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Young WKU alumni couple establish endowed scholarship, but they are just getting started

For GeMonee and Alex Brown, Western Kentucky University not only prepared them for their future careers, but also brought the couple together. And they want to help others find the same opportunities they had as students.

To do this, the couple, who are both 27, has made a gift of $10,000 to establish the Alexandra and GeMonee Brown Scholarship, which will benefit a full-time student who is a rising senior pursuing a degree within the Gordon Ford College of Business.

Alex and GeMonee Brown (Photo from WKU)

“The Gordon Ford College of Business gave me real-life experience by putting professionals and business owners in place so students could interact with them,” GeMonee said. “This helped me learn how to navigate the business world and feel comfortable enough to approach people about ideas. Before I graduated, it was already normal for me to talk to people, dress well, shake hands and hold eye contact. I’m thankful to individuals like Adrianne Browning [Professional Development Specialist for Gordon Ford College of Business] and Stacey Gish [Business Communication Fundamentals Instructor] for helping prepare students for the future.”

GeMonee, who played football for the Hilltoppers in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship and in 2017 with a Master of Business Administration. Originally from Columbia, Miss., he is a Realtor with Crye Leike in Bowling Green.

“We decided to make a gift to WKU to allow other students to have more educational opportunities and to stay in school and graduate,” said Alex.

“When I was an undergraduate playing football for WKU, I was on scholarship, but graduate school was different,” said GeMonee. “Learning to deal with the FAFSA [Federal Application for Federal Student Loans] and student loans was hard.”

“This is why our scholarship is geared toward rising seniors,” Alex added. “I found myself out of KEES [Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship] money and scholarships as a senior, and there weren’t many scholarships available. We wanted to create opportunities for those students.”

Alex, who is originally from Louisville, Ky., graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and again in 2020 with a Master of Arts in Education. She’s in her fourth year in the classroom and her second year of teaching kindergarten at Plano Elementary School in Bowling Green.

GeMonee credits Dr. Evelyn Thrasher, Professor of Information Systems and Associate Dean in the Gordon Ford College of Business, for helping him as an undergraduate and encouraging him to return for graduate school.

“She invited me back, and for me that meant a ton,” said GeMonee. “At the time, I was afraid to reach out, because I thought no one cared since I wasn’t a student-athlete any longer. She reached out, and I credit that with me being who I am today and having the ability to create a scholarship.

“John Ridley (’74) also helped me tremendously during graduate school with a scholarship that helped pay my tuition,” added GeMonee. “I thought that if we could make it easier for someone the same way he did for me, we could really make an impact on someone’s life.”

Alex says this scholarship is just the beginning of what the couple would like to do.

“We want to continue to grow this scholarship and possibly establish another,” she said. “We want to give more students the ability to travel abroad or get more involved on campus—just allow them to explore all their options and opportunities.”

Most of all, the Browns are happy they can support their alma mater because of the impact WKU has had on each of their lives and their lives together.

“Giving back is a small way for me to say thank you for helping make me the person I am today,” said GeMonee. “WKU is special to us because we met here and we love everything WKU. To support another Hilltopper is a good feeling.”

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