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Brown University

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Title: Brown University  
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Collection: 1760S in the United States, 1764 Establishments in Rhode Island, Association of American Universities, Brown University, Colonial Architecture in Rhode Island, Colonial Colleges, Educational Institutions Established in the 1700S, Educational Institutions Established in the 1760S, Georgian Architecture in Rhode Island, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Non-Profit Organizations Based in Rhode Island, Rhode Island in the American Revolution, Universities and Colleges in Providence, Rhode Island
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Brown University

Brown University
The Brown University Coat of Arms
Latin: Universitas Brunensis
Motto In Deo Speramus (Latin)
Motto in English
In God We Hope[1]
Established 1764
Type Private
Endowment $3.3 billion (2015)[2]
Chancellor Thomas J. Tisch
President Christina Hull Paxson
Provost Richard M. Locke[3]
Academic staff
736 full-time
217 Humanities
163 Life/Medical Sciences
197 Physical Sciences
159 Social Sciences[4]
Students 8,619[5]
Undergraduates 6,182
Postgraduates 1,974
Other students
463 (medical)
Location Providence, RI, US
Campus Urban
143 acres (579,000 m²)
Newspaper The Brown Daily Herald
Colors      Seal brown
     Cardinal red
Athletics NCAA Division IIvy League, ECAC Hockey, EARC/EAWRC
Sports 38 varsity teams
Nickname Brown Bears
Mascot Bruno the Bear
Website .edubrown

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1764 as "The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," Brown is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges established before the American Revolution.[6] At its foundation, Brown was the first college in the United States to accept students regardless of their religious affiliation.[7] Its engineering program, established in 1847, was the first in what is now known as the Ivy League. Brown's New Curriculum—sometimes referred to in education theory as the Brown Curriculum—was adopted by faculty vote in 1969 after a period of student lobbying; the New Curriculum eliminated mandatory "general education" distribution requirements, made students "the architects of their own syllabus," and allowed them to take any course for a grade of satisfactory or unrecorded no-credit.[8] In 1971, Brown's coordinate women's institution, Pembroke College, was fully merged into the university.

Undergraduate admissions is among the most selective in the country, with an acceptance rate of 8.5 percent for the class of 2019.[9] The University comprises Watson Institute for International Studies, and is academically affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Rhode Island School of Design. The Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program, offered in conjunction with the Rhode Island School of Design, is a five-year course that awards degrees from both institutions.

Brown's main campus is located in the College Hill Historic District in the city of Providence, the third largest city in New England. The University's neighborhood is a federally listed architectural district with a dense concentration of ancient buildings. On the western edge of the campus, Benefit Street contains "one of the finest cohesive collections of restored seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architecture in the United States".[10]

Prominent alumni include current chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen '67 and president of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim '82. Brown has produced 7 Nobel Prize winners, 57 Rhodes Scholars,[11] five National Humanities Medalists,[12] eight billionaire graduates,[13] and 10 National Medal of Science laureates, and has also produced Fulbright, Marshall, and Mitchell scholars.[14]


  • History 1
    • The foundation and the charter 1.1
    • The New Curriculum 1.2
  • Campus 2
    • Main campus 2.1
    • Haffenreffer Museum 2.2
    • Pembroke campus 2.3
  • Academics 3
    • Presidents 3.1
    • The College 3.2
    • Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program 3.3
    • Theatre and playwriting 3.4
    • Writing programs 3.5
    • Author prizewinners 3.6
    • Computer science 3.7
    • The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology 3.8
    • The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs 3.9
    • The School of Engineering 3.10
    • IE Brown Executive MBA Dual Degree Program 3.11
    • Alpert Medical School 3.12
    • The Marine Biological Laboratory 3.13
  • Admission and financial aid 4
  • Sustainability 5
  • Athletics 6
  • Student life 7
    • Residential and Greek societies 7.1
    • Societies and clubs 7.2
    • Student organizations 7.3
    • Resource centers 7.4
    • Controversy Over ADA Mental Health Discrimination 7.5
  • Rankings 8
  • Notable people 9
    • In popular culture 9.1
  • See also 10
  • References 11
    • Bibliography 11.1
  • External links 12


The foundation and the charter

Stephen Hopkins, first chancellor of Brown, governor of Rhode Island, and signer of the Declaration of Independence
The Ezra Stiles copy of the Brown University Charter of 1764

The origins of Brown University may be dated to 1761 when three residents of Newport, Rhode Island, drafted a petition to the General Assembly of the colony:[15]

"Your Petitioners propose to open a literary institution or School for instructing young Gentlemen in the Languages, Mathematics, Geography & History, & such other branches of Knowledge as shall be desired. That for this End ... it will be necessary ... to erect a public Building or Buildings for the boarding of the youth & the Residence of the Professors."

The three petitioners were Ezra Stiles, pastor of Newport's Second Congregational Church and future president of Yale; William Ellery, Jr., future signer of the Declaration of Independence; and Josias Lyndon, future governor of the colony. Stiles and Ellery would two years later be co-authors of the Charter of the College. The editor of Stiles's papers observes that, "This draft of a petition connects itself with other evidence of Dr. Stiles's project for a Collegiate Institution in Rhode Island, before the charter of what became Brown University."[16]

In 1762 there is further documentary evidence that Stiles was making plans for a college. On January 20, Chauncey Whittelsey, pastor of the First Church of New Haven, answered a letter from Stiles:[17]

"The week before last I sent you the Copy of Yale College Charter. ... Should you make any Progress in the Affair of a Colledge, I should be glad to hear of it; I heartily wish you Success therein."

The Philadelphia Association of Baptist Churches also had an eye on Rhode Island, home of the mother church of their denomination, the First Baptist Church in America, founded in Providence in 1638 by Roger Williams. The Baptists were as yet unrepresented among colonial colleges—the Congregationalists had Harvard and Yale, the Presbyterians had the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), and the Episcopalians had the College of William and Mary and King's College (later Columbia). Writing in 1784, Isaac Backus, historian of the New England Baptists and an inaugural Trustee of Brown, described the October 1762 resolution taken at Philadelphia:[18]

"The Philadelphia Association obtained such an acquaintance with our affairs, as to bring them to an apprehension that it was practicable and expedient to erect a college in the Colony of Rhode-Island, under the chief direction of the Baptists; ... Mr. James Manning, who took his first degree in New-Jersey college in September, 1762, was esteemed a suitable leader in this important work."

Manning arrived at Newport in July 1763 and was introduced to Stiles, who agreed to write the Charter for the College. Stiles's first draft was read to the General Assembly in August 1763 and rejected by Baptist members who worried that the College Board of Fellows would underrepresent the Baptists. A revised Charter, written by Stiles and Ellery, was adopted by the Assembly on March 3, 1764.

In September 1764 the inaugural meeting of the College Corporation was held at Newport. Governor Stephen Hopkins was chosen chancellor, former and future governor Samuel Ward was vice chancellor, John Tillinghast treasurer, and Thomas Eyres secretary. The Charter stipulated that the Board of Trustees comprise 22 Baptists, five Quakers, five Episcopalians, and four Congregationalists. Of the 12 Fellows, eight should be Baptists—including the College president—"and the rest indifferently of any or all Denominations."[19]

The Charter was not, as is sometimes supposed, the grant of [20] The oft-repeated statement that Brown's Charter alone prohibited a religious test for College membership is inaccurate; other college charters were also liberal in that particular.

James Manning was sworn in as the College's first president in 1765 and served until 1791. In 1770 the College moved from Warren, Rhode Island, to the crest of College Hill overlooking Providence. Solomon Drowne, a freshman in the class of 1773, wrote in his diary on March 26, 1770:[21]

"This day the Committee for settling the spot for the College, met at the New-Brick School House, when it was determined it should be set on ye Hill opposite Mr. John Jenkes; up the Presbyterian Lane."
Presbyterian Lane is the present College Street. The eight-acre site, in two parcels, had been purchased by the Corporation for £219, mainly from University Hall—known until 1823 as "The College Edifice"—was modelled on Nassau Hall at the College of New Jersey. Its construction was managed by the firm of Nicholas Brown and Company, which spent £2844 in the first year building the College Edifice and the adjacent President's House.[22][23]
Nicholas Brown, Junior, founder of the Providence Athenaeum, co-founder of Butler Hospital, philanthropist, progressive, and abolitionist. Following his major gift in 1804, the College was renamed Brown University. Painting by Chester Harding, 1836

The Brown family

The Brown family—Nicholas Brown, his son Nicholas Brown, Junior, class of 1786, John Brown, Joseph Brown, and Moses Brown—were instrumental in moving the College to Providence and securing its endowment. Joseph became a professor of natural philosophy at the College, John served as its treasurer from 1775 to 1796, and Nicholas, Junior, succeeded his uncle as treasurer from 1796 to 1825.

