Endowment to benefit College of Ag Sciences students across Penn State system

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Carl A. and Thelma S. Brown, of Reading, have established an endowment in the Department of Animal Science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences that will offer students at Penn State campuses around the state an opportunity for out-of-classroom enrichment activities at University Park.

Proceeds from the Carl and Thelma Brown Endowment in Animal Science will help support students' participation in events such as the college's annual Ag Career Day, the Dairy Exposition, tours of farms and agribusinesses, and peer mentoring programs.

A Berks County native, Carl Brown is a 1967 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor's degree in animal industry. He went on to receive his master's and doctoral degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Now retired as sales manager and nutritionist for family business F. M. Brown's Sons Inc., where he spent 35 years, Brown said he is grateful for the extracurricular activities in which he participated and for the mentors he had as an undergraduate at Penn State.

"These activities were very valuable in my education," he explained. "The mentors I had were so important in opening opportunities for me. I hope other students can have similar support to bring success in their college careers and beyond."

He noted that the couple's impetus for establishing the endowment came from their son's experience beginning his college career at Penn State Berks and transferring to the University Park campus.

"We came to realize that students who begin their careers at another campus have little knowledge of dairy shows, career days and other activities within the college held at University Park," he said. "I hope funds from the endowment will make it possible for interested students to travel to University Park to experience some of the many activities there, so they can become involved in them when they arrive on campus full time."

Thelma Brown is a native of Lancaster County. She is a graduate of the Lancaster General School of Nursing, Elizabethtown College and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a master's degree in nursing science.

"Penn State has meant so much to the Brown family, and it does so much for agriculture," she said. "We hope that these funds can be used to get maximum benefit that will make a difference in many students' lives."

Terry Etherton, head of the Department of Animal Science, expressed gratitude for the Browns' endowment and their support of the department and the College of Agricultural Sciences in other ways. "We deeply appreciate Thelma's and Carl's contribution that will enable us to introduce students from all Penn State campuses to the wide array of learning experiences that are available at the University Park campus," he said. "Their generous endowment will enrich and inspire our students to be active outside of the classroom." 

As an undergraduate, Carl Brown was a member of the Dairy Science Club, Alpha Zeta fraternity and the Coaly Honor Society. Active in the Dairy Expo and on the dairy judging team, he was named outstanding senior in the Department of Animal Science in 1967.

He was a graduate teaching assistant at Virginia Tech and later spent five years there as an assistant professor and dairy extension specialist. Early in his career, he also was program director for the National Holstein Association in Brattleboro, Vermont, for three years.

Carl coached Virginia's national champion 4-H dairy judging team in 1977 and helped develop the regional dairy bowl contest, which eventually became a national contest at Louisville. He also coached the Berks County 4-H dairy judging team for several years. 

Carl earned a Silver Star, Soldier's Medal, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts while serving in the U.S. Army and was elected into the Berks County Military Hall of Fame in 2011. A former Boy Scout, he remains active with Oley Boy Scout Troup 569 and the Oley American Legion Post 878. He served on the Berks County 4-H Development Board and the Penn Ag Industries Board.

In 2014 he was named to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Dairy Hall of Fame, recognizing his establishment and leadership of the Junior Dairy Management Contest which is in its 29th year.

Widely recognized for his leadership in animal nutrition to help improve efficiencies in production agriculture, Carl is the fifth generation providing leadership in the family business, which was established in 1871. F.M. Brown's Sons has grown from its early roots of grinding grains for animal feed and flour and has diversified into a highly regarded business with six divisions: livestock and poultry feed, fuel oil and coal, a 520-acre working farm, turfgrass and agronomic seeds, wild bird and companion pet food, and flour for the snack industry.

Thelma is active with the New Life Church in Oley, recently serving on the pastor search committee. She gave up her nursing career to be a full-time homemaker and has been a strong supporter of Carl in his work and community activities.

Their son, George, is part of F.M. Brown's Sons, responsible for quality control in the Flour Division. He is a 2010 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor's degree in animal science.

Penn State's alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of our faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education.

The University's colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

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Last Updated July 09, 2015