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Charlie and Susan Brown

Charlie and Susan Brown

Charlie and Susan Brown ('01) have strong ties to Western that began more than two decades ago. Susan began her journey at Western in 1997. In 2001, she received her MEd in adult education from Woodring. Also in 2001, Charlie was an adjunct professor teaching air pollution control for the College of the Environment.

While teaching, Charlie was also working as a chemical engineer at VECO Pacific. In 2002, he left Western and VECO and worked at BP, retiring in 2016 after a long career. He also served on the External Advancement board of the College of Science and Engineering at WWU.

Their daughter Vanessa Mark ('99) also attended Western.

Susan worked at Western in technology services and was software services manager when she retired in 2016. Susan and her colleagues David Hamiter and John Farquhar initiated a scholarship that upon her retirement was renamed the Susan Brown Advancing Technology Education Scholarship.

"The student employees in the department are terrific. When I was there, they became so capable in their four years at Western. They are so dedicated," said Susan.

Along with others, Charlie and Susan contributed to the permanently endowed the scholarship, which is awarded annually to students who help others learn technology skills. They also contributed to funds in the College of Science and Engineering and to Compass-to-Campus. Now, fitting with their current situation, they contribute to WWU using qualified charitable distributions from their IRA.

"I don't think many folks know about making contributions from an IRA," said Charlie. "With the caveat that everyone's situation is different, a qualified charitable distribution directly from an IRA can be a significant advantage as well as an excellent tool for charitable giving."

While enjoying their retirement, Charlie and Susan keep up with Western's activities and events.

"We love attending the functions at Western when we can. We love meeting the scholarship recipients," said Charlie.