On September 8, 1803, the Corporation voted, "That the donation of $5000 Dollars, if made to this College within one Year from the late Commencement, shall entitle the donor to name the College." In a letter dated September 6, 1804, that appeal was answered by College treasurer Nicholas Brown, Junior, and the Corporation honored its promise: "In gratitude to Mr. Brown, the Corporation at the same meeting voted, 'That this College be called and known in all future time by the Name of Brown University'."[20] Over the years, the benefactions of Nicholas Brown, Junior, would total nearly $160,000, an enormous sum for that period, and included the buildings Hope College and Manning Hall, built 1821-22 and 1834-35.

It is sometimes erroneously supposed that Brown University was "named after" John Brown, whose commercial activity included the transportation of African slaves. In fact, Brown University was named for Nicholas Brown, Junior—philanthropist, founder of the Providence Athenaeum, co-founder of Butler Hospital, and, crucially, an abolitionist. Under the guidance of his uncle Moses Brown, one of the leading abolitionists of his day, Nicholas Brown, Junior, became a financier of the movement.[24] (The opposing attitudes to the slave trade within the Brown family—from John Brown's unapologetic participation, to Moses and Nicholas Brown's activist opposition—are described in Ricardo Howell, "Slavery, the Brown Family of Providence and Brown University" (2001, published online at, and in Charles Rappleye, Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution (New York, 2006)).

Brigadier general James Mitchell Varnum, class of 1769, served in the Continental Army and advocated the enlistment of African Americans, which resulted in the reformation of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment as an all-black unit. Painting by Charles Willson Peale, 1804

The American Revolution

In the fall of 1776, with British vessels patrolling Narragansett Bay, the College library was moved out of Providence for safekeeping. On December 7, 1776, six thousand British and Hessian troops under the command of Sir Peter Parker sailed into Newport harbor. In a letter written after the war, College president Manning said:[25]

"The royal Army landed on Rhode Island & took possession of the same: This brought their Camp in plain View from the College with the naked Eye; upon which the Country flew to Arms & marched for Providence, there, unprovided with Barracks they marched into the College & dispossessed the Students, about 40 in Number."

"In the claim for damages presented by the Corporation to the United States government," says the University historian, "it is stated that the American troops used it for barracks and hospital from December 10, 1776, to April 20, 1780, and that the French troops used it for a hospital from June 26, 1780, to May 27, 1782."[26] The French troops were those of the Comte de Rochambeau.

On the College Green, Sayles Hall (left), built 1878-81, designed by Alpheus C. Morse, and Wilson Hall, built 1891, designed by Gould & Angell, both buildings in the Richardsonian Romanesque style

The New Curriculum

In 1850, Brown President Francis Wayland wrote: "The various courses should be so arranged that, insofar as practicable, every student might study what he chose, all that he chose, and nothing but what he chose."[27] Adopted in 1969, the New Curriculum is a milestone in the University's history and is seen as the realization of Wayland's vision.

The curriculum was the result of a paper written by Ira Magaziner and Elliot Maxwell titled "Draft of a Working Paper for Education at Brown University."[28] The paper came out of a year-long Group Independent Study Project (GISP) involving 80 students and 15 professors. The GISP was inspired by student-initiated experimental schools, especially San Francisco State College, and sought ways to "put students at the center of their education" and "teach students how to think rather than just teaching facts."[29]

The paper made concrete proposals for the new curriculum, including interdisciplinary freshman-year courses that would introduce "modes of thought," with instruction from faculty brought together from different disciplines. The aim was to transform the traditional survey course—often experienced passively by first-year students—into a more engaging process, an investigation of the intellectual and philosophical connections between disciplines. A grading option of Satisfactory/No Credit would be introduced to encourage students to try courses outside their grade-point comfort zone. In practice, this grading innovation of the New Curriculum—sometimes misunderstood and mischaracterized—has been its most successful component, responsible, in the decades since its adoption, for uncounted career-changing decisions—studio art swapped for neuroscience, biology swapped for anthropology, mathematics swapped for playwriting (and Pulitzer Prizes).[30]

On the Front Green at the top of College Hill are Hope College (left), built 1821-22, and Manning Hall, built 1834-35, designed by Russell Warren. Both buildings were the gift of Nicholas Brown, Junior

In the spring of 1969, following student rallies in support of reform, University president Ray Heffner appointed the Special Committee on Curricular Philosophy, tasked with developing specific reforms. The resulting report, called the Maeder Report after its committee chair, was presented to the faculty, which voted the New Curriculum into existence on May 7, 1969. Its key features included:[29]

  • Modes of Thought courses for first-year students
  • The introduction of interdisciplinary courses
  • The abandonment of "general education" distribution requirements
  • The Satisfactory/No Credit grading option
  • The ABC/No Credit grading system, which eliminated pluses, minuses, and D's; a grade of "No Credit" would not appear on external transcripts.

The Modes of Thought course, a key component in the original conception of the New Curriculum, was early on discontinued, but all of the other elements are still in place. In 2006 the reintroduction of plus/minus grading was broached by persons concerned about grade inflation. After a canvassing of alumni, faculty, and students, including the original authors of the Magaziner-Maxwell Report, the idea was rejected by the College Curriculum Council.[31]


Robinson Hall, built 1875-78, designed by Walker and Gould, an octagonal building in the Venetian Gothic style. It is an example of the panoptic principle in library design inspired by the British Museum reading room[32]

Brown is the largest institutional landowner in Providence, with properties on College Hill and in the East Side. It is reached from downtown principally by three extremely steep streets—College, Waterman, and Angell—which run through the Benefit Street historic district and the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design. College Street, culminating with Van Wickle Gates at the top of the hill, is especially beautiful, and is the setting for the Convocation and Commencement processions.

At Convocation, new students march through Van Wickle Gates, built 1900-01, designed by Hoppin and Ely of Providence and Hoppin and Koen of New York.[34] The gates were the gift of Augustus Stout Van Wickle, class of 1876, who also gave the FitzRandolph Gateway at Princeton, built 1905, as a memorial to his ancestor Nathaniel FitzRandolph

Van Wickle Gates

The Van Wickle Gates, dedicated on June 18, 1901, have a pair of smaller side gates that are open year round, and a large central gate that is opened two days a year for Convocation and Commencement. At Convocation the gate opens inward to admit the procession of new students. At Commencement the gate opens outward for the procession of graduates.[35] A Brown superstition is that students who walk through the central gate a second time prematurely will not graduate, although walking backwards is said to cancel the hex. Members of the Brown University Band famously flout the superstition by walking through the gate three times too many, as they annually play their role in the Commencement parade.

Carrie Tower, built 1904 in English Baroque style, is a memorial to Caroline Mathilde Brown, granddaughter of Nicholas Brown, class of 1786, for whom the University is named

The core green spaces of the main campus are the Front (or "Quiet") Green, the College (or "Main") Green, and the Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle (until 2012 called Lincoln Field). The old buildings on these three greens are the most photographed.

Adjacent to this older campus are, to the south, academic buildings and residential quadrangles, including Wriston, Keeney, and Gregorian quadrangles; to the east, Sciences Park occupying two city blocks; to the north, connected to Simmons Quadrangle by The Walk, academic and residential precincts, including the life sciences complex and the Pembroke Campus; and to the west, on the slope of College Hill, academic buildings, including List Art Center and the Hay and Rockefeller libraries. Also on the slope of College Hill, contiguous with Brown, is the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design.

