Circle of Honor

Harold A. Brown

We could say the usual things about Prof. Brown and his time here at NMSU, that he was a professor and department head in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, but to many students who worked and learned under his guidance, Brown was more than the ordinary professor and administrator.brown

Ray Black, an electrical and computer engineering alum, who worked as Brown’s graduate student in the 1950’s, recalls him as being well-liked, easy to work for, but hard in that he knew what he wanted students to learn and accomplish.

Black says he feels Brown brought the college into the modern world, so to speak, when he began teaching classes on transistors and by obtaining surplus equipment from the government for the purpose of giving students hands-on training.

Black reported that Prof. Brown was a strong supporter of demanding higher academic standards for engineers, and he was instrumental in starting up the graduate and co-op programs, and the Eta Kappa Nu, Honorary Society, in the College of Engineering.

Bill Kersting, professor in the Klipsch Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, says he fondly remembers Brown as a dedicated teacher with an open door policy and for his strong support of the mission of the college, which at that time was 90 percent teaching, 5 percent service, and 5 percent research. He says Brown made registration, at a time when there were no computers, orderly and fair among the faculty; everyone knew exactly what they were doing, as well as what everyone else was doing.

Although Brown is often remembered by faculty and administrators as a “loner,” he knew his students well, says Kersting. In fact, Kersting recalls times when his graduate students, who attended NMSU while Brown was department head, would come through town and visit him only after visiting with Brown first. Others remember him riding his Harley Davidson and in his Mercedes convertible after he retired, as well as for his hobby of fixing electric organs, the only person in town with this expertise.

Brown’s support of engineering students was not only through his teaching and administration in the college, but also through financial support. Brown owned several acres of land along Espina Street and when the university wanted to acquire that land, now known as married housing, Brown traded it for scholarship money to honor his father. His scholarship is still in effect today. His estate willed to NMSU to fund Scholarships in Engineering is approximately $750,000.

Harold A. Brown: Born November 4, 1907, in Alameda, California, passed away Friday, January 2, 1998. In 1931 he received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and in 1932 a master of science in electrical engineering from Oklahoma A&M College. He joined the staff at New Mexico A&M College (now NMSU) in 1937 as a lecturer in electrical engineering, served as department head from 1955 to 1968.