Montague “Monty” Brown, AB’59, MBA’60, and Barbara McCool

Job security

An alumnus honors the man who helped him—and many others—find work.

When Montague “Monty” Brown, AB’59, MBA’60, moved from the College to the Graduate School of Business, he had to interview with Harold R. “Jeff” Metcalf, AM’53, the school’s dean of students. Metcalf agreed to give Brown credits for some law classes he had taken, and later hired Brown, by then a PhD student, as an assistant dean to counsel students.

It was one of several jobs he held at UChicago. “I had a wonderful opportunity to use the whole University,” says Brown, who’s had a long career in health care administration. He worked at the Industrial Relations Center and for professors in sociology and political science.

Working was important, both for the income and the life experience. When professor and activist Robert McKersie told him to write a paper about “something in the real world,” Brown interviewed striking workers outside the Home for the Incurables on Ellis Avenue. As a research associate at the Industrial Relations Center, he conducted a similar study, recording employees’, doctors’, nurses’, and patients’ attitudes about hospitals.

Gravitating toward health care, he later “drifted out of the business school,” he says, but he was grateful for professors and administrators like Metcalf, who helped him find work opportunities.

In two decades at the business school and later as the University’s athletic director, Metcalf was a mentor for many students, helping them land internships and job interviews. In 1997 the University launched the Jeff Metcalf Internship Program in his honor, which now offers more than 2,500 paid internships for College students each year. Since Brown and his wife, Barbara McCool, first heard about the program, they’ve been making gifts to support it.

“It seems appropriate to honor Jeff, who helped those who also needed to work find work and get on through school,” says Brown. In 2017 he and McCool funded a charitable gift annuity to benefit the Metcalf Internship Program.

“These charitable gift annuities give you higher rates of income” than regular annuities, he says. “It just happens to benefit the University rather than the insurance company.” Even better, he says, it is “giving students the opportunity to have summer jobs and internships while honoring someone who meant a lot to me.”

Brown, who also earned a doctorate in public health and a law degree, met McCool, a nurse with a doctorate in education, in 1972, when both worked in Northwestern’s new program in health administration, he as director. They then held faculty positions at Duke before moving to Kansas, near McCool’s ailing mother, and starting a health care administration consulting firm. With his background in hospital administration and hers as a nurse, Brown says, “we had a competitive advantage over a 50-man firm.”

Now retired, Brown and McCool are writing a book on active aging—and they certainly have the expertise. After 9/11 they volunteered to help build a medical reserve corps in Pima County, Arizona, where they lived. Now back in Kansas City, he paints and writes poetry, and both do yoga and tai chi and are involved in their retirement community. “We’re not against dying or trying to live longer,” Brown says.

“We want to go out active.”

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