news-category: Advancement

GWU Alumnus, Two-Time Big South Champion, Creates Endowment

CJ Brown standing beside a tree in front of a river

C.J. Brown Establishes Legacy Football Endowment to Provide Operations Assistance

C.J. Brown, No. 57, was an offensive lineman on back-to-back Big South Championship Football teams.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—From 2001 to 2005, C.J. Brown was an offensive lineman on back-to-back Big South Championship Football teams (2002 and 2003). The life-changing experience provided the skills he needed to build his career, and he wants to ensure that future student-athletes have the same chance to succeed.

“The institution of Gardner-Webb football prepared me for life’s hard lessons, fostered a can-do work ethic, and most of all gave me a rock-solid foundation of brotherhood and friendships that I cherish very deeply,” Brown asserted. “My hope is that through the Legacy Football Endowment, and future contributions from myself and others, that we can help elevate the experience for all who are lucky enough to get the opportunity to join this football family.”

He continued, “Dr. Downs has breathed new life into all of Gardner-Webb’s athletics, and with Coach (Tre) Lamb’s energy, there are great things in the future at GWU Football.”

Raised in historic Edgefield County, S.C., Brown graduated from Gardner-Webb in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business and in 2007 with his MBA. He met his wife, Megan, while at the University, and they have two children. Family is important to him, as well as passing on the traditions of the outdoor lifestyle and conservation.

“Football is a hard game,” Brown shared. “I was an offensive lineman, and in the trenches there’s a battle every snap. Like so many who play the game, I had to fight to win a starting spot, fight to get healthy from injuries, learn how to play through pain, adhere to a strict schedule, follow orders, accept when you’re not the best and learn from those who are better than you. Football teaches you a get-right-back- up mentality. You learn how to deal with failure and success pretty quickly, or you just don’t make it. I’ve failed far more times in business than I’ve succeeded.”

He noted that his professors and courses in the Godbold College of Business gave him the basic foundation he needed to try—new ideas, concepts and opportunities. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he earned a graduate assistant position in the GWU Operations Department. “That was an absolutely wonderful experience,” he reflected. “I learned so much about the inner workings of the school, and the people were fabulous. The staff there treated me like family and I’m so thankful they gave me a shot.”

With his background in conservation and business education, Brown established a real estate company that specializes in the sale and marketing of land, plantations, estates, timberlands, and high-quality recreational properties. “My father taught me best practices of land stewardship at an early age, and I grew up shadowing his national efforts for wildlife conservation,” Brown said. “My foundation gave me a deep connection and love of land and wildlife, and of the stewards that take care of it.”

Legacy Football Endowment

The Legacy Football Endowment will provide operations assistance to the Gardner-Webb University football program. For more information about the endowment, contact Wes Cogdill at [email protected].

For more stories like this, visit gardner-webb.edu/magazine

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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