The John Hay Library, built 1910, designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge in the English Renaissance style, is home to rare books, special collections, and the University archives

John Hay Library

The John Hay Library is the second oldest library on campus. It was opened in 1910 and named for Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and a Shakespeare First Folio. There are also three books bound in human skin.[38]

The John Carter Brown Library on the College Green, built 1898-1904, designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge in the Beaux-Arts style, is one of the world's leading repositories of ancient books and maps relating to the exploration and natural history of the Americas[39]

John Carter Brown Library

The John Carter Brown Library, founded in 1846, is administered separately from the University, but has been located on the Main Green of the campus since 1904. It is generally regarded as the world's leading collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the Americas before 1825. It houses a very large percentage of the titles published before that date about the discovery, settlement, history, and natural history of the New World. The "JCB", as it is known, published the 29-volume Bibliotheca Americana, a principal bibliography in the field. Typical of its noteworthy holdings is the best preserved of the eleven surviving copies of the Bay Psalm Book the earliest extant book printed in British North America and the most expensive printed book in the world.[40] There is also a very fine Shakespeare First Folio, added to the collection by John Carter Brown's widow (a Shakespeare enthusiast) on the grounds that it includes The Tempest, a play set in the New World. The JCB holdings comprise more than 50,000 early titles and about 16,000 modern books, as well as prints, manuscripts, maps, and other items in the library's specialty.

Manning Hall, built 1834-35 in Greek Revival style, home to the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Haffenreffer Museum

The exhibition galleries of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown's teaching museum, are located in Manning Hall on the campus's main green. Its one million artifacts, available for research and educational purposes, are located at its Collections Research Center in Bristol, RI. The museum's goal is to inspire creative and critical thinking about culture by fostering interdisciplinary understanding of the material world. It provides opportunities for faculty and students to work with collections and the public, teaching through objects and programs in classrooms and exhibitions. The museum sponsors lectures and events in all areas of anthropology, and also runs an extensive program of outreach to local schools.

Brown Commencements have been held since 1776 in the First Baptist Church in America, built 1774-75, designed by Joseph Brown. This "meeting house" was built to accommodate 1,400 people and for the dual purpose of "the publick worship of Almighty God and also for holding commencement in"[41]

The "Walk" connects Pembroke Campus to the main campus. It is a succession of green spaces extending from Ruth Simmons Quadrangle (Lincoln Field) in the south to the Pembroke College monument on Meeting Street in the north. It is bordered by departmental buildings and the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. A focal point of The Walk will be the Maya Lin-designed water-circulating topographical sculpture of Narragansett Bay, to be installed in 2014 next to the Institute for the Study of Environment and Society.

Smith-Buonanno Hall on the Pembroke Campus
Miller Hall on the Pembroke Campus

Pembroke campus

The Women's College in Brown University, known as Pembroke College, was founded in October 1891. When it merged with Brown in 1971, the Pembroke Campus was absorbed into the Brown campus. The Pembroke campus is centered on a quadrangle that fronts on Meeting Street, where a garden and monument—with scale-model of the quadrangle in bronze—compose the formal entry to the campus. The Pembroke campus is among the most pleasing spaces at Brown, with noteworthy examples of Victorian and Georgian architecture. The west side of the quadrangle comprises Pembroke Hall (1897), Smith-Buonanno Hall (1907, formerly Pembroke Gymnasium), and Metcalf Hall (1919); the east side comprises Alumnae Hall (1927) and Miller Hall (1910); the quadrangle culminates on the north with Andrews Hall (1947) and its terrace and garden. Pembroke Hall, originally a classroom building and library, now houses the Cogut Center for the Humanities.

The Orwig Music Library in the former Isaac Gifford Ladd house, built 1850, acquired in 1969 when Brown bought the buildings and grounds of Bryant University on the southeast edge of the Brown campus

East Campus, centered on Hope and Charlesfield streets, was originally the site of Bryant University. In 1969, as Bryant was preparing to move to Smithfield, Rhode Island, Brown bought their Providence campus for $5 million. This expanded the Brown campus by 10 acres (40,000 m2) and 26 buildings, included several historic houses, notably the Isaac Gifford Ladd house, built 1850 (now Brown's Orwig Music Library), and the Robert Taft House, built 1895 (now King House). The area was named East Campus in 1971.

Thayer Street runs through Brown's main campus, north to south, and is College Hill's reduced-scale counterpart to Harvard Square or Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue. Restaurants, cafes, bistros, tavernas, pubs, bookstores, second-hand shops, and the like abound. Tourists, people-watchers, buskers, and students from Providence's six colleges make the scene. Half a mile south of campus is Thayer Street's hipper cousin, Wickenden Street. More picturesque and with older architecture, it features galleries, pubs, specialty shops, artist-supply stores, and a regionally famous coffee shop that doubles as a film set (for Woody Allen and others).

Brown Stadium, built in 1925 and home to the football team, is located approximately a mile to the northeast of the main campus. Marston Boathouse, the home of the crew teams, lies on the Blackstone/Seekonk River, to the southeast of campus. Brown's Warren Alpert Medical School is situated in the historic Jewelry District of Providence, near the medical campus of Brown's teaching hospitals, Rhode Island Hospital, Women and Infants Hospital, and Hasbro Children's Hospital. Other University research facilities in the Jewelry District include the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine.

Brown's School of Public Health occupies a landmark modernist building overlooking Memorial Park on the Providence Riverwalk. Brown also owns 376-acre (1.52 km2) the Mount Hope Grant in Bristol, Rhode Island, an important Native American and King Philip's War site. Brown's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology Collection Research Center, particularly strong in Native American items, is located in the Mount Hope Grant.



19th Brown president Christina Hull Paxson, 2012 to present
2nd Brown president, Jonathan Maxcy, 1792–1802
4th Brown president Francis Wayland, 1827-1855. His influential book Thoughts on the Present Collegiate System in the United States (1842) urged American universities to adopt a broader curriculum
18th Brown president Ruth J. Simmons, 2001–2012, was the first African-American to lead an Ivy League university

Brown's current president Christina Hull Paxson took office in 2012. She had previously been dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a past-chair of Princeton's economics department.[42] In 2014 and 2015 Paxson will preside during the year-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of Brown's founding. Her immediate predecessor as president was Ruth J. Simmons, the first African American president of an Ivy League institution. Simmons will remain at Brown as a professor of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies.[43]

The College

Founded in 1764, the College is the oldest school of Brown University. About 6,400 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in the College, and 79 concentrations (majors) are offered. Completed concentrations of undergraduates by area are social sciences 42 percent, humanities 26 percent, life sciences 17 percent, and physical sciences 14 percent.[44] The concentrations with the greatest number of students are Biology, History, and International Relations. Brown is one of the few schools in the United States with an undergraduate concentration (major) in Egyptology. Undergraduates can also design an independent concentration if the existing programs do not align with their curricular focus.

35 percent of undergraduates pursue graduate or professional study immediately, 60 percent within 5 years, and 80 percent within 10 years.[45] For the Class of 1998, 75 percent of all graduates have since enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program.[46] The degrees acquired were doctoral 22 percent, master's 35 percent, medicine 28 percent, and law 14 percent.[46]

The highest fields of employment for graduates of the College are business 36 percent, education 19 percent, health/medical 6 percent, arts 6 percent, government 6 percent, and communications/media 5 percent.[46]

The language of the College Charter has been interpreted as discouraging the establishment professional schools. Brown and Princeton are the only Ivy League colleges with neither business school nor law school.

The List Art Center, built 1969-71, designed by Philip Johnson, houses the Department of Visual Art and the David Winton Bell Gallery, and is adjacent to the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design

Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program

Brown's near neighbor on College Hill is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), America's top-ranked art college.[47] Brown and RISD students can cross-register at the two institutions, with Brown students permitted to take as many as four courses at RISD that count towards a Brown degree. The two institutions partner to provide various student-life services and the two student bodies compose a synergy in the College Hill cultural scene.

The Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program, among the most selective in the country, offered admission to 17 of the 512 applicants for the class entering in autumn 2015, an acceptance rate of 3.3 percent.[48] It combines the complementary strengths of the two institutions, integrating studio art at RISD with the entire spectrum of Brown's departmental offerings. Students are admitted to the Dual Degree Program for a course lasting five years and culminating in both the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree from Brown and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree from RISD. Prospective students must apply to the two schools separately and be accepted by separate admissions committees. Their application must then be approved by a third Brown/RISD joint committee.

