How to contribute to Richard’s scholarship fund

Thank you for your interest in contributing to Richard’s scholarship fund for minority students of biology. He set it many years ago as a lasting legacy of his generosity and kindness. Every year, he would receive stewardship letters from the students who benefited from the fund and would be happy to learn about their motivations and goals.
You can make gifts to Richard’s scholarship fund by sending checks to:
Gift Accounting
Brown University Division of Advancement
Box 1893
110 Elm Street
Make sure you send along a note indicating that the gift is to be allocated to the “Professor Richard A. Ellis & Robert L. Burch, M.D. Endowed Scholarship Fund”.
Thank you for your generosity.
Pavel Farkas

Celebrating Richard’s life on August the 14th, 2016

On Sunday, August 14, 2016, family and friends are invited to celebrate Rick’s life and share their remembrances at The Cape Cinema, Rte. 6A Dennis, Mass., at 11 AM.  A buffet lunch will be served.  Guests may stay for a screening of The Wizard of Oz, a childhood favorite of Richard’s.

For more info please contact Paul at or 508-487-7817

Richard Ellis dies at 87

Dear Faculty and Staff,

With sadness I write to tell you that Professor of Biology Emeritus Richard A. Ellis, PhD., died in Prague, on December 31, 2015.

Professor Ellis graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1949, and received his PhD. from Harvard University in 1954. Following two years of service in the Army, working at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, he joined the Brown University faculty as an instructor in biology. He was appointed to assistant professor in 1958, to associate professor in 1962, and to professor in 1967.

Professor Ellis is remembered as an inspiring teacher of numerous courses, including introductory biology, histology, cell biology, and microscopic techniques. His publications spanned a variety of biological systems including epithelium, sweat glands, and salt glands, and he inspired many of his students to continue into scientific and medical careers.

His interests in biology extended beyond the classroom and laboratory: he was an enthusiastic gardener and a keen ornithologist―an interest that led to biographical research on the life of Audubon and a seminar on the life of birds.

Professor Ellis served Brown in a number of ways during his 39 years here: he was an adviser and mentor to many students, director of the Biomed Electron Microscopy Facility, a member of the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, and a Faculty Fellow, where he organized cultural and social events for students living in dormitories. It was at his open houses that he met students who were holding two or three jobs to help cover their college expenses and was inspired to endow a scholarship for undergraduate students. He wrote about the joy he felt when he received a letter from the first recipient of the scholarship describing her goals for her Brown education.

In his retirement Professor Ellis returned to Cape Cod, where he had grown up. He enjoyed painting and was a member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. He also lived in Prague, Czech Republic, with his husband, Pavel Farkas, whom he married last year.

Gifts in memory of Professor Ellis can be made to the Richard Ellis and Robert Burch Scholarship. Gifts can be made online, or checks made payable to Brown University can be sent to Brown University, Gift Cashier, Box 1877, Providence, RI 02912.

Dr. Farkas will be updating Professor Ellis’s website to make it possible for colleagues and students to leave comments and remembrances of him. A memorial service is being planned for this summer on Cape Cod.

On behalf of the Division of Biology and Medicine, I extend heartfelt condolences to Dr. Farkas and to Professor Ellis’s many colleagues and friends.


Jack A. Elias, MD
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences
Frank L. Day Professor of Biology