Longtime Employee of the Rawls Retires, Leaves Legacy
If you are an alumni or friend of the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, odds are you have probably interacted with Susan Brown. Over the last 18 years Susan has served in many different roles with the college, culminating with her role as the Director of Alumni Relations.
A native of West Texas, Susan spent many years in Denver, Colorado. With her family roots in West Texas, Susan came back to visit often and always felt, “Texan at heart.” After her parents passed away, she knew it was time to come home and raise her kids in a family focused community.
Upon moving back to Lubbock, Susan began working for the City of Lubbock in the area of Planning and Zoning. Through her position Susan met Dr. Paul Goebel, a professor of finance at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech who would eventually serve as interim dean and retired in 2017. Goebel knew Susan was special, and he encouraged her to apply for an open position with the Rawls College. In March of 2000, Susan joined the Rawls College as a Development Coordinator, where she served for 2 years. She then went on to work for 7 years as an Executive Assistant for the late Dean Allen McInnes. Dr. McInnes also recognized how remarkable Susan was and promoted her to the Director of Alumni Relations.
“When I came to Texas Tech I was looking for a career rather than a job,” said Susan. “I wanted something I could sink my teeth into and grow in. It turned out to be exactly that.”
Susan has been crucial in building relationships with Rawls alumni.
“Susan had the ‘secret sauce' for relating to our alumni,” said Dr. Margaret L. Williams, Dean of the Rawls College of Business. “She not only remembered their names, their accomplishments, and job histories, she got to know them personally and made them feel special by knowing the details of their lives. Many alumni will be her friends for life.”
The Rawls alumni agree.
“As a donor and as an alumnus, Susan was always the person I could call on who knew everything, said Rawls alumnus, Dory Wiley. “ Her personality made it easy to work with her and she made it fun to work with the business school. She made me feel special, but the reality is that she takes care of everyone that way and still manages to make everyone feel special.”
As she has gone above and beyond to fulfill her duties over the years, Susan has made life-long friends.
"Every time I meet any alumni, they always tell me how wonderful my mom is and that none of this would be possible without her,” said Susan's daughter, Casey Pugh. “As Russ Webb always says, ‘Susie Q is the glue'."
In 2001, under the guidance of McGinnis, Susan was instrumental in establishing the Rawls Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is made up of 60 individuals from the business world who bring a wide variety of expertise and leadership to Rawls students and administration. The group helps guide the college through professional and financial assistance.
“Susan has been the glue that has held the Rawls Advisory Council together through the years,” said Jim Skinner, current Advisory Council Chair. “Her passion for the students and her commitment to excellence has been instrumental in the growth and success of the RAC.”
Skinner added that not only can you count on Susan to get things done, but you can also count on her to make sure everyone else fulfills their responsibilities.
“She is outstanding in getting very busy people to complete what they have committed to do. Susan motivates through kindness and caring.”
As a guiding force for the Advisory Council from the very start, members are especially fond of Susan. In 2016, the council banded together to express their gratitude for Susan's hard work and constant support.
"A group of us wanted to honor Susan's tireless efforts in supporting the Advisory Council," said Randy Golden, Advisory Council Chair 2005-2007. “The goal was to honor Susan while also supporting the students. I put seed money in a scholarship fund and challenged other members to donate. In less than three weeks we raised $40,000 to establish the Susan Brown Scholarship Endowment."
As Susan shared her decision to retire with Advisory Council members, they began planning how they could thank Susan for her 18 years of service to the Rawls College of Business. During the fall 2018 convening of the Advisory Council in Houston, the council bestowed emeritus membership upon Susan and added an additional $50,000 to her scholarship endowment. Additional gifts from alumni have since come in as the news spread of Susan's retirement.
“The scholarship really is the pinnacle of my career,” said Susan.
Dean Williams believes the scholarship will help carry on Susan's legacy in the Rawls College of Business.
“With contributions now totaling over $100,000, the Susan Brown Scholarship is the clearest signal of the debt of gratitude our alumni feel for Susan and her dedication to the Rawls.”The students who have received the scholarship are often inspired by Susan's accomplishments and willingness to serve others.
“I love this university with a passion,” said William Carpenter, a 2018 recipient of the Susan Brown Endowed Scholarship. “One day, I would like to fund a scholarship for students just like Susan and the other great donors have done for me.”
As a new emeritus member of the Advisory Council, Susan is excited to remain a part of the Rawls family and plans to continue attending as many Rawls events as possible.
“I was thrilled to find out that my email will follow me for life, “said Susan. “ I expect to keep in contact with all of my Rawls family. In fact, shortly after my official retirement date, I am traveling to Dallas to attend an alum's Birthday party. I want to keep my relationships alive. I look forward to seeing people at games, tailgates, events, and even meetings.”
Although she is excited about retirement, Susan knows she will miss working with people every day.
“The people here are unassuming, generous, thoughtful, humble, and quietly successful,” said Susan. “The Rawls really is like a family to me. I have met amazing people and made lifelong friends. I have been very blessed and my time here at the Rawls really has changed my life.”
As she looks to retirement, Susan plans to enjoy time with her friends and family.
“My cousin, who is more like a surrogate mother to me, has dementia, “shared Susan. “She is my girl. I want to spend as much time with her as possible.”
She also plans to take some time for herself.
“I just want to be for a while,” she explained. “It has been a crazy pace of go, go, go for a very long time. I want to put me first by taking the time to reflect and really enjoy life.”
Susan's advice for anyone just beginning their journey at the Rawls College or at Texas Tech is to keep in mind the impact that employees have on the university's stakeholders.
“It probably sounds simplistic, but I want everyone to enjoy the ride,” said Susan. “Everything we do here at the Rawls is a good thing and we are changing people's lives for the better. Life is not easy, but every day you can choose to be happy.”