Kent D. Syverud, JD, law dean and the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, presented the Dean’s Medal to alumnus Mel F. Brown, JD, Nov. 9 at the annual Scholars in Law dinner.
The Dean’s Medal is the highest honor the dean can bestow upon a graduate of the School of Law.
Selected entirely by the dean, the award is designed to acknowledge a person who has made extraordinary contributions to the law school, including the contributions of inspiring others and enhancing the school’s progress. Since its creation in 1995, eight people have received the Dean’s Medal.
Mel F. Brown is a 1961 graduate of the law school. He also earned his undergraduate degree from WUSTL in 1957.
Brown, a former U.S. Army officer, is the retired chairman of Founders Bancshares. He is a former president and CEO of Deutsche Financial Services, a unit of Germany’s largest bank, with world headquarters in St. Louis.
He was president and chief executive of ITT Commercial Finance and, under his leadership, the company grew to become the largest in its industry. He currently is the chairman of Triad Bancshares.
Brown is well known in St. Louis for his community service efforts. Although Washington University always has been one of his most cherished endeavors, he has served on countless other boards, such as the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Forest Park Forever, Missouri Foundation for Health and the Whitaker Charitable Foundation.
A longtime supporter of the law school, Brown was a founding member of the School of Law National Council. He initiated and personally funded the Mel Brown Family Loan Repayment Assistance Program to address the debt burden for those pursuing a legal career of public service.
Brown also has served on the university’s Board of Trustees from 1999-2002 as executive vice chair and chair of the Alumni Board of Governors, and has been president of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society as well as the Eliot Society executive committee, serving three years as national patrons chair.
Brown received the law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, the Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007, and the Founders Day Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
Brown gave his first scholarships in 1984 to WUSTL’s Olin Business School in memory of his late wife, Jacqueline Hirsch Brown, AB ’63, who died in 1981. Twenty-eight years later, he continues to support students through the Mel and Pamela Brown Scholar in Law program.