Sam W. Brown, Jr.

Sam W. Brown, Jr.

Sam W. Brown, Jr.


Sam W. Brown was appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in 2016.

Sam W. Brown, Jr. has a long career in public service, in private business and in charitable activities. Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Brown attended the University of Redlands where he received a B.A. and subsequently a Doctor of Public Administration. Brown also holds a Master of Arts degree in Government from Rutgers University where he was an Eagleton Fellow. He was subsequently a Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and a Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Brown began his public career as a civil rights and anti-war activist in the 1960’s. He served as student coordinator for Eugene McCarthy’s campaign in 1968 and as Chairman of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee, in 1969. In 1974, Brown was elected Treasurer of the State of Colorado. He also served on the Board of the Public Employees Retirement Agency, a multi-billion dollar pension fund. In that post, he instituted investment policies focused on ensuring that public investments served the least-advantaged Coloradans.

In 1976, he was appointed to head the ACTION Agency, which was then the umbrella volunteer agency of the U.S. government including Peace Corps, VISTA, and older American volunteer programs. Brown also served on the founding Board of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank. In this post, his work focused on ensuring that the work of volunteers, at home and abroad, was directed to empowering the powerless.

Brown returned to Colorado in 1980 and started a development company, Centennial Partners, which focused on building low and moderate income housing. That firm built and owns hundreds of units of housing, all priced for people of modest means.

In 1992, he was appointed to be Head of the U.S. Delegation and Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In that post, he was responsible for advancing the human rights, arms control, and economic aspirations codified in the Helsinki Accords. He headed the U.S. Delegation for the renegotiation of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty after the collapse of the Former Soviet Union and also for implementing the arms control provisions of the Dayton Accords, ending the war in the Former Yugoslavia.

Brown has served on numerous public and charitable Boards including the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, the Fair Campaign Practices Commission, Colorado Legal Services Foundation, the regional Board of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Board of KBDI, public television, and numerous cultural institutions, including his current role as member of the Board and Treasurer of the Aspen Music Festival and School. He has been published in the New Republic, Public Welfare, Washington Monthly, European Review, and elsewhere and has contributed to books on Vietnam and written a book on community organizing. He has been active in politics for the last 50 years serving as candidate, advisor, fundraiser, and organizer.

Brown has been married to Alison V. Teal, a writer and photographer, for 37 years. They met in a political campaign and have shared politics and life since then. Neither matters without her. They have three grown children, Nicholas, Teal and Willa.