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Provost Locke to leave Brown for Apple University

Locke will step down in December after seven years in his role

<p>Provost Richard Locke P&#x27;18 began in his role in 2015 after coming to Brown from MIT in 2013.</p><p></p><p>Courtesy of Brown University</p>

Provost Richard Locke P'18 began in his role in 2015 after coming to Brown from MIT in 2013.

Courtesy of Brown University

Richard Locke P’18 will step down as provost after over seven years in the position to become the new vice president and dean of Apple University, according to a campus-wide email from President Christina Paxson P’19 on Thursday. Locke will remain at the University until the end of the 2022 calendar year.

Locke succeeded Vicki Colvin, director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering, as provost in 2015, becoming the 13th person to occupy the role. In his tenure, Locke has helped launch the Operational Plans for Building on Distinction, the University’s 10-year plan, and aided in developing the BrownTogether fundraising campaign and Brown’s diversity and inclusion action plan.

Locke also helped launch and strengthen several programs across the University, including the Brown Arts Institute, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiatives and, most recently, the Center for Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Paxson noted that she will “write in coming weeks about steps for identifying his successor.”


“Serving as provost of Brown has been an extraordinary experience,” Locke said in a University press release. “It has been a distinct privilege to work with an amazing group of senior academic leaders, faculty, staff, students and alumni who are guided by core values and strive for excellence every day.”

According to the news release, Locke hopes to apply his scholarship, experience and passion to his new role with Apple University, a program launched by tech company Apple in 2008 to educate employees on the company’s business culture and history.

“There is no company in the world that has been more impactful at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts than Apple,” Locke said in the release. “To be able to bring my years of experience, passion and curiosity to support the development of the incredibly talented people at Apple is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“Rick is a true innovator,” Paxson wrote in the email. “Even as I am saddened that Brown will lose such an extraordinary academic leader, I recognize that his new role is one that Rick is both extremely enthusiastic about and supremely well-suited to take on.”

Locke first came to the University in 2013 to serve as director of the Watson Institute. In this role, Locke elevated the institute’s profile as a “hub for exceptional scholarship” through strategic growth in programming, faculty and postdoctoral fellows, Paxson wrote. 

“He accomplished in two years at Watson what would generally require at least twice that time — a tireless commitment to progress that he carried into his role as provost,” she added.

Paxson also noted Locke’s work as chief budget officer of the University. He helped develop a “stable, sustainable budget model” and ensured capital spending went toward the University’s mission, she wrote.

“Through his capable leadership and exceptional work ethic,” Paxson wrote, “Rick has helped shape and shepherded critical initiatives that have enhanced academic excellence and rigor, strengthened fiscal sustainability and supported a more vibrant and cohesive community.”

Paxson emphasized Locke’s “profound respect” for the Brown community and personal commitment to advancing the diversity, equity and inclusion goals of the University. In his time at Brown, Locke helped the University achieve its goal of doubling the percentage of faculty from historically underrepresented groups, actively worked to diversify the undergraduate and graduate student populations and led the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and undocumented student initiative. 

The provost’s office also led initiatives to bring displaced students and scholars from countries including Afghanistan and Syria to Brown.


“During the last two-plus years … Rick has been steady, strong and resilient, committed to supporting and sustaining the people who make up this community.” Paxson wrote. “A dedication to realizing our goals through collaboration will be a lasting part of (his) legacy at Brown.”

“I’m very proud of all that we’ve accomplished,” Locke said in the news release, “and grateful for the chance to work with President Chris Paxson to advance the education and research mission of Brown.”

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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Alex Nadirashvili

Alex Nadirashvili is the managing editor of multimedia and social media for The Brown Daily Herald's 133rd Editorial Board. As a former University News editor, he covered faculty, higher education and student life, though his proudest legacy is The Brown Daily Herald TikTok account.

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