Dr. Carol Brown, described as a warrior, an advocate and a voice for the voiceless, has died at the age of 67 after more than a decade of service in the PCC community.
Brown was stabbed to death at her home in Altadena, CA on Monday, March 22. PCC President Erika Endrijonas broke the news of Brown’s passing in a public statement Tuesday morning, honoring her contributions to the community and sharing information on the attack.
Brown worked at PCC for nearly 15 years. While there, she worked in various roles such as the financial aid department, youth services, rapid response emergency aid, Extended Opportunity Programs & Services and most recently she served as the co-coordinator of the Black STEM program.
No matter where she was found on campus, Dr. Brown always left a lasting impression on staff and students. PCC English professor Emily Fernandez recounted the first time she met Brown.
“She ran the Dreamkeepers program at the time, which offers emergency funds for the students,” Fernandez said. “I remember her inviting me into her office space. It was just a cubicle but the space felt like love. She had food and water to give out to students. She wore a big comfy scarf and had another one draped on the extra chair which she moved and invited me to sit. She had thank-you cards and drawings on her board, positive quotes, a plethora of lists and pamphlets of the organization that offered services, and pictures of her grown children. I remember the way she sat me down, the way she laughed, the way it felt welcomed.”
She touched many hearts during her years at PCC. Many of her colleagues reached out to eulogize or pay their respects. Armia Walker, vice president of The Association of Black Employees (TABE) and counselor at PCC, wanted Brown to be remembered for her tireless work ethic and empathy for students.
“Dr. Carol Brown always served as a source of encouragement and dedication,” Walker said. “Whenever I knew of a student in need, I would go to Dr. Brown and she never turned them away. She went above and beyond to make sure students received the resources they needed. Moreover she was a pillar of support for her fellow colleagues both professionally and personally. She will be truly missed.”
In recent years, Dr. Brown earned her doctorate and inspired other PCC community members to do the same. According to a statement from TABE, where Brown served as an executive board member in years past, she could often be heard telling aspiring medical students to “hang in there, doctor.”
“She encouraged me to get my doctorate and then was a supporter until I finished my degree,” Dr. Gena L. Lopez said. “She also made students her priority. She will be greatly missed and I stand in mourning for such a loss to us all. May she be at peace with the ancestors.”
Brown brought her service beyond campus and worked with a local charter high school to establish a homeless shelter for PCC students. She also worked with local foster youth and helped create a rainy day shelter for students.
“She is a wonderful person, she’s done a lot of great things for students, especially the foster youth,” Lynn Nguyen, a friend and former colleague of Brown, said. “She really believed in empowering them with tools for success and gave them all the resources that they needed to connect them to the real world, you know, get them on their feet. She cared deeply about all her students and all her friends as well, and especially her family.”
In her personal life, Brown was an avid fisher and loved to gush about her adventures at sea. According to Nguyen, she was family oriented and always willing to go the extra mile for the people in her life.
“She loved her kids so much, and she talks about her daughter and her sons quite often, and even her brother,” Nguyen said. “She’s a great person. She was always doing things for others. Recently she helped a friend with a personal statement so he could get into his residency program. She even helped me with my job applications when I was applying to be a librarian. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
The love for Dr. Brown was evident in the days following her passing as community members started a growing memorial of flowers, notes and memorabilia on campus. Those interested in making contributions can find the memorial in the quad by the CC and G buildings.
Brown was 67 years old. She leaves behind her daughter, and her two sons. Robert Cotton, a son of Brown, is a suspect in her murder.
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