Matt Brown is one of The University of Olivet’s regional directors of advancement, driven by his personal goal to help students reach their own goals. He has served in athletics, student services, adjunct professor and advancement roles throughout his career, allowing him to connect with students in many different ways. In addition to connecting with students, Matt enjoys building relationships with alumni and helping Comets of all generations see the impact they can have on the college today and in the future. He’s especially proud to be playing a role in OC’s Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders comprehensive campaign, and is looking forward to seeing all of the campaign projects come to life.
Why do you love The University of Olivet?
Olivet is special because of the close-knit community on campus. OC is a place where students can mature not only educationally, but personally as well. The personal attention students receive here at OC is something that larger institutions simply are not able to provide.
What is your favorite memory from your time at OC?
Weird as this might sound, my favorite memories are actually the memories and stories I hear from all the great OC alumni I meet. I have heard all the stories about the Greek houses and Garfield Lake Tavern, and even one about an alumnus playing catch from a boat to a dock in the south pacific with – he didn’t know until informed – Roger Staubach, former NFL quarterback.
Where does your passion for working in higher education stem from?
I love higher education because, frankly, I was not a great student during my undergraduate studies, but I loved the experiences I was able to have. I did just enough to get by and move on to the next class. However, as I got older, I realized I enjoy the power of education, helping young people realize their potential though education and the experiences it brings.
What’s the average day in your role, or some of the unique things you are responsible for?
To many people outside the Advancement Office, development and fundraising are synonymous. Casual observers equate the development office with raising money, pure and simple; however, we do many things, including managing data, conducting prospect research, working with volunteers, managing donors and helping plan events. The time we spend cultivating or soliciting donors is fundraising, and the time spent aligning fundraising goals with OC’s institutional planning is development. Development is very rewarding as we get to meet lots of great OC alumni where they live, whether it be here in Michigan or traveling to their homes across the nation.
An average day for me is doing something new every day. I can be in the office making phone calls and sending emails, or writing hand written thank you notes to donors and people I have visited. I can be in a car driving to Chicago or Alpena, or on a plane to the west coast. For example, as we are in the middle of our comprehensive campaign, I recently visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix in the same week to spread the word on all the great things we are currently doing and have planned for campus.
Why do you encourage students to attend OC?
The experiences. Don’t mistake OC being small for lacking opportunities. Greek life is vibrant on campus. Athletic teams get on the road and travel; for example, the baseball and softball teams played in tournaments in Kentucky and Florida. OC also has great service learning and global learning opportunities. In addition, the Marching Comets even had the chance to march in a New Year’s Day parade in Paris.
What do you look forward to in your role?
I am looking forward to helping OC Nation finish this campaign, and to see current and future students use the new spaces and upgrades on campus
What advice do you share with students?
College might seem unbearable sometimes, but I assure you this – if I can do it, anyone can do it. More importantly never be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
What is an interesting or little known fact about yourself?
I hold an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree in communication, a master’s degree in sports science and sports management and even a minor in women’s studies. In addition, I am also one year into working on a doctoral degree in educational leadership with a focus on transformative leadership from the University of New England in Portland, Maine.
Learn more about The University of Olivet and the awesome opportunities for students by visiting campus or attending an upcoming admissions event. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or email@example.com for questions. Plus, check out the Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders comprehensive campaign and how you can get involved.