Both Betty and Donald Brown’s parents’ formal education ended with eighth-grade. College, they realized, was not a given. Still, their interest to pursue higher education was supported at home. Their college experiences helped develop their intellect and, even more importantly, it helped develop a curiosity and openness to the world.
Fast forward from those college days more than 70 or so years, Betty Brown is assisting an immigrant with whom she had been paired years before to help learn English. The man’s daughter dreamed of becoming a teacher. Betty, who had watched the man’s daughter grow from a baby to young woman, helped her search for scholarships. She shared the man’s joy for his daughter’s graduation and successful launch into her career.
The experience reinforced Betty’s commitment to making such an opportunity available for a student attending UW-Green Bay, says Betty’s son, John. Betty, herself the daughter of an immigrant, creating the Donald and Betty Brown Endowed Scholarship benefiting UW-Green Bay’s first generation students.
Betty passed away in July 2020 at age 95. She generously included UW-Green Bay in her estate plans, which added to her initial gift to the scholarship.
“She was very committed to the mission of UW-Green Bay,” says John Brown, a faculty member at Clark University and one of five of the Browns’ children. “I think the scholarship recognizes what college can do for first generation college students on the one hand, and the recognition for UW-Green Bay on the other.”
Betty, a journalist who came to UW-Green Bay after a stint as Women’s page editor for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, lead University news and publications services for 20 years. She also was a musician and performed for many years with the Green Bay Symphony and Civic Symphony of Green Bay, and was involved with many other musical groups and productions. Donald passed 20 years before Betty. He was an ordained minister and was longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Green Bay. He was closely involved with UW-Green Bay’s Learning in Retirement program.
Soon after Betty’s retirement, she completed a memoir “UW-Green Bay: From the Beginning,” which documented the history of UW-Green Bay, from 1969 through 1990, and later wrote a similar history for the Union Congregational United Church of Christ and Green Bay Packaging.
“With (this) help, I am one step closer to achieving my dreams and changing the world. Ms. Brown’s work is inspiring to me, and I hope that someday I am able to give back the way she has. I am extremely grateful for this scholarship and the help that it has given me on my educational journey.”
Bricken Brown, ’24, Donald and Betty Brown Endowed Scholarship recipient
Betty was always interested in the world around her, says John. She had a natural curiosity, was a good listener and enjoyed learning, connecting with and getting others’ perspectives.
“Being in higher education, I’m quite aware of challenges people face today,” says John. “The scholarship offers at least one person an opportunity and some help, and hopefully to feel little more adventurous in their college experience.”
UW-GREEN BAY: FROM THE BEGINNING
Betty Brown researched and wrote a history of the first 25 years of UW-Green Bay using original documents, community members’ oral histories as well as personal observations gained as a member of the campus community.
DONALD AND BETTY BROWN ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP
- Established by Betty Brown in 2014, with additional funding from Brown’s estate in 2020.
- Awarded to a first-generation college student, who is a freshman majoring in a field of study within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; student may receive multiple years in a row (renewable).
THE NIAGARA SOCIETY
The UW-Green Bay Foundation honors people who have made a planned gift by enrolling them in the Niagara Society. The Niagara Society is composed of individuals who have informed the Foundation they have included a provision in their financial plans to benefit the University through their estates.
Members of the Niagara Society receive invitations to special events and University updates from the chancellor and Niagara Society chairs.
Let us know your intentions: If you have named UW-Green Bay in your estate plan, please let us know so that we can ensure your gift is used according to your wishes. If you prefer your gift to be anonymous, we will honor your request for confidentiality.
Story contributed by Joy Wick, Executive Director of Advancement