Contributing Toward Success

Mark and Brenda Brown give back to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in hopes of enhancing opportunities for students and faculty.

Due to substantial increases in college tuition, students today experience major financial challenges compared to previous years. Mark and Brenda Brown wanted to ease some of these trials for students earning a higher education.

“The financial challenges students face today are far greater than they were when we both attended college in the 1980’s,” Mark said. “It would be a terrible loss for any student not to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and utilize their talents.” 

Mark graduated from Kansas State University in 1982 with a degree in electrical engineering, while Brenda graduated from University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1988 with a degree in finance. Currently, Mark is a member of K-State’s department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) advisory council. Mark said pursuing electrical engineering was one of his best life-decisions.

“Earning my electrical engineering degree at an institution with hard-working values common to the Midwest has allowed me to pursue career opportunities I never thought possible,” Mark said. “Through our gift giving, involvement with the ECE Advisory Council, Alumni Association and Board of Trustees, we have met other members of the K-State family and created the greatest of friendships.” 

Mark and Brenda aspired to help students complete their education and reach career goals, while giving back to the department that significantly impacted Mark’s life. Mark and Brenda established multiple funds supporting students and faculty in the department of electrical and computer engineering.

“We wanted to pay back to the institution that afforded us those opportunities and pay forward to others in the Kansas State University family who will follow,” Mark said.

Mark and Brenda were inspired to create a professorship, scholarship and excellence fund after witnessing the impact of the Brown Family Scholarship, which was established in 2012 by Mark, Brenda, Mark’s brother, Mike, and his wife, Pam. The scholarship is awarded to students in Chase County where Mark and Mike grew up.

“We hope these scholarships will provide a small relief to those students in pursuit of their own dreams and successes,” Mark said. “The successes we have enjoyed in our lives were made possible through our joint talents, hard work and strong values of growing up in rural Kansas.”

Mark initially wanted to pursue a degree in computer science until his brother, Mike, K-State graduate in chemical engineering, exposed him to the field of engineering. Mark chose his career path after recognizing the close association between computers and electrical engineering, which share similarities with digital design and microprocessors. Mark specialized in the field of embedded computing.

“The opportunities available today and in the future in the field of embedded computing, particularly around internet of things and industrial internet of things is incredible,” Mark said. “With this professorship, we hope to establish a center of excellence in embedded computer engineering, such that companies hiring embedded computer engineers will consider Kansas State University ECE students as one of their top choices in recruitment.”

Mark and Brenda hope to encourage students to succeed, but also want them to enjoy their college experience. Creating these funds will allow students and faculty at K-State to realize greater opportunities while earning essential support.

“What is occurring campus wide is truly inspiring and a tribute to the collective effort of the students, faculty and staff,” Mark said. “We feel blessed to have the opportunity to establish these gifts to ensure the success of K-State, now and in the future, and the generations of students who will follow.”

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