Spring 2010

[Alumni News]

A Lifetime of Pursuits

Scholarship helps student-athletes find their passion

STEVE BROWN MAY HAVE come to Humboldt State to play football, but while here he was able to take a summer course in photography with Imogene Cunningham. He calls it “one of the blessings of my life.”

The renowned photographer personally critiqued student work, Brown recalls. “It was a highlight,” he says. “I couldn’t wait to go to class.”

Brown, who graduated from HSU in 1969, is now President and CEO of Nexgen Pharma, a manufacturer of nutritional supplements and generic prescription pharmaceuticals. He continues to make time for a number of pursuits, including gardening, photography, woodworking and football, all of which became a way of life for him while at Humboldt State.

And he’s not the only one. First-year HSU student Joe Casey also arrived at Humboldt because of the football program. And like Brown, Casey has a surprising combination of interests. His major is nursing, and he has a love of acting inspired by his high school drama teacher back home in La Habra, Calif. Since arriving at HSU, his favorite course is oceanography.

“I didn’t know this until I was here,” he says, “but HSU is the only university that allows its undergraduates to go out on their research vessel. That was awesome. I didn’t get seasick but everybody else did.”

Last year Brown pledged $53,000 for scholarships to help pay tuition and fees for student-athletes like Casey. He knows from experience that athletic programs offer students a chance to learn skills not necessarily fostered in the classroom.

“Working hard because you are part of a team, those are lessons you don’t learn in a lot of other areas,” says Brown. “There’s nothing like getting out there and experiencing the sweat and strain, the motivation to get up in the morning and come to practice when you are beat up. It prepares you for the hard things in life. Because it’s not always going to be easy out there. This is one place you learn it.”