Robert Brownlee was born in Breaux Bridge, LA in 1935 and his family moved to Port Arthur, TX where he attended elementary and high school. Immediately after graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Korea. After the service, he looked for other challenges and found one at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then University of Southwestern Louisiana). As a person with a high degree of mechanical aptitude and someone who enjoyed understanding how things worked, it was logical that he pursued a degree in engineering.
Robert and Betty Brownlee were married in 1961 and, by his final year of college, they had two children. Now, the Brownlee's faced a different type of challenge: to live in a garage apartment, raise a family while a full-time student and barely making ends meet, despite having an off- campus job. As a result, the couple learned to prioritize expenditures and they learned to stretch a dollar. Upon graduation in 1965, Robert was hired by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, in February 1965 and the family moved to Kinston, North Carolina. A few years later, they moved to Seaford, Delaware and then finally to the Sabine River Works plant in Orange, Texas where the Brownlee's permanently settled.
Robert Brownlee was as proud of being a DuPont engineer as he was a Marine. As a patriot, he never missed the opportunity to put the American flag out in front of the family home. In his later years, he would call and remind his children to do the same on holidays and sometimes he requested they fly the flag on the birthday of the Marine Corps as a sign of respect. Such was Robert's sense of
Robert worked his entire career with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and always felt that he was exactly where he was meant to be professionally and doing precisely what he was meant to do. He was eventually promoted to Technical Associate and was the only engineer in DuPont, North America with a bachelor's degree in that position. He worked initially, in maintenance but soon moved into project work specializing in high pressure extruders. He supported both the design, installation and commissioning of this equipment in joint ventures for DuPont in Japan, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Robert retired from DuPont, on his schedule, in 1995. With a perspective molded by those lean college years, The Brownlees were able to take advantage of their hard-earned savings, their good health, and their sense of adventure to indulge their natural curiosities traveling the US and abroad. On certain occasions, their travels would bring them back to Lafayette where they would visit the UL Lafayette campus and the old garage apartment on Stevenson St., where their adventure began.
Scholarships and financial aid were in short supply in the 1960's especially to a student who was not a strong academic performer. The GI Bill helped but it did not go as far as it should have. Any financial assistance at that time of their lives would have been helpful, including a small amount, to help offset planned or unplanned expenses and alleviate some of the uncertainties they faced. It is the intention of this scholarship to help the recipient in some small way, as he or she follows the same path as the Brownlees with the intention that it brings them to the same rewarding future.
- Must be a junior or senior
- Must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Preference is given to a veteran of the U.S. Military who is married and in in financial need