Reflections on Ken Brown
November 14, 2010
Over the years I’ve learned to state the obvious; that is, not to assume that others know what everyone should know. So I’ll begin this afternoon by sharing a few things about Ken that could go without saying among friends.
- Ken began teaching at Manchester in 1961 – I was three – became director of peace studies in 1980 and continued teaching as professor emeritus through last fall
- He inherited from the likes of Gladdys Muir, Allen Deeter and others a tremendous foundation in peace studies and built on it a legacy –
- Muir’s afternoon teas, for example, became weekly Kenapoc meetings faithfully hosted at Ken and Viona’s for decades
- And the Peace Studies Institute and Bulletin benefitted from his stewardship
- Ken was a leader in peace studies at local, denominational, national and international levels and received more awards than he was comfortable with
On a more personal note, I learned from Ken the power of a soft touch. It was his approach to major conflicts and interpersonal relations. I was a peace studies major and student of Ken’s before returning to Manchester as an administrator. Ken joked sometimes that my role as executive vice president proved that peace studies majors could “make it,” implying, I sometimes thought, that I’d gone over to the dark side. More than once, though, he moved close beside me in the hallway or after a faculty meeting and said, quietly, I know you have a tough job, Dave, and I’m glad that people like you and Jo Switzer and Tim McElwee are here at Manchester. His soft touch was always perfectly timed. It was heartfelt and understated – and deeply appreciated.
That was Ken – heartfelt, understated and deeply and forever appreciated.