I am thrilled to take up the honor of leading the BAM, which I’ve long admired. My grandmother, Venetia Mott Rountree ’27, used to read it voraciously, storing details of classmates’ lives in her terabyte-sized memory. It was a 2006 tribute to her 100th birthday that brought the magazine into focus for me. I remember thinking that simple, one-page profile was beautiful and true.
Venetia would get such a kick out of knowing I’m sitting down to write this, and we’d likely discuss the gravity of the fact that just six people precede me as editor—six, in 118 years. Henry R. Palmer 1890, Chet Worthington ’23, Bob Reichley, Dusty Rhodes, Anne Diffily ’73, and Norman Boucher were all stewards of a tradition of excellence, charged with connecting alumni with each other and with Brown. I’m committed to continuing that mission, bringing you, our readers—who are also our greatest resource, our helpmates and friends—stories that are surprising and consequential, that introduce and reconnect you, and that articulate your constructive irreverence and your impetus in the world.
This issue’s story on brain science illustrates the life-changing potential of basic research—and how critical it is to foster unpressured collaborations between scholars of different stripes, allowing them to make surprising discoveries that could lead to cures for some of our most confounding disorders. And our look at Cecile Richards ’80 shows the impact our alumni have on national public discourse at a polarized and partisan moment. In the scope of these and other stories lies, for me, an implicit wonder: Just think what it means that our institution, the thing that binds us, is Brown. As members of our community explore planetary and human behavior, current affairs and the arts, the BAM will bring it all to you, not sparing you the complexities but boiling it down to the essence of what intellectual inquiry ultimately is: storytelling about our lives and our universe.
This month, that storytelling will move back online. Our new website will occupy the familiar address, at brownalumnimagazine.com, and reflects our commitment to bringing you a mobile-responsive experience, full of rich visual treatments, that covers our community both on campus and on the global stage. Like the print issue, it will evolve with your feedback.
The website is where you’ll find all of this issue’s letters, which were too numerous to run in full in print. Reading them makes it clear that we’re a community of diverse voices—and that the BAM offers a critical forum for sharing those voices. Please, never stop telling us, and each other, what you think. The magazine, like you, must assess Brown with affection but also with independence—and must also assess itself, making sure it’s not confined to any monolith of opinion, political or otherwise. With each new issue, all of us here at the BAM will continue to feel our way toward stories that reflect our community’s breadth and depth. Know that we’re united with you in our curiosity, and in our search for what’s consequential, what’s surprising, what’s beautiful and true. Whether you read in print or pixels, we look forward to sharing it all with you.