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Robert Brown inauguration set for April 27

Events include ceremony, receptions, and academic symposia

BU President Robert Brown addresses freshmen at their Matriculation Ceremony last September. Photo by Fred Sway

Robert Brown will be inaugurated as the 10th president of Boston University on Thursday, April 27. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at Agganis Arena, with a reception, also in the arena, immediately following the installation.

The event will be preceded by a service of thanksgiving at Marsh Chapel, tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m.

Plans are under way to add other components to the inauguration festivities, including a series of academic symposia on Friday, April 28. The symposia are likely to include such topics as the University’s underlying values, mission, and future, along with its engagement in local and global affairs. Research in the 21st century and the issue of diversity will also be discussed.

“The point of the inauguration is to celebrate not just Dr. Brown joining us and leading us, but also to celebrate the BU community,” says Roscoe Giles, a College of Engineering professor of electrical and computer engineering and cochair of the Inauguration Honorary Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from faculty, students, staff, and trustees.

“The topics for the symposia are still evolving and will be more defined in the next few weeks,” says Elaine Kirshenbaum (CAS’71, SED’72, SPH’79), a University trustee and the committee’s other chair. “We want to look at where the University is now and where it should be in the future.”

In planning the event, the committee is receiving input from all BU’s constituencies, from across the Charles River and Medical campuses. “The symposia component is an important element of what we’re doing,” says Giles, who is deputy director of the Center for Computational Science. “It’s an opportunity for the BU community to become engaged in the inauguration.”

In addition, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore and Student Union President Jon Marker (CAS’07) have been talking about including an inauguration-related community service initiative. An announcement is expected in the near future, according to Elmore.

Classes will take place as scheduled on April 27 and 28.

Brown was named president by the Board of Trustees on June 4, 2005, after serving as provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the past seven years. He took office on September 1, succeeding Aram Chobanian. Chobanian, former School of Medicine dean and Medical Campus provost, returned to the Medical Campus as a professor and a researcher.

A native of San Antonio, Tex., Brown earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, all in chemical engineering. He began his career as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at MIT in 1979 and became chairman of the department in 1989, dean of engineering in 1996, and provost in 1998.