Beloved El Camino College Board of Trustees President Kenneth A. Brown Greatly Missed
Brown Family Establishes Scholarship in his Name
TORRANCE, Calif.—Following the sudden loss of El Camino Community College District Board of Trustees President Kenneth A. Brown who passed away Thursday, March 23, the campus community has entered a collective mourning period. The devastating loss of an esteemed, committed, and tireless advocate for student success has left a deep void across campus. He was 54 years old.
“The loss of our friend, colleague, and mentor, is profound, and we share in this grief with our colleagues across the state and nation,” said El Camino College President Brenda Thames. “His tireless work in all aspects of education, both inside and outside the classroom, is demonstrated by the numerous positions he held throughout the communities he served. He never stopped advocating for students’ needs to ensure they found success in higher education and beyond the classroom. He inspired us to become extraordinary. He challenged us to think critically about solutions. He led as an unapologetic advocate for equity and the expansion of educational opportunities for all students. The legacy of his work will impact millions of students for decades to come. There are no words to describe how much I will miss this true friend and brilliant colleague.”
Continuing Brown’s legacy of service, dedication to the success of community college students, and love of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Brown family has established a scholarship in his memory. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made online to the El Camino College Foundation to provide an opportunity for El Camino College students to attend an HBCU, and enjoy a phenomenal educational experience like the one he experienced at his HBCU alma mater Morehouse College.
Brown was appointed President of the El Camino Community College Board of Trustees in December 2022. He was first appointed to the Board in 2010 to fill the vacant Area 1 seat representing Ladera Heights and Inglewood communities of the college’s district. During his decade plus years of service to the district, Brown personally dedicated himself to work that supported student success, equity, and initiatives to propel community college students to be the thought-leaders he knew them to be.
Furthering his mission of service to the community college system, Brown was also elected president of the California Community College Trustees (CCCT) Board representing 115 California Community Colleges and 2.4 million students. In this role he had the ability to advocate on behalf of the needs of these students and serve side-by-side with student leadership. He often traveled to Washington, DC, and Sacramento, to speak personally with legislators about issues that would improve students’ lives. As he guided the CCCT board on policies, he also maintained numerous committee leadership roles including the Trustee Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility implementation workgroup; Board Financial Aid Implementation Committee; and the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative Change Leadership Committee. Nationally, Brown was appointed to the Association of Community College Trustees Public Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Brown also achieved numerous professional successes. He rose to the role of Operations Manager for Northrop Grumman Missions Systems Engineering & Sciences Maritime Land Sensors and Systems/Field Engineering organization of Northrop Grumman Space Systems. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman in 2015, he served for more than 20 years as a Senior Engineer and Project Controls Liaison at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he collaborated with a team that successfully landed the rover Curiosity on Mars. His career achievements earned him the Black Engineer of the Year Modern Day Technology Leader Award in 2019.
In addition to his work with Northrop Grumman and service to the El Camino College Board, Brown was also a faculty member of the Department of Physics at California State University, Dominguez Hills. As an adjunct professor of physics, he taught primarily physical science and science.
Always influential in educational circles, Brown served the California Department of Education as a Content Review Panel expert during California’s State Board Science Primary Adoption and helped author the Next Generation Science Standards being used in classrooms today in more than 40 states.
Brown also provided his expertise to the Da Vinci Schools by serving as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2019-2020 and on the Da Vinci Schools Fund Board since 2020.
A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Brown received both a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. He earned a Master of Science degree in applied physics from Clark Atlanta University. While at Morehouse, Brown was twice named All-American in Track & Field and played in the NCAA Division II Basketball Final Four. He also qualified for the United States Olympic trials and the Pan American Games in the high jump.
Brown is survived by his wife of nearly 25 years, Dr. Karla Harness Brown, and sons Kenneth II and Kaleb Brown.