Christina H. Paxson, Brown’s 19th president, will deliver the Opening Convocation address to the undergraduate, graduate, and medical students who are beginning their studies at Brown. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, on the College Green. The president’s address and the proceedings can be viewed live on the University’s website.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University President Christina H. Paxson will officially open the 249th academic year during Opening Convocation, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, at 4 p.m. on the College Green. Paxson will lead the ceremony will deliver the keynote address titled “Constructive Irreverence.”

The Opening Convocation ceremony begins with the traditional procession of incoming students through the Van Wickle Gates onto the College Green. This year, Brown welcomes 1,541 first-year students, 620 graduate students, 120 medical students, and 64 transfer students.

Christina H. Paxson

Christina H. Paxson was sworn in as the 19th president of Brown University on Monday, July 2, 2012. At the time of her appointment in March, she was dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs and the Hughes Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where she oversaw significant changes in the undergraduate major in public and international affairs. Under her leadership, the Woodrow Wilson School founded the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance and increased opportunities for research and teaching on issues related to domestic and international financial markets.

A 1982 honors graduate of Swarthmore College, Phi Beta Kappa, Paxson earned her graduate degrees in economics at Columbia University (M.A., 1985; Ph.D., 1987). She began her academic career at Princeton University in 1986, becoming assistant professor of economics and public affairs the next year. She became a full professor in 1997 and was named the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs in 2007. Graduate students at the Woodrow Wilson School gave her five annual awards for teaching excellence. In 2000, she founded the Center for Health and Wellbeing, an interdisciplinary research center in the Woodrow Wilson School. The center established multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate certificate programs in health and health policy. She served as the center’s director until 2009.

Paxson also has served as associate chair (2005-08) and chair (2008-09) of the Department of Economics at Princeton and was the founding director of a National Institute on Aging Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at Princeton. She was elected vice president of the American Economics Association in 2012 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been the principal investigator on a number of research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health, the most recent of which is a study of adversity and resilience after Hurricane Katrina.

The Class of 2016

A total of 28,743 students applied to be members of Brown’s undergraduate Class of 2016. The University admitted 2,761 (9.6 percent), yielding a matriculating class of 1,541.

  • Gender: 701 men (45 percent) and 840 women (55 percent);
  • Diversity: 37 percent of the Class of 2016 are students of color;
  • First-generation: 15 percent of students are the first in their family to attend college;
  • Academic interests: The most popular intended areas of study are engineering, biology, international relations, economics, and English;
  • Geographic area: The Class of 2016 comes from 49 U.S. states and 57 countries. Fifteen percent of students are international. The top foreign countries represented are China, Canada, United Kingdom, Korea, and India

The Graduate School

A total of 9,470 students applied to begin master’s and doctoral programs at Brown. The University admitted 1,400 (15 percent), yielding a matriculating class of 620. Selectivity for Ph.D. programs was 10 percent. Thirty-six percent of incoming graduate students are international. The top foreign countries represented are China, India, Canada, and Korea.

The Alpert Medical School

One hundred and twenty new medical students will begin their studies at Brown, comprising the largest first-year medical school class in Brown’s history. The Warren Alpert Medical School received 5,467 applications for its Class of 2016. The medical student body has been increasing in recent years, drawing students from several admission routes. Forty-nine of the new students are entering the medical school portion of Brown’s eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education, which they entered after high school. Overall, matriculating medical students range in age from 20 to 32. The incoming students have earned degrees in more than 30 different majors, from architectural studies to biomedical engineering to theater arts at 48 U.S. or Canadian colleges and universities. Four international citizens (Canada, China, United Kingdom) join classmates from 27 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.