Please remember in your prayers Professor Emeritus Bob Brown, who died Nov. 14. Brown taught Educational Leadership at St. Thomas, building programs, developing classes and working as the director of graduate programs in the School of Administration for over 50 years. He laid the groundwork for and helped to build the School of Education.

“Bob was an outstanding educator. He personified commitment to the common good. He cared about the community, particularly the underrepresented. His summer youth sports program brought African American youngsters from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods to St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus for coaching in their preferred sport in the mornings by St. Thomas coaches and athletes and then tutoring in math and other key subjects in the afternoons. The students came for the sports, stayed for the classes, and left with a positive experience of life on a college campus,” President Emeritus Father Dennis Dease said.

Brown was preceded in death by his parents, Lindsay and Bertha Brown; brothers, Dick, Nord and Barny; and sister, Marcinne. Survivors include his wife, Jackie; sister, Elizabeth Norlin; children, Tony Brown, Dan Brown, Linda Richie, Mikey Brown, Andy Brown, Tina Frey, and Tammy Frey; seven grandchildren; and the mother of his children, Janet Brown.

‘Always ahead of his time’

In the 2005 letter conferring professor emeritus status upon Brown, Dease wrote, “When you joined our faculty in 1964, there was neither a department of leadership nor a school of education, but only a small licensure program for principals and superintendents. The highest degree St. Thomas offered was a Master of Arts. To quote your colleagues: ‘Dr. Brown was instrumental in getting the Educational Specialist’s degree instituted in 1966. Always ahead of his time, he organized seminars for urban educators, programs for encouraging women to take leadership positions, national televised training for principals, and national workshops on grantsmanship.'”

In addition to his teaching at St. Thomas, Brown served 10 years in the Minnesota State Senate. He also was the state chairman, and later national committeeman, for the Minnesota Republican Party.

From 1981-86, he served as special assistant and expert for the Secretary of Education. He was an education liaison to the White House on several task forces on private sector initiatives; represented Education on the Interagency Task Force on Voluntarism; initiated federal financial participation in national ad campaigns on adult literacy and cooperative education; and conducted national conferences on women in educational leadership and on business education partnerships for community colleges. He worked with members of Congress in creating and operating education policy task forces in both the House and the Senate. While in D.C., he also served as staff director of the Public Policy Committee of the White House Conference on Aging.

In 1991, he was designated as the first Scholar in Residence at the National Association of Secondary School Principals. While there, he wrote the response of the National Educational Leaders Consortium to the education agenda of the Business RoundTable. In 2000, Brown published (with co-author Jeff Cornwall) The Entrepreneurial Educator, a book to help school leaders function in today’s competitive marketplace. He served as editor of the book series Innovations in Education for Rowman Education Press, and was executive producer of a series of education policy television programs on National Goals in Education released in 1991.

“Even after he retired, he was still deeply involved at the School of Education. In fact, Dr. Brown continued to serve on our Charter Authorizing Board until last month,” School of Education Dean Kathlene Holmes Campbell said. “When I came to St. Thomas, Bob met with me weekly throughout the summer to make sure I learned the history of the School of Education. He was devoted to St. Thomas and our school communities.”

He served on numerous boards, including: the Minnesota State Board of Medical Practice, Board of Advisors to the St. Thomas College of Education, Leadership Advisory Committee for Dunwoody College, the Civic Education Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and Implementation Working Group of the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership.

Brown earned bachelor’s degrees in math and speech from Winona State University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in educational administration and psychology from the University of Minnesota.

There will be a private family Mass of Christian Burial.

Read his obituary online.

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