Dear members of the Berklee community,
With a feeling of profound gratitude, I am writing to you to announce that I will step down as president of Berklee on May 31, 2021, or when a new president can be hired and assume the responsibilities of the job, should the latter happen first.
This work has been a source of enormous joy to me and my whole family. By the time May of 2021 rolls around, I will have served 17 years at Berklee, and while I know I will miss the work a great deal, I also believe that the time is propitious for this transition.
The team of leaders at the institution has never been stronger. Our chairs and deans are the most capable since I have been here. The leaders of all our key activities are making extraordinary progress. Our new Thrive program promises to continue elevating student success while we reduce student debt and help more alumni create sustainable careers in the arts. We just completed our second capital campaign, the largest in our history, which raised over $160 million—well over our goal of $121 million—allowing us to continue to expand scholarship support. The merger with Boston Conservatory has been a great success: we have a powerhouse leadership team, Conservatory applications continue to grow dramatically, and the institution is way ahead of its financial plan. Berklee Online is the absolute leader in quality online music education; Berklee Valencia, Berklee City Music, and our summer programs are all functioning at a high level under strong leadership; and the Power Station at BerkleeNYC campus is being renovated as I write.
Of course, we have many challenges ahead. I’m acutely aware of the ways in which we could better serve students, so that each one, regardless of race, gender identity, learning style, family income, or country of origin, has full access to the resources of the institution and the unqualified respect of every faculty and staff member they encounter. To evoke the poet Robert Frost, we have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep. I am optimistic that the board will select a great new leader capable of taking us far beyond what we have achieved to date. Board Chair Susan Whitehead and the executive committee have been working to plan a thorough search process that will provide plenty of opportunities for input from the Berklee community in order to understand the needs for the next phase of Berklee’s development. Stay tuned for a note from Susan later this week.
Many of you know that I facilitated a transition of leadership within the organization that I had cofounded prior to coming to Berklee. That transition was very successful by every measure, and I fully intend to do everything in my power to ensure that we do the same here. I stand ready to assist the new president in whatever way they deem useful.
As for me, I expect to find an exciting next challenge, though I have no idea at the moment what that might be. I am still energized by the opportunity to have a positive impact on the world and I hope to find something that can become my next professional chapter.
The friendships I have developed while at Berklee are precious to me. I admire and love so many of you. I hope to continue to be part of the Berklee community, albeit in a less all-consuming way. Thank you for the opportunity to serve Berklee and the world of music and performing arts. This has been one of the great privileges of my life.
Finally, I am not going anywhere soon. I am dedicated to pursuing the many programs and projects we have underway: the Thrive program, construction of a new residence hall, and more. I intend to keep us moving forward right up to the moment I hand the baton to my successor. Thank you in advance for your support in this effort.
Roger H. Brown
Read a story in Billboard about Roger H. Brown's departure.
Read quotes about Brown from alumni and honorary doctorate recipients.