Brandy (Smith) Brown ’16 spent her early years on an 80-acre horse farm in Pennsylvania, but it wasn’t long before she discovered University of Findlay. Both of her parents are UF alumni who met while attending the University, so it has always been special to the family. Even more special, in fact, was that, in 2004, her family moved to Findlay after her father accepted an instructor position at the UF western farm.
As a result of being immersed in Oiler culture before even becoming an Oiler herself, Brown said that her familiarity with UF made her realize early on that it was, indeed, a special place and somewhere she wanted to be. In middle and high school, she and her dad would regularly attend UF basketball games among other happenings on campus. “I hung out at UF and the western farm constantly, so when I was ready for college, I did not look at or apply to any other colleges; it was Findlay or bust for me,” she said.
Brown began getting involved and growing her interests as soon as she arrived as a freshman. She was a member of Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society, volunteered with the Buford Center to promote and further study abroad opportunities for UF students, rode on the Western and English IHSA teams and the IDA Dressage team, was given the Campus Leader Award her junior year, and the Aletha Herwig Award for Outstanding Historical Research her senior year. “I was never bored,” she said.
Brown’s goal was to eventually become a lawyer – she’d known since she was a young girl – and, because UF had a pre-law program, she was excited to be taking classes that would prepare her for law school and the legal profession. The program did exactly what it is designed to do; it pushed Brown to be a better academic and to be more professional, thus setting her up for success in law school. “Specifically, the pre-law department went above and beyond to the extent that I was offered multiple full tuition scholarships to law schools around Ohio,” she said. “Without my UF professors, that never would have been possible.”
Being pushed academically led to what Brown calls the most memorable experiences she had at UF. She participated in Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity twice during her time at UF – her junior and senior year – first for a legal debate, and the following year to present a historical research project. Of particular benefit was that the opportunity helped her to grow past a sizable fear of public speaking. “It was something that served me well in law school, where I ended up relying heavily on those public speaking skills as I concentrated in criminal law litigation,” she explained. “I even ended up winning awards for my oral advocacy skills in law school – something I never would have anticipated prior to coming to UF.”
Equipped with a long-time love for history and wanting it to be a part of her college life, she said she “tacked on a history major for fun.” That love for history, and the persistence of faculty at UF to continue to coax Brown to go above and beyond the expectations she had set for herself before entering UF, created the chance for what she labeled a “life changing” occurrence. Studying abroad with the London Scholars Program saw her traveling to England for three weeks and completing a research project on the role of women in post WWII London. She met with the chief historian and got a behind the scenes tour at the Imperial War Museum, and the project eventually became her senior thesis for her history degree. “Beyond the fun research, traveling to London was one of the most empowering experiences of my life. I had never been abroad and to be able to explore and take on that experience by myself gave me a lot of confidence as well as broadened my world view,” Brown said.
Upon graduating magna cum laude from UF as a double major in pre-law and history, Brown, who was awarded Outstanding Student in Law her junior year, and was a member and President of the Law Society at UF, attended law school at the University of Toledo on a full tuition scholarship and graduated with her Juris Doctor in 2019. Sworn into the Ohio Bar in 2020, she is now a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. Brown said that she thought she would end up practicing criminal law, but the opportunity to come back to work at Toledo presented itself and she couldn’t say no. Now the assistant director of development at the University of Toledo College of Law, she has a role where she can directly impact its growth and help it continue to prosper. “It’s really fulfilling for me,” she said. “I spend my days connecting with Toledo Law alumni and helping them to stay connected to the school and its students.”
Brown, whose husband, father, mother, and older sister all have degrees from UF, said that the University is where she learned to be an adult and a professional. “UF taught me how to work hard, step out of my comfort zone, form connections and be a professional. Without that, I never would have made it successfully through law school and into the legal profession. UF was so much more than classes and grades for me and I am forever thankful for that,” she disclosed. “I had an amazing undergraduate experience as an Oiler and I could not have asked for more.”