In a competitive academic landscape, endowed professorships supported by the BrownTogether campaign give Brown the means to attract and retain the best teachers and scholars, advancing the academic excellence and mission of the University.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — As Rafael La Porta, a renowned scholar in economics, considered a move from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business last year, he saw a prominent feather in Brown University’s cap — the economics department had succeeded in recruiting Jesse Shapiro, a highly regarded researcher who is now the George S. and Nancy B. Parker Professor of Economics. 

LIST: ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIPS
Since the launch of BrownTogether, generous donors have helped to establish a total of 48 endowed professorships in academic departments across the University. View the full list here.

Prominent faculty hires can beget prominent faculty hires, La Porta says. And when a university plans to compete for a senior faculty member who is likely being courted by multiple universities, endowed professorships are essential. Top candidates often have such titles at their current institutions and expect to retain that degree of recognition.

“Without endowed chairs, it’s difficult to start a serious conversation,” said La Porta, who is now the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney University Professor of Economics at Brown and faculty director of the Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship. “We can’t demote scholars whom we are trying to attract.”

While named professorships offer a prestigious honor for individual faculty members, they also provide an ongoing source of financial support to the University. Most are endowed in perpetuity, serving to support generations of faculty.

In both regards, those benefits empower Brown to meet the ambitious goals of its Building on Distinction strategic plan, says Provost Richard M. Locke. So far during the BrownTogether campaign, which recently surpassed the midpoint of its $3 billion goal, the University has raised funds for and established 51 professorships out of a goal of 120. Twenty-three of those positions are already filled, many with scholars new to Brown.

“Endowed professorships are crucial to our capacity to recruit, recognize and retain the most talented scholars and teachers to Brown,” Locke said. “It is through these valuable positions, made possible through the generosity of donors, that we are able to ensure the continued excellence of our faculty and to support their research and discovery in areas of study with great consequence to society.”

Expanding opportunities for students

La Porta says that faculty recruiting is strategically important because it can broaden or deepen a department’s teaching and research capabilities in an important area, which expands opportunities for students.

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With $1.6 billion raised, BrownTogether campaign surpasses midpoint

In the Program in Literary Arts at Brown, for example, professors and students alike don’t merely study works of fiction, poetry, digital language arts and mixed media — they create them. It’s an intensive and collaborative process in which the close guidance of a faculty member who is also an accomplished writer is invaluable.

“There is a lot of one-on-one advising and working through manuscripts,” said Cole Swensen, a professor of literary arts and chair of the program.

For that reason, Swensen says — especially in a small department with only 16 faculty members — she was elated when Brown parents David Bonderman and Laure Michaels established the Bonderman Professorships of the Practice through a gift to the BrownTogether fundraising campaign. The professorships support a visiting assistant professor and writer in fiction, currently Rick Moody, and another in poetry, Mónica de la Torre.

“This is a fantastic gift,” Swensen said. “It was given to us to extend our ability to interact with students.”

‘Bending the arc’

Through the BrownTogether campaign, Brown donors John Atwater and Diana Nelson endowed the John Atwater and Diana L. Nelson University Professor of Environmental Studies at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

For Atwater and Nelson, making a gift to support faculty was a matter of steepening the trajectory of Brown’s rise.

“Diana and I believe that excellent leadership and human capital is the fundamental key to bending the arc of possibility in any realm,” Atwater said. “We are especially excited about endowing this professorship because it has the potential to impact the environment, which is important to us as avid environmentalists. It helps to ensure greater leadership in the Brown academic community and to improve Brown’s financial position in an area (endowed professorships) that is under-resourced as compared to comparable institutions. In short, a single gift such as this helps bend the arc in three areas of great importance to us.”

And the University has determined that these gifts are of great importance to Brown and the impact it can have through its scholarship.

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FULL LIST OF BROWNTOGETHER ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIPS

Since the launch of BrownTogether, generous donors have funded a total of 51 endowed professorships in academic departments across the University. Twenty-three faculty appointments have resulted, and searches are underway or will begin shortly for the others. These endowed professorships are listed here. In the 23 cases in which an appointment has been made, the faculty member’s name is included.

Endowed Professorships (appointed)

Stanley M. Aronson Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Faculty Member: Jonathan Kurtis
Donor: Anonymous

Bonderman Professors of the Practice, Literary Arts
Faculty Members: Hiram Moody, Monica de la Torre
Donor: David Bonderman and Laure Michaels

Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney University Professor of Economics
Faculty Member: Rafael La Porta
Donor: Robert J ’61 and Nancy D. Carney

Chen Family Professor of China Studies
Faculty Member: Cynthia Brokaw
Donor: Anonymous

Mahatma Gandhi Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs
Faculty Member: Prerna Singh
Donor: Anonymous

John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Faculty Member: Leela Gandhi
Donor: Anonymous

Richard Holbrooke Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies
Faculty Member: Jeffrey Colgan
Donor: Anonymous