Admitted students spend the first year in residence at RISD completing its "foundation course," and the second year in residence at Brown. Another year at each school ensues, with the fifth year spent according to the student's electives. Program participants are noted for their creative and original approach to cross-disciplinary opportunities, combining, for example, industrial design with engineering, or anatomical illustration with human biology, or philosophy with sculpture, or architecture with urban studies. An annual "BRDD Exhibition" is a well-publicized and heavily attended event, drawing interest and attendees from the wider world of industry, design, the media, and the fine arts.

Lyman Hall, built 1890-92, designed by Stone, Carpenter and Willson in Richardsonian Romanesque style, houses the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Theatre and playwriting

Brown's theatre and playwriting programs are among of the best-regarded in the country. Since 2003 eight different Brown graduates have either won (four times) or been nominated for (six times) the Pulitzer Prize—including winners Lynn Nottage '86, Ayad Akhtar '93, Nilo Cruz '94, and Quiara Alegría Hudes '04; and nominees Sarah Ruhl '97 (twice), Gina Gionfriddo '97 (twice), Stephen Karam '02, and Jordan Harrison '03. In American Theater magazine's 2009 ranking of the most-produced American plays, Brown graduates occupied four of the top five places—Peter Nachtrieb '97, Rachel Sheinkin '89, Sarah Ruhl '97, and Stephen Karam '02.[49]

The undergraduate concentration (major) encompasses programs in theatre history, performance theory, playwriting, dramaturgy, acting, directing, dance, speech, and technical production. Applications for doctoral and master's degree programs are made through the University Graduate School. Master's degrees in acting and directing are pursued in conjunction with the Rep MFA program, which partners with one of the country's great regional theatres, Trinity Repertory Company, home of the last longstanding resident acting company in the country.[50] Trinity Rep's present artistic director Curt Columbus succeeded Oskar Eustis in 2006, when Eustis was chosen to lead New York's Public Theater.

The many performance spaces available to Brown students include the Chace and Dowling theaters at Trinity Rep; the McCormack Family, Lee Strasberg, Rites and Reason, Ashamu Dance, Stuart, and Leeds theatres in University departments; the Upstairs Space and Downstairs Space belonging to the wholly student-run Production Workshop; and Alumnae Hall, used by Brown University Gilbert & Sullivan and by Brown Opera Productions. Production design courses utilize the John Street Studio of Eugene Lee, three-time Tony Award-winner.

Hope College, built 1821-22 in late Federal style, was named for Hope Brown Ives, sister of Nicholas Brown, Junior, and was the first purpose-built residence hall at Brown
Membership in the Brown Faculty Club is open to all faculty, staff, alumni, and Brown parents, and confers reciprocal privileges at other clubs—in North America, England, Spain, and Israel—through the Association of College and University Clubs

Writing programs

Writing at Brown—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, electronic writing, mixed media, and the undergraduate writing proficiency requirement—is catered for by various centers and degree programs, and a faculty that has long included nationally and internationally known authors. The undergraduate concentration (major) in literary arts offers courses in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, literary hypermedia, and translation. Graduate programs include the fiction and poetry MFA writing programs in the literary arts department, and the MFA playwriting program in the theatre arts and performance studies department. The non-fiction writing program is offered in the English department. Screenwriting and cinema narrativity courses are offered in the departments of literary arts and modern culture and media. The undergraduate writing proficiency requirement is supported by the Writing Center.

Author prizewinners

Alumni authors take their degrees across the spectrum of degree concentrations, but a gauge of the strength of writing at Brown is the number of major national writing prizes won. To note only winners since the year 2000: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction-winners Jeffrey Eugenides '82 (2003) and Marilynne Robinson '66 (2005); British Orange Prize-winners Marilynne Robinson '66 (2009) and Madeline Miller '00 (2012); Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winners Nilo Cruz '94 (2003), Lynn Nottage '86 (2009), Quiara Alegría Hudes '04 (2012), and Ayad Akhtar '93 (2013); Pulitzer Prize for Biography-winner David Kertzer '69 (2015); Pulitzer Prize for Journalism-winners James Risen '77 (twice, 2002, 2006), Mark Maremont '80 (twice, 2003, 2007), Gareth Cook '91 (2005), Peter Kovacs '77 (2006), Stephanie Grace '86 (2006), Mary Swerczek '98 (2006), Jane B. Spencer '99 (2006), Usha Lee McFarling '89 (2007), James Bandler '89 (2007), Amy Goldstein '75 (2009), and David Rohde '90 (twice, 1996, 2009).

The Watson Center for Information Technology, built 1988, designed by Cambridge Seven Associates. It is named for Thomas J. Watson, Jr., Brown class of 1937, who led the global rise of IBM.
The division of applied mathematics in the former Henry Pearce House, built 1898, designed by Frank W. Angell and Frank H. Swift, acquired by Brown in 1952

Computer science

Teaching of computer science began at Brown in 1956 when an IBM machine was installed and computing courses were offered through the departments of Economics and Applied Mathematics. In January 1958 an IBM650 was added, the only one of its type between Hartford and Boston. In 1960 Brown's first computer building, designed by

  • Brown University
  • Official Brown athletics site

External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ As of September 30, 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Bronson (1914), p. 30.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c Aleksandra Lifshits, "8.5 percent admit rate for class of 2019 breaks University record", The Brown Daily Herald, April 1, 2015; sourcing admissions dean James Miller
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Dexter (1916), pp. 24–25.
  16. ^ Dexter (1916), p. 25.
  17. ^ Bronson (1914), pp. 13–14.
  18. ^ Isaac Backus, A History of New-England, 3 vols (Boston, 1777-96), vol. 2, quoted in Bronson (1914), p. 8.
  19. ^ Bronson (1914), pp. 502–503; the Charter and its drafts and associated documents are printed in Bronson (1914), pp. 493–507; and in Guild (1867), pp. 119–146.
  20. ^ a b Bronson (1914), pp. 29–33.
  21. ^ Quoted in Bronson (1914), pp. 54–55.
  22. ^ Guild (1867), pp. 233–236 & 299.
  23. ^ Bronson (1914), pp. 55–56.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Bronson (1914), pp. 66–67.
  26. ^ Bronson (1914), p. 68.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^
  31. ^ ;
  32. ^ "Robinson Hall" in SAH Archipedia Classic Buildings, Society of Architectural Historians (
  33. ^
  34. ^ In later sources the architects are variously given as Hoppin & Koen of New York, or Hoppin & Ely of Providence, or both. The Hoppins were brothers; in 1895 Ely had taken Francis's place in the Providence firm. The Brown Alumni Monthly (December 1900, p. 67) says both firms were the designers; The American Institute of Architects Quarterly Bulletin (vol. 4, 1903, p. 123) shows Hoppin & Ely, with Hoppin & Koen as "associated architects"
  35. ^ Mitchell, Martha. (1993). "Van Wickle Gates." Encyclopedia Brunoniana
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ "EBSCO Publishing and the John Carter Brown Library Join Forces to Offer Database", September 16, 2010, published online at
  40. ^ BBC News, "Bay Psalm Book is most expensive printed work at $14.2m," [1]; [2]
  41. ^ Bronson (1914), p. 63; the quote is from the Baptist Society resolution dated February 11, 1774
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ a b c
  47. ^
  48. ^ a b; sourcing admissions dean James Miller
  49. ^ Kathy Borchers, "Brown University turning out one exceptional playwright after another," Associated Press (Providence Journal), December 18, 2009; [3]
  50. ^ Molly Lederer, "Trinity Rep is still shining after 50 years," East Side Monthly, Oct. 2013, p. 17
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ a b c
  68. ^
  69. ^ [4]
  70. ^ [5]
  71. ^ [6]
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^ A. Joukowsky, H. Ambler, D. Philips, C. Albert, and M. Hooper, Ever True: The History of Brown Crew (Providence: Brown University Sports Foundation; Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, 2010)
  80. ^ Robert Siegel, "Black Baseball Pioneer William White's 1879 Game," National Public Radio, broadcast January 30, 2004 (audio at
  81. ^ Stefan Fatsis, "Mystery of Baseball: Was William White Game's First Black?" Wall Street Journall, January 30, 2004 (
  82. ^ Peter Morris and Stefan Fatsis, "Baseball's Secret Pioneer: William Edward White, the first black player in major-league history," Slate, February 4, 2014;
  83. ^ Rick Harris, Brown University Baseball: A Legacy of the game (Charleston: The History Press, 2012), pp. 41-3
  84. ^ U.S. News & World Report. (March 18, 2002). "College Sports: Honor Roll." U.S. News & World Report
  85. ^
  86. ^
  87. ^ Robert B. Johnson, A History of Rowing in America (1871), pp. 60-1
  88. ^ Bronson (1914), pp. 346–347.
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^ Bronson (1914), p. 181.
  92. ^ Bronson (1914), pp. 120, 147–148, 180–182, 239–244, 348–349 & 483–484.
  93. ^ Rhode Island Historical Society, "Providence Franklin Society Records, 1826-1922," published online at [7]
  94. ^ The three cited items of "evidence" in Pacifica House publicity are William J. Rhees, Manual of Public Libraries, Institutions and Societies in the United States (Philadelphia, 1859), pp. 437-8; Thomas B. Stockwell, A History of Public Education in Rhode Island, from 1636 to 1876 (Providence, 1876), p. 246; and Providence Franklin Society, Report on the Geology of Rhode Island (Providence, 1887, commissioned 1883), for which see, e.g., Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, no. 127 (Washington, 1896), p. 821)
  95. ^
  96. ^
  97. ^
  98. ^
  99. ^
  100. ^ a b
  101. ^ a b
  102. ^
  103. ^
  104. ^
  105. ^
  106. ^
  107. ^
  108. ^
  109. ^
  110. ^
  111. ^
  112. ^
  113. ^
  114. ^
  115. ^
  116. ^
  117. ^
  118. ^
  119. ^
  120. ^
  121. ^ [8]
  122. ^ Best Undergraduate Teaching | Rankings | Top National Universities | US News. Retrieved on August 12, 2013.
  123. ^
  124. ^
  125. ^ TIME 100 Persons of the Century, June 14, 1999
  126. ^
  127. ^
  128. ^ a b


