At its May meeting, the Corporation of Brown University elected 11 new trustees and officially accepted more than $25 million in new gifts to the University. The Corporation’s Board of Fellows approved the awarding of more than 2,400 degrees at the 247th Commencement Sunday, May 24, 2015.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At its Commencement week meeting, May 20-22, 2015, the Corporation of Brown University elected 11 new members to its Board of Trustees, named 16 current faculty members to endowed chairs, and officially accepted more than $25 million in gifts to the University.

The Corporation, Brown University’s governing body, comprises a 12-member Board of Fellows and a 42-member Board of Trustees. The University’s Charter of 1764 reserves certain powers, including the actual awarding of Brown degrees, for the Board of Fellows. At its meeting this week, the Board of Fellows approved the awarding of more than 2,400 degrees for the University’s 247th Commencement Sunday, May 24, 2015.

The Board of Trustees

These new trustees were elected by the Corporation at its May 22 business meeting:

  • John C. Atwater is a 1983 Brown graduate and parent and received an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1987. He is founder, co-chairman and CEO of Prime Group, which comprises Prime Residential (among the largest private owners of multifamily assets in the Western United States) and Prime Finance (a leading provider of commercial real estate debt in the United States). He serves or has served on a variety of for-profit and nonprofit boards, including the California Academy of Sciences where he served as Chairman from 2010 to 2014. His nonprofit engagement focuses on education and the environment.
  • Brian A. Benjamin is a 1998 Brown graduate and has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a partner in Genesis Companies, a $220-million community-based real estate development firm that is transforming disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey by creating hundreds of units of high-quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable housing. Benjamin was a 2012 delegate for President Barack Obama and serves on the President’s National Finance Committee. At Brown, Benjamin has served on the board of the Brown Club of Rhode Island, chaired his fifth Reunion Gift Committee, and held leadership roles with the Brown Annual Fund and the Boldly Brown campaign.
  • Sangeeta N. Bhatia, a 1990 Brown graduate, is a cancer researcher, MIT professor, and biotech entrepreneur who works to adapt technologies developed in the computer industry for medical innovation. Over the course of her career, Bhatia has trained 175 researchers, and she and her students have launched 10 biotech companies to improve human health. In 2014, she received the Lemelson-MIT Prize, for her groundbreaking inventions and dedication to the next generation of scientists. At Brown, Bhatia led the Society of Women Engineers and co-founded KEYs, an outreach program to spark middle school girls’ interest in science. She serves on the advisory council to the Brown School of Engineering and was awarded the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal in 2011.
  • Brickson E. Diamond, a 1993 Brown graduate, is COO of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the preeminent member organization for current and former black board members and senior executives at Fortune 1,000/Global 500 companies. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Diamond was an executive at The Capital Group Companies for 15 years. He has served on the board of the National Hospice Foundation and is a founding board member and chair of The Blackhouse Foundation, working to expand diversity in independent film. At Brown, Diamond was an inaugural national co-chair of the Multicultural Alumni Committee, serves on the President’s Leadership Council, the President’s Advisory Council on Internships, and the advisory board of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.
  • Jeffrey F. Hines, a 1983 Brown graduate and 1986 M.D. graduate, is a board-certified gynecologic oncologist with Wellstar Health System in Atlanta. He practiced for seven years with the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was deployed as a battalion surgeon during Operation Desert Storm, receiving the Meritorious Unit Citation, an Army Commendation Medal, and the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze service stars. Hines serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Regional Education Committee and is past president of the board of trustees for Fulton County’s Hammonds House Museum of African American Art. At Brown, he serves on the Brown Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors and is the founding chair of the Alpert Medical School’s Advancing Diversity committee. He has chaired alumni interviewing programs in Colorado, Texas, and Georgia.
  • Catherine Willis Maas, a 1985 graduate and Brown parent, is the managing member of a private investment firm, the co-owner of a sustainable livestock ranch and meat company, and a philanthropist. She supports dance, education, and aid for military veterans. Maas is a member of the University’s Library Advisory Council and is a Brown Alumni Schools Committee interviewer. She served on her 20th, 25th and 30th Reunion Committees.
  • Jennifer B. Moses, a 1983 graduate and Brown parent, is co-founder and COO of Caliber Schools, a charter school management organization that improves educational outcomes for disadvantaged children. She was a co-founder of ARK, one of the largest children’s charities in the United Kingdom, and King Solomon Academy, an inner-city charter school in London that is one of the top non-selective schools in the country. Moses was a managing director in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, served as CEO of the British policy think tank CentreForum, and as a senior policy adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown helped restructure the British banking sector after 2008-09. At Brown, she co-chaired her 25th and 30th Reunion gift committees and is a member of the Creative Arts Advisory Board.
  • Kayla S. Rosen, a 2014 Brown graduate who concentrated in history and education studies, will serve as a young alumna trustee for a three-year term through June 30, 2017. As a student, she led the Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program, volunteered with the Swearer Center, and played in the Brown University Band. Rosen consults for public school districts with the District Management Council in Boston. The organization partners with public school district leaders to help them improve student outcomes, operational efficiency and resource allocation. She currently serves as one of three young alumni on the President’s Leadership Council.
  • Barry S. Rosenstein, a Brown parent, was a Brown trustee from 2008 to 2014. Prior to founding JANA Partners, he held executive, management, and investment banking positions with Sagaponack Partners L.P., Genesis Merchant Group Securities, Reatta Partners, Asher Edelman’s Plaza Securities Corporation, and Merrill Lynch. He currently is a member of the board of directors of Walgreen Corp. Rosenstein is a trustee of the U.S. Olympic Foundation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. He graduated from Lehigh University (1981, Phi Beta Kappa) and he earned an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business (1984).
  • Pablo J. Salame, a 1988 Brown graduate, is a partner in the New York office of Goldman Sachs, where he serves as co-head of the securities division, sits on the firm’s management committee, chairs the partnership committee and co-chairs the Firmwide Investments Policy Committee. Salame is a member of the Board of Directors of New York City Center and of the advisory board of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. He began his career working for Citicorp in his native Ecuador. At Brown, Salame co-chairs the President’s Leadership Council and is a member of the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS) External Advisory Board. Salame was also co-chair of his 20th Reunion gift committee.
  • Preston C. Tisdale, a 1973 Brown graduate and parent, is of counsel at the law firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Beider in Bridgeport, Conn. Previously, he directed the Fairfield Judicial District Public Defender’s Office and was the first director of special public defenders for the State of Connecticut. Tisdale served on the Connecticut Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony board, and as chair of the Regional Youth/Adult Social Action Partnership. He is the incoming president of the Brown Alumni Association, past president of Brown’s Inman Page Black Alumni Council, and a former member of the Alumni of Color Initiative for Boldly Brown: the Campaign for Academic Enrichment. Tisdale received the first Joseph M. Fernandez ’85 Award for bringing diverse alumni together to make a positive contribution to the University community.

