administration on several high-priority projects.
The Budget and Finance Committee discussed donor funding progress for two projects, both significantly reduced in cost from projections when they were envisioned as new construction, and authorized the administration to proceed with:
- The Mind Brain Behavior Building. The administration’s review of program needs concluded that the academic program in Mind Brain and Behavior could be accommodated by renovating the Metcalf complex of buildings at the northeast corner of Lincoln Field. Leers Weinzapfel Associates will design the $42-million renovation.
- The Medical Education Building. The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University will move to quarters in the Jewelry District. Ellenzweig Associates will design a $45-million renovation of a building at 222 Richmond St., which was among properties purchased by the University in October 2006. The renovated building will offer more than 65,000 net square feet of program space and could be ready for use sooner than new construction.
The committee, upon reviewing revised plans for a combined fitness/aquatic center, authorized work to proceed during the summer on landscaping and building design with a view toward advancing the project as soon as possible.
The Facilities and Design Committee also selected Kliment Halsband Architects to conduct an area plan of the Jewelry District blocks where Brown has significant presence, a presence that will be enhanced when the renovation of 222 Richmond St. for medical education is completed. The plan will govern the standards for development of the area over time. This study will build on previous studies and the city’s ongoing work on the comprehensive plan for the Jewelry District and the downtown area.
The Corporation also approved the naming of the Creative Arts Center building in honor of Perry and Marty Granoff for their extraordinary leadership and generosity on behalf of the University. Construction on the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts got underway with a groundbreaking ceremony Friday afternoon.
At its May 2008 meeting, the Corporation initiated a review of its own governance — its composition, procedures and role within the University. The Corporation approved two recommendations made by its officers:
- Young alumnus trustees. The Corporation has established a new three-year term for graduates who are no more than seven years removed from their student experience at Brown. Young alumnus trustees will be nominated and elected by the Corporation to serve within the existing 42-member Board of Trustees.
- Confidentiality of minutes. Because minutes of the Corporation contain personal information about individuals, including appointments and other personnel actions, donors and gift intentions, the Corporation does not allow unrestricted research access to its records for a period of time. Beginning with records created after July 1, 2009, that period will be reduced to 25 years from 50, which is among the shortest periods adopted by the governing boards of peer institutions.
The Corporation also elected three new fellows and nine new trustees, including the first young alumna trustee. (See news release on Corporation elections.)
Faculty Named to Endowed Chairs
The Corporation named 13 members of the Brown faculty to endowed chairs:
- Richard Heck, the Romeo Elton Professor of Natural Theology;
- Boris Rozovsky, the Ford Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics;
- Vincent Mor, the Florence Pirce Grant University Professor of Community Health;
- John Bodel, the W. Duncan MacMillan II Professor of Classics;
- Ivo Welch, the C.V. Starr Professor of Economics;
- David Estlund, the Lombardo Family Professor of Philosophy;
- Richard Kenyon, the William R. Kenan Jr. University Professor;
- Anne Fausto Sterling, the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies;
- Francoise Hamlin, the Hans Rothfels Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies;
- Sherine Hamdy, the Kutayba Alghanim Assistant Professor of Social Science;
- Thangam Ravindranathan, the Robert and Nancy Carney Assistant Professor of French Studies;
- Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro, the Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy;
- Susan Moffitt, the Mary Tefft and John Hazen White Sr. Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy.
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 accepted gifts totaling $62.7 million. In addition to the $30-million gift for undergraduate financial aid reported above, these gifts included:
- from a member of the Corporation, a gift of $10 million, $4.5 million of which is for an endowed scholarship fund, $4.5 million in support of the Mind Brain Behavior Building, and $1 million for the endowment of the Fund for the Children of Providence;
- from a parent, a gift of $6 million, $4 million of which is in support of the aquatics center, $1 million in support of the Creative Arts Center, and $1 million for the Brown Annual Fund;
- from an anonymous educational and charitable trust, a gift of $5 million for the renovation and endowment of the reading room in the John Hay Library;
- from an alumnus, a gift-in-kind of rare books, first editions, and manuscripts to the John Hay Library, valued at more than $4.7 million;
- from a parent, a gift of $4 million, half of which is for the Brown Annual Fund and half for an endowed scholarship fund;
- from an emeritus member of the Corporation and his wife, both of whom are alumni, a gift of $2 million, $1 million of which is for two endowed scholarships, $500,000 for the John Carter Brown Library, $250,000 for the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research endowment, $50,000 for the James O. Barnhill Endowed Fund, $35,000 for the library digitization project, and $165,000 for the Brown Annual Fund; and
- from a member of the Corporation, a gift of $1 million to the Brown Annual Fund.