See also

Brown's reputation as an institution with a free-spirited, iconoclastic student body is portrayed in fiction and popular culture.[126] Family Guy character Brian Griffin is a Brown alumnus.[127] The O.C.'s main character Seth Cohen is denied acceptance to Brown while his girlfriend is accepted.[128] In Gossip Girl, New York City socialite Serena vies among her friends for a spot at Brown, and, The Simpsons character Lisa Simpson is told by Harvard’s president after she fails a test that she will be unable to attend Harvard, but he can “pass (her) file along to Brown.”[128] The reporter Christine Everheart (played by Leslie Bibb) in the Iron Man films went to Brown.

In popular culture

Notable past or current faculty have included Leon Cooper, Fields Medal winning mathematician David Mumford, mathematician Ulf Grenander, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood, Sakurai Prize winning physicist Gerald Guralnik for co-elucidation of the Higgs mechanism, award-winning physicist John M. Kosterlitz of the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition, computer scientist and inventor of hypertext Andries van Dam, computer scientist Robert Sedgewick, prominent engineers Daniel C. Drucker, L. Ben Freund, and Mayo D. Hersey, BrainGate inventor John Donoghue (Ph.D 79'), biologist and prominent advocate of biological evolution Kenneth R. Miller, first president of the American Sociological Association Lester Frank Ward, economists Hyman Minsky, Peter MacAvoy, who was a former member of the US Council of Economic Advisers, William Poole (economist), Ross Levine, Oded Galor and Peter Howitt (economist), former Prime Minister of Italy and former EU chief Romano Prodi, former President of Brazil Fernando Cardoso, former President of Chile Ricardo Lagos, writers Carlos Fuentes, Chinua Achebe, Robert Coover, Robert Creeley and Keith Waldrop, former Presidents of the American Philosophical Association Jaegwon Kim and Ernest Sosa, philosophers Curt Ducasse, Roderick Chisholm, and Martha Nussbaum, linguist Hans Kurath, political scientist James Morone and Senior Fellow Sergei Khrushchev.

Nobel Laureates Craig Mello '82 and Jerry White '87, Cooley-Tukey FFT algorithm co-originator John Wilder Tukey '36, Gurney Professor of History and Political Science at Harvard Adam Ulam '44, Lasker Award winning biologist and founder of microbial pathogenesis Stanley Falkow (PhD '59), MIT neuroscience department chair Mark F. Bear (B.A. '78, Ph.D '84), Penn psychologist, Lasker Award winner and cognitive therapy originator Aaron Beck '50, John Bates Clark Medal winning MIT economist Jerry A. Hausman '68, University of Chicago School of Law dean Daniel Fischel, Chicago Booth economist Randall Kroszner '84, Stanford Law School dean Larry Kramer (legal scholar), '80, and Arthur L. Horwich.

Other notable alumni include NASA head during first seven Apollo missions Thomas O. Paine '42, Max-Planck-Institute für Strömungsforschung Director J.P. Toennies, chief scientist NASA Mars and lunar programs James B. Garvin '78, Governor of Wyoming Territory and Governor of Nebraska John Milton Thayer (1841), Governor of Rhode Island Augustus Bourn (1855), diplomat Richard Holbrooke '62, sportscaster Chris Berman '77, Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien '92, former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno '50, Heisman Trophy namesake John W. Heisman '91, Pollard Award namesake, Pro Football Hall of Fame member and first black All-American and NFL head coach Fritz Pollard '19, National Security Council counter-terrorism director RP Eddy '94, presidential advisor Ira Magaziner '69, founder of The Gratitude Network and The Intersection event Randy Haykin '85. Also royals and nobles such as Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein, Princess Leila Pahlavi of Iran '92, Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark, Prince Nikita Romanov, Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of San Jaime and Count of Bardi, Prince Ra'ad bin Zeid, Lady Gabriella Windsor, Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg and Countess Cosima von Bülow Pavoncelli.

Alumni in the arts and media include actress Laura Linney '86, actor John Krasinski '01, Modern Family actress Julie Bowen '91, Harry Potter films actress Emma Watson '14, Grey's Anatomy actress, Jessica Capshaw '98, editor in chief of The Onion Cole Bolton '04, MSNBC program hosts Chris Hayes '01 and Alex Wagner '99, NPR program host Ira Glass '82, About a Boy actor David Walton '01, singer-composer Mary Chapin Carpenter '81, CSI: NY actor Hill Harper, musicians Damian Kulash '98 and Dhani Harrison '02, film directors Todd Haynes '85, Doug Liman '88, and Davis Guggenheim '86, and director-actor Tim Blake Nelson '86, New Yorker humorist and Marx Brothers screenwriter S.J. Perelman '25, novelists Nathanael West '24, Jeffrey Eugenides '83, Rick Moody '83, Edwidge Danticat (MFA '93), Marilynne Robinson '66, and Amity Gaige '95, playwrights Sarah Ruhl '97, Lynn Nottage '86, Richard Foreman '59, Alfred Uhry '58, and Nilo Cruz (MFA '94), actress Jo Beth Williams '70, composer Duncan Sheik '92, singer Lisa Loeb '90, Rockefeller Center and Tribune Tower architect Raymond Hood (1902), composer and synthesizer pioneer Wendy Carlos '62, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen '77, composer Rusty Magee, political pundit Mara Liasson, 20th Century Fox Film Group president Tom Rothman '76, Black Entertainment Television chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee '76, HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg '77, MTV Films and Nick Movies president Scott Aversano '91, CNN US News Operations president Jonathan Klein '80, Bravo TV president Lauren Zalaznick '84.

Alumni in the computer sciences and industry include Apple Macintosh and Mac OS designer Andy Hertzfeld '75, architect of Intel 386, 486, and Pentium microprocessors John H. Crawford '75, first Microsoft Windows project chief Brad Silverberg, Apple Computer CEO (1983–1993) John Sculley '61, MIT computer science chair John Guttag '71, University of Washington computer science chair Ed Lazowska '72, inventor of the first silicon transistor Gordon Kidd Teal '31.

Important figures in the history of education include civil libertarian and Amherst College president Alexander Meiklejohn, first president of the University of South Carolina Jonathan Maxcy (1787), Bates College founder Oren B. Cheney (1836), longest-serving University of Michigan president (1871–1909) James Burrill Angell (1849), University of California president (1899–1919) Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1875), New York Institute of Technology president (2000–present) Edward Guiliano and Morehouse College's first African-American president John Hope (1894).

