Founded in 1764, Brown University was the third college in New England and the seventh in America -- and the only one that welcomed students of all religious persuasions. A commitment to diversity and intellectual freedom remains a hallmark of the University today.
Established as Rhode Island College in the town of Warren, Rhode Island, the University moved to its present location on Providence's College Hill in 1770. In 1804, the University was renamed to honor a $5,000 donation from Providence merchant Nicholas Brown.
Over the years the University grew steadily, adding graduate courses in the 1880s, a women's college in 1889 (renamed Pembroke College in 1928), a graduate school in 1927, and a medical education program in 1973 (now the Brown Medical School). The men's and women's undergraduate colleges merged in 1971.
While facilities and programs expanded, Brown chose to keep its enrollment relatively small, with an undergraduate student-faculty ratio of about 10 to 1. The main campus covers nearly 140 acres, all of it within a 10-minute walk of its hub, the College Green. The University is situated on a historic residential hill overlooking downtown Providence, a city of some 170,000 people.