Welcome to Brown Commons, where students draw on a tradition of learning and service as exemplified by our namesakes, former religion and philosophy professor and campus chaplain Coleman Brown, and his wife, community advocate Irene Brown.

Explore our Community

Students from all commons are welcome to join Brown Commons events and follow on social media:

Brown Commons on Facebook

Brown Commons on Instagram

About Brown Commons

Shield with violets and compass roses
Click the Brown Commons crest to learn more about its history

Mascot: River Otter

Residential Spaces

Living and Learning

Brown Commons hosts a variety of programs designed to help members build community, enrich education, and have fun.

Commons Cup

Each year, the four commons compete for the glory of winning the Commons Cup. Each commons accumulates points by having commons members participate in events within five categories: Intellectual Curiosity, Arts & Culture, Environment & Sustainability, Recreation & Wellness, and Community Engagement.

Learn more about the Commons Cup

First Year Seminars (FSEM)

As part of the project of integrating students' living and learning experiences, each year, the Commons plays host to a number of FSEM classes in its residential buildings. 

Creating Connections

The following faculty and staff direct the commons and support its living and learning goals. Feel free to contact them with any questions.


Director of University Grants and Sponsored Research


Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
224 Ho Science Center
  • M 12:30pm - 1:30pm (336 Ho Science Center)
  • TR 10:00am - 11:30am (336 Ho Science Center)

Area Director, Residential Life

Area Director of Residential Life

Administrative Dean

Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising
Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising
116 McGregory Hall

Residential Fellow

Residential Fellow

Commons Program Director

Director of the Residential Commons Program

About the Namesakes

Coleman Barr Brown
Irene Brown in academic regalia

Brown Commons is named after Coleman Brown, who joined the Colgate faculty in 1970 as a philosophy and religion instructor, and his wife, Irene Brown, a tireless community advocate awarded an honorary doctorate in 2011.  

Read more
about the Browns