Javatpoint Logo
Javatpoint Logo

Brown University

One of the nine colonial institutions that received their charters before the American Revolution is Brown University, one of the most prominent colleges in the world. In Providence, Rhode Island, there is a private Ivy League institution called Brown University. With its founding in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. One of the most competitive admission processes in the country is at Brown. The institution announced a 5% first-year admittance fee in 2022.

Brown University

When Brown University was founded, it became the first higher education facility in North America to accept students regardless of their religious affiliation. The institution is home to the nation's oldest applied mathematics program, the third-oldest scientific college in New England, and the oldest engineering department in the Ivy League. With the addition of master's and doctorate programs in 1887, the university was among the first in the United States to provide doctoral degrees. After much academic lobbying, Brown approved its Open Curriculum in 1969. The new curriculum did away with the need for students to take a certain number of "general education" courses, allowing them to "create their syllabi" and let them enroll in any course for a passing grade (Pass) or a failing grade (Fail) that wouldn't show up on external records. In 1971, the university completely absorbed Pembroke College, Brown's sister institution for women. In addition to the College and Graduate School, the college also consists of the Alpert Medical School, the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health, and the School of Professional Studies. The Marine Biological Laboratory and the Rhode Island School of Design are academic partners of Brown University. The university's international initiatives are funded through the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

The main campus of Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island's College Hill neighborhood. A district of architecture that has been federally designated and has a significant number of structures from the Colonial era surrounds the institution. Benefits Street, which surrounds the campus's western edge, is home to one of the nation's highest concentrations of 17th and 18th-century buildings. As of March 2022, Brown University had links with ten National Medal of Science laureates, seven National Humanities Medalists, and nine Nobel Prize winners as students, teachers, or researchers.

Additional notable graduates include 39 members of the U.S. Congress, 57 Rhodes Scholars, 21 MacArthur Genius Fellows, 21 billionaires, 27 Pulitzer Prize winners, 21 billionaires, one Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 4 Secretaries of State, and 27 Olympians.


Three Newport, Rhode Island residents wrote a petition to the colony's General Assembly in 1761. The three petitioners were Josias Lyndon, the colony's future governor; Ezra Stiles, the Second Congregational Church at Newport Second Congregational Church; and William Ellery, Jr., a future signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence. The college's constitution was written jointly by Stiles and Ellery two years later. "This draft of a petition connects itself with other documents of Dr. Stiles's attempt for a Collegiate Institution in Rhode Island, before the creation of what became Brown University," the editor of Stiles' papers notes. The mother church for the Philadelphia Association of Baptist Churches, Rhode Island, has indicated an interest in seeing a college built there. Baptists were underrepresented in the colonial universities at the time; the Congregationalists had Harvard and Yale; the Presbyterians had the College of New Jersey (later Princeton); the Episcopalians had the College of William & Mary and King's College (later Columbia), and the Presbyterians had the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) (formerly the College of New Jersey). Meanwhile, the Baptists' local University of Pennsylvania was founded specifically and had no historical ties to any particular denomination. A New England Baptist historian and the first trustee of Brown University, Isaac Backus, stated the following about the Philadelphia resolution passed in October 1762:

In July 1763, James Manning arrived in Newport and was sent to Stiles, who agreed to draught the college's charter. In August 1763, the General Assembly heard Stiles' initial proposal, which was rejected by Baptist participants who complained that their group would not have enough representation on the College Board of Fellows.
On March 3, 1764, at East Greenwich, the Rhode Island General Assembly accepted a new constitution drafted by Stiles and Ellery. Preacher James Manning served as Brown's initial leader. The corporation, the college's governing body, met in Newport's Old Colony House for the first time in September 1764. The reproduction of Brown's 1764 charter by Ezra Stiles. The former chancellor was Governor Stephen Hopkins, the vice chancellor was the former and future governor Samuel Ward, the treasurer was John Tillinghast, and the secretary was Thomas Eyres.

According to the charter, the board of trustees comprised 22 Baptists, five Quakers, five Episcopalians, and four Congregationalists. Eight of the 12 Fellows, including the university president, are Baptists, with the remaining members being "indigenous of any or all Denominations."

Brown's charter was a revolutionary piece of writing when it was written. While Brown's charter stated that sectarian differences of beliefs "shall no longer comprise any Part of the Public and Classical Instruction," other universities maintained curricular restrictions against competing ideologies. The study "recognized the precept of denominational collaboration more fully and fundamentally than any other [university charter]". The statement that Brown's constitution outright forbade a religion test for college admission is untrue; other university charters have been permissive in that particular way.

According to the First Baptist Church of Warren in Rhode Island's online directory, the university was formerly known as Rhode Island College. James served as the college's first president from 1765 to 1791 after being sworn in. The institution granted permission to Reverend Morgan Edwards in 1766 to visit Europe to "seek Benefactions for this Institution." Benefactors like Thomas Penn and Benjamin Franklin helped Edwards gain funds during his year-and-a-half stay in the British Isles.

The institution relocated from Warren to Providence in 1770. On behalf of the institution, John and Moses Brown bought a four-acre plot of land on College Hill's summit. Most of the land was encompassed within the boundaries of Chad Brown's special domestic lot, one of the first owners of Providence Plantations and an ancestor of the Brown family. The college's first building was under construction when it relocated to the city. The corporation set up a construction committee, and on February 9, 1770, the committee completed a draught of the designs for the college's first purpose-built structure.

