Emory University is getting a financial boost to increase diversity and collaboration at two of its graduate schools.
Billionaire philanthropist John Brown and his wife, Rosemary, plan to give $5 million to Emory’s Goizueta Business School to attract women and minority graduate students, and $5 million to Emory’s medical school to fund biomedical research and product development.
Sarah Beth Brown, a member of Emory’s Board of Trustees, said her parents view education as “transformational.”
“They are grateful that they have had the opportunity to give back,” Sarah Beth Brown told Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The John and Rosemary Brown Family Innovation to Market Fund will allow Emory to “change the way we think about medicine,” said Dr. Vikas Sukhatme, dean of Emory’s medical school.
The fund aims to bolster the Biolocity program — a 24-year partnership between Emory and Georgia Tech that accelerates the commercialization of early-stage medical technologies.
John Brown, longtime CEO and chairman of medical device company Stryker Corp., said the gift is a way to “accelerate innovation” and move products more quickly from license, to startup, to commercialization.
Brown earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Auburn University. Rosemary earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Auburn and later a Master’s degree in mathematics education from Rutgers University.
She spent three decades as a math teacher in New Jersey and in Michigan. The couple now lives in Atlanta.
The new Rosemary and John Brown Family Scholars Program will provide scholarships to Goizueta’s graduate programs for alumnae of Spelman College, a historically Black college; and Agnes Scott College, an all-women’s institution. The endowed fund will begin to award scholarships in the fall of 2021.
“We know financial assistance for alumnae can be an incredible boost to career trajectories, especially for women and women of color,” said Sarah, adding that her sister, Janine Brown, sits on the Spelman College Board of Trustees.
Janine is also the partner-in-charge of the Atlanta office of the law firm Alston & Bird.
While women earn more than half (57%) of all undergraduate degrees, just 38% earn Master of Business Administration degrees, according to the Center for American Progress.
“This imbalance negatively affects students, business schools and the larger business community,” said Karen Sedatole, interim dean at Goizueta Business School.
Last January, the Brown family gave $10 million to Kennesaw State University. It was the school’s largest contribution from a single donor.
That gift established an endowment matching fund to benefit KSU’s Honors College — a community within the university that includes “academically talented and highly motivated students.”
Rosemary Brown serves on KSU’s Honors College Advisory Board.
“We are helping these students create the relationships and have the experiences that will allow them to change the course of their lives and the future of our community,” said Rosemary Brown in a statement about the KSU gift.
“As an educator, I experienced no better feeling than seeing the light bulb turn on in a student’s mind.”