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Albert W. Brown 1921-2017

by Justin Sullivan - THE STYLUS

A Brockport Legacy

Tue, Apr 25th 2017 09:00 pm
Photo courtesy of The College at Brockport on Pinterest
Photo courtesy of The College at Brockport on Pinterest
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On Monday, April 17, The College at Brockport lost a key figure in the college's development. 

Former President, Albert W. Brown, Ph.D. passed away Monday night in Gerry, New York. He was 95-years-old. 

Brown was named the college's third president back in 1965, when the college enrollment was less than 3,000 students. Under Brown, the college evolved from a teacher's college to a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate institution.

While to many current students and staff at Brockport Brown was known for the "Albert W. Brown Building" dedicated to him back in 2006, Brown's contributions resulted in the creation of over 40 departments and many interdisciplinary programs. 

Among these programs were the highly successful transfer opportunities 

for two-year college graduates, the Alternate College (now Delta College), Brockport Student Government (BSG), the Brockport Foundation, the Mature Adult Program, the Peace Corps College Degree Program, the 3-1-3 High School-College Matriculated Program, the Washington Semester Program and the Philosophical Year Program. 

From 1967 through 1973, Brown oversaw the hiring of hundreds of faculty from around the world, including 140 in the bell-weather year of 1970.

According to a statement released from the college, "these faculty members brought entirely new disciplines, fresh perspectives, innovative approaches and curricular enrichment to an energized faculty and staff already in place . . . by design, the student makeup became far more diverse in background, ethnicity and age than ever before in Brockport's history."

Brown's obituary, published in The Post Journal houses many memories of Brown as well as messages of gratitude. 

"As a student athlete at Brockport during Dr. Brown's tenure I know that we all had the upmost respect for his guidance and devotion to the college," alumnus John Owens wrote. 

Brown was a Marine Corp veteran, serving in 1942 where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant. He saw action in three campaigns in the Pacific Theatre. 

After his discharge, Brown entered Syracuse University as an undergraduate in January 1946. Brown would eventually graduate Magna Cum Laude and go on to earn his Ph.D. in Social Science from Syracuse University in 1952.

Prior to his tenure at Brockport, Brown joined the faculty at Eastern Illinois University and then Eastern Michigan University, where he was chair of the Department of Geography and Geology. 

"As an institution, we owe so much of what we are today to Dr. Brown and his visionary leadership," President Heidi Macpherson, Ph.D. said in a statement. "I was honored to meet Dr. Brown last year. He had a brilliant and engaging mind, a quick wit and an unprecedented dedication to public higher education." 

In addition to Macpherson, who has served as president since 2015, Brown was succeeded by John E. Van de Wetering (1981-1997), Paul Yu (1997-2004), John B. Clark (2004-2005) and John R. Halstead (2005- 2015). 

"Brockport and SUNY will miss this man who forever changed the face of our college and community," Macpherson said. 

Outside the college campus, Brown served on the PBS board for Channel 21, belonged to The Philosophers in Rochester and served on the Advisory Board for Lincoln First Bank in Brockport. 

"I enjoyed working for him at Brockport during those great years of growth. He was an innovative and remarkable leader. My prayers of comfort go out to his children and extended family," Brown's former secretary, Adair Smith Korn wrote in remembrance of Brown. 

While 1981 marked the end of "the Brown era" or what is known by many as the "Brown Revolution," Brown stayed active in the Southern Tier area. 

Brown served as vice president of Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, president of the Jamestown Rotary club and as a board member of the Chautauqua Blind Association. 

Brown was preceded by his wife, Marjorie and is survived by four children; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service is planned for June 30, 2017, at 10 a.m., at St Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown, N.Y.



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