Prominent alums in business and finance include World Bank President Jim Yong Kim '82, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan '81, CNN founder and America's Cup yachtsman Ted Turner '60, IBM chairman and CEO Thomas Watson, Jr. '37, McKinsey & Co. co-founder Marvin Bower '25, NASDAQ's first CEO Gordon Macklin '50, Chase Manhattan Bank CEO Willard C. Butcher '48, Citibank chairman William R. Rhodes '57, Tiffany & Co CEO Walter Hoving '20, Apple Inc. CEO John Sculley '61, Starwood Capital Group founder and CEO Barry Sternlicht '82, Providence Equity Partners founder and CEO Jonathan M. Nelson '77, Facebook CFO David Ebersman '91, financier and "car czar" Steven Rattner '74, and magazine editor John F. Kennedy, Jr. '83.

Father of American public school education Horace Mann (1819), Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen '67, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and U.S. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes (1881), philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. (1897), U.S. Secretary of State John Hay (1852), U.S. Secretary of State and Attorney General Richard Olney (1856), "Lafayette of the Greek Revolution" and its historian Samuel Gridley Howe (1821).

Brown undergraduate alumni are currently governors of 3 out of the 50 states: Bobby Jindal '91 of Louisiana, Maggie Hassan '80 of New Hampshire and Jack Markell '82 of Delaware.

Alexander Meiklejohn, class of 1893, philosopher, education reformer, president of Amherst College, his ideas are celebrated in the Meiklejohn Freedom Award of the AAUP
Samuel Gridley Howe, class of 1821, abolitionist, pioneer advocate for the blind, "Lafayette of the Greek Revolution" and its historian
Ted Turner, class of 1960, philanthropist, America's Cup-winning yachtsman, and founder of CNN
Charles Evans Hughes, class of 1881, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and U.S. Secretary of State
Thomas Watson, Jr., class of 1937, led the global rise of IBM and is one of Time's "100 most influential people of the 20th century"[125]
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., class of 1897, developer and sole financier of Rockefeller Center, philanthropist who gave away half a billion dollars during his life
Jim Yong Kim, class of 1982, President of the World Bank, emeritus president of Dartmouth College, and first Asian-American president of an Ivy League institution
John Hay, class of 1858, private secretary to Abraham Lincoln, man of letters, Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, and Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt
Janet Yellen, class of 1967, the first woman in history to head the Federal Reserve
Horace Mann, class of 1819, regarded as the father of American public education

Notable people

As it had in 2007 and 2010, the 2011 Princeton Review email poll of college students ranked Brown 1st in the country for "Happiest Students."[123] Brown is 3rd in the country (tied with Stanford) in the number of students awarded Fulbright grants, according to the October 2010 ranking compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.[124]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Brown 16th in a three way tie with University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University among national universities in its 2015 edition.[121] The 2013 edition had ranked Brown 4th for undergraduate teaching, tied with Yale.[122]

The Forbes magazine annual ranking of "America's Top Colleges 2014"—which differs from the U.S. News by putting research universities and liberal arts colleges in a single sequence—ranked Brown 13th overall and 8th among research universities.[120]

In the 2012 evaluation of MFA writing programs by Poets & Writers Magazine, Brown was ranked 4th in the country, 3rd for selectivity, and 1st in the Ivy League.[119]

In 2014, U.S. News ranked Brown's Warren Alpert Medical School the 5th most selective in the country, with an acceptance rate of 2.9 percent.[67]

Brown ranked 5th in the country in Newsweek/The Daily Beast's "America's Brainiac Schools"—based on the number of prestigious scholarships won (adjusted for student body size), including the Rhodes Scholarship, the Truman Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship, the Gates Scholarship (since 2001), and the Fulbright scholarship (since 1993). Also factored in are standardized test scores, admissions rates, and students in the top 10 percent of their high school class.[118]

Brown ranked 7th in the country (between Princeton and Columbia) in a study of high school seniors' revealed preferences for matriculation conducted by economists at Harvard, Wharton, and Boston University, and published in 2005 by the National Bureau of Economic Research.[116] The 2008 Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) ranked Brown 5th in the country among national universities."[117]

LinkedIn particularized the Forbes rankings, placing Brown third (between MIT and Princeton) among "Best Undergraduate Universities for Software Developers at Startups." LinkedIn's methodology involved a career-path examination of "millions of alumni profiles" in its membership database.[115]

In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Brown seventh (between Caltech and Princeton University) on its list of "America's Most Entrepreneurial Universities."[114] The Forbes analysis looked at the ratio of "alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn" and the total number of alumni and students.

The 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings' peer assessment portion gives the school a score of 4.4, tied with University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Northwestern, and University of Michigan.[113]

In its 2015 ranking of the "Best Colleges Nationwide," USA Today–College Factual placed Brown 6th (between MIT and Stanford University).[111] The same USA Today–College Factual ranking put Brown 5th (between Harvard University and the University of Virginia) among "Best US Colleges for a Major in English."[112]

University Hall, built 1770-71, designed by a committee that included Joseph Brown, is on the National Register of Historic Places
University rankings
ARWU[102] 43
Forbes[103] 8[104]
U.S. News & World Report[105] 14
Washington Monthly[106] 113[107]
ARWU[108] 75
QS[109] 52
Times[110] 49


Like many colleges, Brown mandates forced medical leaves for students expressing feelings of self-harm, depression, schizophrenia, or other forms of Mental Illness. Controversy arises within the college as to whether Brown follows the US Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, with Brown's own newspaper, The Brown Daily Herald, criticizing the University's policy behind readmission from psychological medical leave.[99] According to a 2010 article in The Brown Daily Herald, even Dean of Student Life & Chair of the Medical Leave Readmission Committee, Maria Suarez, admits that'“I wish we had more resources to connect with students,” Suarez said. “The support is there, but it is student-initiated.”'[100] However, Suarez has been widely criticized within and outside the University as being non-compliant with American ADA laws, often denying students readmission for little to no reason.[101] Moreover, the University leaves students with few guidelines on how to become readmitted; students report that very little communication is made with the University during a leave of absence, and that the University does not aid disabled students in their progress. One mentally disabled student alleges, after 5 semesters of mandatory leave, that: "One of the administrators [Suarez], he claims, told him: "You should consider yourself lucky because Brown's better than other schools. At least you're not getting kicked out of Brown."'[101] The psychological leave readmission process takes place once every 6 months, and requires only a student's statement and a psychiatrist's or psychologist's statement of well-being, with no interview. Many students report that the process is not through enough to judge one's own progress in mental health, thereby violating ADA rights; the denial letters are often short and generic, with one sentence changed at most for multiple denials.[100]

Controversy Over ADA Mental Health Discrimination

Other centers include the LGBTQ+ Center and the Curricular Resource Center.

The Sarah Doyle Women's Center aims to provide a space for members of the Brown community to examine and explore issues surrounding gender.[97] The center was named after one of the first women to attend Brown University, Sarah Doyle. The center emphasizes intersectionality in its conversations on gender, encouraging people to see gender as present and relevant in various aspects of life. The center hosts programs and workshops in order to facilitate dialogue and provide resources for students, faculty, and staff.[98]

The Brown Center for Students of Color (BCSC) is a space that provides support for students of color. Established in 1972 at the demand of student protests, the BCSC encourages students to engage in critical dialogue, develop leadership skills, and promote social justice.[96] The center houses various programs for students to share their knowledge and engage in discussion. Programs include the Third World Transition Program, the Minority Peer Counselor Program, the Heritage Series, and other student-led initiatives. Additionally, the BCSC hopes to foster community among the students it serves by providing spaces for students to meet and study.

The Brown Center for Students of Color

Brown University has several resource centers on campus. The centers often act as sources of support as well as safe spaces for students to explore certain aspects of their identity. Additionally, the centers often provide physical spaces for students to study and have meetings. Although most centers are identity-focused, some provide academic support as well.

Resource centers

There are over 300 registered student organizations on campus with diverse interests. The Student Activities Fair, during the orientation program, provides first-year students the opportunity to become acquainted with the wide range of organizations. A sample of organizations includes:

Student organizations


The Cammarian Club—founded in 1893 and taking its name from the Latin for lobster, its members' favorite dinner food—was at first a semi-secret society which "tapped" 15 seniors each year. In 1915, self-perpetuating membership gave way to popular election by the student body, and thenceforward the Club served as the de facto undergraduate student government. In 1971, unaccountably, it voted the name Cammarian Club out of existence, thereby amputating its tradition and longevity. The successor and present-day organization is the generically-named Undergraduate Council of Students.

