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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Despite illness Brown has big plans for the future

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Despite illness Brown has big plans for the future
Deseret News 12Dec99 P2
By Joel Campbell: Deseret News staff writer

Brian Brown may find himself a little short of breath but not short of energy. Brown is a student member of the governing board of Utah's nine colleges and universities. He is an admitted overachiever from South Jordan and has been president of Weber State University and previously served as president of his Bingham High senior class. He was WSU's man of the year and homecoming king.

With all of Brown's ambition and drive he may be facing the greatest challenge of his life. In August, Brown noticed a lump on the back of his neck. It was identified as an enlarged lymph node and he was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disease. After weeks of introspection, Brown decided to face the unseen enemy head-on.

When he graduates from Weber State this month in technical sales with a double minor is political science and music, he will undergo a painful bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. Fortunately, a perfect bone marrow match was found in one of his brothers.

"I can't let this disease dictate how I live. I've conquered it in my mind, and that's what is most important," he said. To accomplish his goal of graduation, Brown is enrolled in 28 credit hours of class time. "It really frustrates me to feel like I am 40 - although I really don't know what it feels like to be 40 - instead of 23 years old. But I am going to learn a lot through this."

Brown is an outspoken advocate for students on the Utah Board of Regents. At a November regents meeting, Brown helped push through a policy that requires all state colleges and universities to phase out the use of Social Security numbers as student identification numbers. Brown lobbied college presidents and regents for the change.

In July, Brown was appointed to serve on the Board of Regents by Governor Mike Leavitt after interviewing three selected nominees by Utah student body presidents. "The biggest issue (for students) is getting a quality education and still being able to afford it," Brown said. "This is the most critical part of our state's economy," he said. He is proud of the regent's new master plan advocating a "student's right-to-know."

"We're ahead of our own game now. We have the controls. We are the pilot. We are our counselor now. I would say 95 percent of students have taken a class they didn't need to take," Brown said.

Like his accomplishments, Brown's goals for his future include marriage to Heather Hadley. He also wants to get rich and share his wealth with the people in east Africa where he served an LDS mission. "My brother and I are firming up a couple of patents. So I want to get rich and go into politics on the side." "I'd like to replace Orrin Hatch when he gets tired in 10 years," he quipped.

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