Dr. Robert A. Brown


  • Address One Silber Way, 8th Floor
    Boston, MA 02215
  • Phone 617-353-2200

Dr. Robert A. Brown, a distinguished chemical engineer and educator, became President of Boston University in September 2005.

Vision, mission, and methods.

As President, Dr. Brown emphasizes the continued improvement of academic quality in all domains through the establishment of clear priorities, benchmarking, and periodic review.

He also works to underscore the central importance and interrelationship of teaching and research, with particular focus on stimulating interdisciplinary study and spanning all the University’s disciplines and programs. A key interdisciplinary effort is the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College that gives the University’s best students opportunities to explore broadly using the full range of programs offered at BU.

Early in his Presidency, Dr. Brown initiated an 18-month planning process that culminated in the 10-year strategic plan, Choosing to be Great, that articulates Boston University’s core values embedded in a set of institutional commitments. This plan defines goals for establishing Boston University as one of the great research universities in the world. In 2012, the University was invited to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of the 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

From Texas to Massachusetts. By way of Minnesota.

A Texas native, Dr. Brown earned BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD 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 & Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences, among other professional societies.

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

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience
  • 2005–present

    President, Boston University

  • 2005–present

    Professor of Engineering, College of Engineering, Boston University

  • 1998–2005

    Provost, MIT

  • 1996–1998

    Dean of Engineering, MIT

  • 1992–2005

    Warren K. Lewis Professor, MIT

  • 1986–1992

    Arthur Dehon Little Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1989–1995

    Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1989–1994

    Co-Director, MIT Supercomputer Facility

  • 1986–1988

    Executive Officer, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1984–2005

    Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1982–1984

    Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1979–1982

    Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1978

    Instructor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science, University of Minnesota

  • Fall 1977

    Visiting Research Associate, Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Professional Service and Editorial Boards
  • 2012–present

    Director, Association of American Universities, 2018-present; Board Member, 2012-present

  • 2012 – present

    Chairman, Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

  • 2012-present

    Member, Research Innovation and Enterprise Council, Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Singapore

  • 2011–present

    Member, Council on Competitiveness

  • 2010-present

    Member, Boston Green Ribbon Commission

  • 2007–present

    Director, DowDuPont 2017-present; (E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company 2007-2017)

  • 2006–present

    Member and Chair, Academic Research Council, Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore

  • 2013-2018

    Trustee, The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

  • 2014-2017

    Director, American Council on Education

  • 2009–2015

    Trustee, Universities Research Association, Washington, DC

  • 2007–2012

    Director, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, 2007–2012; Chair, 2010-2011; Vice-Chair/Chair Elect, 2009-2010

  • 2006–2012

    Member, Board of the National Research Foundation, Republic of Singapore

  • 2008–2010

    Trustee, Aalto University Foundation, Finland

  • 2006–2008

    Member, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

  • 1993–2004

    Editorial Board, Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics

Awards and Honors
  • 2014

    Elected to National Academy of Inventors

  • 2014

    Simon Ramo Founders Award, National Academy of Engineering

  • 2014

    Chief Executive Leadership Award, Council for Advancement and Support of Education

  • 2010

    Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, Claflin University

  • 2008

    Named to list of 100 Most Influential Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by American Institute of Chemical Engineers

  • 2006

    Named Honorary Citizen of the Republic of Singapore

  • 2003

    University of Texas at Austin Graduate School Outstanding Alumnus/a Award

  • 2001

    Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

  • 1997

    Professional Progress Lecture, American Institute of Chemical Engineers

  • 1996

    Professional Progress Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers

  • 1994

    Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

  • 1992

    Distinguished Graduate Award, School of Engineering, University of Texas

  • 1991

    Outstanding Young Texas-Ex Award, University of Texas Alumni Association

  • 1991

    Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

  • 1986

    Allan P. Colburn Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers

  • 1984

    Young Author Award, American Association for Crystal Growth

  • 1980, 1983, 1985, and 1988

    Outstanding Faculty Award, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • 1983

    Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award

  • 1978

    Graduate School Fellow, University of Minnesota

  • 1974

    Engineering Foundation Fellow, University of Texas

Recent Named Lectureships and Keynote Addresses
  • September 2015

    Centennial Lecture, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

  • November 2010

    Founders Day Address, Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina

  • March 2009

    Quinn Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

  • November 2008

    Keynote Lecture, AIChE Centennial Meeting, Philadelphia

  • October 2008

    Address to Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston

  • 1979

    PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota

  • 1975

    MS in Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

  • 1973

    BS in Chemical Engineering with highest honors, University of Texas at Austin

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