Brown Foundation gives $15 million to draw stellar freshmen to Texas A&M University

Photo of Craig BrownA $15 million gift from the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation of Houston aims to make Texas A&M University even more attractive to incoming freshmen of the highest academic caliber.

"The generosity of Craig Brown and the Brown Foundation extends throughout the Texas A&M University campus and is a great example of the selfless service for which Aggies are known worldwide," said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, Class of 1971. "Our purpose at Texas A&M is to prepare the next generation of leaders, and this impressive gift will play a key role in the continuation of this important endeavor for our state and country."

This most recent gift -- annual donations made through the Texas A&M Foundation over a 50-year period -- significantly expands the Brown Foundation Scholars program. Since 1992 the Brown Foundation has offered four-year scholarships to more than 125 high-achieving freshmen in coordination with the university's Honors and Undergraduate Research office to recruit stellar high school graduates, predominantly National Merit Scholars.

Texas A&M ranks among the country's top 10 institutions in enrollment of new National Merit Scholars and is tops in Texas and second nationally among all public universities, according to a January report by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

"The Brown Foundation's goal is to attract those students who are academically gifted and very involved in school organizations as well as community and volunteer activities. These students are individuals who will make a significant difference now and in the future," said Craig C. Brown, the Foundation's President and Chairman of the Board.

"With their excellent people skills, Brown Scholars are role models and leaders for A&M and their community," said Brown, a 1975 graduate of Texas A&M. "They understand and practice the philosophy of the Brown Foundation: 'In life, it is not what you take with you, but what you leave behind that counts.'"

The Brown Foundation's gift is expected to benefit up to 70 students annually across the Dwight Look College of Engineering, College of Science and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The Honors and Undergraduate Research office will nominate incoming freshmen on the basis of academic excellence, extracurricular activities and demonstrated leadership. The selected students will receive a four-year scholarship from the Brown Foundation as well as scholarships provided by Honors and Undergraduate Research and their respective colleges.

"The Brown Scholars program gives us an invaluable additional recruiting tool for exceptional students, particularly because these students are already such extraordinary young leaders even before they begin their careers at Texas A&M," said Dr. Pamela R. Matthews, associate provost for  undergraduate studies, who oversees Honors and Undergraduate Research. The office is one of the most comprehensive of its type in the United State, with more than 300 classes and 2,500 undergraduate participants.

Ninety percent of the funds for the Brown Foundation Scholars program will target engineering students.

"Craig Brown is truly dedicated to building excellence at Texas A&M University," said Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. "He himself was an exceptional student leader, and has consistently and generously shared his time, talent and resources to provide transformational opportunities for our students. His support for this university is significant and will profoundly impact Aggies for generations to come."

In recognition of the gift, the Look College will establish the Craig and Galen Brown Engineering Honors Program. The program will encompass the current Engineering Scholars Program as well as engineering students participating in programs through the Honors and Undergraduate Research office.

Galen T. Brown was chairman of Keystone International Inc., a New York Stock Exchange company, and an ardent Texas A&M backer until his death in 1989. Galen's success in business, family, community and philanthropic activities was especially remarkable given he lived the last 19 years of his life as a kidney dialysis patient. The overall commitment to Texas A&M from the Foundation that bears his name and that of his son now exceeds $18 million including previous gifts and this new pledge.

Galen's son, Craig C. Brown, is President and Chief Executive Officer, co-founder and owner of Bray International Inc., a 25-year global valve and actuator manufacturer for the process control industry. With locations in more than 40 countries worldwide, Houston-based Bray has been saluted three times since 2005 as an "Aggie 100" company, based on compound annual revenue growth rate as a result of job creation, product acceptance and entrepreneurial vision.

Brown holds two degrees from Texas A&M: a bachelor's in civil engineering and a master's in business administration. As a student, he received the Superior Cadet Award from the Department of the U. S. Army and was a member of the Corps of Cadets' Ross Volunteer Company, the official color guard of Texas and honor guard for the state governor. He held a President's Endowed Scholarship, served on the university's Student Council and held executive positions with the Student Engineers' Council, among other activities and honors. He received the Engineering Faculty Senior Award as one of the college's top graduates, completing his studies summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average.

Brown then worked as a financial analyst for Exxon's Coal/Synthetic Co. before joining Keystone International in 1978. From 1981-85 Brown was President of Keystone USA and Keystone Mid-East. For his business and volunteer activities, Brown was named an Outstanding Young Houstonian by the Houston Chamber of Commerce. He established Bray International with partner Frank Raymond in 1986.

Today at Texas A&M, Brown is an Outstanding Alumnus of the Look College and serves on its Engineering Advisory Council. He is on the Board of the university's Energy Engineering Institute. He is also a member of the A&M Legacy Society and Lettermen's Association, and a Century Club member of The Association of Former Students.

Bray, Brown and the Foundation also are supporters of the Look College's E 12 targeted recruitment program to provide scholarships for well-prepared, diverse high school students; Bo's Place, a Houston center for grieving families where Craig's wife, Sue Smith, is president; and Yellowstone Academy, which provides education to children from Houston families living in extreme poverty. Sue and Craig are very proud of their family of seven children.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a non-profit organization that encourages major gifts and manages endowments for the sole benefit of Texas A&M University.