Profiles in Financial Aid: Ron Brown from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor (TX)
Ron Brown has seen many changes in the financial aid world during his nearly 25 years in the profession. But one thing has remained constant- the importance of treating students with courtesy and respect. Ron, Director of Financial Aid at The University of Mary Hardin Baylor (TX), keeps himself busy outside of the office, whether it be in TASFAA or TG’s Council for the Management of Higher Education. He takes pride in his involvement with the Love Cure Foundation that supports cancer research. He is a past member of the Belton City Council Planning and Zoning Commission and has served as a Civil Service Commissioner. A good day for Ron is assisting students at UMHB and boating on a nearby lake. Ron decided to use his high school senior picture, as it shows him with a full head of hair, something he no longer possesses. He was recently interviewed by Don Buehrer, Nelnet’s Regional Director for SWASFAA.
Don: How did you select financial aid as your profession?
Ron: My degree was in Business Administration. Memory Yerkes (the former FAD) was leaving to work for TG, and there was an opening!
Don: What major changes have you seen in financial aid during your years in the industry?
Ron: Everything has changed! How students apply, cost of attendance, campus housing, federal/state funding, how students borrow, campus employment wages, automation possibilities, and our staffing. The only thing that has not changed is a quote I keep on my desk that says “People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. The importance of treating students well has not changed.
Don: What is your favorite movie, book, TV show?
Ron: Driving Miss Daisy was a great movie; See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar was a good book; and to my shame, I like “Modern Family”. (It has been rumored that he also likes Swamp People, Duck Dynasty and some other weird reality shows.)
Don: If you could change one financial aid regulation, what would it be and why?
Ron: Probably the state’s regulation regarding completion of 24 hours and a 2.5 cumulative GPA for grant assistance. I believe if they are progressing toward a degree, we should continue to assist them. The grant could make the difference in their persistence to graduate.
Don: Who are/were your mentors?
Ron: Carolyn Cunningham (University of North Texas- Retired); David Krause (St. Mary’s University, TX); Delisa Falks (Texas A&M University); Jacob Frairie (TG); Marcus Wilson (Texas Tech University), and Terri Bazan (Austin Community College) among others. I like anybody who will tell me how to do things, so I don’t have to recreate the wheel.
Don: What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Ron: Being able to help students fund their education, so that they can remain enrolled and work towards a degree.
Don: Name one thing about you that most people do not know.
Ron: I was run over by a boat in 1986 and have a plastic plate in my head. Explains a lot . . . .
Don: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?
Ron: Budget requests that will enable our office to assist students further into late spring/early summer.
Don: How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
Ron: I like going to the lake, and I like to travel. Garage sales are fun too.
Don: If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would they be?
Ron: My Nanny (deceased); Robert Love (best friend who is deceased), and my father-in-law (deceased).
Don: What was your most enjoyable vacation (and what did you do?)
Ron: Going to NASFAA on the 4th of July in 2005 in New York City and seeing a Yankees game followed by fireworks on the East River! That was a pretty cool vacation . . . I mean conference!
Don: Do you have any upcoming vacation plans?
Ron: Yes, going to Destin, Florida for some time on the beach in June then to Yellowstone National Park where my son works as a fly fishing guide at the end of the summer.