Alumni Stephen C. Brown, ’66, JD’69, and Faith A. Brown, ’69, have made a gift to the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan that will expand the reach of the Association’s LEAD Scholars program. The program provides life-changing scholarship and inclusive community support to Black, Native American, and Latinx students accepted into the University. The gift will also support the Alumni Center renovation.
The Browns, who met as students at Michigan, were enthusiastic when they learned of the LEAD Scholars program and how it provides a great opportunity for less privileged students with high academic qualifications who might not otherwise have the resources to pursue a Michigan education. They also chose to support LEAD because they enjoy the opportunity to get to know the students and observe their progress at Michigan.
“A key strength of the LEAD program is providing a supportive environment in addition to financial aid,” says Stephen. “At a large university like Michigan, it is easy for entering students to be overwhelmed. The LEAD program creates a community of students; a physical location to gather; and opportunities to socialize, network, and learn about the many resources on campus,” Faith adds.
The Alumni Association will match a portion of the gift to establish the Stephen C. and Faith A. Brown LEAD Scholars Program Administrator Fund. This endowed fund is designed to support a professional staff member who is responsible for scholar recruitment, selection, and program support to LEAD Scholars. The time and expertise of professional staff directly impacts the LEAD Scholars, and the person in this role is often the first LEAD team member that students and their families meet during the recruitment process after receiving an admissions offer from U-M.
Ayanna McConnell, the Alumni Association’s vice president of university/student engagement and LEAD Scholars, says she is humbled when she thinks of how this gift will give current and future scholars the time, attention, support, and encouragement they deserve during their LEAD journey.
“One of the key ingredients to the LEAD community’s success is the individual relationships established with LEAD Scholars during their journey,” says McConnell. “Knowing the students individually aids us in connecting them with programs, events, campus leadership opportunities, internships, and alumni, all of which add value to the Michigan student experience. The relationship is reciprocal, as LEAD Scholars offer feedback and fresh perspectives that help the team continuously improve the scholar experience.”
In addition to their support for the LEAD Scholars program, the Browns contributed to the Alumni Center renovation, a two-year transformation that reconfigured the building into a space that engages alumni and students in ways never before possible. The Alumni Association named the new member lounge the Stephen C. and Faith A. Brown Alumni Member Lounge in recognition of their generosity.
This recent gift is just part of the Browns’ extensive philanthropic footprint throughout the University. Their efforts include support for the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; the Medical School, the Law School; and endowments for several other University programs.
Faith received a bachelor of arts in English and went on to work in magazine publishing, marketing for an Illinois community college district, and employee and shareholder communications for the Chicago Tribune and its parent corporation. Stephen, who received a bachelor of arts in English and a Juris Doctor degree from the Law School, worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C., and as an attorney and vice president for McDonald’s Corp. at its Chicago headquarters.