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The Magazine of The University of Montana

Raising Montana

A Lifelong Commitment and Devotion

UM Foundation Honors Rockwood Brown with Bucklew Award

Rockwood Brown
Photo courtesy of Lauren Brown Photography

The University of Montana marked 120 years as a university in February with Charter Day activities highlighting the academics, the place, and, most importantly, the people who make UM so special.

For one person, it’s a story that began sixty-seven years ago, when as a young man Rockwood “Rocky” Brown left his home in Billings and set foot on UM’s campus, anxiously embracing a new world to discover.

“I started school back in 1946 when I first turned eighteen years old,” Brown says. “World War II had just ended, and here I found myself with returning veterans, now students, some who had been shot out of the sky during combat; another who had been a POW in the Bataan Death March. I was so green, and the experience of being at a place like The University of Montana was very profound.”

Brown’s experience led to a lifelong commitment and devotion to UM. Now, he will be remembered forever for the way he gives back to his alma mater. He is the recipient of this year’s Neil S. Bucklew Presidential Service Award.

The award, established by The University of Montana Foundation, recognizes men and women who make extraordinary efforts to enhance the bonds among the community, state, and UM.

“The University has been awfully good to me,” Brown says. “Especially the law school, which is a relationship that I truly savor. It’s a friendship that I have enjoyed for many years and one that I am proud to be a part of.”

Brown is a 1950 graduate of the School of Business Administration and a 1952 graduate of the School of Law, where he served on the editorial board of the Montana Law Review. He also is a UM Foundation trustee emeritus, a current member of the School of Law’s Board of Visitors, and a member of the school’s new development committee.

As a testament to his lifelong commitment, Brown not only loyally serves UM with his time and talents, but his dedication is realized by young men and women who also dream of attending UM’s School of Law. Through Brown’s generous support of scholarships, the next generation of law students might enjoy some of the same opportunities that, many years ago, opened the eyes of a young man who friends and family call “Rocky.”

It’s a legacy spanning almost seven decades, and one that Brown cherishes deeply.

“My experiences at The University of Montana have been so rewarding,” says Brown. “It has been a privilege to be a part of the UM community throughout my life.”

After graduating and serving in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Office, Brown and his late wife, Marilyn, (and eventually their five children) settled in Billings, where he joined his father’s law firm—known around the state as simply the Brown Law Firm.

“For those of us who know and have been lucky enough to work with Rocky, we can say he is generous, loyal, and a hard-working individual,” says former UM Foundation President Laura Brehm. “And while not a man to lead by bullhorn or inspire with rhetoric, simply put, when Rocky Brown talks, people listen.”