Dr. Harold K. Brown

Dr. Harold K. Brown is the youngest of seven children and grew up in York, PA. He enrolled at San Diego State College on a basketball scholarship in 1953. He was president of Kappa Alpha Psi, the first black fraternity on campus; a star basketball player who also lettered in baseball; and a student council representative who challenged the discriminatory practices of fraternities and sororities.

Harold’s college education was interrupted by a two-year stint in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. After serving in the military, he earned a degree from San Diego State University in physical education and speech correction. He later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Fordham University in New York. On May 13, 2017, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the Trustees of the California State University on recommendation of San Diego State University.

Harold’s background includes being a school teacher, a banker, and the deputy director of the U.S. Peace Corps in Lesotho, Africa. He returned to San Diego State University in 1971 to accept the position as assistant to the SDSU President and established the Afro-American Studies program becoming its first director and later became an Associate Dean in the College of Business Administration.  At this time he created a certificate program in community economic development within the business college. This program later expanded into the Center for Community Economic Development.

In 1992, Harold was honored as the National Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year.  He retired from SDSU in 1997 and continued as director of the Center for Community Economic Development until 2004. San Diego State University established the “Harold K. Brown Knowledge, Education and Empowerment Program” which was funded by two San Diego Philanthropists to honor Dr. Brown and his life-long work.

Harold’s oral history has been recorded by the Civil Rights Oral History Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as at the San Diego History Center.  He and wife LaVerne reside in San Diego and participate in several community improvement endeavors.

Submitted by Joyce Suber, AKA/EXO Chapter Historian