Professor Emerita Jane Delano Brown receives the Jonathan B. Howes Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor-emerita Jane D. Brown received the 2024 Jonathan B. Howes Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday. Photo by Jock Lauterer.


By Michelle Cassell
Managing Editor 

Retired faculty members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill gathered at the Friday Center on April 8 to honor one of their own—Professor Emerita Jane D. Brown—by presenting her with the Jonathan B. Howes Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is bestowed upon a retired faculty member whose professional contributions throughout their career mirrored the life and work of Jonathan Howes.

Brown is known for supporting and guiding junior faculty and for her efforts to strengthen leadership roles for women faculty members.

In addition to her academic-related achievements, Brown has been active in the Chapel Hill community. Much of her volunteer work has centered on her passion for preventing adolescent pregnancy and for working with Planned Parenthood of Orange County and the South Atlantic.

Especially in retirement, she has been active in the Orange County Democratic Party.

“Jane has had an enduring impact by serving as a role model and inspiring others to continue her work to ensure our country, state and community are places where everyone can live, learn, love, work and grow to their full potential,” said Marilyn Carter, president of the Democratic Women of Orange County.

The Retired Faculty and Professionals Association established the Howes Award in 2015 to recognize a retired faculty member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose contributions throughout his or her career:

  • Included service and achievements both within the University and beyond in the wider community.
  • Consistently exceeded the professional expectations for faculty.
  • Have been recognized by faculty and administrative colleagues for his or her judgment, ethical values and courage.

Brown joined the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism (as it was called then) in 1977 after obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. She was only the third woman hired in the school.

Brown’s qualifications for this award include:

  • Offering 35 years of guidance of junior faculty to gain tenure.
  • Lobbying for parental leave for all faculty.
  • Being a founding member of BRIDGES — an academic leadership program for women faculty, staff and administrators statewide.
  • Helping launch the UNC-CH Association of Women Faculty and serving on its board of directors.
  • Receiving the Mary Turner Lane Award for contributions to women on campus.
  • Participating in the founding of the women’s studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Chairing the Board of Trustees of the Women’s Center on campus.
  • Editing and writing five books and many professional journal publications.
  • Receiving over $5.2 million in grants to support her research.
  • Winning the Hillier Krieghbaum Under-40 Award in 1988.
  • Serving in many university governance.
  • Receiving the Cornelia Phillips Spencer Bell Award in 2002.
  • Being honored with the Faculty Service Award in 2006.

With all of her acolytes, she continues to work in the Chapel Hill Garden Club and write her column, “Down the road a piece,” for The Local Reporter.

Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news. This reporter can be reached at

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1 Comment on "Professor Emerita Jane Delano Brown receives the Jonathan B. Howes Lifetime Achievement Award"

  1. On special occasions, the correct pairing of a wine and an entree at a restaurant makes a meal perfect. The pairing of Jonathan Howes and Jane Brown in this instance makes an award perfect. During my career in leadership consulting, I had the privilege of working with Jonathan Howes when he was Secretary of the Department of Environmental Health and Natural Resources in 1992-97, and also with Jane Brown when she was the Associate Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at UNC CH where I helped her with the Academic Fellows Leadership Program over four years. Jonathan imbued his massive agency of 3000 people with a sense of public purpose, private integrity, calm deliberation, and thoughtful servant leadership. Jane, who had already served UNC-CH as an outstanding scholar, teacher, mentor, and Faculty Chair, helped the next generation of faculty leaders by facilitating discussions on all aspects of faculty leadership with energy, with seriousness of purpose, and with creative intelligence. She also has a lively sense of humor, and a down-to-earth practicality that puts everyone at ease. When you join all these traits with her deep caring for each person in her group, you realize that you have a truly exceptional and charismatic talent at work in the room. Her lifetime contributions in the University and the community are numerous and significant, but in this brief comment I wanted to highlight her role as a teacher, mentor and role model for leaders as well. Jane, dear friend, and neighbor, I am proud to know you.

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