USF honors two community leaders; graduates 436 new alumni

Two community leaders will be honored by the University of St. Francis at commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 8 when the university will graduate 436 bachelor’s and master’s students.

Community leader and longtime member of the University of St. Francis Board of Trustees, LaVerne “Bitz” Brown will be honored as trustee emeritus, presented by University of St. Francis President Michael J. Vinciguerra and J. Bradley Webb, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Brown has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 1974, including as a past chairperson. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters from the university in 1996. Brown is also a recipient of the President’s Medal, the highest honor given at the University of St. Francis.

Brown is one of the founders of the university’s Center for the Study of Contemporary Ethics, which has brought nationally known experts on ethics as well as other programs to the university and public. Brown and his wife, Dorothy, served several times as chairpersons of Caritas, the university’s major fundraiser and one of the oldest black tie events in the area. They were honored in 1990 with the Caritas Award and in 2004 with the Caritas Community Care Award. The couple established the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Scholarship Fund at the university in 1996.

The LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Cardiovascular Institute at Silver Cross Hospital was dedicated in 2003. Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center Foundation honored Brown in 1999, and he has been honored by the Rainbow Boy Scout Troop and the Notre Dame Club of Joliet for his many community contributions. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Joliet. Brown is an associate of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, the university’s founders and sponsors.

Brown co-founded Brown and Lambrecht Earthmovers, Inc. in 1947 and founded Land Trends, Inc. in 1986. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University. Married 57 years, the Browns have traveled extensively throughout the world.

The President’s Appreciation Award for Community Service will be given to Scott Slocum, host of the 1340 WJOL Radio Morning Show. Slocum has been an institution in the greater Will County area for more than 10 years as morning show host, addressing the news of the day as it applies to the region. Before becoming morning show host, he served as sports director for 10 years.

Previous to joining WJOL, Slocum was a sports anchor/reporter at WBBM Newsradio 780 in Chicago and host to a Golf Show at ESPN 1000. He has done television work for SportsChannel, the Illinois High School Association TV Network, Lakeshore Public Sports and CBS in Peoria.