Just Ask

Just Ask

By Diane Ballard

The silence was deafening at UT Knoxville’s Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house in 1995. The fire marshal had closed the place down. The chapter was in a world of hurt. But fraternity alumni stepped up to find a solution, and at the front of the pack was Dan Brown, who went on to champion a fund raising campaign that resulted in a handsome new house for the Phi Sigs.

What motivated Bown to donate time and money and encourage others to do the same? He did it because friends and brothers asked him to, he says. And that’s the way he got involved in the UT Alumni Association: friends in the Williamson County (Tennessee) alumni chapter asked him to. Brown and the UTAA obviously were a fit, because he’s now the association’s national president.

He delights in the big, happy family that is the UT Alumni Association. “When you’re in a roomful of UT alumni, it doesn’t take two minutes until you’ve found a mutual acquaintance.”

Brown represents two distinct generations of UT graduates. He earned his degree in 1984, but he first enrolled at UT in 1962. Marriage and family interrupted his education, but he realized the value of a college degree and earned it the hard way—driving once a week from his home in middle Tennessee to Knoxville to complete a degree in business administration. Later he earned an MBA at Middle Tennessee State University, closer to his Brentwood home.

Brown put his business education to work with more than two decades at McBee Systems and, for the past 19 years, owning his own business, Two Point Inc. Two Point is a distribution company for forms and labels for the healthcare industry. Brown is 64 but says he has no desire to retire.

His business instincts tell him the UTAA is a going concern:

  • More than 300,000 graduates and former students of all the UT campuses—Knoxville, Martin, Chattanooga, Health Science Center, and Space Institute
  • Commitment by the UT administration
  • A dedicated and effective staff
  • A network of strong UT alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

The association is beginning a self study process, and Brown is enthusiastic about moving that forward. He also wants to help alumni become better informed about the state political process as it affects UT. And he wants to get more people involved—just like he did when friends asked him to.

Brown, a Kingsport, Tennessee, native, says people at UT influenced him profoundly during his student days. Transportation professor Frank Hendricks and Ira Sliger in military science were memorable mentors. But Brown gives his highest praise to Phi Sigma Kappa house mother Betty Edington. “She taught us etiquette and responsibility. When things got a little too rowdy, she added structure.” Edington, now deceased, taught him at least as much as any professor, he says.

The plentiful UT connections Brown has found with alumni are also at work in his own family. Wife Linda, an interior designer, attended UT, as did both the couple’s children, Scott and Ashley. Ashley worked for UT for several years and now is an executive at the Frist Museum in Nashville. A grandson, Matthew, is carrying on the family tradition at UT Knoxville.

Brown enjoys golf, fishing, UT sports, art, and music. But leisure time will be scarce this year as he crisscrosses the country on behalf of the UTAA. Even though he’s already found plentiful connections with and among UT alumni, he’s hardly seen the tip of the iceberg.

2009-2010 UTAA Leaders

Joining Dan Brown on the 2009-2010 leadership roster of the UT Alumni Association are:

  • Mike Moss (Martin ’63, Knoxville ’70) of Cordova, Tennessee, president-elect
  • Kim Cross (Knoxville ’85) of Marietta, Georgia, vice president
  • Steve Kennedy (Knoxville ’97) of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, treasurer
  • Ford Little (Knoxville ’86) of Knoxville, chair of annual giving