The sesquicentennial poster

The earliest societies at Brown were devoted to oration and debate. The Pronouncing Society is mentioned in the diary of Solomon Drowne, class of 1773, who was voted its president in 1771. It seems to have disappeared during the Revolutionary War. We next hear of the Misokosmian Society, founded in 1794 and renamed the Philermenian Society in 1798. This was effectively a secret society with membership limited to 45. It met fortnightly to hear speeches and debate and thrived until the Civil War; in 1821 its library held 1594 volumes. In 1799 a chapter of the Philandrian Society, also secret, was established at the College. In 1806 the United Brothers was formed as an egalitarian alternative to the Philermenian Society. "These two great rivals," says the University historian, "divided the student body between them for many years, surviving into the days of President Sears. A tincture of political controversy sharpened their rivalry, the older society inclining to the aristocratic Federals, the younger to the Republicans, the democrats of that day. ... The students continuing to increase in number, they outran the constitutional limits of both societies, and a third, the Franklin Society, was established in 1824; it never had the vitality of the other two, however, and died after ten years."[91] Other nineteenth century clubs and societies, too numerous to treat here, are described in Bronson's history of the University.[92]

Societies and clubs

The largest surviving Hutchings-Votey organ in the world is in Sayles Hall.[90] It has 3,355 pipes and weighs 25 tons. It is pictured here for Brown's traditional Halloween midnight concert.

Currently, there are three student cooperative houses at Brown. Two of them, Watermyn and Finlandia on Waterman Street, are owned by the Brown Association for Cooperative Housing (BACH), an non-profit corporation owned by its members. The third co-op, West House, is located in a Brown-owned house on Brown Street. The three organizations run a vegetarian co-op for the larger community.

An alternative to Greek-letter organizations are the program houses organized by themes. As with Greek houses, the residents of program houses select their new members, usually at the start of the Spring semester. Examples of program houses are St. Anthony Hall (located in King House), Buxton International House, the Machado French/Hispanic House, Technology House, Harambee (African culture) House, Social Action House and Interfaith House.

About 12 percent of Brown students are in fraternities and sororities. There are 11 residential Greek houses: six fraternities (Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Phi, Delta Tau, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Chi, and Theta Delta Chi; three sororities (Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Kappa Delta), one co-ed house (Zeta Delta Xi), and one co-ed literary society (Alpha Delta Phi). Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity was present on campus from 1906 to 1939, but was unable to reactivate after WWII due to wartime losses.[89] All recognized Greek-letter organizations are located on campus in Wriston Quadrangle in University-owned housing. They are overseen by the Greek Council.

Residential and Greek societies

Student life

The first intercollegiate ice hockey game in America was played between Brown and Harvard on January 19, 1898.[86] The first university rowing regatta larger than a dual-meet was held between Brown, Harvard, and Yale at Lake Quinsigamond in Massachusetts on July 26, 1859[87][88]

Brown women's rowing has won 7 national titles in the last 14 years. Brown men's rowing perennially finishes in the top 5 in the nation, most recently winning silver, bronze, and silver in the national championship races of 2012, 2013, and 2014. The men's and women's crews have also won championship trophies at the Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Women's Regatta. Brown's men's soccer is consistently ranked in the top 20, and has won 18 Ivy League titles overall; recent soccer graduates play professionally in Major League Soccer and overseas. Brown football, under its most successful coach historically, Phil Estes, won Ivy League championships in 1999, 2005, and 2008. (Brown football's reemergence is credited to its 1976 Ivy League championship team, "The Magnificent Andersons," so named for its coach, John Anderson.) High-profile alumni of the football program include Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien; Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, Heisman Trophy namesake John W. Heisman, and Pollard Award namesake Fritz Pollard. The Men's Lacrosse team also has a long and storied history. Brown women's gymnastics won the Ivy League tournament in 2013 and 2014. Brown varsity equestrian has won the Ivy League championship several times.[84] Brown also supports competitive intercollegiate club sports, including sailing and ultimate frisbee. The men's ultimate team, Brownian Motion, has twice won the national championship, in 2000 and 2005.[85]

Brown is a member of the Ivy League athletic conference, which is categorized as a Division I (top level) conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Brown Bears are the third largest university sports program in the United States, sponsoring 38 varsity intercollegiate teams (Harvard sponsors 42 and Princeton 39). Brown's athletic program is one of the U.S. News & World Report top 20—the "College Sports Honor Roll"—based on breadth of program and athletes' graduation rates. Brown's newest varsity team is women's rugby, promoted from club-sport status in 2014.

The 1879 Brown baseball varsity, with W.E. White seated second from right. White's appearance in an 1879 major league game may have broken baseball's color line 68 years before Jackie Robinson[80][81][82][83]
A stereoscopic image of the Brown freshman crew in competition at Lake Quinsigamond, Mass., on July 22, 1870. Brown rowing, among the pioneer programs in the country, dates from June 1857. Its first three-school regatta was held with Harvard and Yale at Lake Quinsigamond on July 27, 1859[79]


Brown has committed to "minimize its energy use, reduce negative environmental impacts and promote environmental stewardship."[75] The Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee has developed a set of ambitious goals for the university to reduce its carbon emissions and eventually achieve carbon neutrality. The "Brown is Green" website collects information about Brown's progress toward greenhouse gas emissions reductions and related campus initiatives, such as student groups, courses, and research.[76] Brown's grade of A-minus was the top one issued in the 2009 report of the Sustainable Endowments Institute (no A-grade was issued).[77] Brown has a number of active environmental leadership groups on campus.[78] These groups have begun a number of campus-wide environmental initiatives—including promoting the reduction of supply and demand of bottled water and investigating a composting program.


Brown admission policy is stipulated need-blind for all domestic applicants. Brown's financial aid basics website, in August 2014, stated: "For families (including both parents) with a total income below $60,000, and assets less than $100,000, no parent contribution is calculated towards the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). For families with total income below $100,000, the loan component of the financial aid award is replaced with additional scholarship." In 2013-14, the program awarded need-based scholarships worth $95 million. The average need-based award for the class of 2017 was $43,427.[74]

For the undergraduate class of 2019, Brown received 30,397 applicants, of whom 2,580 were accepted, for an acceptance rate of 8.5 percent.[9] Additionally, for the academic year 2013-14 there were 1,769 applicants from other colleges who wished to transfer to Brown, of whom 6 percent were accepted.[72] According to the university, of applicants who were either salutatorian or valedictorian, 15 and 18 percent respectively were accepted. In the enrolled class of 2017, 94 percent were in the top tenth of their high school class. In 2013 the Graduate School accepted 17 percent of 9,215 applicants.[73] In 2014, U.S. News ranked Brown's Warren Alpert Medical School the 5th most selective in the country, with an acceptance rate of 2.9 percent.[67]

Fall Admission Statistics
  2015[9] 2014[69] 2013[70] 2012[71]
Admit rate
SAT range
ACT range

Admission and financial aid

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an independent research institution established in 1882 at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The laboratory is linked to 54 current or past Nobel Laureates who have been research or teaching faculty. Since 2005 the MBL and Brown have collaborated in a Ph.D. program in biological and environmental sciences that combines faculty at both institutions, including the faculties of the Ecosystems Center, the Bay Paul Center, the Program in Cellular Dynamics, and the Marine Resources Center.

The Marine Biological Laboratory

The medical school is known especially for its eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), inaugurated in 1984. One of the most selective programs of its type in the country, it offered admission to 90 of the 2,216 applicants for the class entering in autumn 2015, an acceptance rate of 4.1 percent.[48] Since 1976, the Early Identification Program (EIP) has encouraged Rhode Island residents to pursue careers in medicine by recruiting sophomores from Providence College, Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island, and Tougaloo College. In 2004, the school once again began to accept applications from premedical students at other colleges and universities via AMCAS like most other medical schools. The medical school also offers combined degree programs leading to the M.D./Ph.D., M.D./M.P.H. and M.D./M.P.P. degrees.

