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A Drumroll for Roger

President Roger H. Brown

Roger H. Brown

By Larry Simpson, Provost

After 17 years as Berklee’s President, Roger Brown is stepping down at the end of this month, which means his final day is fast upon us. I have worked alongside Roger for 16 of these years and can truly say that through Roger’s leadership, Berklee is a more dynamic place where students thrive, where new ideas come to life, and where there is a shared commitment to the value of the arts. His many achievements are summarized here. Please take a moment to share your personal thoughts, reflections, and congratulations with Roger in the comments below.

To kick things off, here’s Quincy Jones ’51 ’83H, one of Berklee’s earliest and most decorated alumni, with some thoughts on Roger’s legacy:

“As a proud Berklee alum—from back in the day when it was Lawrence and Lee Berk’s the Schillinger House!—it makes my soul smile to see how far this incredible institution has come under Roger Brown’s care and guidance. From increasing scholarship support, to creating international programs, to making music more accessible to ALL types of students, he is an absolute one of a kind with a REAL heart for music education. It has been an incredible honor to know Roger throughout his time as president of Berklee, and I can attest to the fact that he has helped to cultivate a community of TRUE musicians, because he himself is a true musician and an all-around great human being. I know he will be greatly missed in the Berklee community, but I know that the impact he has made will carry on far and wide throughout the rest of our time on this planet! Big-time love and props to you my brotha from anotha motha who has always been there, ready to care and willing to share; thank you for your dedication and filling this world with a bit more love and music. God bless you.” —Quincy Jones

Lawrence J. Simpson, Ph.D., Provost 
Berklee College of Music 

Roger Brown playing the drums

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35 Comments

  1. Stuart Scantlebury

    Roger,

    It was a pleasure to work with you on the President’s Advisory Council for nine years. Some of my fondest memories include the PAC meeting in Valencia, seeing James Taylor rehearse his band for a European tour, working with students as their home away from home, and playing with you and Charlie Puth at one of the dinners.

    You really changed Berklee in your 17 years. Amazing what great leadership can do!

  2. Michael Brown

    Congratulations on a phenomenal track record of success for Berklee. You are truly one of the most inspiring leaders I have ever worked with and it’s been an absolute privilege to serve on the Berklee Board under your leadership. I’ve learned a lot by watching you in action and am amazed at what you’ve accomplished in your tenure. I hope we can stay in touch as you head to your next adventure.
    All my best,
    Michael Brown

  3. David Robinson

    Best Wishes

  4. José M Vidal

    Please accept our congratulations and deep acknowledgment for all the unvaluable help that you provided to Lucas.
    You are always most welcome at home in Madrid
    Un fuerte abrazo de toda la familia Vidal

  5. Luke McBride

    Roger,

    It was such a pleasure to work for you in the Office of the President when I was a student at Berklee. I admire how dedicated you were and continue to be in nurturing and leading Berklee staff and students and building the college into what it is today. Your sense of humor and love of music is an inspiration. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors.

    Sincerely,

    Luke McBride ‘07

  6. Lee Berk

    Berklee dates its founding from 1945 when Lawrence Berk began his teaching in a small private studio in the old Loew’s Theater building on Massachusetts Avenue. And so, Roger assumed the presidency of Berklee 59 years after two generations of Berks – including Lawrence’s wife Alma and Lee’s wife Susan – devoted much of their lives toward creating and shaping the Berklee that Roger began to lead in 2004.

    As the founding family of the college, we want to say how much we respect Roger’s achievements as Berklee’s third president. Roger transitioned Berklee’s 20th Century pioneering culture into the 21st Century with major achievements in so many areas of the college that it is hard to know even where to begin to create a listing of his many initiatives. Among those with which we are most familiar are the initiation of new educational opportunities that include the Boston Conservatory of Music merger; the establishment of new Berklee sites in Valencia, New York, and Abu Dubai; the growth of Berklee Online; and the establishment of faculty-led Berklee Institutes representing a new model of educational expression.

    Clearly Berklee’s recognition in the music profession and far beyond has grown substantially during Roger’s presidency, and we wish he and wife Linda Mason all the best as they continue their life’s journey. Thank you, Roger, and congratulations on a job well done!

    Lee and Susan Berk

  7. Maddie Perett

    When I was working on the 6th floor of 1140, you always offered a smile and hello when we passed each other in the hall. Sometimes it’s the little things in life!

  8. Dolores Johnson

    Dear Roger,
    Your remarkable vision, leadership and spirit have transformed Berklee into an incomparable jewel of contemporary music and theater. It was my honor to serve on the Trustee Board with you, and to witness your many gifts, used so generously.

