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Michael Brown | At-Large Trustee

Class of 1995, Masters in Public Administration

Portrait: Michael BrownWhy I Serve

I moved from New Orleans to Seattle to enroll in graduate school at what is now the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. The campus itself is stunning, but what also struck me about my new home was the vibrancy of human connections. People of different stripes, political opinions, and backgrounds all come together as Huskies. Attending UW means you become part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a community that exists wherever you are in the world.

My graduate program worked to connect students of color with mentors from UW and/or the general community. The experience was life changing. At 23 years old, it put me on a path that I never could have envisioned, and that mentor remains an adviser to me even today. I see it as my responsibility to pay it forward. I never turn down a request to meet with Evans School students because maybe that one conversation leads to connections that help shape their futures.

UW is open to all. We must continue to remove barriers to higher education with a focus on racial and economic equity. This is a cutting edge, 21st-century university. We have an opportunity to nurture incredibly talented people who will better the world. As alumni, think of who inspired you as a student and then be that person for someone else.


Michael Brown is Chief Architect of Seattle Foundation’s Civic Commons, a new regional civic infrastructure aimed at including and uniting community voices in decision-making to advance racial and economic equity. He has also served as the Seattle Foundation’s Vice President of Community Programs, where he oversaw community impact efforts, strategic grant-making initiatives, convening activities, and the impact investing program.