Roosevelt student goes to Springfield on invite from Gov. Pat Quinn
When undergraduate Howard Brown delivered remarks on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at a Higher Education Diversity and Inclusion Forum in Chicago, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn liked what he heard so much that he invited the Roosevelt University student to his State of the State address in Springfield, Ill.
Brown, who visited the state capital to hear the speech on Wednesday, Jan. 29, not only got a lesson in state politics: He also received a mention in the State of the State address as the governor discussed the need for state lawmakers to increase Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for college students in Illinois.
“I liked the governor’s stands on a number of issues,” said Brown, a College of Education major, Mittie, Moselynne and Dempsey J. Travis Foundation scholar and MAP grant recipient. “What I’ve learned from the experience is that the power of being educated and being prepared can open new doors.”
Brown, who spoke publically on MLK day about the need for interaction, communication and understanding in order to achieve diversity, has a long list of accomplishments including serving as a resident assistant at Roosevelt’s Wabash Building, minister of music at his Chicago south-side church, weekend supervisor at Roosevelt’s Chicago Campus cafeteria and director of the University’s Proclaim gospel choir. All of that and more made an impression on Quinn (pictured below with Brown). “After I gave my speech and sat down, the governor leaned over and told me ‘You’re an amazing person. You gave a great speech and you’re very charismatic.’ Then he asked me what I was going to be doing the next week,” recalled Brown.
Asked later by one of the governor’s staff members to attend Quinn’s State of the State address, the Roosevelt student jumped at the invitation. For Brown, it was the first time visiting the state capital since a field trip to Springfield as an eighth grader and the second time in less than two weeks’ time that Brown had an opportunity to interact personally with the governor.
“I was impressed by his State of the State address and the fact that Governor Quinn remembered me and my speech,” said Brown, who met the governor a second time shortly after his State of the State address at a private reception.
The experience for Brown went by like a whirlwind. However, he’s been asked by the governor to stay in contact, and if invited to another event, Brown is ready to be available.
“I’m amazed how things unfold themselves: Being at Roosevelt afforded me the opportunity to give that speech, which then made it possible for me to go to Springfield,” said Brown, who hopes to graduate in 2015 and to go on for an advanced degree so he can pursue a career in higher education.