Alumni Michael J. Brown paid a visit back to his alma mater LCCC. From Grafton, OH, Brown went to Midview High School, and after he graduated, attended LCCC in 1976 and registered for classes to pursue an Associates of Arts. Brown thought he would become a funeral director like his grandfather before him, but LCCC opened up his mindset, as he met a lot of leaders in Lorain County that shaped his life.
Later on, Brown was in corporate America for 24 years, working as vice president of U.S public affairs in 1994 before being named president in 2016 at Barrick U.S.A, the American subsidiary of the world’s largest gold mining company. Prior, Brown had served eight years at the U.S Department of the Treasury during the Reagan Administration, followed by six years as vice president of government affairs at the Gold Institute in Washington, D.C. Brown had retired in 2018.
Brown hasn’t been on campus in 40 years, and was a guest speaker at a conference in Las Vegas, where President Marcia Ballinger Ph. D. was at, and reconnected. Dr. Ballinger had invited Brown back to LCCC as a commencement speaker last May.
“Building a resume”
“It’s less about building a resume and more about building a legacy,” said Brown for students currently enrolled. “Where can I make the most difference?”
“This is an amazing institution, I have visited colleges and community colleges all around the nation for forty years,” said Brown. Later he said, “I have yet to find a community college that is as advanced and committed to its student’s success as Lorain County Community College. This is a remarkable institution.”
Words for students today
Brown had a few words to say to students currently enrolled. “On a personal level, I will say to students: get an education while you’re here, but also have some fun! Get engaged in something here. College is not an assembly line, it’s not a factory. It’s where you can build relationships and friendships that may carry through all over your life. One of the friendships I made has lasted personally and professionally for over 40 years,” said Brown. He later said, “While you’re here, join a club play a sport, have some fun. While you’re here, enjoy it.”
His time as a student
Brown, in his time at LCCC was an active student senator. He was the Vice President of the Student Senate, and made sure student’s voices were heard.
“Curiously enough, the more important classes I’ve took here that helped shaped my thinking were actually American Literature. It just widened my world view, and it helped my critical thinking,” said Brown. He went on to say that even though sometimes when students come to college and go after a specific degree, such as accounting, some can say ‘oh darn why do I have to take this class in such and such’ and had said “and yet, I think I picked up more lessons in those classes that stuck with me.”
Words for first generation
Brown is a first generation college student, and had a few words for those who are currently first generation college students.
“It can be very daunting. Take full advantage of the resources here, the counselors, the professors, the administration. If you fear yourself slipping behind, get the help. On the other hand, be proud of being first generation! You’re going to create a wave that’s going to go for several more generations, and you are the foundation for more that are going to follow you,” said Brown. “Even after you graduate, keep updating your education and your skills.”
Currently, Brown is now the state of Nevada’s economic development director in the office of the governor, and currently resides in Las Vegas, NV.