Faculty, students and staff gathered in the Cottage library to honor the large donation of books and journals by Dr. Matthew Brown, an instructor in Sociology and the Honors Program, who passed away last November from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Dr. Brown first arrived in Boulder in the mid-90s as a PhD student in Sociology, and continued on as an instructor after receiving his PhD in 2003. He taught several courses that were cross-listed with WGST and LGBTQ Studies, including The Social Construction of Sexuality, he participated in the development of the LGBTQ Studies Certificate, and helped organize the TRANSforming Gender conference for nearly a decade.
Dr. Brown was an avid reader, and before his passing he had arranged for many of his books to have a new home here in the Cottage library – his donation has increased and updated our holdings greatly, including many books on sexuality, race, LGBTQ Studies, gender, history, art, law, and queer fiction. Students have already benefitted from our new collection, including those in Dr. Soares’ Queer Theory class, many of whom used Dr. Brown’s materials as part of their research project. One student in the course wrote of Dr. Brown, “he has been one of my favorite professors at CU. I loved his teaching style and admired him as a person, so I was immediately excited to explore his collection upon finding out it could be used for this assignment. He was always able to “queer” the class with his language, sense of humor, and assignments, always working to stray from the “norm” and keep us interested and excited.”
Another WGST student who had benefitted from Dr. Brown's mentorship wrote of the impact this had made in their life: “I miss him, and I miss having a queer sociology professor to teach methodologies and allow me to learn from other queer people how best to create queer reparative research. I knew I was queer for so long before I met him, and still he was the first queer adult who would let me say that sex matters, and he even said the same- my high school teachers obviously could not for legal reasons, and the queer support networks near me all represented themselves as being 'GLBT,' which was a word I understood to mean that I was not actually welcome there and that they would not engage in any difficult conversations.”
Dr. Brown’s legacy also lives on with the creation of a scholarship fund in his name, the Matthew C. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide support for graduate students in Sociology who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive social impact through teaching, and who have faced unusual adversity or are from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in Sociology.