What It Means to Give
Building a Legacy for Brown
When I retired from teaching at Brown, I was looking for new things to do. I remained active with students as a Faculty Fellow, holding weekly Tuesday night open houses for undergraduate students. I learned a lot from them about student life. Many worked two or three jobs and hardly managed to cover their expenses. They came to my open houses not only for interaction with me but also for the fabulous food that I served them. My homemade brownies were infamous.» Professor Richard A. Ellis ADE ’62
After retirement I was looking for some little way to help at least one student financially, and a scholarship seemed like the perfect way to reach that goal. President Simmons had announced her plan for need-blind admission, and I thought that perhaps just one more scholarship might help her achieve one of her goals.
I contacted the Development Office and they really made things very easy for me. I didn't need to deposit the full scholarship endowment all at once. I was informed that I could accumulate the funds over five years. So I put that plan into my budget for the next five years. I sent my first installment into Brown and the scholarship was established. Over each of the next four years I made additional contributions and when the scholarship was awarded to the first student I felt real pride in my own accomplishment and success in achieving my goal.
The next school year, I received a letter from the first student recipient of my scholarship fund. She told me about herself and what her dreams were for her education at Brown. I was totally amazed. I had never considered that I would have such a personal interaction with the student who actually benefited from my scholarship. I knew that President Simmons had inspired me and now I was reaping a wonderful reward for my actions that would continue year after year.
Professor Richard Ellis ADE '62 was a popular member of Brown's Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, in the Division of Biology and Medicine for decades. He was a fixture in Partridge Hall, mentoring both undergraduates and graduate students. He was also a venerable teacher of cell biology, histology and electron microscopy.