UVa Library Press Releases
Ann Lee Brown Gives $10.5 Million to U.Va. Science Library and Engineering Department To Be Renamed in Honor of Her Late Husband, Charles L. Brown
Ann Lee Brown, widow of Charles L. Brown, has given $10.5 million to the University of Virginia, with $5 million for the School of Engineering and Applied Science, $500,000 for an engineering scholarship and $5 million for the University Library.
Mrs. Brown’s gift, made in honor of her husband who graduated from U.Va. in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, has established an endowment for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which has been formally renamed the Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is the first department in the Engineering School to be endowed and named. She also has endowed the Charles L. Brown Jefferson Scholarship for an undergraduate engineering student.
Mrs. Brown’s gift to the University Library likewise has created an endowment for the Science and Engineering Library in Clark Hall, which has been renamed the Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library in honor of the gift.
“Charles L. Brown’s devotion to the University was deep and wide, touching nearly every area of academic life,” said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. “I am grateful to Ann Lee Brown for these extraordinary gifts, which reflect Charlie’s abiding loyalty to the Engineering School and his broader commitment to the intellectual vitality of the University. I am especially pleased that we have the opportunity to pay tribute in a visible and lasting way to Charlie Brown and all that he meant to this institution.”
In 1980, Mr. Brown spoke at U.Va. Final Exercises and noted that the University was a different place than when he was a student. He said then that he would do whatever he could to help it continue to improve. He remained true to that pledge by giving the University more than $1.16 million during his lifetime.
In addition to his allegiance to the Engineering School, his devotion to the core academic mission of the University inspired him to support the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Architecture, the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies and other academic areas. He also served on the board of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.
Mr. Brown was on the steering committee of the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign in the 1980s and served on the Board of Visitors from 1986 to 1990. He served as vice chairman of the executive committee and as chairman of the National Leadership Gifts Council, a coast-to-coast network of campaign volunteers, during the University’s capital campaign that ended in 2000.
The revenue generated from the endowment of the Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will be used in part to fund graduate fellowships, allowing the department to draw top graduate students who are key to attracting and retaining outstanding research faculty, said James Aylor, acting dean of the Engineering School. The gift also will fund enhancements to the undergraduate lab experience in electrical and computer engineering and strengthen the school’s national stature in electrical engineering education and research, Aylor said.
In 2003, the University completed an extensive renovation of the Science and Engineering Library. The renovation created an ideal environment for collaboration and study, offering state-of-the-art technology, inviting spaces for research, and a magnificent reading room.
“The Browns' generosity will have a large and lasting impact on science and engineering education at U.Va.,” said University Librarian Karin Wittenborg. “Endowing this extraordinary building today will ensure that the Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library will serve successive generations of students and faculty, giving them what they need now and in the future.”
Charles Brown graduated during World War II and signed on immediately with the U.S. Navy, serving until 1946 aboard the USS Mississippi in the Pacific theater.
At the end of the war, he took a job with AT&T, where he worked for more than 40 years, serving as chairman and chief executive officer from 1979 to 1986.
Beginning in 1982, he oversaw the divestment of AT&T’s local phone business, then the largest corporate reorganization in U.S. history, to settle federal antitrust litigation. In the process, he created new business entities, reinvigorated AT&T’s research and development efforts, and launched global partnerships in Europe and Asia.
Mr. Brown served on the corporate boards of Chemical Financial Corp., Delta Air Lines, DuPont Co., General Foods International and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. He also lent his expertise to worthy nonprofit causes, including the boards of Colonial Williamsburg, the Public Broadcasting System, the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Boy Scouts of America, the YMCA and the National Parks Foundation.
In addition to his degree from U.Va., Mr. Brown held honorary doctorates conferred by Colgate University, Princeton University, Amherst College, Northwestern University and Pace University. He died Nov. 12, 2003.
Ann Lee Brown was born and reared in Richmond, Va., where she graduated from the Collegiate School. She later moved to Philadelphia, where she met Charles Brown and developed a lifelong interest in horticulture and early childhood education.
Like her husband, she has been an active supporter of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and has served on the board of the Princeton Child Development Institute, which provides services to children and adults with autism. Her other civic interests in Princeton include the YWCA and the Storytelling Arts program, in which storytellers make presentations to underprivileged schoolchildren to promote literacy skills and nurture self-esteem.
“Mr. Brown’s connections to the University are a matter of great pride to us,” Aylor said. “We are grateful to Mrs. Brown for allowing us to honor her husband in this way. Charlie Brown exemplified Jeffersonian ideals as an ethical, intelligent and creative leader.”
For a digital version of this release and images to go with a news story: http://www.lib.virginia.edu/press/press_releases.html