In 2014 U.S. News & World Report ranked Brown's medical school the 5th most selective in the country, with an acceptance rate of 2.9 percent.[67] U.S. News ranks it 29th for research and 28th in primary care.[68]

The University's medical program started in 1811, but the school was suspended by President Wayland in 1827 after the program's faculty declined to live on campus (a new requirement under Wayland). In 1975, the first M.D. degrees from the new Program in Medicine were awarded to a graduating class of 58 students. In 1991, the school was officially renamed the Brown University School of Medicine, then renamed once more to Brown Medical School in October 2000.[66] In January 2007, Warren Alpert donated $100 million to Brown Medical School, in recognition of which its name was changed to the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Alpert Medical School

Brown's School of Public Health on the Riverwalk in Providence occupies a building designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes
The Ship Street Farmer's Market in front of the Medical Education Building on the campus of Brown's Alpert Medical School in the Jewelry District

Established in 1887, the Graduate School has around 2,000 students studying over 50 disciplines. 20 different master's degrees are offered as well as Ph.D. degrees in over 40 subjects ranging from applied mathematics to public policy. Overall, admission to the Graduate School is most competitive with an acceptance rate of about 18 percent.

The Graduate School

The Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women was established at Brown in 1981 by Joan Wallach Scott as a research center on gender. It was named for Pembroke College, the former women's coordinate college at Brown, and is affiliated with Brown's Sarah Doyle Women's Center. It supports the undergraduate concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies, post-doctoral research fellowships, the annual Pembroke Seminar, and other academic programs. The Center also manages various collections, archives, and resources, including the Elizabeth Weed Feminist Theory Papers and the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archive.

The Pembroke Center

Since 2009 Brown has developed an Executive MBA program in conjunction with one of the leading Business Schools in Europe; IE Business School in Madrid. This relationship has since strengthen till both institutions offering a dual degree program.[63] In this partnership, Brown provides its traditional coursework while IE provides most of the business-related subjects making a differentiated alternative program to other Ivy League's EMBAs.[64] The cohort typically consist of 25-30 EMBA candidates from some 20 countries.[65] Classes are held in Providence, Madrid, Cape Town and Online.

IE Brown Executive MBA Dual Degree Program

Engineering at Brown is especially interdisciplinary. The School is organized without the traditional departments or boundaries found at most schools, and follows a model of connectivity between disciplines—including biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, computer science, the humanities and the social sciences. The School practices an innovative clustering of faculties in which engineers team with non-engineers to bring a convergence of ideas.

Established in 1847, Brown's engineering program is the oldest in the Ivy League and the third oldest civilian engineering program in the country, preceded only by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1824) and Union College (1845). In 1916 the departments of electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering were merged into a Division of Engineering, and in 2010 the division was elevated to a School of Engineering.

The School of Engineering

Rogers Hall on the College Green, built 1862, designed by Alpheus Morse in the Italian Gothic style as a chemistry laboratory, was renamed in 1989 the Salomon Center for Teaching
Slater Hall, built 1879, designed by Stone and Carpenter in Ruskinian Gothic style. When its foundation was dug at the south end of the College Green, neighbors objected that the Green "upon which so many are accustomed to gaze while taking daily walks" would be blocked from view, and Slater Hall was re-sited facing the Front Green

The Institute's curricular interest is organized into the principal themes of development, security, and governance—with further focuses on globalization, economic uncertainty, security threats, environmental degradation, and poverty. Three Brown undergraduate concentrations (majors) are hosted by the Watson Institute—Development Studies, International Relations, and Public Policy. Graduate programs offered at the Watson Institute include the Graduate Program in Development (Ph.D.) and the Public Policy Program (M.P.A). The Institute also offers Post Doctoral, professional development and global outreach programming. In support of these programs, the Institute houses various centers, including the Brazil Initiative, Brown-India Initiative, China Initiative, Middle East Studies center, The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and the Taubman Center for Public Policy. In recent years, the most internationally cited product of the Watson Institute has been its Costs of War Project, first released in 2011 and continuously updated. The Project comprises a team of economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts, and physicians, and seeks to calculate the economic costs, human casualties, and impact on civil liberties of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan since 2001.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs is a center for the study of global issues and public affairs and is one of the leading institutes of its type in the country. It occupies an architecturally distinctive building designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. The Institute was initially endowed by Thomas Watson, Jr., Brown class of 1937, former Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and longtime president of IBM. Institute faculty presently include, or formerly included, Italian prime minister and European Commission president Romano Prodi,[55] Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso,[56] Chilean president Ricardo Lagos Escobar,[57] Mexican novelist and statesman Carlos Fuentes,[58] Brazilian statesman and United Nations commission head Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro,[59] Indian foreign minister and ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao,[60] American diplomat and Dayton Peace Accords author Richard Holbrooke (Brown '62),[61] and Sergei Khrushchev,[62] editor of the papers of his father Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Facing the Joukowsky Institute, across the Front Green, is the Department of Egyptology and Assyriology, formed in 2006 by the merger of Brown's renowned departments of Egyptology and History of Mathematics. It is one of only a handful of such departments in the United States. The curricular focus is on three principal areas: Egyptology (the study of the ancient languages, history, and culture of Egypt), Assyriology (the study of the ancient lands of present-day Iraq, Syria, and Turkey), and the history of the ancient exact sciences (astronomy, astrology, and mathematics). Many courses in the department are open to all Brown undergraduates without prerequisite, and include archaeology, languages, history, and Egyptian and Mesopotamian religions, literature, and science. Students concentrating (majoring) in the department choose a track of either Egyptology or Assyriology. Graduate level study comprises three tracks to the doctoral degree: Egyptology, Assyriology, or the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity.

Egyptology and Assyriology

The Institute's faculty includes cross-appointments from the departments of Egyptology, Assyriology, Classics, Anthropology, and History of Art and Architecture. Faculty research and publication areas include Greek and Roman art and architecture, landscape archaeology, urban and religious architecture of the Levant, Roman provincial studies, the Aegean Bronze Age, and the archaeology of the Caucasus. The Institute offers visiting teaching appointments and postdoctoral fellowships which have, in recent years, included Near Eastern Archaeology and Art, Classical Archaeology and Art, Islamic Archaeology and Art, and Archaeology and Media Studies.

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World pursues fieldwork and excavations, regional surveys, and academic study of the archaeology and art of the ancient Mediterranean, Egypt, and Western Asia from the Levant to the Caucasus. The Institute has a very active fieldwork profile, with faculty-led excavations and regional surveys presently in Petra, Jordan, in West-Central Turkey, at Abydos in Egypt, and in Sudan, Italy, Mexico, Guatemala, Montserrat in the West Indies, and Providence, Rhode Island.

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology

The Department of Egyptology and Assyriology in Wilbour Hall, the former Samuel Dorrance Mansion, built 1888. Wilbour Hall is named for Charles Edwin Wilbour, class of 1854, famed Egyptologist, whose collections and papers are held in the Wilbour Library in New York
Rhode Island Hall on the College Green, built 1839-40, designed by James Bucklin in Greek Revival style to house the Natural History department, is now home to the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology

The department today is home to The CAVE. This project is a virtual reality room used for everything from three-dimensional drawing classes to tours of the circulatory system for medical students. In 2000 students from Brown's Technology House converted the south face of the Sciences Library into a Tetris game, the first high-rise-building Tetris ever attempted. Code named La Bastille, the game used a personal computer running Linux, a radio-frequency video game controller, eleven circuit boards, a 12-story data network, and over 10,000 Christmas lights.[53][54]

. Industrial Light & Magic '97, was an animator at Masi Oka actor Heroes) appears on Andy's bookshelf in the film. Brown computer science graduate and Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice Van Dam denies this, but a copy of his book ([52] is taken to be an homage to Van Dam from his students employed at Pixar.Toy Story. The character "Andy" in the animated film Andries van Dam, protegees of graphics guru Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar, and design chiefs at Computing Community Consortium, the inaugural chair of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the current head of the Apple project chief, a CEO of Microsoft Windows 95 microprocessor line, the Intel 80386, a principal architect of the Macintosh Operating System, and related Web standards. Brown alumni who have distinguished themselves in the computer sciences and industry are listed in the Notable people section, below. They include a principal architect of the XSLT, XML. Van Dam's students were instrumental in the origin of the hypertext, with Nelson coining the word Bob Wallace, and Ted Nelson, Andries van Dam, were invented in the 1960s at Brown by FRESS and HES, Hypertext Editing Systems The [51]

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