Update: 2020 Barbara Brown Annual Garden Party Canceled

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A letter from the Barbara Brown Family:

Dear Friend,

In challenging times, we continually look to our mother’s example for strength and guidance. When left with no choice but to cancel this year’s Garden Party benefiting the Barb Brown Memorial Fund at SIU, our mother’s wisdom spoke to us. If she were here, our mother would say that even though we are separated, now is when we need our communities more than ever—our collective energy and resources should be focused on supporting our neighbors who are worried and in need. 

In an extraordinarily fitting way, this year's Barb Brown Scholars demonstrate the type of public servants we desperately need. Both of these phenomenally talented and dedicated women embody the idea that public service means more than running and serving in elective office. Our mother believed that being a good citizen meant using your talent and energy to serve your community—no matter your politics, profession, or place. These two young women reflect the very best of SIU and should inspire pride in the brilliance of the young women your support and generosity has allowed us to celebrate and reward. They should also inspire comfort and confidence in knowing that even in these dark days, young scholars are learning in living laboratories, gaining knowledge and experience that will enable them to face and overcome the challenges we face as a community.

Carly Kasicki, a senior at SIU Carbondale studying biomedical science, believes in being a global citizen, relying on scientific research to promote public policy and advance public health and sustainability. In her scholarship essay, Carly wrote, "Government operates as a web, and understanding the interrelatedness breeds comprehensive and effective government policies. I believe that scientists are a necessary and critical part of having government policies…I plan to serve our country by being an article of change through scientific research relating to health and sustainability and working collaboratively with the government to enact informed policies for our planet and those that inhabit it." 

Eleanor Kuhlman, a sophomore from Campbell Hill, aspires to enter the healthcare profession, providing direct patient care in rural communities. In her essay, she wrote, “While I am not aspiring to go into politics, I am instead hoping to become a Physician’s Assistant and help those less fortunate in my community by creating programs to help those with addictions and other ailments get the medical help they need. Until then, I hope to continue helping my community in any and all ways possible.” Eleanor articulated the lessons and values of growing up in a small town, writing “Growing up in a small town means I learned very early that your community is your family. There isn’t anything you wouldn’t do for a neighbor in need. This is a value I have carried with me my entire life, because unfortunately in a small town there are plenty of needs.”

In her memory and in honor of these two stellar SIU scholars who reflect our mother’s legacy and dedication to public service, we appreciate the generosity and support you have shown in keeping her spirit and work alive. While we may not be gathering in person this year, you can still support the Barb Brown Memorial Fund by making a tax-deductible donation online or by mailing a check to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at 1231 Lincoln Drive, Mail Code 4429, Carbondale, IL 62901.

Next year, on June 19, 2021, we look forward to returning to our family farm with a greater appreciation for the ability to gather and share experiences together and with a stronger sense of purpose that supporting young leaders and honest public service matters—in good times and bad.

Stay healthy, stay apart, and as she would be— stay All In Illinois.

Warm regards,

Nate Brown