May 4, 2012

Ray Brown Announces RSU Retirement

Dr. Ray BrownDr. Ray Brown, Vice President for Economic and Community Development and Director of the Innovation Center, has announced his retirement from Rogers State University effective June 30.

Brown has been with the university since 1999 in various leadership capacities. He was a driving force behind the university's initial accreditation as a four-year university and also helped create its Center for Economic and Community Development and the Innovation Center, which fosters regional economic development and addresses educational needs of area business and industry.

RSU President Dr. Larry Rice praised Brown's service to the university.

"For the past 13 years, Ray Brown has been a valued member of the university's executive team and has provided unmatched leadership for both the university and area economic development efforts," Rice said. "We are extremely grateful for his dedication to this university and for strengthening northeastern Oklahoma's business community."

Brown first began working as a consultant with the university during its transition from community college to a four-year university. He joined the administration in 1999 as Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, where he led the university efforts for initial accreditation as a baccalaureate-granting institution.

After successfully helping RSU compete the university transition, Brown launched the Center for Economic and Community Development in 2002. As an outgrowth of those activities, he was able to secure funding to construct facilities for the purpose of promoting economic and community development. The Innovation Center opened in 2005 providing incubator space, small business counseling services, entrepreneurship training, applied demographic and economic research, and economic development initiatives.

Recent initiatives include regional collaboration, economic gardening which focuses on growing local businesses, and the Entrepreneur Ready Community Program that builds a local environment which encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. The center recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of service to the state's business community.

"I am deeply appreciative to my staff and the entire RSU family who have helped make a difference to students, entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the region," Brown said. "It has been my distinct pleasure to have worked alongside such a great team here at RSU, and I look forward to watching the Innovation Center continue its service to business and industry for years to come."

Dr. Brown has 37 years of experience in higher education including 30 years in executive management and extensive experience in economic and social research. Prior to joining Rogers State, Brown served as President of Western Oklahoma State College for four years. He also served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Sul Ross State University and Lamar University-Orange. He serves on the board of directors for Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority (CIEDA), the Northeast Oklahoma Rural Alliance and Northeast Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board.

Brown said that he intends to stay in the area during his retirement, but may pursue additional part-time opportunities to stay active in the regional economic development community.