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It may have been easy for some folks to underestimate Brent Brown. His folksy, country boy manner and disarming smile masked a razor-sharp mind and a drive for excellence that earned him accolades from his peers in academia and community leaders throughout Arizona. His death at age 66, on May 24, 2008, saddened his many hundreds of friends and colleagues in the Arizona State University family. It was a loss of special impact on members of the ASU Retirees Association, an organization he was instrumental in creating and which he largely funded in its early years as Vice President of University Relations.
Newspapers throughout the state carried stories about Brent's productive life: his boyhood at little St. Johns in Apache County. . .his degrees from Brigham Young University and ASU and his doctorate from the University of Illinois . . . his service as a professor of political science and achievements as ASU vice president . . . his role in establishing what is now the School of Public Affairs in the College of Public Programs. . . his success in luring the Arizona Cardinals to Phoenix . . .his wisdom as an advisor to Arizona governors and legislators, and much more.
But only those who worked with Brent on a daily basis and marveled at his skills in management and human relations could fully appreciate his amazing drive for excellence and the way he got things done by giving others guidance, encouragement and the freedom to succeed.
Leo Durocher to the contrary, "nice guys often finish first." It is with considerable satisfaction that we can always remember that. Brent Brown is living proof of that.
By Dean Smith
Prime Times Summer 2008
Brent was interviewed by ASURA's Video History Project team on November 24, 2003. The full interview and a short clip from both the Lobbyist interview and the Legislative Acquisition of West interview are available for on-line viewing.
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