  9. Sandy Tierney

    Roger –
    Your leadership of Berklee has been transformative for the College’s reputation, pedagogy, operations, and financial condition. It has been a pleasure to be associated with Berklee all these years and we wish you and Linda all the best as you start the next chapter of your life.
    Julie Gray, Sandy Tierney and your friends at McCall & Almy

  10. Lacretia Johnson Flash

    Roger,
    Working closely with you has been one of the greatest honors in my career and getting to know you as a person has been a gift to my spirit and soul in this journey called life. Through moments of great joy and challenge, you have been a wise teacher, mentor, colleague, shepherd, and friend. Your many gifts and how you’ve expressed your humanity through your words and deeds have left an enduring imprint on the Berklee community and on my life. I will forever treasure the time that our paths have intersected.

    Thank you Roger and may you continue on your path in new and beautiful ways.

    -Lacretia

  11. DESMOND L. & SILVIA D. SCAIFE

    ROGER,

    CONGRATULATIONS ON AN “OUTSTANDING WORK”…WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET AND SHARE OUR FAMILY WITH YOU, BOSTON, & THE BERKLEE COMMUNITY! THE TIME, OPPORTUNITY, MUSICAL WORLD, AND RELATIONSHIPS ARE PRICELESS….MAY YOUR CONTINUED LIFE BE JOYFUL AND BLESSED…

    A GREAT JOY AND APPRECIATION,
    DESMOND L. & SILVIA D. SCAIFE
    AUBURN, ALABAMA

  12. I was accepted into Berklee when I was 16, and when I graduated high school I didn’t have the funds to attend Berklee. My family visited the college to try to put things in motion for me to attend and after a stressful time, we were about to drive 1,000 miles back home. President Roger Brown reached out and asked to meet with my family. He took the time out of his day to encourage us, be kind and help give me motivation to keep going. A couple years later I was able to finally start at Berklee, and when the Thrive Scholarship was announced and I received it in my Junior year, I was able to finish what I had started, I graduated Summa Cum Laude, the highest academic honor! I’m grateful for President Brown and his commitment to student success, like founding the Global Connections Mentor Program. I also appreciate his prioritizing of student financial success in the form of the Thrive Scholarship. Thank you for your work, passion and commitment, thank you for your help in my journey. Your unique leadership separates you from the rest and I’m honored to have graduated from Berklee and attended during your term. We’re wishing you the best in your future President Brown!

  13. Janet Kouroubacalis

    Roger, Watching your accomplishments over the four years that Michael was a student (’16-’20) had my head spinning! You did life changing things. Berklee was very fortunate to have you at the helm and you have more than left your mark. Your work at Berklee will impact the school for many many years to come! Glad to make your acquaintance and we wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors! Warmest regards, The Kouroubacalis Family

  14. Catalina Millán-Scheiding

    Dear Roger,

    your sincerity, opennes and humour are the seasonings to the fearless leadership you display. It has been a pleasure working at Berklee under your helm.

    Best of luck in your new projects and maybe see you soon in your café! 😉

  15. Jack Shenker

    Dear Roger,

    Thank you for being a visionary leader during your transformative tenure. I fondly remember your generosity and appreciate getting to know you during my time at Berklee. Your work and legacy will surely have a lasting impact on the college going forward, and I wish you all the best on your next adventure!

    Best,

    Jack

  16. Nando Michelin

    Seems like yesterday you welcomed me as new Faculty. Ever since then, I witnessed first hand Berklee’s amazing growth under your leadership. I value the way you approach everyone with warmth and sincere interest, always remembering their name and background. We’ll certainly miss you.
    Hope to see you around Belmont sometime.
    Thanks for all you gave us!

  17. Tony Marzulli

    Roger, as a new member to the Berklee Presidential Advisory Board, it was an honor to get to know you, witness your leadership at various functions and communications and learn of the wonderful legacy that you left for such a world-class institution. I wish you the best in your next chapter in life – and my only regret is not sitting opposite you with a pair of sticks. Warm regards, Tony

  18. Joanne Brackeen

    You were wonderful, inspiring, intelligent, humorous, down to earth but in the stars at the same time and what a history you have left us! Plus that big beautiful building you had built for a new beginning for Berklee to continues it growth and please tell me how can you remember so many peoples names? Thanks so much for being with us and congratulations not only for all you did here at Berklee but all you are certainly ready to do in the future! All the best to you Roger H Brown!!!

  19. Libby Allison

    Thank you, Roger, for your leadership and joy in music! I am grateful for your progressive ideas, your willingness to listen and hear differing opinions and points of view. I have been so impressed and appreciative of your personal acknowledgement and encouraging words to me and to so many faculty, staff and students who are not the stars but provide the background for the stars to shine.

  20. Ed Saindon

    Dear Roger, I remember seeing you on Boylston Street while we were both heading to the college. It was right at about the time you had just started the new position. We had a nice conversation as we were walking. Just from that conversation, I knew then that Berklee had made a great choice in selecting you as the President. You had a vision but beyond that you are a great and caring person. You have done so much great work for the school and for sure have a lasting legacy. You are leaving so many well established benefits for the college. Bravo! I wish you all the best in your next endeavor.

