Willard A. Brown, Jr.

Headshot of Willard


Haworth College of Business - Outstanding Service Award

Willard Brown, Jr. graduated from WMU in 1953 and served two years in the U.S. Air Force prior to joining Rubloff Inc. where he spent 40 years, starting with the company’s industrial brokerage division in 1955 as a trainee. In 1965, he became vice president and director of that division and in 1973 became executive vice president of the company. In 1980, he was elected president and chief executive officer, and in 1982, chairman.

During the 80s and early 90s, the company expanded nationally to provide property management, real estate consulting and transaction services to large corporate and institutional clients. The company managed over 50 million square feet of commercial property across the country.

Wholly owned subsidiary, Lake Michigan Properties, developed many sites, including a 35-story, 550,000-square-foot office building in Chicago that became the corporate headquarters for Aon and a 42-story, 750,000-square-foot office building in Chicago that is Boeing headquarters.

In 1996, Brown formed Barrington Venture LLC and was elected and remains chairman. Barrington Venture is the owner and developer of The Garlands of Barrington, a nationally acclaimed retirement community.

Brown has been a member of numerous organizations, including the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, the International Real Estate Federation, the Economic Club, the Commercial Club and the Urban Land Institute. He is also past president of the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and has served as chairman on the revolving loan committee of Chicago's Economic Development Commission and chairman of an economic development committee. He was a member of the board of directors of Harris Bank Barrington and sat on the board of advisors for the Barrington Area Arts Council. Brown was also a past member of the advisory committee of the real estate program for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He was also a member of the board of directors of two public companies: Ryan Insurance Group (later Aon), and XL Datacomp (sold to StorageTek). On the leisure side, Brown is an avid golfer and a past president of the Barrington Hills Country Club.

Brown is a past chairman of the WMU Foundation and has been a consummate ambassador for WMU and the College of Business. His contributions to the University are vast and leave a meaningful legacy for all Broncos.