Quincy Jones ‘51 ‘83H
“As a proud Berklee alum—from back in the day when it was Lawrence and Lee Berk’s the Schillinger House!—it makes my soul smile to see how far this incredible institution has come under Roger Brown’s care and guidance. From increasing scholarship support, to creating international programs, to making music more accessible to ALL types of students, he is an absolute one of a kind with a REAL heart for music education. It has been an incredible honor to know Roger throughout his time as president of Berklee and I can attest to the fact that he has helped to cultivate a community of TRUE musicians, because he himself is a true musician and an all-around great human being. I know he will be greatly missed in the Berklee community, but I know that the impact he has made will carry on far and wide throughout the rest of our time on this planet! Big-time love and props to you my brotha from anotha motha who has always been there, ready to care and willing to share; thank you for your dedication and filling this world with a bit more love and music. God bless you.”
Antonio Sanchez '97
"Every once in a while, somebody comes along that transforms the way an academic institution functions. This is particularly difficult at institutions that have been around for a long time and that have a very defined way of doing things. Forward vision, experience, discipline, creativity and an intimate knowledge of how-to are paramount for the job, and only a few select few can claim that distinction. Roger Brown is one of those select few. I attended Berklee in the '90s and even though it was an amazing college then, I never thought it would become what it has become now. Roger is undoubtedly at the helm of the revolution of music education."
Ramin Djawadi B.M. ‘98
"Roger Brown’s enthusiasm and graciousness brought me back to Berklee where I met him for the first time years after graduating. A diligent steward of alumni relationships, Roger invited me back to see all the improvements and advancements to the school, which are a tangible reflection of his skilled leadership. I have always felt that Berklee has been at the forefront of technology, and Roger has pushed us even further over the past 15 years. From new residence halls and a state-of-the-art music studio, to the profoundly important capital development for student scholarships, the legacy of Roger’s tenure as president is difficult to overstate."
Leehom Wang '99 '16H
"On a chilly night in November 2011, I looked out into the crowd of 80,000 Chinese fans, and saw one very tall, long-haired white man in the front row who couldn’t stop smiling. I don’t think he understood a word I sung that night, but he didn’t miss a beat. I could tell he had the soul of a musician. At the after-party, he was seated next to my mom. That’s when I met Roger Brown for the first time, and we hit it off like gangbusters. What struck me most was his ease of presence. He was an ageless, limitless, stranger in a strange land, completely authentic, and genuinely believing in music and its power to transcend boundaries and cultures. He told me about his plans for Berklee to hold auditions in China for the first time, and to create a full-ride scholarship for the most talented kid.
The size of his dreams, the breadth of his vision, the infectious X factor of great leadership made it clear: Roger Brown wasn’t a “suit” president, he was destined to be a Hall of Famer. Two years ago, I came back to campus for the first time since 2000. It’s impossible to overstate what a president can do for a college in 17 years. It looked like the school had one of those magical makeover renovations you see on reality shows. Roger will be sorely missed. Thank you for your contributions to Berklee and the music world. You succeeded in making Berklee the most coveted music school in China. Today, many of our hottest young pop stars want to be enrolled, and a few of the really good ones are."
Esperanza Spalding B.M. ‘05 ‘18H
“I’m grateful to know and be close to a being like Mr. Brown, who so fully embodies love for and commitment to each next generation of music-makers. He knows what many of us surviving, thanks to or by music, know: that music is the medicine that holds us together and carries us through this wild ride called life. Roger has always been that steady and dedicated voice, actively championing for those daring and courageous enough to take on music work as a life’s calling. I’m profoundly grateful to Roger for always encouraging me along my journey.”
Gloria Estefan ‘07H
“When Emilio and I met Roger Brown in May of 2007 while receiving our honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music, we were immediately taken with his warm and engaging style of leadership as evidenced by his heartfelt interactions with students and faculty, and impressed by his meaningful accomplishments in the three short years since he had become chief executive. Since then, we have had the privilege of seeing him take the school to amazing new heights, felt his guidance and support as parents of our own Berklee graduate, our daughter Emily, and experienced first-hand his skill and determination to make Berklee one of the world’s top music schools as members of the Board of Trustees. We know that, wherever he lands, he will be a success and he leaves behind very big shoes to fill. We will miss him greatly at Berklee but look forward to enjoying the friendship we’ve built for years to come.”
Daniel Platzman B.M. ‘09, Imagine Dragons
“As a drummer from Georgia, knowing that the new head of the school I was to attend was a fellow Georgian drummer gave me great comfort. I met Roger as a freshman and was blown away by his humbleness and desire to connect with the students—all of the students. I read and was influenced by Roger blogging about his experience attending freshmen orientation and entry exams. This demonstrated Roger was always willing to go the extra mile to make all of the students feel welcome.”
A. R. Rahman ’14H
“As a musician, it’s always satisfying to see music being taught and witness excellence from the outcome of a melting pot like Berklee. I admire how it has become a dream destination for aspiring students and musicians all over the world. When you meet Roger, who's been running Berklee for the last 15 years, you wonder how he is so composed and zen-like. He’s been doing an amazing job leading Berklee to its success story.”
Lihi Haruvi B.A. ‘15, assistant professor in the Harmony Department
“I have known President Brown for over a decade, first as an international student stepping into a new culture and later as a faculty member returning to a place that feels like home. I was always impressed by Roger’s commitment to this community. He makes it a priority to learn about every student he meets, what their passion is, encouraging them, and constantly working to provide opportunities to better support them, even after they have graduated. Roger is kind to others, welcoming, forward-thinking, and driven by a sense of mission and goodwill. I will always be grateful for his work and friendship.”
Sammy Lutomia, Berklee staff
"Roger taught physics and math at the high school where my dad was the principal; that’s when I first met him at the age of two. He kept returning for missions in Sudan and Ethiopia and would find time to visit our family in western Kenya. In the winter of 2004, when his family was hosting me, he received the big news about joining Berklee, and together with his family we celebrated the special moment. It’s rare to find someone who can be more than a friend, family, boss, and mentor and still maintain a strong connection for decades. Roger’s empathy, kindness, understanding, and generosity have made me believe that there's hope in humanity. His leadership at Berklee has added significant value to the Berklee brand, making it a global leader in music education. I wish him all the best on his new chapter in life."