Nassau Hall, erected 14 years earlier at the College of New Jersey, may have also served as a model for the next construction, known as "The College Edifice" and, subsequently, University Hall. President Manning, a participant in the construction process and a graduate of Princeton, would have suggested that Brown's first structure mimic that of his Alma University.

Brown Family

Abolitionists Moses Brown, John Brown, Joseph Brown, and the son of slave dealer Nicholas Brown, Jr. (Class of 1786) were all important in relocating the institution to Providence, creating its initial structure, and obtaining its endowment. Nicholas Jr. succeeded his uncle as treasurer from 1796 to 1825, after John served in the position from 1775 to 1796. Joseph afterward joined the institution as a professor of natural philosophy.

"That the contribution of 5000 Dollars, if donated to this College within one Year from the late Commencement, should empower the giver to name the College," the organization decreed on September 8, 1803. The college treasurer, Nicholas Brown Jr., eventually responded to the request the following year. Brown committed to providing "a contribution of $5,000 to Rhode Island College, to remain in perpetuity as a fund for the foundation of a Professorship of Oratory and Belles Letters" on September 6, 1804. The same day, the agency voted, "That this College be known as an acknowledged in all future times with the aid of the Name of Brown University." in consideration of the donation.

The John Carter Brown Library, which was founded in 1904 as an independently financed research library on the Brown University campus, was previously centered on the works of John Carter Brown, the son of Nicholas Brown, Jr. Nicholas Brown, Jr.'s contributions to the years amounted close to $160,000 and secured funds for the construction of Manning Hall and Hope College (1821-18). (1834-35). The Brown family previously engaged in various business endeavors in Rhode Island and benefited directly and indirectly from the transatlantic slave trade to accumulate a fortune. Slavery used to be a contentious topic in the family. In contrast to Moses and Nicholas Brown Jr., who were ardent abolitionists, John Brown opposed slavery. Under the leadership of President Ruth Simmons, the institution established a steering group in 2003 to examine its connections to slavery and recommend a course of action.


Since the institution was founded in 1764, 19 men and women have served as its president. Christina Hull Paxson has been the president since 2012. Paxson has previously held the positions of chair of the Princeton University economics department and dean of the school of public and international affairs. Paxson's immediate predecessor, Ruth Simmons, is noteworthy for being the first African American to serve as an Ivy League institution president. Vartan Gregorian, a scholar, and Francis Wayland, an economist and truth seeker, are two further presidents of note.


Providence's biggest institutional landowner is Brown, who owns residences on College Hill and in the Jewelry District. The institution was constructed at the same time as the neighborhoods around it that date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, intimately integrating Brown's campus into Providence's urban fabric. Rafael Violy, Philip Johnson, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Robert A. M. Stern, and McKim, Mead & White are some architects acknowledged for helping define Brown University's campus.

Main Campus

Brown University

The main campus of Brown spans 143 acres (0.58 km2) and 235 buildings on the East Side of College Hill. The 15-acre (6.1-hectare) primary campus of the institution is surrounded by the streets of Waterman, Prospect, George, and Thayer; more recent construction extends northward, eastward, and southward. The Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle, the Middle or College Green, and the Front or Quiet Green is the three greens that makeup Brown University's historic campus. These greens were constructed between 1770 and 1926. (Historically known as Lincoln Fields). The boundary of the block is marked by an elegant brick and wrought iron fence with gates and arches. The architecture in this area of campus is especially Richardsonian, Romanesque, and Georgian.

The Pembroke Campus includes academic and residential facilities and is situated north of the main campus. Tutorial buildings and residential quadrangles, such as the Wriston, Keeney, and Gregorian quadrangles, are located south of the main campus. Just east of the campus's center are Sciences Park and Brown's School of Engineering. Additionally, it has labs for the performing and visual arts and biological sciences. The John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library and the John Hay Library, two of Brown University's seven libraries, face the western side of the main campus.

Immediately to Brown's west, along the slope of College Hill, is where the Rhode Island School of Design, whose campus is adjacent to the university, is located.


The New England Commission of Higher Education has approved Brown University. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education's "Best Colleges 2021" edition placed Brown fifth in its rankings for the year 2021. Brown has placed twenty-sixth overall and twenty-third among universities in the Forbes magazine's annual "America's Top Colleges 2021," which included 600 research institutions, liberal arts colleges, and vocational academies.

In its 2021 edition, U.S. News & World Report placed Brown as the 14th best university in the nation. In addition, Brown was ranked first for undergraduate teaching, twentieth for most innovative schools, and eighth for best value schools in the 2021 revision. In 2020, Brown was placed 37th out of 389 national colleges in the United States by Washington Monthly based on its commitment to the public good as determined by social mobility, research, and commercializing public service. U.S. News & World Report places Brown at 102 in the world for 2020.

On the 2014 list of "America's Most Entrepreneurial Universities," published by Forbes magazine, Brown came in the sixth position. According to a Forbes study, "alumni and students who have identified themselves on LinkedIn as entrepreneurs and firm owners" are significantly underrepresented compared to the overall population of graduates and students. According to a specialist Forbes rating on LinkedIn, Brown is among the "Best Undergraduate Universities for Software Developers at Startups." Between MIT and Princeton, Brown is located in the middle. According to LinkedIn's methods, its users' "millions of alumni profiles" were examined for career paths.

Next TopicCalicut University

Youtube For Videos Join Our Youtube Channel: Join Now


Help Others, Please Share

facebook twitter pinterest

Learn Latest Tutorials


Trending Technologies

B.Tech / MCA