CHADRON – The Brown Family received the Family Tree Award during Chadron State College’s Homecoming on Oct. 1. Presented annually, the Family Tree Award honors families with a tradition of attending CSC. The recipient family must include a minimum of three generations of graduates. At least two of the family members must have a record of outstanding service to the college, the alumni association, their community, or their profession.
The late Neil Brown attended CSC after serving in the Army through the spring of 1949. He played on CSC’s championship football team with his brother, Robert.
Their parents, Lee and Blanche Brown, lived on campus and his father milked cows at the college dairy farm on the south side of campus.
Neil and his wife, Arlene, had three children: Bob, Don, and Richard. Arlene, a graduate of Alliance High School, was a CSC cheerleader during her time as a student. Her parents were Dan O’Connell and Helen McMasters.
Robert earned his bachelor’s in 1972 and his master’s in 1976 from Chadron State College. He went on to earn his educational specialist degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 1983.
He was a guidance counselor from 1976-83 and spent nearly three decades in the roles of principal and superintendent in five different communities throughout Nebraska before he retired in 2010.
He and his wife, Cheri live in Omaha and have three children: Kerri Mason, Kristi, and Mark, and five grandchildren.
Cheri (Reed) Brown, the daughter of Keith and Margie Reed, earned her bachelor’s in 1974 and taught school in Alliance, Albion, Genoa, and Broken Bow before retiring in 2008.
While at CSC, Kerri earned her bachelor’s in pre-medicine in 1996 as an RHOP student and went on to earn her medical degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1999.
She lives in Denver where she has been an emergency medicine physician at Denver Health for 15 years. Kerri was recently recognized for exceptional service to the American Board of Emergency Medicine. She also serves as an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has three children: Jack, Maddie, and Rhys.
Don, who died in July 2022, attended CSC from 1972-74. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1979, he taught Physical Education and coached in Millard and Alliance. He served as the director of the Alliance YMCA and was on the staff of the Nebraska Boys’ Ranch.
Don and his wife, Karen, had four children: Trisha, Jason, Spencer, and Tyler. Karen, daughter of Terry and Berniece Shannon, attended CSC from 1972-75. She owned and operated Alliance Physical Therapy from 1994, until she retired in 2017. She served on the Nebraska Board of Physical Therapy and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. She received the Site of Clinical Excellence award from Creighton University and the Clinician of the Year Award from the Nebraska Physical Therapists Association in 2017.
Spencer’s wife, Jessica, attended in 2013-14 and studied pre-nursing. She is a surgical nurse at Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance.
Trisha’s daughter, MaKayla Davidson, is the fourth generation of the Brown family to attend CSC.
She was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society and graduated from CSC in 2020. She is continuing her education at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in Integrated Studies.
Dr. Richard Brown and his wife, Gwenlyn, met in English class. The couple lives in Grand Island and have been married 47 years.
Richard earned his bachelor’s degree in 1977 with a double major in chemistry and biology. He earned his Doctor of Optometry from the Indiana School of Optometry in 1984. He was the president of the Student Optometric Association in 1983.
In 1988, he received CSC’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award. He practiced optometry in Grand Island for 29 years before retiring in 2013.
Gwenlyn, daughter of Orvis and Onda West, earned two degrees, one in speech and one in drama in 1978. In 1989, she earned a master’s in guidance and counseling from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She taught high school English and speech for 10 years. She also taught personal development courses at Central Community College. She concluded her career at Grand Island Senior High as director of guidance and counseling from 1993 to 2012.
Richard and Gwenlyn have two children: Neil and Rebecca, and five grandchildren.