In appreciation of 50 years of teaching students and changing lives.
In support of Emersonians to come.
In his 50 years at Emerson College, Professor Mike Brown has taught thousands of Emersonians and left a lasting impact on those who have been lucky enough to learn from him.
As they share in written and recorded tributes below, Professor Brown's courses on government, civil rights and the First Amendment had far-reaching impacts on their education, lives and careers
To celebrate Professor Brown’s legacy and enable future Emersonians to continue breaking barriers in the communication world, Emerson College has established the Professor Michael Brown Scholarship Fund. This fund will support incoming School of Communication students from historically underserved and underrepresented backgrounds with financial need.
A generous donor has agreed to match all gifts, dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000. So your support will have double the impact, helping to ensure that future Emersonians have the opportunity to thrive, create, and communicate—no matter their financial background. Watch and read on, and consider making your gift to the Michael Brown Scholarship Fund.
Learn more about the purpose and meaning of the Michael Brown Scholarship in the video below. Then scroll on for more tributes from decades of Professor Brown's students and colleagues.
More Tributes from Professor Brown's former students
(Then scroll down for some great videos.)
Congratulations Professor Mike Brown on 50 years of success. In 1975, I was a 17-year-old Freshman trying to navigate the college experience. Through your guidance and support I evolved from shy teenager unsure of the future into a confident young woman eager to meet the challenges of the world. I am so grateful to have had you as an advisor and mentor.
Thank you for your time, energy and patience. Your dedication and passion for the profession inspired me to become an educator. You have always topped the list as my Favorite professor.
—Patrice Turner-Lapp ’79
When I arrived at Emerson in 1971 Mike Brown was THAT GUY on campus. You knew if there was a question or an issue that needed to be dealt with Mike Brown was there. Throughout the years, generations later, Mike Brown is still THAT GUY.
He was a guiding light through so many dark times and honestly, the good times as well. He is an advocate of those trying to find their voice and of anyone that needs a hand. Let me be clear, he can be a friend as well as a foe. Truly, Emerson has greatly benefited from Mike Brown's presence on campus. It’s been great to know you the last 50 years Mike. Thank you for the honor.
—Stephen Farrier ’75
I took a Mike Brown class my first semester freshman year, and failed my midterm. I'd never failed a test in my life, and I was in shock. I went to meet with him, and as I held back tears he told me "the good news is that you took a Mike Brown class early, and now you know what you have to do." I upped my game, learned the Equal Protection Clause backwards and forwards, and managed an A- in the class.
Cut to junior year, I decided to take Civil Rights. This time, I knew what to do, and scored a 102 on my final. I still have the blue book over a decade later as it remains one of my proudest accomplishments.
Mike Brown cemented my love of politics, the Constitution, and government. I now have a master's in political science, live in Washington, and work in the national security field protecting US elections and operations from foreign threats.
Thank you, Mike Brown, for pushing me to get there.
—Heather Marie Vitale ’08
I would not have my law firm and the legal career that I do had it not been for the influence of Professor Brown. The analytical process that he developed of his students (including me) formed the baseline of everything that followed in my continuing education and career. I have been able to utilize my law degree and bar admission to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I am a proud alumnus of Emerson and certainly, of all of the Mike Brown classes I was privileged to take.
—Peter Brown ’99
Professor Brown brought such important lived experience, wisdom and compassion to the classroom and it benefitted everyone. He knew how to motivate and push students to succeed like no educator that I had before or after. The students of Emerson are enormously fortunate to have benefitted from having Mike Brown in the classroom for fifty years.
Like so many Emersonians who came before and after me, I left Mike Brown’s classroom different and better. Mike Brown, I thank you for the lessons, tough love and patience over the years. I know many more students will benefit from the opportunity to learn judicial review from the master.
—David Jordan ’01
I think I took all four courses Mike Brown offered during my time at Emerson. I was quiet in class but I sat near the front because he could obviously smell weakness on the students who sat toward the back.
Today I am a senior producer at NPR, and every time I work on something related to government or constitutional law, I think about Mike Brown and his class. But beyond the raw content, his classes left an impression on so many of us because he ENJOYED what he was teaching. He had a passion not just for the course material but for the act of truly understanding—a gift more valuable than the contents of any single blue book.
Congrats to Professor Brown on an invaluable 50 years.
—Brent Baughman ’10
I was enrolled in a course taught by Mike Brown during my freshman year at Emerson. I cannot remember the course name, but what I do remember was to succeed in his course required preparation and thought-provoking participation which meant you had to do the work. This created a discipline for me and raised my efforts of thoroughness, as I navigated through Emerson, outside internships, and later in my professional endeavors. It was also psychologically significant for me to arrive in Boston, a city that had been nationally highlighted as the bedrock of racism, to have a professor of color who presented himself reverently, forthright, and dutiful. And a Professor who taught us if you do the work and believe in yourself, there is nothing you cannot achieve. I am grateful for Mike’s commitment to students, to the students of color and to his continued support of Emerson alumni.
—Leslie Moraes Davis ’80
I took three classes with Mike Brown over my four years at Emerson: Government & Politics, Civil Rights and First Amendment. They were some of the toughest classes I took at Emerson but I never regretted taking them. Those courses are the ones that I have thought about the most in the seven years since I have graduated Emerson. I have saved all of the notes that I took in his classes and every once in a while I will pull then out to look over and reread. I would like to thank Mike Brown for being the toughest professor I had at Emerson but also being the one I learned the most from. I still think about him often.
—Samantha Washburn ’14
Bonus Videos: Emersonians Celebrate 50 Years of Professor Mike Brown
On May 5, 2021, as part of Emerson Week, the College hosted a virtual celebration Professor Brown’s (first) 50 years at Emerson College, featuring decades of former students, colleagues, family, friends and Professor Brown himself. In the first video below, we share a compilation of submissions from Professor Brown's students and colleagues. The second shares some highlights of that fantastic evening.