The 20 Most Notable Brown University Alumni in the Business World

Brown University is one of the more prestigious universities in the United States. It’s located in Providence, Rhode Island and has a long and rich history. The institution was founded during a time when the state of Rhode Island was still an English Colony in 1764 and it goes back a long way in the history of this country. Several notable alum have attended this Ivy league private college, and have gone out into the world to pursue successful careers in a wide variety of vocations and callings. While not everyone on this list was fortunate enough to graduate, most have. Here are the 20 most notable Brown University Alumni in the business world.

1. Ted Turner

Ted Turner, who’s birth name is Robert Edward Turner III is a Brown alumni who went on to become the founder of the CNN cable news network. He is a media tycoon who is also credited with creating the WTBS television station. He took over his father’s advertising company upon his death and turned it into a successful business. It was from this point forward that he moved on from one business success to another. Mr. Turner was also married to actress Jane Fonda for a number of years.

2. John D. Rockefeller Jr.

John D. Rockefeller Jr. enrolled at Brown in 1893 and after his graduation in 1897, he worked in his father’s business. He was appointed in a director position at Standard Oil and would go on to become a director for the US Steel Company owned by JP Morgan. He was successful in the business world but resigned both jobs to pursue a career in philanthropy. John D. Rockefeller is one of the more prolific Brown graduates who was born into a wealthy family, but he established himself as a leader in the management of big business in America.

3. Lillian Moller Gilbreth

After the death of her husband Lilian Gilbreth went to work for Macy’s as a volunter, creating databases for their store’s job descriptions. Afterwards, she went into consulting work and did marketing research studies for Johnson & Johnson’s products as well as for Brooklyn Union Gas Company and GE, working in the development of better kitchen layouts. She became known as the “First Lady of Management” as well as several other firsts for a female including membership in the Society of Indistrial Engineers, of the American Socieity of Mechanical Engineers as well as the first woman to receive an honorary Master of Engineering Degree and the first professor of management at Purdue University. Lillian Moller Gilbreth is a Brown alumni who also stands as a significant figure in the history of America in both business and women’s struggles in business.

4. Janet Yellin

Janet Yellin is one of the most notable Brown University graduates to go out into the business world and become successful. She originally wanted to study philosophy, but instead majored as an economist. Thanks to her education at Brown, she would continue with her education earning a PhD. In 2014 sh was named the chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee. Yelling has made many significant contributions to the effective operation of the economics of America.

5. Dara Khosrowshari

Dara Khosrowshari graduated from Brown University in the class of 1991. He went on to become the CEO of the mega transportation provider Uber. He shared with Christina Paxson, President of Brown, that he was the most influenced by professor Mary Gluck, who taught a European Intellectual History course. Dara earned his degree in bioelectric engineering but has a profound interest in diversity, culture change and “flying cars.” He is among the most interesting and influential graduates of Brown University.

6. Ross Greenburg

Mr. Greenburg was a graduate of the Brown University class of 1977. After graduation he wet on to enjoy a series of successes in the sports media and business world. He became the president of HBO Sports between 2000 and 2001. Prior to that he served as an executive producer since 1985. Ross became an outstanding journalist and is the winner of the Peabody Award 8 times as well as a total of 51 Emmy’s for sports broadcasting and the Sam Taub Award as well. Ross Greenburg has earned fame for his journalistic and managerial talents.

7. David Ebersman

David studied economics and international relations at Brown University, graduating in 1991. he went on to become Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer. He obtained a high degree of success in business although no longer with Facebook. He delivers speeches to Brown University to share the knowledge he has gained with students and maintains close connections with his Alma mater.

8. Tom Rothman

Tom Rothman is a member of the Brown University graduating class of 1976. After graduation he moved on to become one of the most respected leaders in the business end of the film industry. He is currently the chairman of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group. Prior to that he was the chairman of TriStar Productions and he is also credited with founding the Fox Searchlight Pictures Company. He has enjoyed a long and productive career as an executive in the industry.

9. Glen Creamer

Glen Creamer earned his bachelor of arts degree from Brown University and continued on to earn a master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. After his education, he went on to work in investment banking with Merrill Lynch as well as JP Morgan. He spend 30 years of his career in the private equity investment business. He was the vice president of Narragansett Capital and he wen ton to become the senior advisor and senior managing director emeritus of the Providence investment group.

