USF community mourns loss of Trustee Emeritus LaVerne Brown

Bitz and Dottie Brown pose at the September 2011 ceremony celebrating the re-naming of the University of St. Francis library to the “LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Library.”

Bitz and Dottie Brown pose at the September 2011 ceremony celebrating the re-naming of the University of St. Francis library to the “LaVerne & Dorothy Brown Library.”

Trustee Emeritus LaVerne “Bitz” Brown, one of the longest serving trustees for the University of St. Francis, died Nov. 9 at the age of 89.

The University of St. Francis named its library in honor of Mr. Brown and his wife, Dorothy (“Dottie”) in 2011.

Leaders within the Joliet-area at large, the Browns have supported the university with nearly $1 million in lifetime giving. They were among the founders of the Caritas fundraiser, which annually supports student scholarships, and worked tirelessly on the event’s committee over the years. The Browns were honorary chairs of the capital campaign “Continuing the Tradition—Living Our Mission” that was successfully completed in 2012.

Mr. Brown served on the University of St. Francis Board of Trustees from 1974 to 2010, when he was named trustee emeritus upon his retirement. He served as chairperson from 1978 to 1981. While a board member, Mr. Brown oversaw the establishment of the university’s first master’s degree and co-founded the Center for the Study of Contemporary Ethics. He has been recognized by the University of St. Francis with the President’s Medal, an honorary doctorate degree and two Caritas Awards.

Mr. Brown was a graduate of Joliet Township High School Class of 1942 and Northwestern University. He proudly served with the United States Navy during World War II. With his good friend, Paul Lambrecht, he founded Brown & Lambrecht Earthmovers, which became a nationally recognized company.

He served as a director of Amerifed Savings; trustee of the Operating Engineers Pension Fund; and as a member of Lewis University President’s Council, Joliet Rotary, Joliet Country Club and Old Marsh Golf Club.

He was also an associate of the Joliet Franciscans. He was the recipient of many civic and charitable awards for dedicated service and thoughtful generosity, and will be remembered as a skilled pilot, world traveler, avid sportsman and enthusiastic card player.

Gifts in memory of Mr. Brown can be made to the University of St. Francis at http://www.stfrancis.edu/support/ or sent by mail to the USF Advancement Office, University of St. Francis, 500 Wilcox St., Joliet, IL 60435. For more information, call the Advancement Office at (815) 740-5065.

The University of St. Francis in Joliet serves 3,400 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in arts and science, business, education, nursing, health care and social work. For information, call (800) 735-7500 or visit www.stfrancis.edu.