Carl Brown ’67 - 97% Retired

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Q: Can you give us a snapshot of your Alpha Zeta experience?

CB: I took a senior Vet Sci. course as a freshman and became familiar with several AZ brothers. They were mentors I looked up to, and when they asked me to pledge I jumped at the opportunity. I was never the strongest scholar and being in AZ pushed me to excel in my courses. I enjoyed the fraternity life and working closely with a group of fellow students to run the house. The friendships I made at AZ were special and many still are.

Q: What are your favorite memories from those days?

CB: Certainly the social activities stand out. The dances and other social activities took me out of my comfort zone and expanded me socially. We also had some great times at meal time.

Q: What did you do after Penn State?

CB: After graduating from PSU I followed my big brother and several other AZ members down to Virginia Tech to work on a Master’s Degree in dairy genetics with Dr. John White. The following summer I was drafted into the Army and spent a year in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry as an infantry man, radio operator, and court martial clerk. Upon returning home, I returned to Virginia Tech and completed my degree, and was hired by the Holstein-Friesian Association to be a Program Director in Eastern PA. After working there for three years, I was invited to move to Brattleboro, Vermont, but chose to return to Virginia Tech to get my Ph.D. I always enjoyed teaching and thought that was the direction I would head. 

I worked with Dr. Paul Chandler in dairy nutrition and management. One of the areas I was heavily involved in was computerized ration balancing. My Ph.D. thesis developed dry matter intake equations that were used by NRC to predict feed intake of dairy cows of various body weights, different seasons, and milk and butterfat production abilities. Before I finished my degree, I was hired by Virginia Tech to run the 4-H/FFA dairy youth program in Virginia. In that capacity, I was fortunate to coach a National Champion 4-H Dairy Judging Team, and to develop the first multi-state Dairy Bowl contest. This event continues to be run in Louisville annually. At the same time, I was helping to teach and advise undergraduate students and work with graduate students in the area of dairy management. I eventually moved into full-time teaching and enjoyed it greatly.

I was born on a dairy farm that was part of a business owned by family, known as F.M. Brown’s Sons, Inc. When I graduated from college, my dad, uncle and several brothers, cousins, and hired men supplied the labor needed on the farm. This is why I went in a different direction. In 1980, my uncle had to retire because of health problems, and I was asked to return to the company to run the feed sales group. I accepted the position and remained sales manager and later treasurer of the company until I retired 1 ½ years ago. During the 34 years I was in this position, I continued to be involved in 4-H and FFA, and developed the All-American Junior Dairy Management Contest, which I headed up for its first 30 years. I also coached judging teams and spoke at many 4-H and FFA events. I was also instrumental in helping to build a new feed mill which opened in May of 2012, and is still one of the newest mills on the east coast.

I married my wife, Thelma, in 1984, and we have one son, George, who is a PSU Animal Science graduate and involved in running the QC for our Flour Division at Fleetwood. We live on a farm in Oley, PA. Overall it has been a pretty good life.

Q: How has AZ shaped your life?

CB: The brothers I have met in AZ continue to be friends and have had a huge impact on me by being mentors. Also, I have had to conduct a lot of meetings over the past 40+ years, and learning how to run meetings efficiently and effectively started when I was in AZ.

Q: What has inspired you to give back so generously to the chapter?

CB: I have been blessed in so many ways, and it is only natural to give some of it back.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with any AZ alumni?

CB: Yes, at various dairy events I often am working with AZ Alumni. Also, we get together in Lancaster in October for an alumni reunion that is always fun. Occasionally several of us get together for a meal or spend some time together on a mini-vacation.

Q: What are you up to these days?

CB: I tell people I am 97% retired, but they seldom believe me. I live on a small farm that keeps me busy. I’m also active in Oley New Life Church, American Legion, Oley Heritage Society, and Boy Scouts. My son is getting married this fall to a wonderful girl, so Thelma and I are looking forward to that. I also recently retired from the Penn Ag Board of Directors. Seems like I still have plenty to keep me busy!

Since my son graduated I don’t get back to State College except for business events. If I can, I try to grab some ice cream at the Creamery, visit the dairy barns, and visit with some of the Animal Science staff that I am friends with.