A Legacy of Loyalty:
The Brush Family
|Brothers John ”Jack“ Brush
Jr. ’50 (left) and Richard F. Brush ’52 became
Laurentians and served on the Board of Trustees, supporting
St. Lawrence in numerous ways.
Not only has the Brush family been leaders in the St. Lawrence
community, but they have also provided examples to their
own family members, many of whom are St. Lawrence alumni. “The
older generations were role models for the younger ones, and
we hope to continue that tradition,” Jim Brush ’77
Three of the four generations of Brushes have had at
least one University trustee, helping St. Lawrence maintain
its success not only for their descendants but for all future
students as well.
John D. Brush Sr. ’22 came to St. Lawrence
at the end of World War I and worked his way through four years
at the University and two at the Theological School. He would
spend hours shoveling snow and feeding coal to furnaces in
order to pay for his education, but found time to help compose
some college songs, including the much-loved “A Tribute” (“Nestling ’neath
the purple shadows of the Adirondack hills…”) and meet his future
wife Edna Jeanne Brush ’24.
Both graduated St. Lawrence with honors;
as alumni, John received an honorary degree and Edna an Alumni
Citation. They often returned to campus, John as a trustee
and Edna to visit her sisters in Kappa Kappa Gamma. Two of
their sons, Jack ’50
and Richard ’52, became Laurentians, as St. Lawrence
remained a large part of their lives.
son of John D. Brush Jr., is the newest member of the Brush
family to be a St. Lawrence trustee. President and CEO
of The Sentry Group, a family business headquartered in
Rochester, N.Y., he was an economics honors major and member
of Sigma Chi fraternity and the 1976 national championship
swim team. He is a member of the National Major Gifts Committee.
When Jack came to St.
Lawrence after being in the Air Force, the campus was flooded
with war veterans. He remembers being housed in the attic of
Sykes and having to sleep on triple bunks. Although this reminded
him of everything he had just left behind in the army, he felt
fortunate to be in college. He participated in many campus
activities and was a class officer. After graduation, he stayed
close with the friends he had made. Those living near Rochester
helped him with an alumni picnic in the area. He participated
in fundraising events, was asked to join the Alumni Executive
Council, and in the early 1970s became a trustee, a position
he held for nearly twenty years before being awarded trustee
Jack’s younger brother, Richard, who
also thoroughly enjoyed his years at St. Lawrence, followed
in the leadership footsteps of both his older brother and his
parents. He was a member of the Alumni Executive Council and
was an alumni trustee before being awarded emeritus status,
among a plethora of other volunteer positions he contributed.
The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery and the art storage and preparation
area testify to his great support of the arts at St. Lawrence.
Brush legacy continued into the 1970s with Jim ’77 and
Both were active leaders as students and continued as alumni.
One of Jim’s
finest memories is of being a member of the 1976 NCAA Division
III championship swim team, the first national championship
for St. Lawrence. He also recalls
his professors and how passionate they were about what they
were doing. “The
professors immersed themselves into a student-centric culture
and were always interested in what we were doing,” he
Jim, who married Catherine White ’79, was recently
elected a trustee, a step he sees as a great opportunity. “It
gives me personal connections and tangible ways to help the
University in whatever capacity I can,” he says. He adds
that being a trustee while his son, Davis ’08, is a student,
gives him further purpose.
Suzanne, who has also participated
in numerous alumni activities, married Kevin McGrath ’77,
a past Alumni Executive Council member, and has been a member
of several volunteer committees. Suzanne and Kevin’s
son Conor ’07
is currently at St. Lawrence.
Every Laurentian in the Brush
family has dedicated a part of their lives to St. Lawrence.
Their enthusiasm is immeasurable, as are their contributions.
As Jim says, being an
active alumnus and participating on committees, councils and
the Board of Trustees allows one to have a say and make a difference
in St. Lawrence today. “St. Lawrence
continues to make a difference in so many lives, and through
that, in the world.”