Melissa Brown, PhD, came to The College at Brockport in 1993 to serve as assistant professor of psychology and recently completed a six-year term as chair of the department.
Over the years, Brown has not been shy about applying her own unique style to her work and leadership. She has done what she encourages her students to do – to fully embrace and design her Brockport experience. Brown doesn’t just work at Brockport, she fully participates in the life of the College community. Sometimes she does that in ways most other faculty and staff do not, including living on campus in a residence hall for a number of years.
Brown shares her gifts, knowledge and talents with the College through her teaching, mentoring and taking on roles of leadership in her department and campus wide. But it doesn’t stop there. She also is supporting the College by establishing a planned gift that will help carry forward her work and love for the College and her dedication to students for years to come.
“Establishing my wishes now is an easy thing that I can do to take care of life-planning matters,” says Brown, who believes it is only natural to include in her plans the College that has meant so much to her throughout her career.
Brown earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her PhD from Indiana University. She had decided her major in clinical psychology years before when, still in junior high school, she would spend hours observing her fellow students interacting with one another. “It seemed to me that the popular kids must be doing something different that set them apart as popular leaders,” says Brown. “I wanted to figure out how they did this.”
Brown learned the secret to popularity and success throughout life – a secret she shares with her students. “My studies taught me that it is the children’s social confidence and what happens in the family that sets kids up for success in life.”
Applying her knowledge, Brown is nurturing confidence in her students and supporting student success campus wide. “I like to affect change in people, and I love seeing our students grow,” she says.
Student success is Brown’s top priority, and so it isn’t a surprise the majority of her time is spent working directly with students. Over the years, she has mentored numerous departmental scholars and McNair students, a number of whom have gone on to PhD programs and community and professional leadership roles.
The sense of community Brown shares with her colleagues and friends is another reason a planned gift to the College makes sense. “Brockport is a good place to leave my money for many reasons. It’s a collaborative environment, focusing on student success, and a planned gift is important in supporting research and strong academic programs.”