Name: Dennis Brown Title: Chairman of English Department
Years at FUMA: 44
Duties: Instructor of AP English and composition classes, Sponsor of the National Honor Society, and Instructional Council member
Describe yourself in one sentence. I work as hard as I can to effect positive change.
What is your favorite FUMA memory? For a couple of decades, every December 8th the majority of faculty and many cadets would gather in the old library to help Calvin Pippen celebrate his birthday, the highlight of his year. Calvin, who had Down Syndrome, was the brother of the wife of a faculty member and essentially was a fixture on campus, known to all cadets and faculty family. For more than a month prior to the huge celebration, Calvin approached every person he met and said, “Eat cake, me eight” -- his invitation to attend. Everyone went out of his/her way to join Calvin, who would beam and hug every person there. The FUMA band played, and we all ate delicious cakes provided by Bev Hanlin, Patsy Pulliam, Ann Thompson, and Barbara Kritzer. It may seem like an overly sentimental scene from The Waltons, but it was magical. I think of those birthday parties every December 8.
In the time you have been at the Academy, what do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment? Helping establish our Summer School, chairing the VAIS and SACS evaluations, helping to begin the honors and advanced placement programs, coaching basketball and tennis, serving on the Tribunal for thirty years, and, most important, trying to prepare students for Freshman Composition and possibly life thereafter.
What job duties/responsibilities do you have at FUMA that others may not be aware of? For about twenty years I took on the adjunct job of disseminating information about our athletic program to hundreds of colleges, the media (both national and local) and the Corps (via a weekly little paper we called Sportsline). Unofficially I work with dozens of students every year on college essays and help salutatorians and valedictorians with their farewell speeches.
If you were given two free tickets to any sporting or entertainment event in the U.S., what would be the name of the event or performer printed on those tickets? The Final Four
What is your favorite pastime? Lazing at my lake cottage in Wisconsin every summer – hiking, gardening, reading, spending Bocce Sundays with lake neighbors, kayaking and canoeing, leaving crater-sized divots on golf courses, and socializing with family and friends. I return to FUMA every August refreshed and rejuvenated, ready for another academic year.
What advice can you offer to current cadets to help them understand the importance of a good education, as well as how FUMA can benefit their future success? I compiled a little booklet of more than a hundred FUMA alumni who have succeeded in myriad careers in every sort of endeavor ranging from the military to show business to biochemistry to entrepreneurship to politics to education to professional athletics to law to medicine and to dozens of others. The one characteristic these alumni share is a dedicated work ethic.
Add any additional comments that you feel would describe your time at the Academy and how it has benefited you as an employee. The satisfaction of working with an assemblage of interesting and dedicated educators and diverse and appreciative students is priceless. I raised my family here as part of a larger family, and those connections to me are FUMA.