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Family Endowment Ensures Continuation of Jeanne Brown's Legacy

Jeanne Brown passed away on Sept. 16, 2017, in Dallas. She was 97.

At Brown's request there will not be a funeral. In lieu of flowers, her family is requesting donations to the Jeanne Brown Staff Excellence Fund, which each year honors a current McCombs staff member who has worked for the school for at least a decade.

Online giving is available. Checks can be made out to the McCombs School of Business. In the memo line, please write out: Jeanne H. Brown Endowed Staff Excellence Award. Checks can be mailed to: McCombs School of Business | The University of Texas at Austin, 2110 Speedway, Mail Stop B6006, Austin, TX 78712-1270.

To make a gift by phone, please call Development Associate Noel Nielsen at 512-475-8178.

Condolences can be mailed to Brown's daughter: Barbara Herman, 3504 Autumn Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76109.

We invite you to read an earlier article below on Brown's legacy of excellence at McCombs and memorable contributions to the school.

Jeanne Brown headshot

Jeanne Brown first came to The University of Texas at Austin in 1966 as an assistant in the dean's office at what was then known as the College of Business Administration. Her job eventually spanned two decades and three deans until Brown ultimately retired in 1988.

At 94 years old, Brown remains honored and remembered for her dedication and commitment to the functioning of the McCombs School of Business. While the university no longer employs Brown, her connection and legacy are still felt through the Jeanne Brown Award, which was established in 1988 to recognize high performing and dedicated long-time McCombs staff members. At the time of its establishment, the award was the first at UT to specifically honor a staff member for their work.

The Jeanne Brown Award, which is given out once a year in the amount of $2,000 following a nomination from a McCombs dean, was previously funded out of the business school's operating budget. Now, a new $50,000 endowment has set up the necessary funding to ensure the award's longevity.

The Jeanne H. Brown Endowed Staff Excellence Award, which will be awarded to staff who have worked at McCombs for at least a decade, is sponsored by Brown's children and grandchildren: daughter Barbara Brown Herman, BA '68, and husband Morton L. Herman, BBA '65, of Fort Worth, and their sons D. Kyle Herman, BA/BBA '97 of New York, and Lee Herman and wife Celina of Fort Worth, as well as Jeanne Brown's daughter Judith Brown Nurre and her son Ted Nurre, both of Dallas. Brown's daughter Barbara and grandson Kyle made the lead gift for this endowment. Following in her mother's footsteps, Barbara has had a career in higher education and currently serves as associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of student development at Texas Christian University. Kyle, who serves on the McCombs BBA/MPA Alumni Advisory Board, is an investment banker at debt restructuring boutique Miller Buckfire & Co., where he is currently advising the City of Detroit during its Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

"I wanted to give back to McCombs and was looking for a program or cause I was passionate about," says Brown's grandson, Kyle Herman. "At the same time, my mother was looking for a way to honor her mother's legacy to the university. After speaking with the development team, we found that we could accomplish both goals by setting up an endowment to permanently fund the Jeanne Brown Award."

The original award was the brainchild of school administrators, says Herman. "They believed she exemplified outstanding staff performance and this was their way to remember her as a role model."

In the 22 years that Brown spent in the dean's office, she worked under higher education icons such as George Kozmetsky, William Cunningham, and Bob Witt during their tenures.

William Cunningham smiles at the camera"Jeanne Brown was the glue that held the dean's office together," says Cunningham, former dean of McCombs and current professor of marketing. "She was the first one in the office and the last one to leave."

Cunningham, who first served as an assistant dean in 1976, says Brown provided a great example of work ethic to the students and faculty in the business school.

"In her own quiet way, Jeanne made sure we all stayed on track," says Cunningham. "She left a very high standard for everyone who came after her."

As former dean of the business school, Witt initially met Brown when he joined the UT business faculty as an assistant professor in 1968. "Apprehensive about my academic future, I worked every Saturday, as did Jeanne. On my way to the office, I would pick up a donut for breakfast (not very healthy) and one for Jeanne, and we would spend a few minutes talking," Witt recalls. "Those Saturday mornings helped me believe I would survive at UT."

In addition to her work with administrators at the business school, Brown served as a mentor and role model for many employees within her office.

Susie Brown (no relation to Jeanne Brown), associate dean for business affairs, came to work at McCombs in 1983 and says she owes much of her success to Jeanne Brown.

"She got me my first job," says Susie Brown. "I was a single mother looking for a job. She was able to identify my talent and get me a job in the fundraising office. Ever since, she has been my mentor, and I respect her for everything she has done."

Susie Brown says that many of the lessons she learned from Jeanne have contributed to her current position and the way she goes about working in McCombs.

Recently, Jeanne Brown has fallen into poor health, but her efforts and ethic that were omnipresent within McCombs for so many years remain strong and permanent.

"She is such a giving person and always puts everyone else first," says daughter Barbara Herman. "She was dedicated not only to UT, but to the people she worked with for so many years. I would hope for her to be remembered as one of the people who has made UT so great."

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