Robert A. Brown, a distinguished chemical engineer, became president of Boston University in September 2005.
A Texas native, Dr. Brown, 62, earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, where he worked under the guidance of Professor L.E. Scriven. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences, among other professional societies.
At Boston University, Dr. Brown has emphasized strengthening the core missions of undergraduate, graduate and professional education, interdisciplinary work, and research and scholarship across all sixteen schools and colleges. He initiated an eighteen-month planning process that culminated in a ten-year strategic plan, Choosing to be Great. The plan articulates Boston University's core values in a set of institutional commitments. It also defines goals to be met in order to establish Boston University as one of the great large private research universities in the world. Under Brown's leadership, Boston University was invited in 2012 to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), the organization of the 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.
Dr. Brown has worked to underscore the central importance of the teaching and research functions of the University, with particular emphasis on efforts to increase opportunities for interdisciplinary study by students from all of the University's undergraduate schools and colleges. Undergraduate initiatives that have been launched in the last several years include the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College and the creation of the new Center for Student Services. Important interdisciplinary research initiatives have been launched through the Rafik Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, the Center for Neuroscience, and the Center for Global Health & Development.
Dr. Brown is actively engaged in both the public and private sectors. He currently serves as a trustee of the University Research Association, a member of the Council on Competitiveness, and a director of the DuPont Company. From 2006 through 2008, he served on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), for the President of the United States. Also, in 2008 Dr. Brown was named one of the top 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Dr. Brown is chairman of the Academic Research Council of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Singapore, a key funding body for academic research in that country. In Singapore, he also serves on the Research Innovation and Enterprise Council chaired by the Prime Minister. In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to higher education in Singapore, Dr. Brown was named an honorary citizen in January 2006. This award is the highest form of recognition given by the Singapore government to any non-Singaporean.Prior to his appointment at Boston University, Dr. Brown was provost and Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the MIT faculty in 1979, beginning a distinguished career in education and research. He has published more than 250 papers in areas related to mathematical modeling of transport phenomena in materials and served as executive editor of the Journal of Chemical Engineering Science from 1991 to 2004. In his twenty-five years at MIT, he held a number of leadership positions, including head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and dean of the School of Engineering. He became provost there in 1998.
Dr. Brown lives in Brookline with his wife, Dr. Beverly Brown, director of development for both the Center for Global Health & Development and the Office of Technology Development at Boston University. They have two grown sons.
Robert A. Brown
Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1979.
M.S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1975.
B.S. in Chemical Engineering with highest honors, University of Texas at Austin, 1973.
President, Boston University, 2005-present.
Professor of Engineering, College of Engineering, Boston University, 2005-present.
Provost, M.I.T., 1998-2005.
Dean of Engineering, M.I.T., 1996-1998.
Warren K. Lewis Professor, M.I.T., 1992-2005.
Arthur Dehun Little Professor of Chemical Engineering, M.I.T., 1986-1992.
Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, M.I.T., 1989-1995.
Co-Director, M.I.T. Supercomputer Facility, 1989-1994.
Executive Officer, Department of Chemical Engineering, M.I.T., 1986-1988.
Faculty Member, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Assistant Professor, 1979-1982; Associate Professor, 1982-1984; Professor, 1984-2005.
Instructor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science, University of Minnesota, 1978.
Visiting Research Associate, Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Fall 1977.
Awards and Honors
Named to list of 100 Most Influential Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era, by American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2008
Named Honorary Citizen of the Republic of Singapore in 2006.
University of Texas at Austin Graduate School Outstanding Alumnus/a Award, 2003.
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 2001.
Professional Progress Lecture, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1997.
Professional Progress Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1996.
Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1994.
Distinguished Graduate Award, School of Engineering, University of Texas, 1992.
Outstanding Young Texas-Ex Award, University of Texas Alumni Association, 1991.
Elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 1991.
Allan P. Colburn Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 1986.
Young Author Award, American Association of Crystal Growth, 1984.
Outstanding Faculty Award, Department of Chemical Engineering, M.I.T., 1980, 1983, 1985, and 1988.
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award, 1983.
Graduate School Fellow, University of Minnesota, 1978.
Engineering Foundation Fellow, University of Texas, 1974.
Recent Named Lectureships and Keynote Addresses
Founders Day Address, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina, November 2010
Quinn Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, March 2009.
Keynote Lecture, AIChE Centennial Meeting, Philadelphia, November 2008.
Address to Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston, October 2008.
Professional Service and Editorial Boards
Member, Council on Competitiveness, 2011-present
Trustee, Universities Research Association, Washington, D.C., 2009-present.
Member, Executive Committee, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, 2007-present; Chair, 2010-2011.
Director, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, 2007-present.
Member and Chair, Academic Research Council, Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore, 2006-present.
Member, Board of the National Research Foundation, Republic of Singapore, 2006-present.
Trustee, Aalto University Foundation, Finland, 2008-2010.
Member, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), 2006-2008.
Executive Editor, Chemical Engineering Science, 1991-2004.