Courtenay Brown ’95

1 August 2023
Headshot of Courtenay Brown

Despite the myth of the self-made man, Courtenay Brown ’95 believes no one would be whom he or she is today without learning from others. Everyone is a product of someone else’s teachings and assistance, he says. That’s why education is pivotal.

“No matter what you’ve done in life, there is always someone who gave you a break,” Brown says. “You’re a product of what you learned in school and from your family and friends.”

As an international relations major who has worked in international finance for almost his entire career, Brown has always contributed what he could to the college and says his annual gift to Carleton is “his most important donation of the year.”

“To the extent we can, we should help provide for future generations,” he says, which is why Brown and his wife, Whitney Burroughs, also chose to include Carleton in their estate plans. In doing so, he and Burroughs are able to contribute in a more significant way than they previously thought possible and help provide that pivotal break for someone else.

“Planned giving seems like such a complicated and large decision, but in reality, it could be as large or small as you want,” he says.

“It’s not fun thinking about death,” Brown says, but it is necessary. In addition to helping future generations, their decision to include Carleton in their estate plans was also practical. He and Burroughs wanted to make sure their two young daughters would be provided for, and beyond that, they made sure the values that they hold — such as high-quality, liberal arts education — were remembered as well. They didn’t want to worry about their assets being tied up in probate court, inaccessible to their daughters.

So they met with an estate lawyer and decided to establish a revocable trust. Brown had always thought of trusts as options for very wealthy people, but after some investigation, he found that’s not the case at all. And once the trust was established, adding Carleton as a beneficiary was a “logical decision that felt really good.”

Though he didn’t realize it at the time, honoring Carleton in his will qualified Brown as a member of the Heywood Society — a fact he learned just in time for his 20th reunion. “Becoming a member of the Heywood Society is just another way to say thanks to Carleton,” says Brown.