If these bricks could talk

A cherished cornerstone of the Maddock Alumni Center, the Alumni Brick Walkway provides a unique way for the Brown community to honor alumni and commemorate special events.

Walking up to the Maddock Alumni Center, you look down and notice the beautiful brick walkway beneath your feet, but—wait a second—are those names? Who are they? Why are they here...And how can I get one?

Since 1997, alumni, parents, and friends of Brown have been inscribing their names, or the names of their loved ones, on College Hill just outside the historic Maddock Alumni Center, a home-away-from-home for Brown alumni. 

Keeping it local

The bricks themselves are purchased from a local supplier (Spaulding Brick Company., Inc.) and engraved by Warren Monument based out of Warren, RI using a modern computer-assisted engraving system.

A peek behind the curtain

 

Wondering how the bricks are inscribed? See how it’s done in this revealing play-by-play video.

Through the years, more than 9,000 people have celebrated their lifelong Brown connection and become part of Brown’s enduring legacy by purchasing a (tax-deductible) inscribed brick. And of course there’s a story behind each and every one.

In good company

bear statueSome of the histories attached to the bricks are downright heart-warming. “Like the story of the treasurer of the ‘Great Class of ’49’,” says Maren Nelson P’15, coordinator of the Maddock Alumni Center. “Robert Kotlen ’49 served as treasurer for his class for more than 30 years and was very involved in the commission and installation of the bear statue in the alumni walkway. When he passed away in 2015, many of his classmates contributed to buy him a brick in honor of all his hard work. It was installed right in front of his beloved bear. His classmates, along with Bob's widow, Betty, came for an ‘unveiling’ of the brick once installed. It was incredibly touching.”

Why all the interest in these bricks? According to Nelson and other Alumni Relations staff, the bricks provide a tangible marker of their time on campus. They can commemorate an important event—like Reunion or a wedding—and they make a great gift for graduating students. “They’ll have something to come back to visit,” says Nelson. “Over time, people get nostalgic. Because they loved their Brown experience, they want to leave a piece of themselves at Brown. Many alums come back years later to show their brick to their families.”

A gift for all seasons.

 

A few weeks before Reunion, Bricklayers arrive in the gardens of the Maddock Alumni Center with newly inscribed additions to the Alumni Brick Walkway.

Across the generations

Some could argue the alumni walkway serves as Brown’s permanent multi-generational yearbook—and like any good yearbook, there’s room for superlatives. Check out three favorites:

Earliest class

The earliest class represented in the walkway is 1825. The brick commemorates Reverend Barnas Sears, Class of 1825, who served as Brown University's fifth president. According to Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana: “The students so loved Sears, that when he left Brown and Providence on September 19, 1867, they formed a procession in order of classes which marched down the hill by his house, and then at the wharf, filed by, each student shaking his president’s hand."

Most interesting brick?

Perhaps the most historic brick honors Inman Page (Class of 1877, A.M 1880), one of the first two African Americans to graduate from Brown. Elected senior orator by his classmates, Page dedicated his life to education, serving as president of four schools: the Lincoln Institute, Langston University, Western University, and Roger Williams University (Tennessee).

Most classmates

In celebration of their 50th Reunion, 14 classmates—all of whom had played football and/or been in the Lambda Chi fraternity—in the class of 1965 purchased bricks, which were then installed all together. The group includes former Rhode Island governor Donald Carcieri.


Add your name, or that of a loved one

  1. Orders are accepted throughout the year.
  2. We are restricted to one name per brick and a maximum of 18 characters per line. (Long names may appear on two lines). The final line contains the class year(s). Sorry, no nicknames allowed!
  3. Any student can be approved for a brick as long as they matriculated. Parents or grandparents of a student may also buy a brick.
  4. Bricks for Brown alums who are related to one another can be placed together upon request, so long as it doesn’t mean moving others.  
  5. All bricks are mapped on a grid, kept in a binder at the Maddock Alumni Center. To see your brick in person after it’s installed, simply stop by Maddock and ask for help finding it. Or better yet, call +1 (401) 863-3307 or email [email protected] ahead of time and Alumni Relations staff will give you the location and a map.

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