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Retired Air Force Major General Mark Anthony Brown '86 to deliver 104th Founders' Day address

March 24, 2022

2022 Founders Day graphic showing speaker Major General Mark Anthony Brown and other information.
Retired Major General Mark Anthony Brown, Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Tuskegee University will commemorate its 104th Founders' Day virtually on April 1, 2022. This year's celebration will recognize the classes of 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, and 1982. 

This year, Tuskegee is honored to welcome its keynote speaker, retired Major General Mark Anthony Brown '86. Brown was recently selected as the Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative based in Washington DC.   

The Student Freedom Initiative (SFI) is the vision of billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith. As the first Executive Director of SFI, General Brown and his staff provide four components to all HBCUs, including agreements to fund any educational attendance requirements beyond what is paid for through Federal programs such as Pell Grants, Work-Study, and Federal Student Loans. The initiative also provides student internships and capacity-building opportunities such as Campus Cyber Security enhancements.

Prior to his current post, Brown was appointed by former secretary Betsy DeVos in 2019 as the 11th Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid. As the COO, Brown had statutory authority for all the nation's Title IV funding. In addition, the lending portfolio of Federal Student Aid is equivalent to that of the nation's five largest consumer lending banks. 

Prior to entering civilian life, Brown served for 32 years as an Active-Duty Air Force Officer retiring in 2018 at the grade of Major General. Brown was commissioned through the Tuskegee University Air Force ROTC Program, Detachment 015. He entered active duty in 1986 as a Financial Management officer. Brown has served in comptroller, command, and staff positions at all levels of the Department of Defense, including two assignments as a congressional liaison to the United States House of Representatives.  

His global experience includes serving in the Philippines, Spain, England, Turkey, and Iraq.  In addition, he has commanded four times at ascending levels, deploying in support of Operation Provide Comfort, and served as the Assistant Executive Officer for the 17th Air Force Chief of Staff. He was also the Financial Management, Senior Military Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Chief Financial Officer for Air Force Materiel Command, responsible for a portfolio greater than $60 billion, 38 percent of the Air Force budget. 

Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Tuskegee. He went on to earn numerous other degrees through various military and civilian higher education programs, including earning a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy University, a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air Command and Staff College, a master's degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College and graduated from the National and International Security Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.  

Currently, Brown is a doctoral candidate at Baylor University researching his problem of practice entitled, "Student Loans Do Not Equal 40 Acres and a Mule: A Multiple Case Study of African Americans and the Student Loan Crisis." 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Founders' Day will be hosted virtually. Participants can expect to engage in various activities and forums, including estate planning, the State of the University Address from Dr. Charlotte Morris, a virtual campus tour, and the convocation and memorial service.

The complete list of events includes: 

  • FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2022, 11:00 am 
    Estate Planning Seminar 
    Hosted by Greg Dash '98  

  • FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2022, 3:30 pm 
    State of the University Address 
    With Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Mr. Dexter Odom, Attorney Crystal James, and Reginald Ruffin 

  • FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2022, 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
    Class Recognition - Honoring our Founders' Day Reunion Classes
    Entertainment with Dzyre Band and DJ Tron  

  • SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2022, 10:00 am 
    Panel Discussion: The Legacy of The Tuskegee Airmen: Aviation to Aerospace 

  • SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2022, 1:00 pm  
    William L. Dawson Lecture 
    Presented by Dr. James Abbington, Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship, Emory Candler School of Theology
  • SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2022, 4:30 pm 
    William L. Dawson Concert 
    Enjoy Performances by Alabama State University Choir, Florida A&M University Choir, Tuskegee University Alumni Choir, Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir and TU Concert Band  

  • SUNDAY, APRIL 3, 2022, 9:30 am 
    Founders' Day Convocation and Memorial Service  
    Speaker USAF Ret. Major General Mark Brown '86, Executive Director Student Freedom Initiative. 


Participants may register for the events online at: For more information, please contact Kymberly Holland at Alumni can make their reunion class gifts at or .


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