To kick off Homecoming Week 2016, on Monday, Sept. 12, Rockhurst held a school-wide prayer service. During the service, the Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Mr. Michael J. Brown of the great Class of 1975.
Mr. Brown graduated from Rockhurst High School more than 40 years ago, but he continues to have a strong presence throughout the building. A board member during the school’s last major capital campaign, and an advocate for the current Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programming, Mr. Brown is a devoted Hawklet.
Serving on the Rockhurst Board of Trustees from 1993-1999, Mr. Brown helped facilitate and execute a capital campaign to upgrade the physical facilities, as well as address the issue of declining enrollment. The Brown family has funded a tuition endowment for the “average student” who would not otherwise be able to attend Rockhurst.
Mr. Brown and his wife, Millie, are currently serving as co-chairs for the Building on Our Tradition capital campaign, a $10.65 million drive to establish a new Academic Learning Commons, as well as a Student Life and Alumni Center. In fact, the campaign has successfully generated $11 million in donor commitments during the first phase, and is working to close the drive by securing $3 million more in charitable gifts for mission-driven campus projects to provide state-of-the-art facilities for students. The couple is also at the forefront of the school’s STEAM initiative, as they have pledged $2.1 million to its programming at Rockhurst.
“We believe that these boys becoming ‘men for others’ is more important than it has ever been,” Mr. Brown said. “And part of that is educating them for our rapidly-changing world.”
The Alumnus of the Year Award is named for the Very Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983. Fr. Arrupe coined the term “men for others,” as a challenge to alumni of Jesuit institutions to change the world with devotion and service to mankind. The Award provides a role model for students to give them an example of the type of man that the school and Alumni Association hope they will aspire to become during their lives.
“Mr. Brown’s leadership is emblematic of the true Rockhurst spirit. His passion for accelerating our STEAM resources not only benefits Rockhurst students now and in the future, it is raising the bar for our region to train the next generation of our technological workforce,” said Mr. Joshua Brewster ’99, President of the Alumni Association Board of Governors. “His dedication to Rockhurst shines through all he does, from his success in the business arena to his compassion through service. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to honor him with this award.”
Outside of his extensive charitable work throughout Kansas City, including Catholic Charities and Science City at Union Station, Mr. Brown is actively involved with the day-to-day operations of Euronet Worldwide, of which he is the co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. Euronet is a leading processor of secure electronic financial transactions, and operates three divisions, which generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown are the parents of two Rockhurst graduates, Gregory ’10 and Anthony ’11, as well as two daughters, Stephanie and Julia.
Past honorees include:
2002 - William J. McGraw ’44
2003 - Mark J. Henke ’72
2004 – Robert E. Miller ’46
2005 – Michael J. Van Dyke ’66
2006 - Timothy M. Trabon ’69
2007 – Raymond W. Sonnenberg ’65
2008 – James C. Wirken ’62
2009 – Timothy P. O’Connor, PharmD. ’74
2010 – Thomas H. Norman ’59
2011 – M. Rev. Geo. K. Fitzsimons, DD ’45
2012 – David M. Knopke ’66
2013 – Rev. Jeffrey P. Putthoff, SJ ’83
2014 – John G. Houlehan ‘60
2015 - William H. Dunn, Sr. '40