Alum’s legacy includes football center, impactful gifts for athletics and business

Contact: Deanne Puca

Willard A. (Bill) Brown Jr.

Willard A. (Bill) Brown Jr., BBA ‘53, of Denver, Colorado, donor and namesake of the Bill Brown Football Alumni Center, passed away on May 21, 2023.

As a student at Western, he excelled in football under head coach John Gill for four seasons in the early 1950s before graduating with a degree in business administration, minoring in economics, history and psychology. He served two years in the U.S. Air Force after leaving Western and then joined Arthur Rubloff & Co., beginning his lifelong venture into real estate.

Brown spent 40 years at Rubloff, helping grow the company, and he was eventually named president and CEO in 1980.

Always a staunch supporter of his alma mater, Brown provided a generous donation for a new football center in 1998. The Bill Brown Football Alumni Center houses the offices for the WMU coaching staff, weight room, locker rooms and all the amenities needed for a successful football program. He has also made impactful gifts to the WMU men’s basketball and baseball programs as well the Haworth College of Business and President’s Fund.

“Bronco Nation has lost one of its finest,” says Dan Bartholomae, vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “We all will remember Bill Brown as a proud alum whose legacy began at Waldo Stadium and continued on in both his career, his dedicated family life and his philanthropic support as the namesake of our football operations facility. Most importantly, Bill was a genuine friend who loved his family, loved the Broncos and was always among the first to extend newcomers a warm welcome to the Bronco family. We will miss his quick wit and passionate support.”

His dedication to WMU is not just with athletics; he served on the WMU Foundation Board of Directors and was the University’s 1992 Volunteer of the Year. 

Brown is survived by his wife of 62 years, Margaret; his children Suzanne, Stacy and Peter; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. ■