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EXCLUSIVE: Princeton’s Paxson to be New Brown President

Friday, March 02, 2012

 

Christina H. Paxson will be named successor to outgoing Brown President Ruth Simmons.

Princeton University's Christina H. Paxson will replace Ruth Simmons at the 19th President of Brown University, multiple sources tell GoLocalProv. Brown has confirmed Paxson's appointment.

Paxson currently is the Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and is the Hughes Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs.

In 2000, she founded the Center for Health and Wellbeing (CHW), an interdisciplinary health research center in the Woodrow Wilson School. During her time as director of CHW, the center started undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in health and health policy, and took on the leadership of the University’s Health Grand Challenges program.

Paxson is a Senior Editor of The Future of Children; a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, where she is a member of the programs on Aging, Health, and Children; and a Research Associate of Princeton’s Office of Population Research. Her research is on health, economic development and public policy, with a current focus on economic status and health outcomes over the life course in both developed and developing countries. She has been the Principal Investigator of several NIH-funded studies, including "Economic Status, Public Policy, and Child Neglect", "Parental Resources and Child Wellbeing" and "College Education and Health", and was the founding director of an NIA Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at Princeton.

Ruth Simmons

Simmons made history upon appointment to Brown in November 2000 as becoming the first black president of an Ivy League institution, and Brown's first female president. Simmons assumed office in fall of 2001. Simmons holds appointments as a professor in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Africana Studies. In 2002, Newsweek selected her as a Ms. Woman of the Year, while in 2001, Time named her as America's best college president.

According to a March 2009 poll by The Brown Daily Herald, Simmons enjoys a more than 80% approval rating among Brown undergraduates.

The Presidents at Brown

Since its founding in 1764, Brown University has been presided over by 18 different presidents. Prior to Simmons' highly successful tenure, the position was held briefly by Gordon Gee, who resigned in 2000 after only two years.

Prior to Gee, the University was overseen by the much beloved Vartan Gregorian, for who a large Thayer Street dormitory complex is now named. Over the course of his seven year tenure, Gregorian grew Brown's endowment to over $1 billion and greatly expanded its international prominence. Gregorian stepped down in 1997 and went on to assume leadership of the Carnegie Corporation.

Gregorian's predecessor was Howard Swearer, perhaps the mostly revered university president in recent decades.  Swearer was committed to the belief that Universities should also be communities.  He oversaw a number of progressive initiatives, including establishing departments devoted to the study of women, world hunger, public policy and alcohol addiction.  In 1983, he became the first current university president to receive the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal--the highest honor the faculty can award.

Brown will formally announce the news later this morning.

 

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