Brown: A Timeline

Brown: A Timeline

1800–1809

  • Enrollment Passes 100 Students

    The number of students enrolled in the College grew steadily in the late 1700s, reaching 107, as listed in the first printed Catalogue of the Officers and Students, in 1800. The names of the students and their home states were...

  • Third President: Asa Messer

    Asa Messer, Class of 1790, served in a variety of functions at the College including tutor, librarian and professor of both “learned languages” and “natural philosophy” before being named first president pro tempore and, finally, president...

1870–1879

1880–1889

  • First Advanced Degrees Awarded

    Although graduate courses were offered beginning in the 1870s, there were no advanced degrees. In an 1881 report, President Robinson noted that “Individual graduates…are every year proposing to remain and continue their studies in one...

1890–1899

1930–1939

  • Breakthrough in Studying Brain Activity

    In 1932, Dr. Herbert H. Jasper of Brown’s psychology department, was the first researcher in the nation to make electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings of the activity of the intact human brain. In 1935, he published the first paper in the...

1940–1949

  • History of Mathematics Department Founded

    Founded by Otto Neugebauer, Professor of Mathematics, Brown’s History of Mathematics Department was the first in the country. From its founding in 1947 until it was disbanded in 2005, the department’s program focused on the history and...

1950–1959

  • Computer Science Arrives at Brown

    Initially part of the Applied Mathematics division, the study of Computer Science began at Brown in 1956. That same year, an (then cutting-edge) IBM card-programmed calculator (CPC), which could be fed 150 punch cards a minute, was installed...

1970–1979

  • Doctor of Medicine Degrees Awarded

    On June 2, 1975, Brown awarded Doctor of Medicine degrees to 58 students–45 men and 13 women. This was the first medical class since the 1820s to pursue and complete academic medical studies and clinical training within Rhode Island’s...

1980–1989

2000–2009

  • Department of Africana Studies

    In 2001, the Afro-American Studies Program was upgraded to department status and renamed the Department of Africana Studies. According to department chair Lewis Gordon, the name reflected “the current broad focus on the African diaspora, the...

  • Center for Biomedical Engineering Founded

    In an effort to integrate research and study of engineering and physical sciences with the life sciences and clinical practice, Brown founded the Center for Biomedical Engineering in 2002. Interdisciplinary research areas include...

  • Plan for Academic Enrichment

    In 2002, President Ruth Simmons launched an ambitious program of academic enrichment. Initiatives undertaken as a result of the Plan included: increasing the size of the faculty, providing resources to advance scholarship and teaching and...

  • Brown Humanities Center Launched

    In support of Brown’s long tradition of interdisciplinary studies, the Brown Humanities Center (later re-named the Cogut Center for the Humanities) opened in 2003 to support collaborative research among scholars in the humanities. Since 2008...

  • Doctoring Course Initiated

    In 2006, the Brown Medical School instituted the two-year Doctoring Course. This required course exposes first- and second-year medical students to clinical settings early in their training. Closely guided and mentored by physicians in...

  • Advent of Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program

    After years of being able to cross-register for individual classes, beginning with the 2008–2009 academic year, high school students were able to apply to a fully dual degree program from both Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design....

2010–2015

  • School of Engineering Established

    With the oldest undergraduate engineering program in the Ivy League and third-oldest civilian engineering program in the country, in 2010, Brown transformed its Division of Engineering into the Brown School of Engineering. The new school...

  • School of Public Health Opened

    In July 2013, the new Brown School of Public Health officially opened and began a two-year accreditation process. The transformation from the Public Health Program made the School of Public Health Brown’s third professional school, along...

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