Roger H. Brown, President, Berklee College of Music
When Berklee College of Music President Roger H. Brown assumed his post at the college in 2004, he brought a rich palette of professional and life experiences to the job. Skills accrued playing recording sessions as a drummer in New York, administering United Nations humanitarian operations in Southeast Asia and Africa, and founding a company with his wife that became a corporation valued at over $1 billion and employing 19,000 people have contributed to his effective leadership at the world's largest college of contemporary music.
Music has been a recurring theme in Brown's diverse pursuits. He played drums with bands throughout high school, at Davidson College, and during his graduate studies at Yale, and still leads a band. Brown spent five years engaged in humanitarian work teaching math in Kenya and administering successful humanitarian undertakings in Southeast Asia and in Sudan. The Land Bridge operation Brown and his wife Linda Mason managed in the 1980s was the largest famine relief program attempted to date, and averted starvation for countless Cambodians. Innovative work Brown and Mason undertook a few years later in Sudan for the Save the Children Federation saved an estimated 20,000 lives. In each location Brown sought opportunities to make music with local artists and engage them in the humanitarian efforts.
In 1986, Brown and Mason launched Bright Horizons, a corporation now valued at over $1 billion and employing 16,000 people, to provide quality child care and early education to the children of working parents. Brown and Mason built and oversaw the operation of numerous facilities at universities, hospitals, and corporations around the U.S. and the U.K. Brown utilized his musical talents at the company to write, produce, and perform on six CDs of children's music that featured Ziggy Marley, Vinx, Raffi, and others. For their groundbreaking work at Bright Horizons, Brown and Mason received several awards, including the President's Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
In 2004, Brown became Berklee's third president. Under his direction the college has successfully completed a $50 million capital campaign and established presidential scholars and Africa scholars programs to bring the world's best young musicians to Berklee. He has led in developing a more selective admissions policy that has raised the level of entering students. Under his auspices, Berklee created a model advising program to support new students. Brown has overseen the expansion of the City Music Program to reach economically disadvantaged urban youth across America. As well, Brown has facilitated the expansion of Berklee's campus facilities, instituted semester-abroad programs, and partnered with the city of Valencia, Spain to open a Berklee satellite campus in Valencia.
Brown sums up his aspirations for Berklee: "Berklee has produced artists who have won more than 200 Grammy Awards, composed some of the great film scores of our time, written jazz and rock standards, and transformed the way people play their instruments and teach contemporary music. We have the opportunity to help train the next generation of leading artists, music entrepreneurs, and teachers."