Charlie Brown, B.A. Political Science 1969
Charlie Brown is a Pokes fan through and through. A native of North Carolina, he fell in love with the West and Wyoming while spending seven summers working as a guide on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. Following Horace Greeley’s advice to “Go West, young man”, he transferred from UNC-Chapel Hill to UW. Brown’s diverse background includes serving as an elected official, running an award-winning public relations firm, chief lobbyist for a statewide medical society, a teacher at the secondary and college levels and Realtor. He has worked on political campaigns at the local, gubernatorial, congressional and presidential levels.
Brown was elected to the Colorado legislature and later served as the “Cowboy Councilman” on the Denver City Council for 14 years. He represented a district with about the same population as Casper. Media were drawn to Brown for his candid insights. He appeared on numerous national television news shows, NPR, “The O’Reilly Factor" and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He was also quoted in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Forbes.
At the end of Brown’s term, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock issued a proclamation commending him, for among other things, “his love of our Western Heritage that has motivated Charlie to champion such causes as saving the Denver Police Department’s horse-mounted patrol and keeping the National Western Stock Show in Denver, as well as long-time service on the VISIT Denver Board of Directors.” In addition, “the ‘Cowboy Councilman’ took on the newest frontier of the West by leading council through the ‘green rush’ of developing regulations for implementing new laws around marijuana in Denver;” and “Charlie’s unique mix of media and political savvy provide us with colorful quips as well as ingenious marketing ideas that reflected his love for our city and those who serve us, such as his ordinance to allow turf from the old Mile High Stadium to be sold as a fundraiser for the Hero’s Fund, benefitting New York City firefighters and police who served during the September 11 attack.”
For those efforts and others, Brown will be inducted next March into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.
Brown lives in Denver with his wife of 35 years, Suzanne, former senior features editor at the Denver Post. The Browns have two grown sons.
How did UW prepare you for your success after graduation?
I had many challenging professors at UW. Many of them instilled in me the values of a strong work ethic, which I have continued to embrace and passed down to our children. The contacts I developed in Laramie and Jackson were invaluable. I was exposed to and came to appreciate what I believe is fundamental to the Wyoming ethos, which includes a belief in individual property rights. This helped me bring a different perspective to the variety of property rights issues that persistently came to city council. I tried to bring to council a Wyoming-like common-sense perspective and worked with my colleagues to be sure that all programs and policies were grounded in fiscal discipline.
What are you currently doing with your career?
I am writing a variety of articles for magazines, doing some political consulting, collecting western antiques, art and gardening. In fact, this year I planted 75 tomato plants. I am an active member on numerous boards. including the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, National Western Stock Show and the UW Alumni Association.
How has your career allowed you to give back to UW?
In 2014 I was honored to be named the College of Arts and Science Outstanding Alumnus and created the Charles V. Brown Scholarship for Colorado students who study political science. The scholarship has been a wonderful opportunity to give back and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting recipients who I believe will achieve productive and meaningful careers.
What is your favorite memory from UW?
To see how this university has evolved, how it has grown and received national recognition makes me proud to be a graduate. I will always appreciate the western lifestyle and hospitality of Wyoming people. This university captures you. How else can I explain sitting in the rain and snow for three hours and, eventually, running out on the field to help celebrate our 2017 victory in the Border War. Wyoming is my home away from home. I am not a native of this great state, but in my heart I will always be “a high-falutin, rootin’ tootin’ son of a gun from old Wyoming."
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