The Dean and Thelma Brown Memorial Scholarship was created in 1995. The couple, who lived in a modest two-bedroom ranch-style house near the Boise Airport, worked for years for Albertson’s Inc., Dean as a bakery supervisor and Thelma as a cake icer. When they passed away, the more than 200,000 shares of Albertson’s stock they left to Boise State in a bequest were valued in excess of $7 million.
Thelma’s will also created a term of years Charitable Remainder Unitrust to benefit family members, as the Browns had no children of their own. At the end of the term, the Brown Memorial will receive addition funds from the unitrust.
The couple wanted to help young people get the education that was out of reach for them when they were younger. Hundreds of students have been recipients of the Brown Scholarship and countless others will benefit in the years ahead. One student recently wrote a letter thanking his (deceased) donors for giving him the opportunity to succeed.
Please read Sam’s letter below.
Thelma and Dean Brown,
My name is Sam Howell and I am very grateful for the support that I received from your scholarship fund. I am currently in my fourth year of school majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and I will finish next year by going to school part time and working at the internship I received last February in the New Product Development Lab here at Boise State. I was analyzing my finances not long ago, and the scope of your support astonished me. The amount that I will benefit from this scholarship is about a third of all the money that I have received from my parents. The total amount that you gave would take a year and a half of my earnings from my part-time internship to repay. If I had not been given this scholarship, I would be taking out a loan from my parents or a bank right now so that I could finish my degree.
After I had looked through the figures, I realized how easy you have made my education. I have never been worried about running out of money. I have been able to have free time to spend with friends and to be a part of the Catholic Student Center here on campus. I will graduate with no debt, an education in a field with high demand for workers, and possibly even a small amount of money for me to ride out the first crucial transition months to wherever I find full-time employment. All of these comforts were given to me by people that I did not know. I attended the scholarship dinner during my freshman year and did not get a chance to meet the donors. I sent an email this year and found that both you and your husband had passed away over a decade ago, leaving stocks for scholarships that I would someday receive. Thank you.
I was also given to an excellent family; my parents live on a ranch in Nevada and are still married. They are financially stable and sent their three children to college without debt. These things are miracles in current society. I read that you had no children, so you made students the heirs of your wealth. I look back and see that there are several people who placed their faith in educating me, but you are the ones who invested knowing that you would not see the returns. I wish that you could be at the scholarship dinners so that we could chat and you could have an update on where your money has gone. You would be like family to me and many other students, because you have helped us achieve better lives.
With the most sincere thanks,