Instructor of 32 years says "Goodbye"

Posted Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 12:00am

Long-time staff member of the College of Eastern Utah, Phil Brown, is saying farewell after 32 years of teaching in the Education Department.   Brown's experience at CEU has consisted of helping progress occur in several different areas while at the same time teaching and spending time with students, parents and preschool children.        

Life for Brown, however, was not always about teaching.   "In 1968 I was preparing to graduate from the University of Utah with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I had recently been married to a girl from Provo named Janet Peterson. Her father was the assistant to the president at BYU and I remember being caught up in the BYU - U of U rivalry."

Brown recalls the experiences that closely followed after, "The Vietnam War was raging then and my college deferment was about to run out, in fact, I wasn't able to attend my graduation. I was drafted, applied to Officer Candidate School, and was in Georgia when my first daughter was born. I went to Vietnam in 1969 as an infantry officer under command of Col. Norman Schwartzkopf. We guarded the air base at Chu Lai near Da Nang."

Describing his life upon returning from the war, Brown explains, "When I returned I had another daughter as well as an assignment teaching new replacements to Vietnam. That is what made me want to go into teaching.   I then went to BYU and entered two programs, one child development and the other, early childhood education."  Brown graduated in 1973 with a master's of science degree.   He continues, "I went to teach at the University of Northern Colorado where two more of my children were born. In 1976 there was an opening at CEU, and, because it was closer to home and family, I applied."

"I started out teaching two sessions of preschool and three other classes."   Brown describes in reference to his beginning employment at CEU. "The program gradually grew and we added students interested in elementary education to the Family Life Department." During that time Brown also, "added two more children to my family to make six, and now they are all married and have children of their own, 16 in all."

Progress for the school didn't stop there.   Brown explains, "In 1977 we started a day care center at CEU and ran it successfully for several years. Students' enrollments were slowly growing and work was begun on the CBB building. We closed the day care and preschool programs to await premises in the new building and I was able to completely design the child development portion of the CBB. We opened in 1990 and the program has been growing ever since. At its peak, the education and family life department boasted about 150 majors, and there was a very long waiting list to get into the preschool."

"Today the Education and Family Life Department supports not only the Child Development Laboratory, but we have, for the past twelve years, supported the Eastern Utah Child Care Resource and Referral Office."   Brown expresses, "This great staff of four handles information and services for all licensed child care programs from Vernal to Blanding. They provide education, grants, materials, and other services for all child care providers, as well as a coordinated information database available to parents needing child care in almost every town in eastern Utah. Although they call me the executive director, it is really Anne Mackiewicz and her staff that run things."

"I have always considered it of vital importance to help parents and children and families."   Brown expresses, "Between the child guidance principles, and relationship information, which is part of the family life curriculum, it has always seemed like I was helping students understand the importance of these basic family values and the principles and techniques which support them."

"I have always loved the climate at CEU."   Brown states, "The faculty and staff have been great, but, most of all, over the years, I have enjoyed the students. We have graduated some truly great people from CEU, and I'm sure every department can say the same. And, I always enjoy the little children in the preschool."

With retirement right around the corner, Brown shares his future plans.   "Come May, I expect to spend more time fly-fishing, building and carving things out of wood, and spending more time with those 16 grandchildren."  

Filed under: lifestyles