Lifelong Learning the Heart of Giving

April 25, 2016

Joellen Brown ’75

Beeghly Library was a special place for Joellen Brown ’75 and her sister, Janet Brown ’79.

“The library had a spirit,” Joellen recalls. “It was the locus of the University, and even with the transition from card catalogs to computers, I suspect that’s the same today. I spent a lot of time there, and so did Janet.”

A Phi Beta Kappa student who earned the Slocum Prize recognizing the outstanding graduate in the humanities, Joellen went on to complete a master’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at several Philadelphia-area colleges.

Janet, who had set her sights on a career in library sciences ever since she was a little girl, earned a master’s in library science at Syracuse University. Joellen says her sister completed the program despite complications from multiple sclerosis, diagnosed when she was still at OWU. Janet passed away in 2003, before she could realize her dream.

Janet loved Ohio Wesleyan. It was important to me to help extend her personal investment in libraries through this endowed fund, and ensure she makes a lasting contribution to the library sciences.

Joellen Brown ’75

To honor her sister, Joellen established the Janet L. Brown ’79 Endowment in Support of Libraries. The fund symbolizes Janet’s and Joellen’s lifelong interest in and commitment to education and the important role libraries play in a student’s life.

“Janet loved Ohio Wesleyan and her experiences there,” Joellen Brown says. “It was important to me to help extend her personal investment in libraries through this endowed fund, and ensure she makes a lasting contribution to the library sciences.”

Joellen says her sister, along with her brother, Stephen W. Brown ’72, who was a history major and who died in 2013, followed different paths but had meaningful OWU experiences. “We were all drawn to the intimacy of the educational experience at Ohio Wesleyan, the personal relationships between faculty and students, and the room we each had to become our own person,” she says.

In a successful career as a corporate speechwriter and now as executive director of communications for Verizon in Philadelphia, Joellen says giving back to higher education is an important part of her philanthropy.

Toward that end, she also has made a generous provision in her estate plan to establish The Joellen Brown ’75 Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide student scholarships.

“I have admired the work the University has done to distinguish itself and to reinvent that liberal arts experience,” she says. “But the future of liberal arts universities is by no means guaranteed. I’m happy to do something that will offer this special experience to a new generation of students and help strengthen Ohio Wesleyan in the changing environment.”