|Tom had the ability to offer insights that help people find success.|
The Chillicothe Campus lost a valued teacher, mentor and friend when Tom Brown passed away on Aug. 17 following an illness.
Tom was known for his straight-forward manner, hearty laughter and common-sense approach. But, perhaps most importantly, Tom was cherished because of his caring attitude. He cared deeply about the success of students and went out of his way to offer the insights that would allow them to succeed in their careers and their lives.
He also cared about his co-workers. More than a passing utterance, when Tom asked how you were doing, he waited for an answer. And, if the reply was less than upbeat, you could expect a follow-up visit from Tom in the near future to see how you were doing. As one co-worker noted, her relationship with Tom evolved over time from him being a colleague to a mentor and a friend.
Even in his last days, when faced with his own illness, through email messages Tom urged co-workers to treasure their good health, value the things that matter and to make each day count.
Tom was a true colleague. Because of his practical wisdom, Tom served as a sounding board for many individuals with difficult decisions in the workplace and, often, beyond. Once Tom said “Let’s talk about it,” there was a confidence that an answer on the horizon. Then, after listening intently, Tom would invariably offer sage advice that cut to the chase of the matter. Beyond these useful insights, Tom offered that most precious commodity -- hope.
Further, no matter how busy Tom was, he had time for others. He was often seen in deep conversation while walking the hallways or to his car.
Tom, assistant professor and coordinator of the business management program, was a member of the OU-C community for more than 20 years. He was previously an executive with Mead Paper, and that background in business served him well. Tom was able to share important nuances and everyday examples that prepared his students for success in the workplace. Toward that end, he went out of his way to host workshops on relevant topics such as business dinner etiquette, making a good first impression and the importance of teamwork in the workplace. He also presented workshops for working professionals that helped them maintain their compass.
The essence of Tom’s wisdom and caring attitude is probably best exemplified by the “Building a Successful Life” workshop he led to help individuals find careers that fit their talents, interests and priorities.
Tom’s own explanation of the workshop’s goals captures his unique spirit more eloquently than other words could ever accomplish.
As he explained, “The workshop is geared toward helping each student build a successful life, and then choosing the educational discipline and career that support that life. We want our students to lead thoughtful lives, not random lives where they are controlled by outside forces. By no means do I pretend to have all of the answers. It is my role to help these talented individuals consider the right set of questions to help them find the answers that best benefit them.”
“The fulfilled life is a different life for each individual. The key is to know yourself and to visualize where you want to end up in life while seeing your life as more than your profession. Once you determine what is important to you, then you can develop an infrastructure for living a planned, fulfilling life.”
“You must know your destination, where you are now and how you are going to achieve your goals, both professionally and personally. Most people spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do determining their priorities.”
Fortunately for Tom’s former students and numerous friends at OU-C, his wisdom lives on in the timeless insights he shared. And, as that last sentence shows, it was often dispensed with Tom’s trademark wit.
Tom may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.
Following is a link to Tom’s obituary: http://www.warefh.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2638028&fh_id=13229
Chillicothe Campus members will have the opportunity to contribute toward an appropriate memorial in Tom’s honor. Plans are in progress and details will be forthcoming.