College News and Fun Facts: Brown University

The undergraduate curriculum changed drastically in 1970, and eventually became known as the Brown Curriculum. This new curriculum wiped out the core requirements shared by all Brown undergraduates and allowed students to craft their own course of study.

The College of Rhode Island was renamed Brown University after Nicholas Brown donated $5,000 to the school in 1804. To put things in perspective, tuition was only $5(!).

The iconic Van Wickle Gates on the Quiet Green open only twice per year: inward for Convocation, when first-year students walk in and are welcomed by a gathering of the Brown community, and outward for Commencement, when graduating seniors process out past alums, family, friends and others. According to superstition, any Brown student who passes through the gates more than these two times will be cursed with bad luck.

Each year since 1960, students crowd onto the College Green for Spring Weekend Concerts, sponsored by the student-run Brown Concert Agency. Historical acts include Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and R.E.M. Among more recent performers are The Shins, Wilco, the Roots, The Flaming Lips, M.I.A., Nas, Of Montreal, MGMT, and Snoop Dogg.

One of Brown’s most well-known former faculty members—professor of psychoceramics (the study of cracked pots) Josiah S. Carberry—never actually existed. But his name lives—Carberry is the namesake for the beloved late-night eatery “Josiah’s” and for the Brown library online catalog. Source

Students gather every Halloween at midnight in Sayles Hall for the annual organ concert. Blankets and pillows in hand, students gather on the floor of the vast hall and listen to the university organist play a selection of appropriately spooky tunes on the largest remaining Hutchings-Votey organ in the world. A similar assembly happens right before winter break, when many of Brown’s singing groups perform holiday themed concerts in Sayles. Source

  • Color: Brown, Red, and White
  • Mascot: Bruno the Bear
  • Admit Rate: 7.2% (Class of 2022). Read more