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. Brown student representatives — undergraduate, graduate, and medical — participated in a campus process that helped identify recent graduates for consideration as alumni trustees and for other positions of University service. All trustees are elected to office by the Corporation and are formally engaged in October at the first Corporation meeting of the academic year.

Acceptance of gifts

University policy requires that the Corporation formally accept gifts of $1 million or more. At its business meeting, the Corporation accepted 10 gifts totaling more than $25 million:

  • From anonymous donors, a gift of $5 million pending donor designation;
  • From John C. Atwater, a 1983 graduate, and Diana Nelson, Brown parents, a pledge of $5 million to support an endowed professorship in environmental studies and scholarly research in the professor’s particular field of study;
  • From anonymous donors, a pledge of $3.060 million to support the Brazilian Mata Atlantica Biome Restoration Project at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society;
  • From an anonymous donor, a pledge of $3 million to establish professors of the practice of creative writing;
  • From Ralph Rosenberg, a 1986 graduate, and Kim Rosenberg, Brown parents, a pledge of $2.5 million to support a professorship in brain science and the Brown Annual Fund;
  • From His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, a Brown parent, a pledge of $2 million to support the Aga Khan Professorship in Islamic Humanities;
  • From David E. Gochman, a 1987 graduate, a gift of $1.5 million to the President's Flexible Fund;
  • From anonymous donors, a pledge of $1.032 million, to support an assistant professor of history and Brown Annual Fund scholarships;
  • From anonymous donors, new commitments of $1 million to increase the Brook Street Scholarship Fund, providing further support for University undergraduates with the greatest financial aid need;
  • From Ajay Nagpal, a 1990 graduate, $1 million to support the Ajay and Debbie Nagpal BrownConnect International Internship Fund, postdoctoral fellowships at the Watson Institute, and the Brown Annual Fund.

Professorships established

The Corporation established four professorships:

  • The John Atwater ’83, P’16 and Ms. Diana Nelson P’16 University Professorship in Environmental Studies established with the support of John C. Atwater, a 1983 graduate, and Diana Nelson, Brown parents;
  • The Aga Khan Professorship in Islamic Humanities, converted from the prior Aga Khan Visiting Professorship in Islamic Humanities with the support of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, a Brown parent;
  • Professors of the practice of creative writing, established with the support of anonymous donors;
  • An assistant professorship in history established with the support of anonymous donors.

The Corporation also appointed 16 faculty members to named professorships:

  • Cynthia Brokaw, the Chen Family Professor of China Studies;
  • Vicki L. Colvin, the Vernon K. Krieble Professor of Chemistry and Engineering;
  • Phyllis A. Dennery, the Sylvia Kay Hassenfeld Professor of Pediatrics;
  • Patrick Heller, the Lyn Crost Professor of Social Sciences;
  • Robert Self, the Mary Ann Lippitt Professor of American History;
  • Lai-Sheng Wang, the Jesse H. and Louisa D. Sharpe Metcalf Professor of Chemistry;
  • Michael White, the Robert E. Turner Distinguished Professor of Population Studies;
  • Daniel Smith, Professor of Anthropology and Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence;
  • Sarah Besky, the Charles Evans Hughes 1881 Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International and Public Affairs;
  • Elizabeth Hoover, the Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies;
  • Karla Kaun, the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Assistant Professor of Neuroscience;
  • James Kuzner, the Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor of English;
  • Sohini Ramachandran, the Manning Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;
  • Matthew Rutz, the William A. Dyer, Jr. Assistant Professor of Humanities;
  • Joshua Tucker, the Dean’s Assistant Professor of Music;
  • Andre Willis, the Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Assistant Professor of Religious Studies.

The Corporation will hold its next regular meeting in October.