S.J. Brownlee has a record of service and dedication to the University of Iowa that can be matched by few alumni, no matter how dedicated. During his twelve-year tenure on the Iowa State Board of Regents, Brownlee always spoke out with an articulate voice for a strong commitment to education. The fact that he felt that commitment personality is evident from his long career in support of education in the state of Iowa.
S.J. Brownlee graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa in 1948 with a B.A. in economics. He attended the UI Law School for two years before leaving to help run a family business. He has worked for his community and his state at all levels—always an advocate for excellence in education. He served for seven years on the Emmetsburg Board of Education, much of that time as president.
In 1970, he was elected to the Iowa State Senate, representing Palo Alto, Pocahontas, and Buena Vista Counties. He served on the Higher Education, Judiciary, Appropriations, Conservation, and Commerce committees during his Senate term.
From 1973 to 1985, Brownlee served on the State Board of Regents, leading the board as president during his last four years. During his presidency, Brownlee directed the search for a new University of Iowa president, a search which ended in the selection of our current president, James O. Freedman. With his visionary leadership and unflagging efforts, Brownlee guided the Regents' universities through a period of hard economic times—times that threatened the excellent reputations of the state's institutions.
S.J. Brownlee has also been generous in giving his time and talent to fund raising efforts at the UI. He assisted with the Hawkeye Arena/Recreation Campaign in 1981-82 and is currently a member of the Steering Committee for the University's $100 million capital campaign, Iowa Endowment 2000; A Covenant with Quality. He is a life member of the Alumni Association and a member of the Presidents Club of the University of Iowa Foundation. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the UI Foundation in 1985.