Honoree

Greg Braxton-Brown

AWARDS

W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service (2011)
Indiana University East
School of Business & Economics

BIOGRAPHY

Greg Braxton-Brown says that as a business educator he is responsible for using his talents "not only within but beyond the institution."

Before coming to IU East, Braxton-Brown had been a college president and chancellor of the Minnesota Community Colleges. So when he had a vision for creating a cohort educational program that combined the best of IU East and Ivy Tech, it was an initiative he hoped could be replicated elsewhere.

"Building on substantial experience in creating partnerships and providing educational access, I decided my contribution to Indiana was to extend baccalaureate degree education into this unserved area," he says, "and by doing so demonstrate interagency cooperation, leveraging of state resources, and efficient educational delivery."

Braxton-Brown and his supporters set out to begin the change process at Lawrenceburg, 60 miles south of Richmond, two years after he had arrived at IU East with a charge to transform the campus's business programs. Aspects of the program have since been replicated in New Castle and Muncie.

"While he was fully engaged with responsibilities on the main campus, he envisioned, implemented, and grew IU programs in Lawrenceburg," recalls Nasser H. Paydar, chancellor of IU East.

"Reaching out to the administration of Ivy Tech Southeast, he presented a vision strong enough to garner an invitation to offer IU programs on the Ivy Tech campus." Paydar adds, "That was back in 2004 when competition between IU and Ivy Tech was much more likely than cooperation."

Today, the Lawrenceburg Center offers five baccalaureate programs and one master's degree program and provides access for people such as recent graduate Philip Williamson of Aurora, who originally began his collegiate career at IU Bloomington in 1976 and dropped out after two years.

"The dream that I had as a child was completed 33 years later at the age of 52," says Williamson, a Duke Energy employee who graduated from IU East in May 2010 with a B.S. in Business Administration. "While Greg always said, 'You did the work,' I am telling you today that without his direction, support, and dedication to his students, my dream would not have come true."

Carla R. Messer, chief results officer of BestWork LLC of Cincinnati, says the Lawrenceburg Center now provides opportunities to people who once thought that a university education was out of their reach.

They "are now securing jobs with area Fortune 500 companies, being promoted out of dead-end jobs, and referring friends and family to the program," says Messer, who is also a visiting lecturer of business administration at IU East. "Providing educational opportunities in an underserved area has sidetracked generational poverty and restored hope to hundreds of capable individuals who otherwise would flounder."

As of September 2010, the program had produced more than 220 graduates.

Greg Braxton-Brown has created viable academic programs "out of nothing but his desire to serve students and his ability to forge partnerships," says Joe Moore, vice chancellor of academic affairs at Ivy Tech Community College's Southeast campus. "As an IU alumnus, I am proud to call Greg Braxton-Brown a colleague and friend."