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Robert A. Brown (NAE), a distinguished chemical engineer, is president of Boston University. During his tenure (since 2005), the university has produced and begun implementing its first strategic plan, “Choosing to Be Great,” focusing on strengthening the quality of undergraduate and graduate programs, attracting world-class faculty members, and facilitating their research and scholarship. Progress toward these goals is evidenced by the enhanced quality of the incoming undergraduate class and the university’s improved ranking as well as its invitation to join the Association of American Universities, which includes the 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. In 2012 the university launched its first comprehensive fundraising campaign to raise $1 billion by 2017. More than $700 million has been raised, and the campaign has led to new academic initiatives such as the Kilachand Honors College, a unique discovery-based approach to fulfilling the general education requirement for the university’s most talented undergraduate students, and the Pardee School for Global Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to his NAE membership, Dr. Brown is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He chairs the Academic Research Council of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Singapore, is a member of Singapore’s Research Innovation and Enterprise Council, and is a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). He is a director of the DuPont Company and American Council on Education, trustee of the Universities Research Association, and served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for President George W. Bush.
Before coming to Boston University, Dr. Brown held leadership positions at MIT, including provost, dean of the School of Engineering, and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. He has published more than 250 papers in areas related to mathematical modeling of transport phenomena in materials, and was executive editor of the Journal of Chemical Engineering Science from 1991 to 2004. He was named an honorary citizen of the Republic of Singapore in 2005 and in 2008, was honored as one of the top 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
He earned his BS and MS in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Beverly have two grown sons.