Christopher H. Browne, chairman of the Board of Overseers of the School of Arts and Sciences and a trustee of the University, has made a gift of $10 million to Penn, according to Friday's announcement by President Judith Rodin. The gift will be used to fund five professorships to be known as the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professors in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Rodin said that a Browne Distinguished Professorship will be established in each of the three academic divisions of the School of Arts and Sciences--the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences; the remaining two chairs will be used in the areas of greatest need as determined by SAS Dean Samuel H. Preston.
"This gift is the latest evidence of Chris' unwavering commitment to Penn during more than 20 years as a volunteer, philanthropist and in various leadership capacities," Dr. Rodin said. "The gift demonstrates his recognition that the excellence of the University depends on the excellence of its faculty, and we are enormously grateful that Chris Browne understands and values both scholarship and citizenship as essential to the future of the School of Arts and Sciences and the University."
Chairholders will be nominated by a committee comprised of the president of the University, the dean of SAS and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In nominating the chairholders, the committee will consider those faculty members who have achieved an extraordinary reputation for scholarly contributions as evidenced by professional honors and positions, who have demonstrated great distinction in and commitment to undergraduate and graduate teaching, and who have, through scholarship, teaching and public and professional discourse, demonstrated intellectual integrity and unquestioned commitment to free and open discussion of ideas.
"The members of the faculty who ultimately hold Browne Chairs will set a standard for all faculty by demonstrating exceptional distinction in research and teaching and a deep commitment to the most fundamental values of a university," Dean Preston said. "There is no question that the exceptional quality of these appointments will establish the Browne Chairs as one of the most highly prized honors that can be bestowed on members of our faculty."
"This gift provides me an opportunity to give something back to Penn," Mr. Browne said, "to draw attention to the excellent faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences and to confirm my personal belief that academic distinction should be defined by excellence in research, outstanding teaching ability and a strong commitment to making Penn a forum for open dialogue. I am delighted that I am able to do this, and I consider myself as lucky as Penn."
Mr. Browne is a 1969 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences who majored in history. He has been a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Arts and Sciences since 1982 and became the chair in 1999. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the University since 1991 and serves on several Trustee committees including academic policy and budget and finance. He is also president of The Penn Club of New York.
Mr. Browne's most recent contributions to Penn include the establishment of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics in the Department of Political Science, a generous contribution towards a new life sciences building and support for undergraduate scholarships and the Penn Club of New York.
Mr. Browne is currently a Managing Director of Tweedy, Browne Company LLC, a New York-based investment management firm, and is President of the Tweedy, Browne Mutual Funds. He is a member of the Kennedy School of Government program in behavioral finance at Harvard University where he is a frequent speaker on the topic of behavioral psychology and financial decision making. An amateur architect and landscape architect, Mr. Browne is a member of the Board of Directors of The Institute of Classical Architecture where he has spoken on the Client's Perspective on Designing a Country House and Garden. He recently acquired one of the more extensive collections consisting of more than 2000 volumes of rare and out-of-print books on architecture, furniture and the decorative arts. Mr. Browne is also a trustee of The Rockefeller University where he established the Christopher H. Browne Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases in 1997.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 19, February 1, 2000