Robert A. Brown

American academic

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert A. Brown
10th President of
Boston University
Assumed office
Preceded byAram V. Chobanian
Provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In office
Preceded byJoel Moses
Succeeded byL. Rafael Reif
Personal details
Born (1951-07-22) July 22, 1951 (age 71)
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin
University of Minnesota

Robert A. Brown (born July 22, 1951) is a chemical engineer and university administrator. He is the 10th president of Boston University and a former provost of MIT. In 1991, Brown was elected as a member into the National Academy of Engineering for the application of computing techniques to fundamental and practical problems in fluid mechanics, rheology, and crystal growth.


Brown is a chemical engineer by training. A native of San Antonio, Texas,[1] he received his B.S. and M.A. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Ph.D., also in chemical engineering, from the University of Minnesota in 1979.[2]

In 1979, Brown joined the faculty of MIT as an assistant professor. He worked at MIT for 25 years before moving across the Charles River to become the president of Boston University. During his tenure at MIT, he served as Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering, co-director of the MIT Supercomputer Facility, Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Dean of Engineering. In 1998, he became the provost of MIT.

Brown was selected as the 10th president of Boston University in May 2005. He was inaugurated in September 2005, succeeding Aram V. Chobanian, who served as President from October 2003 until June 2005.

Brown became an honorary citizen of Singapore in January 2006 for being a key role in creating collaborations between the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and established world-class graduate research and educational programmes to Singapore.[3] In February 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Brown to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), a panel established to maintain a steady stream of expert advice from the private sector and the academic community on a wide range of scientific and technical matters.[2] Brown is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a director of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.[4]

Brown served as a member of the Board of the Aalto University from 2008-2010.[2] He was honored with the National Academy of Engineering Simon Ramo Founders Award in 2014 for his contributions to engineering and society.[5]

Presidency of Boston University

Under Brown's presidency, Boston University created the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College, a residential honors college for Boston University undergraduates, which was dedicated in 2011,[6] and the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, established in 2014, which combines traditional international relations with faculty in the humanities and social sciences interested in global students, as well as the traditional area studies centers.

In 2013, the university created the Initiative on Cities, with the former Mayor of Boston Thomas Menino as a founding co-director.[7] The IOC focuses on engaging urban leaders, academics, and policy makers to help plan for the development of essential services and sustainable infrastructure necessary for cities to flourish. Following Mayor Menino's death in fall 2014, his legacy was continued through the Annual Menino Survey of Mayors.[8]

The progress of Boston University has been acknowledged in many ways, including improved academic rankings and by bond rating improvements. Most notably, in 2012, Boston University was admitted to the Association of American Universities (AAU), the group of premier public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.[9]

New facilities built during Brown's presidency include:

  • Yawkey Center for Student Services, which combines undergraduate student services with a modern dining hall[10]
  • New Balance Field, the second athletic field for the university, built above a parking structure[11]
  • 33 Agganis Way, a two-building 960-bed undergraduate residence[12]
  • Medical Student Residence on the Medical Campus[13]
  • Sumner Redstone Building for the School of Law (accompanied by complete renovation of the Law Tower, completed in 2015)[14]
  • The Engineering Product Innovation Center, a 15,000-square-foot space for engineering product development and collaboration used by students in the College of Engineering[15]
  • The Alan and Sherry Leventhal Center, the visitor center for the Charles River Campus, which houses the undergraduate admissions reception center[16]
  • The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL), the somewhat controversial laboratory supported by the NIH,[17] which houses a Biosafety Containment 4 (BSL-4) laboratory, the highest containment level for performing research on the most lethal infectious diseases.
  • The Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, a 180,000-square-foot research facility[18]

Many of these initiatives have been driven by the university's first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, which was launched in 2012 with the goal of raising $1 billion by the end of 2017.[19] The goal of the campaign was raised to $1.5 billion in September 2015.[20]

On September 7, 2022, Brown announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.[21]


Brown lives in Brookline with his wife, Beverly Brown, who works at Boston University as director of development, industry at the School of Public Health at Boston University. They have two grown sons.[2]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ Bombardieri, Marcella (March 26, 2007). "At BU, a leader who's all ears". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Biography". Boston University Office of the President. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The Honorary Citizen Award". Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Robert A. Brown". Board of Directors. DuPont. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Robert A. Brown". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. ^ Jahnke, Art (23 September 2011). "$25 Million Gift Largest in BU History". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  7. ^ Jahnke, Art (13 November 2013). "Menino Lands at BU". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  8. ^ "2014 Menino Survey of Mayors". Boston University Initiative on Cities. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Boston University Joins AAU". Association of American Universities. 5 November 2012. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  10. ^ Seligson, Susan (18 September 2014). "An Esteemed Name for BU's Center for Student Services". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  11. ^ Laskowski, Amy (19 September 2013). "The Games Begin on New Balance Field". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  12. ^ "33 Harry Agganis Way". Boston University Housing. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  13. ^ Friday, Leslie (24 September 2012). "State-of-the-Art Med Student Residence Has It All". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Law School Complex". Boston University School of Law. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Engineering Product Innovation Center at Boston University's College of Engineering". Boston University College of Engineering. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  16. ^ Seligson, Susan (16 September 2014). "New Visitor Center Named in Honor of Alan and Sherry Leventhal". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  17. ^ Freyer, Felice J. (6 October 2014). "BU biolab nears OK amid hopes for tackling Ebola, safety concerns". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering". BU Facilities Management & Planning. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  19. ^ "BU to launch first University-wide campaign". Campaign for BU. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  20. ^ Brown, Joel (18 September 2015). "Campaign for Boston University Goal Boosted to $1.5 Billion". BU Today. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Robert A. Brown, BU's 10th President, to Retire after 2022–23 School Year". BU Today. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  22. ^ "BU President Honored by CASE". BU Today. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.

External links

Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Robert A. Brown