Browns awarded honorary doctorates

Published: May 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Austin Phillips, adp0019@auburn.edu, 334.844.2444

john and rosemary
John Brown (far right) and Rosemary Kopel Brown, '57 chemical engineering and chemistry, respectively, accept their honorary doctorates of science during spring graduation ceremonies Sunday, May 7, from Auburn University President Jay Gogue. 

John Brown and Rosemary Kopel Brown, ’57 chemical engineering and chemistry, respectively, were awarded with honorary doctorates of science during spring graduation ceremonies Sunday, May 7.

The Browns were among 3,653 university graduates, including 580 from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, that were awarded degrees during the five main graduation ceremonies May 6-8 and the two professional school ceremonies May 9.

John retired from Stryker, a global-leading medical technology company, as its president, CEO and chairman of the board. There, he took the company public and increased revenue from $17 million in 1976 to $10 billion today. Rosemary retired as a mathematics teacher, a position she held for almost 30 years, impacting hundreds of students along the way.

John and Rosemary have demonstrated a strong commitment to Auburn University and the College of Engineering throughout their careers, and have been recognized by many organizations for professional achievement and excellence. John is an inductee in the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and Auburn University’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, and he also received honorary law degrees from Freed Hardeman University and Kalamazoo College. He is a recipient of the Auburn Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was the inaugural recipient of the AdvaMed Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also served on the Auburn University Foundation board and has been recognized by the College of Engineering as a Distinguished Auburn Engineer. Rosemary has served on many community boards, including the Freed Hardeman University and Kalamazoo College Board of Directors, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Board, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Board and currently the Atlanta Opera Board. 

Benefactors of the highly anticipated Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center, the Browns have supported scholarships and programs within engineering, sciences and mathematics, performing arts and veterinary medicine for nearly four decades. The Browns have also endowed an eminent scholar chair in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the first endowed eminent scholar chair in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. 

They are members of the College of Engineering’s Ginn and Eagles societies, as well as the university’s 1856 and Foy societies.