“Education was everything to me, and not just the academic aspect, but the idea that I was meeting people who were different from myself and learning alongside them; that was important .”

-Dr. Alfreda Brown

About Dr. Alfreda Brown

“Difference matters and we should recognize this and embrace it, but we cannot allow it to create barriers . Once we learn to cut across this difference, we can learn from each other, have a great time doing so , and maybe, just maybe, meet some of our best friends.”

Born April 11, 1954, Dr. Alfreda Brown grew up in the inner city of Rochester, the seventh child of 17 children. As a devout Christian, her destiny unfolded from the folding hands of prayer. She credits her mother’s prayers and the daily 5 a.m. prayers with her sisters for the doors that have opened for her. Her journey has taken her from a student child attending the first integrated schools to a stenographer at Eastman Kodak, chief diversity officer at RIT, and finally Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kent State University. In each of these roles, she led transformation and created centers, programming, and curriculum to address the needs of students, faculty, and staff.

“I always wanted to go to college, but I never had the finances to do it,” Brown said. “My story is unlike most others in higher education. I didn’t start working on my associate degree until I was 33. I grew to love what higher education does, how it advances your life, and how important new knowledge can change your perspective. It creates you into the individual you always hoped to be.”

Dr. Brown holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management (Roberts Wesleyan College), a Master of Science in Career and Human Resource Development (Rochester Institute of Technology), and a Doctor of Education in higher education administration (Nova Southeastern University).

“Education was everything to me, and not just the academic aspect, but the idea that I was meeting people who were different from myself and learning alongside them; that was important .”

She has served as a board member, chairperson, and mentor for numerous community organizations including:

  • The Rochester Rotary Club (member)
  • Rochester Hearing and Speech Center (board member)
  • The Advocacy Center (board member)
  • The National Kidney Foundation (board member)
  • Workforce Diversity Network (chair, board of directors)
  • Campfire Boys and Girls (board member)
  • Rochester/Monroe County Freedom Trail Commission, Freedom Celebration Subcommittee (chair)
  • United Way of Greater Rochester, African American Leadership Development Program (chair)
  • RIT Networking and Career Group of eight African American women (facilitator/ mentor)
  • The Professional Mentoring Group for young African American female professionals within the City of Rochester (facilitator/mentor)
  • New Life Fellowship Church (cell leader/mentor)
  • The College of Applied Science and Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology Executive Leader program (faculty member)


Voices of Appreciation

“The pure tenacity and dedication that Dr. Brown provided our division will be the catalyst that propels our continued diversity work. I am forever grateful to her example of commitment and leadership. Dr. Brown will be sorely missed – there are not enough words to express my appreciation for her allowing me to reach new heights professionally. Because of her encouragement and tutelage, I have fire in my belly to ensure Kent State will continue to enhance a sense of belonging for all.” 

-Sonya Y. Williams, Interim Executive Director, Kent State Vice President’s office.


“She led with heart, passion, and a deep commitment to ensuring the voices of all were heard, valued, and mattered. It has been my utmost honor to work under her tenure, and I am forever grateful to her, and we are all better for her time with us at Kent State.” 

--Dana Lawless-Andric, Kent State Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Leadership.

Dr. Alfreda Brown Legacy Leadership Scholarship

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