Barry and Kerri Brown pay it forward.
Barry Brown is a living example of how a gift to the Foundation not only pays, but it can also pay forward.
After graduating from high school, Barry knew he wanted to attend college, but his path to Marshall wasn’t clear. Ima Blake never met Barry, but the scholarship which was established through a gift she gave back in 1974 made all the difference.
“The scholarship made a dramatic difference. I didn’t know for sure that I was going to go to college…I just didn’t know where the money came from,” said Barry. “I got a letter in the mail that said MU was happy to present me with a scholarship…I was just blown away. I had tears in my eyes. I felt like my whole life had changed. I had a future. I’ll never forget that day.”
Barry, a counseling and rehabilitation major, became the first member of his family to receive his bachelor’s degree when he graduated in 1993. After completing a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Ohio University, he moved to Columbus. In 2005, he met his future wife, Kerr,i and the two were married the following year. Although Kerri had not gone to Marshall, she shared Barry’s passion for helping people attain a college education and better their place in the world. One of the ways the couple is achieving this is by supporting the Marshall University Foundation.
“We grew up in families that really couldn’t afford an education. We both knew that, if given the opportunity to give back, we would,” said Kerri. “All people need is just one person to give them a break. If you have the opportunity to give back, why wouldn’t you? It feels good, and it’s the right thing.”
Ima Blake has long since passed and a search for direct descendants would reveal that she has no children to carry on her legacy. But that is not correct. As a result of Ima Blake’s gift, Barry and Kerri Brown are enjoying success and making it possible for new students to benefit from education.