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  • Christina Hull Paxson
    Christina Hull Paxson (born February 6, 1960), is an American economist and public health expert, currently serving as the 19th President of Brown University. Previously, she was the Hughes Rogers Pr...
  • Ruth Simmons
    Ruth Simmons (born Ruth Jean Stubblefield, July 3, 1945) is an American professor and academic administrator. She is the current President of Prairie View A&M University, a historically black univers...
  • E. Gordon Gee
    Elwood Gordon Gee (born February 2, 1944), known as E. Gordon Gee, is an American academic. As of 2020, he was serving his second term as President of West Virginia University; his first term was fro...
  • Vartan Gregorian (1934 - 2021)
    Vartan Gregorian (April 8, 1934 – April 15, 2021) was an Armenian-American academic, educator, and historian. He served as president of the Carnegie Corporation from 1997 to 2021. An Armenian born i...
  • Howard Swearer (1932 - 1991)
    Howard Robert Swearer (March 13, 1932 – October 19, 1991) was an American educator. He served as the sixth president of Carleton College, serving from 1970–1977, and the 15th president of Brown Unive...
  • James Manning 1765–1791 The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is established in Warren, RI, (1765) moves to Providence (1770) and establishes a campus on College Hill with the construction of University Hall (1770). The college closes in December 1776 due to the American Revolution and reopens in September 1782.
  • Jonathan Maxcy 1792–1802 First alum to be president and youngest president in Brown's history; Maxcy's reputation as a skilled orator benefits the reputation of the fledgling college. Enrollment Passes 100 Students (1800).
  • Asa Messer 1802–1826 The College of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is renamed Brown University following a gift from Nicholas Brown, Jr (1804). A program in medical study is organized (1811) following the examples set by Harvard and Dartmouth. The Messer administration is characterized by increasing unruliness and misbehavior of students.
  • Francis Wayland 1827–1855 Wayland sets out to improve student discipline. Medical instruction is suspended (1827) following a dispute over a proposed residence requirement for medical professors. Brown establishes the third civilian engineering program in the country (1847). Wayland urges adoption of a broader curriculum (1850), laying the groundwork for the Open Curriculum.
  • Barnas Sears 1855–1867 Despite the Panic of 1857 and Civil War, Sears oversees the construction of a new chemistry laboratory and an increase in the University's endowment.Entrance and degree requirements are made stricter, benefiting the reputation of the University. Sears is widely popular among students.
  • Alexis Caswell 1868–1872 The University's financial assets grow by nearly 85%.Tuition, faculty salaries, and enrollment all increase.
  • Ezekiel Robinson 1872–1889 Graduate study is instituted (1888–1889). Robinson (1878), Slater (1879), and Sayles Halls (1881) are constructed.
  • Elisha Andrews 1889–1898 Enrollment more than doubles. The graduate program is expanded and the Women's College is founded (1891).
  • William Faunce 1899–1929 Enrollment passes 1,000 (1915) and doubles to pass 2,000 (1925). The Women's College is renamed Pembroke College in Brown University (1928).
  • Clarence Barbour 1929–1937 Last of long line of Baptist minister Presidents
  • Henry Wriston 1937–1955 First non-Baptist (Methodist) president and first president since Wayland to not be a Brown alumnus
  • Barnaby Keeney 1955–1966 Brown purchases the Dexter Asylum property.
  • Ray Heffner 1966–1969 New Curriculum passed
  • Donald Hornig 1970–1976 Pembroke fully merges with the College of Brown University (1971). A medical program is re-established (1972).
  • Howard Swearer 1977–1988 The Watson Institute is founded as the Institute for International Studies (1986).
  • Vartan Gregorian 1989–1997 Vartan Gregorian was Brown's first foreign-born president. During his tenure, Brown sees fundraising success, with the University's endowment surpassing $1 billion. Applications increase and the University's reputation grows.
  • Gordon Gee 1998–2000 Plans announced for a large biomedical sciences building requiring the sale of $80 million in bonds. Funds cut for a popular string quartet drawing criticism that Gee's vision was at odds with the University's liberal arts-oriented identity. Gee resigns abruptly after only two years in a move criticized by University leaders.
  • Ruth Simmons 2001–2012 At the time of her appointment Simmons became Brown's first woman president and the first African-American president of an Ivy League university. In 2001, Time named Simmons America's best college president. The Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences (2006) and Granoff Center for the Creative Arts both open (2011). Following a $100 million gift, the Medical School is renamed the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (2007). The University opens a new medical campus in the Jewelry District (2011).
  • Christina Paxson 2012–Present Christina Paxson is Brown's current president. During her tenure, Brown established its School of Public Health, expands the physical footprint of the School of Engineering, and completes a historically large fundraising campaign. The university also undertakes a significant expansion of residential facilities.