10. Steven Price

Steven Price was a member of the graduating class of 1984 at Brown University. After graduation, he enjoyed success in many sectors of the business world. He served as an attorney, an investment banker and was also an entrepreneur. He founded LiveWire Media Ventures in 1988, and also became the CEO and executive chairman of Town Square Media Group.

11. Barry Sternlicht

Barry Sternlicht graduated magna cum laude with honors from Brown University with his BA. He went on to attend Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA with distinction. Sternlicht is currently the CEO and Chairman of Starwood Capital Group. He formed the group in 1991 with a focus on the infrastructure of energy, oil gas, hotel management and global real estate. He serves on multiple boards and is a respected executive in the business world.

12. Kent Swig

Kent Swig is a graduate of the 1983 class at Brown University. After college he went into the world and became the founder and owner of a variety of different residential real estate service firms. He’s the co-chairman and owner of Terra Holdings, LLC, and is also the owner of Brown Harris Stevens, Swig Equities, LLC, Helmsley Spear, LLC, Falcon Pacific Construction and The Swig Company. He is among the most successful businessmen in the United States.

13. John Chen

John Chen earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering graduating magna cum laude from Brown University in 1991. He went on to Cal Tech for his master’s in electrical engineering. He has received multiple honorary doctorates from several universities throughout the world. Chen was the CEO of Sybase, Inc prior to becoming the CEO of Blackberry, Limited, Inc.

14. John Sculley III

John Sculley III graduated from the Brown University class of 1963 with a degree in architectural design. He went on for his MBA from the Wharton School of the U of Pennsylvania. He’s been successful in his long career occupying executive positions as CEO for Apple as well as for Pepsi. He is currently a Brown University Trustee Emeriti.

15. Walter Hoving

Walter Hoving was an American born in Sweden who earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1920. He was a distinguished alumni of the school and is still remembered after his death in November of 1989. He became the chairman of Tiffany & Company and served as the leader between 1955 through 1980.

16. Andre Leon Talley

Andre Leon Talley is a notable Brown alum who graduated with his master’s degree in French Literature. He went on to become a journalist for the American fashion industry. He worked as the international editor for Numero, a Russian fashion magazine, and afterwards he served as the editor at large for Vogue magazine, and left this post to work for W in Paris.

17. Brian Moynihan

Brian Moynihan graduated with his bachelor’s degree in history in 1981. He was a prolific member of the Brown rugby team and served as their co-captain. He went on after graduation to have a successful career in business. Brian Moynihan became the CEO of the financial giant Bank of America.

18. Thomas Watson Jr.

Thomas Watson Jr. was a member of the graduating class of 1937 at Brown University. He admitted to spending his time without a lot of seriousness and a bit of indifference with his fascination for flying airplanes, but he took hold and would enjoy a long and successful American business man, he became the leader of the IBM Corporation.

19. Debra L. Lee

Debra L. Lee is another notable alumni of Brown University. Her chosen major at Brown was in political science with a special focus on Asian politics. She successfully completed her course work and graduated with the class of 1976. After she completed her education, Debra went on to become the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of BET which is the company that owns Black Entertainment Television. Ms. Lee has been honored and recognized as the Hollywood Reporters inclusion on their 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment list. She has spent 30 successful years in the business end of BET and has also made significant contributions to the education of students at Brown on the topics of slavery and justice through multiple lectures.

20. Sidney Frank

Sidney Frank attended Brown University for just one year but he is considered to be one of their highly valued alumni. He had to end his academic career at the university because he could no longer afford to pay the tuition. This is something that he would remember throughout his life. He was born in 1919 and passed away in 2006, but he will always be remembered for his business acumen and his philanthropic spirit. Sidney Frank went out into the world and became the founder of the Grey Goose and Jagermeister alcohol distilling companies with a specialization in vodka and liqueur. As founder of these wildly successful businesses, he became a billionaire. He remembered his experiences at Brown and it inspired him to make it possible for others who found themselves in the same circumstances as he had encountered, to attend and complete their studies. Mr. Frank established the Sidney E. Frank Endowed Scholarship Fund which stipulates that the proceeds go towards paying the tuition for needy students. His gift of $100 million established the endowment which will continue to assist students far into the future. In honor of Mr. Frank’s generosity, Brown University named their newly constructed Life Sciences building after him in 2006, the year that he passed away.


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