$10 million gift from Mencoffs endows head of Brown athletics and recreation

The gift from Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff and his wife, Ann. S. Mencoff, will endow the vice president for athletics and recreation — becoming the largest known endowed athletics leadership position in the Ivy League.

A generous $10 million gift from Brown University Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff ’78, P’11, P’15 and Ann S. Mencoff P’11, P’15 has endowed the position of vice president for athletics and recreation at Brown.

The position, currently held by M. Grace Calhoun ’92, will be known as the Chancellor Samuel M. Mencoff ’78 Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. Its endowment ensures a sustainable source of funding to support Brown Athletics leaders as they work to make the experience for the University’s student-athletes as rewarding as possible, both academically and in athletic competition.

“The endowment of this role is critical in our ability to recruit, retain and recognize leaders who are ideally positioned to propel Brown Athletics forward,” President Christina H. Paxson said. “For our varsity athletes and all of the community members who participate in recreational offerings, our athletics program continues to advance in everything from on-the-field success to quality of facilities. This gift from Sam and Ann Mencoff recognizes the momentum that is building and will enable us to do even more. We are deeply grateful.”

The gift, which creates the largest known endowed athletics leadership position in the Ivy League, extends a long track record of support from the Mencoffs. They previously contributed to the refurbishment of Meehan Auditorium, home of men’s and women’s ice hockey at Brown, and the construction of the new Center for Lacrosse and Soccer, two significant facilities priorities for Brown Athletics. They have also supported a wide range of academic priorities, from biomedical research and discovery to endowed professorships.

Ensuring that Brown has an athletics and recreation division that fully reflects the goals and values of the University is a major component of the BrownTogether fundraising campaign extension, Paxson said.

Calhoun, a Class of 1992 alumna who was a varsity track and field athlete at Brown, joined the University as vice president for athletics and recreation in Spring 2021. The elevation of the position to the vice president level, reporting directly to Paxson — and the strong potential for its endowment — were key factors in recruiting Calhoun, who is nationally recognized for her leadership in collegiate athletics.

“Brown has a long-standing tradition of cultivating athletic achievement in tandem with unmatched preparation for life beyond graduation,” Chancellor Mencoff said. “Ann and I are thrilled that the endowed position has enabled us to attract a dynamic leader like Grace, who seeks to raise the distinction of Brown’s athletic programs and engage more community members in the pursuit of physical fitness and overall wellness.”