Shirley Brice Heath

Brown University Explained


What is Brown University?

Brown University was founded in 1764 and was originally called the 'College of Rhode Island' and it is the third-oldest institution of higher learning in New England and the seventh oldest in the United States. It is a private university that is located in Providence, Rhode Island and a member of the Ivy League.

'Pembroke College' which was its all women's college eventually merged with it in 1971.
It was the first college in the United States to accept students regardless of their religious affiliations and it has the oldest undergraduate engineering program in the Ivy League.
Ruth J. Simmons has been its president since 2001 and is only the second female president of an Ivy League institution. She is Afro-American and also the first permanent female president of Brown.

Brown's mascot is a bear and the varsity sports teams are perhaps unsurprisingly called the 'Brown Bears' and they have a costumed bear mascot by the name of "Bruno" that makes appearances at its athletic games. People linked to the University are known as Brunonians and the use of a bear as the University's mascot dates back to 1904. The school colors are seal brown, cardinal red, and white.

Brown's Mission

The university clearly states that its mission is "to serve the community, the nation and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation" and says that the method used to attempt this is "through a partnership of students and teachers in a unified community known as a university-college".

About Brown

The university is made up of three schools which presently offer nearly 100 study programs and it adheres to a collaborative university-college model by which the faculty are as committed to teaching as they are to research and to embracing a curriculum which requires students to be the architects of their education.

There are presently 628 faculty members which is the largest number in Brown's history and the current student to faculty ratio 9 to 1.

The campus is made up of 238 buildings and it sits on 143 acres of Providence which is the capital of Rhode Island.
The library contains more than 6,000,000 items which include bound volumes, periodicals, maps, sheet music and manuscripts and in addition there are several hundred personal workstations, computers and terminals.

History of Brown
Brown university was the Baptist's answer to Yale and Harvard which were Congregationalist, to Presbyterian Princeton and Episcopalian Penn and Columbia and when it opened it was the only one that welcomed students of all religious persuasions.

Women were first admitted in 1891 when the founding of the Women's College marked the beginning of eighty years of a coordinate structure for educating women within the University.

Brown's very unique undergraduate curriculum dates to the 1969-70 era when it was first conceived by undergraduates and later ratified by the faculty and its essence can be linked to a philosophy that was shaped by the president of Brown in 1850 when he 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".