Charles Evans Hughes 1881 Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International and Public Affairs
Faculty Member: Sarah Besky
Donor: The Thomas and Olive Watson Foundation

David S. Josephson Assistant Professor of Music
Faculty Member: Christopher Tucker
Donor: George S. Barrett ’77, P’06, P’15

Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science
Faculty Member: Eric Patashnik
Donor: Mitchell and L. Jolene Julis P’18

Aga Kahn Professor of Islamic Humanities
Faculty Member: Shahzad Bashir
Donor: Karima Aga Khan ’96HD, P’95

Samuel I. Kennison M.D. and Bertha S. Kennison Professor of Clinical Neuroscience
Faculty Member: Karen Furie
Donor: Anonymous

Jonathan M. Nelson Assistant Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship
Faculty Member: Bobak Pakzad-Hurson
Donor: Jonathan M. Nelson ’77, P’07, P’09

RGSS Assistant Professor of Public Health
Faculty Member: Joseph Braun
Donor: Anonymous

Pablo J. Salame Goldman Sachs Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience
Faculty Member: Wilson Truccolo-Filho
Donor: Pablo J. Salame ’88, P’21

Schreiber Family Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs
Faculty Member: Richard Locke
Donor: Anonymous

Carole and Lawrence Sirovich Professor of Public Health
Faculty Member: Joseph W. Hogan
Donor: Matthew I. Sirovich ’87 and Meredith A. Elson ’91

250th Anniversary Professors of Practice of Literary Arts and Music
Faculty Members: Ali Momeni, Sebastian Ruth, Anne Waldman
Donor: Anonymous

Professor of the Practice of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
Faculty Member: Ralph Lemon
Donor: Rachel and Carl Berg

Endowed Professorships (searches/appointments pending)

Acacia Professorship of Environment and Society
Donor: Anonymous

The Warren Alpert Professorship in Translational Science
Donor: The Warren Alpert Foundation

John Atwater ’83, P’17 and Diana Nelson Assistant Professorship of the Arts
Donor: John Atwater’83, P’17 and Diana Nelson

         John Atwater and Diana Nelson University Professor of Environmental Studies
          Donor: John Atwater ’83, P’17 and Diana Nelson

Robert J. ’61 and Nancy D. Carney University Professorship, Brown Institute for Brain Science
Donor: Robert J. ’61 and Nancy D. Carney

Joseph and Susan Edelman Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights
Donor: Joseph Edelman P’20, P'22 and Susan Lebovitz-Edelman '93, P’20, P'22

Edens Family Chair of Healthcare Communications and Technology
Donor: Wesley and Lynn Edens P’16, P’21

Marty Granoff LHD’06, P’93 Visiting Professorship/Professorship of the Practice in Music/Theatre Arts
Donor: Anonymous

Catherine E. Kerr, Ph.D. Professorship in Contemplative Cognitive Neuroscience
Donor: Anonymous

Judy C. Lewent and Mark L. Shapiro Professor of Philosophy
Donor: Mark L. Shapiro ’64 and Judy C. Lewent

Jonathan M. Nelson Professorship II
Donor: Jonathan M. Nelson ’77, P’07, P’09

John and Mary Panton Professorship
Donor: The Panton Family — John H. Panton, M.D., Robert Panton ’79 MD’83 and Peter Panton ’83 MMSc’86 MD’86, P’11, MD’15

Peterson Family Assistant Professorship in Health Policy
Donor: The New York Community Trust — The Peter G. Peterson Fund

Lawrence A. Rand ’64 Professorship in Entrepreneurship
Donor: Lawrence A. Rand '64

Rosenberg Family Professor of Brain Science
Donor: The Kim and Ralph Rosenberg Family Foundation, Ralph F. Rosenberg ‘86, P’17, Trustee

E. Paul Sorensen Professor of Engineering
Donor: Joan W. Sorensen ’72, P’06, P’06

Watson Family University Professor of Security Studies (two endowed positions)
Donor: The Thomas and Olive Watson Foundation

Joan Wernig Sorensen Professorship of Engineering
Donor: Joan W. Sorensen ’72, P’06, P’06

Joan Wernig and E. Paul Sorensen Professor of Engineering 
Donor: E.P. Sorensen ’71, Sc.M.’75, Ph.D.’77, P’06, P’06

June G. Zimmerman Professorship of Brain Science
Donor: Anonymous

Endowed Professorship of Brain Science
Donor: Anonymous

Center for Human Rights Professorship
Donor: Anonymous

Professorship at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society
Donor: Anonymous

Endowed Assistant Professorship of Mathematics
Donor: Anonymous

Professorship of Nuclear Security and Policy
Donor: Anonymous

Theatre Arts Endowed Fund
Donor: Anonymous

Watson Institute University Professorship in China Studies
Donor: Anonymous

250th Anniversary Professorships of Engineering, Science or Mathematics
Donor: Anonymous

***There are an additional three endowed, anonymous professorships.