  21. Geneviève Leclair

    Dear Roger,

    My heartfelt gratitude for everything you have given to this institution and its people over the span of your tenure. May what’s ahead bring you joy and fulfillment. Fair winds and following seas!

  22. Nancy Marshall

    I wish you and Linda all the best! It’s truly been a pleasure working with you.

  23. Victoria Ngeleh

    Dear Roger,

    Knowing you this short while as been amazing, thank you for your hard work and care towards we the students, I must say that I will miss you.

    I wish you the very best in your further endeavors.

    Best,
    Victoria.

  24. Jim Lucchese

    Roger,
    It’s been a true pleasure and a continual learning experience watching you lead Berklee. You’ve brought so much to Berklee and to all of us who’ve been lucky to know you — an exciting and clear vision of Berklee’s future, an ability to bring together a diverse and wildly talented group of people around a common goal, empathy, pragmatism and continual focus on the student musician’s perspective. Enjoy some time at the beach!

  25. J. Curtis Warner Jr.

    Roger,
    Big time congrats! Thanks for all the mentoring, example and at times tough love. You are departing with both Berklee and me in a place of growth. Much love and respect.
    Curtis

  26. Paul F Deninger

    Roger,
    Your joy in the job was palpable.
    Your inspiration to all you worked with has been immeasurable.
    Your contribution to the college is incalculable.
    Your self-unemployed status is well-deserved.
    Thanks for allowing all of us into “Roger’s World” for a time.
    With love and respect,
    Paul D

  27. Eileen Alviti

    Farewell Roger! Cheers to an amazing leader and an even more wonderful person. Berklee has been transformed by your leadership, compassion and guidance for the last 17 years. We wish you and your family all the best as you leave Berklee. Thank you for everything you have done for our Berklee community.

    Take good care, and keep in touch!
    Eileen Alviti

  28. Roger, thank you for your leadership over the years, from the enjoyable April “special announcements” to your commitment to making Berklee even more the world class conservatory. I’m proud to have been in the Class of 2021. Godspeed, sir.

  29. Pierre hurel

    Thank you so much for everything Roger! This tribute this evening was so moving, you have touched so many lives, thank you!! We will really miss you.

  30. Ann Marie Wilkins

    What a difference a Roger makes!! I have watched in awe as you led this institution to heights no one could have imagined…except you. Bravo my friend. You have profoundly impacted the lives of thousands of young people who will continue to give the gift of music to the world.

  31. Kenn Brass

    Dear Roger,

    I thank you for 17 years of outstanding leadership at an institution that is difficult at best. Yet, your easy mannerism and open spirit have affected us all – in a positive way – as detailed by your numerous outstanding accomplishments during your tenure. Somehow I know that referring to anything specific would perhaps extend well beyond what may be allowed in this communique. However, as I and many other know, the attention you paid to every individual you’ve met at Berklee has proven to transcend time meters, while maintaining a strong backbeat in this genre of education called Berklee. I wish you well, and I certainly look forward to witnessing your next life challenge, after a well-deserved break with your wonderful family.

    Be well!

  32. Paulo Danay

    Roger

    Thank you so much for everything.
    You are the Best.
    All the Best.
    Paulo Danay

    ,

  33. Neil Olmstead

    Dear Roger,

    Congratulations on your retirement from Berklee! Through your leadership the College has vastly improved in a multitude of ways. But I particularly want to thank you for leading the drive to improve the Office of Admissions.

    I recall flying back from IAJE shortly after your were installed as President and you were curious about my thoughts on how the college could be improved. We discussed the importance of a strong Office of Admissions. I relayed a story of how my son Evan (now 40) applied to colleges, mostly liberal arts, and also Berklee. All schools asked for supportive materials (a tape recording) of his sax playing except Berklee and Evan asked me why? I told him it was difficult for me to understand. Your willingness to listen was appreciated.

    The initiatives you subsequently took to improve the admissions program have had an enormously positive effect on the teaching and learning here at Berklee, as I’m sure you know. The students I teach now are much more prepared and ready for the hard work necessary to becoming the musicians they’ve dreamt of being. I’m sure this was a delicate balancing act but please know I, and many faculty greatly appreciate the effort you and your academic team made in this area.

    I wish you all the best in your next steps!

    Sincerely,
    Neil Olmstead
    Professor of Piano

  34. Susan

    Dear Roger: Your impact on the college has been truly game-changing. It is rare to have a leader whose personal and professional character are equally high. You earned trust and respect among us all, as well as a deep affection. Best of luck in all of your endeavors! And a very big “Thank You!”

    Susan Rogers

  35. Sheila Dilley

    Roger,

    Congratulations in all that you’ve accomplished during your time at Berklee. You impacted countless students, faculty and staff lives in an incredible way; you are leaving big shoes to fill. Thank you for all that you’ve done and I look forward to seeing all the ways you impact the world moving forward.

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