Bryant Trustee Robert Brown '86
Bryant's Academic Innovation Center was formally named the Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center at a ceremony Sept. 21. The naming recognizes leadership philanthropy by alumnus Robert ’86 and his wife, Kathleen, Brown, P ’19 and honors the legacy of commitment to education forged by three generations of the Brown family. Pictured is Bryant Trustee Robert Brown '86 at the Sept. 21 celebration.
Bryant names Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center for record philanthropy of Robert ’86 and Kathleen Brown, P '19
Sep 21, 2018
Contact: Cecilia Cooper, director of Public Relations | 401-232-6932 

SMITHFIELD, R.I. –  Bryant University’s award-winning Academic Innovation Center was formally named the Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center at a campus ceremony held on September 21, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. The naming recognizes leadership philanthropy by alumnus Robert ’86 and his wife, Kathleen, Brown, P ’19 and honors the legacy of commitment to education forged by three generations of the Brown family.

Bryant Trustee Robert Brown is among the University’s most dedicated alumni. As an esteemed leader in the finance industry, he achieved an exceptional record of accomplishment throughout his career at Fidelity Investments, where he served in several distinguished leadership roles including President of the Global Bond Division and Head of Institutional Fixed Income.

Brown credits Bryant with providing him with a strong foundation, teaching him how to learn and inspiring confidence in his skills and abilities, both of which allowed him to build a successful career and excel in his chosen profession. The Browns' multimillion-dollar gift to the University’s transformational capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future, has allowed Bryant to “build facilities that are best in class and inspire current and future students to excel at Bryant and beyond,” says Brown.

University President Ronald K. Machtley, beginning his 23rd year at Bryant, noted “We are extremely grateful for the leadership philanthropy of Bob and Kathleen Brown, which has helped us to build a facility that will inspire current and future generation of students to excel. The Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center advances academic excellence and redefines the future of teaching and learning in higher education.” A committee of faculty members advised on the project; graduate and undergraduate classes from both Bryant’s College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences are taught in the space.

The facility naming honors the legacy of commitment to education forged by three generations of the Brown family and is a lasting tribute to Robert Brown’s parents, Russell and Janice Brown, P ’86, P ’92; his maternal grandparents, Jeremiah and Madeline Quinlan; and his paternal grandparents, Lawrence and Fannie Brown.

Opened in September 2016, the 48,000 sq. ft. Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center is an innovative facility for teaching and learning that has garnered national recognition. The capstone project for years of strategic academic review, the building was designed by award-winning architect Kip Ellis of EYP Architecture and Engineering. Gone are the rows of seats and lecture dais that served higher education for centuries. Instead, flexible spaces within the AIC are designed for a wide variety of innovative teaching and learning styles, developing leadership and design thinking skills through real-world simulations, rapid prototyping, social entrepreneurship and service learning projects, flipped class delivery, group work, and more.

Distinguishing features of the AIC include the Janikies Family Innovation Forum, a flexible, light-filled space for academic excellence designed with moveable furnishings and advanced technology, and the Murray Family Charitable Foundation Admission Presentation Room. These spaces are complemented by flat classrooms, tiered classrooms, team breakout rooms, group study space, lounge seating, and a café where students and faculty gather for respite from rigorous problem-solving. More at "Inside the AIC."

“Bryant’s Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center has become a catalyst for transformational education,” said University Provost Glenn Sulmasy. “It provides an environment for our dedicated faculty to prepare students for exceptional success whether they seek to make their mark in the corporate world, in politics and law, or in the arts and sciences.”

The Quinlan/Brown Academic Innovation Center is the centerpiece of Bryant Builds, the largest and most transformative facilities initiative since Bryant’s move from Providence to Smithfield 45 years ago. In total, the effort added more than 250,000 square feet of academic and athletic facilities. The landmark construction is made possible by nearly $80 million in leadership gifts received for Bryant’s capital campaign. More than 21,900 alumni, parents, and friends of the University have contributed to the campaign, which has surpassed $90 million.

Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University's 3,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students study in an intensive and immersive learning environment that has been purpose-built for high achievement. Bryant’s groundbreaking academic programs have been nationally recognized by organizations including the Davis Educational Foundation and Hanover Research. Founded in 1863, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s. Visit innovation.bryant.edu.

Related Stories