Brown University has announced a $50 million gift from a group of longtime supporters to fund the construction of a new building for and the expansion of initiatives at its Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International and Public Affairs.
A portion of the gift from alumnus Stephen Robert, former chair and CEO of Oppenheimer & Co. and chancellor emeritus of Brown; Alice Tisch, a trustee of both the New York University Langone Medical Center and Museum of Modern Art; alumnus Thomas Tisch, the current chancellor of Brown and a managing partner at New York investment firm Four Partners; and the Thomas J. and Olive C. Watson Jr. Foundation will fund new space for the Watson Institute, including a proposed 20,000-square-foot building that will enable the institute to expand its programs and add faculty. The rest of the gift will support the hiring of additional faculty and bolster existing research and teaching programs at the institute.
The donors said they made the joint gift to support the momentum of the institute's growth as a premier center for policy and education. "International relations and public affairs — these are not theoretical pursuits, because they are being practiced every day," said Robert. "It's been said that war is the failure of diplomacy, and I think that’s true. Therefore if we want a more peaceful world, we have to be better as a society at international relations and diplomacy than we have been. Research and teaching that furthers that is very useful."
"This exceptional demonstration of support arrives at a significant time for both Brown University and the Watson Institute," said Brown president Christina Paxson. "This gift will significantly enhance our ability to influence world affairs on such topics as food and water security, health care, and cross-cultural conflict. A central theme of the university's strategic plan and our comprehensive campaign is ‘creating peaceful, just, and prosperous societies,’ and these resources help position Watson to lead in this area."