New Scholarships Will Honor Legacy of ‘Mr. Penn State Behrend’

Colten Brown

Colten Brown

Credit: Penn State Behrend

$50,000 scholarship endowment will extend the influence of Behrend graduate Colten Brown

Colten Brown was a big presence at  Penn State Behrend: At 6-foot-7, and often  in the weight room, he looked the part when  he graduated in 2018 and moved on to a job  in the Erie County Office of Adult Probation  and Parole. Those who knew him considered him a teddy bear, however. He’d begin each day by sending Snapchats, Bible verses, and inspirational messages to friends and coworkers.

“He was always one of the first to volunteer to help someone in need,” his brother, Cody Brown, said.

Colten Brown died Jan. 6, 2021, after being hospitalized for COVID-19. He was 24—at the time, the youngest person in Erie County to have died from the coronavirus.

As they grieved, his family looked for a way forward. They organized a memorial golf scramble at the Jackson Valley Golf Course in Warren. Proceeds from the event became the basis for the Colten D. Brown Memorial Scholarship Foundation,

which is funding a $50,000 endowment to benefit Penn State Behrend students.

This year’s golf outing, the second of what the family hopes will become an annual event, was held in June. Details are at

Brown, who grew up in Tidioute and Warren, arrived at Behrend as a junior, having completed two years of study at Jamestown Community College. He immediately embraced life at Behrend: He joined the Delta Chi fraternity, worked in the Club Hub, and was part of the Concert Committee. He also was a member of Behrend’s competitive cheer team.

He quickly became known as “Mr. Penn State Behrend.”

“Colten wanted to be involved and make the most of his college experience,” Cody Brown said. “He loved the community that Behrend has, and he had so many friends there while in college, he barely ever came home. He was always doing something, either on-campus or with people he met at Behrend. He formed many lasting relationships with people there.”

One of those friendships was with Lindsey Hopkins Hall, associate director of Student Leadership and Involvement. She first met Colten Brown when he joined his brother, who also is a Behrend graduate, during a campus visit.

“I have yet to find anyone who describes Colten as anything but an incredible friend who could brighten any room,” Hopkins Hall said. “It was truly an honor to watch him grow and develop into the man he became.”

A “buddy bench” near the west entrance to Kochel Center is dedicated to Brown. It was funded by friends and fellow students. A “Mr. Penn State Behrend” award recognizes students who embody Brown’s high level of engagement on campus.

The new scholarships will further expand that legacy, Hopkins Hall said.

“We are immensely grateful for every contribution to the Colten Brown Memorial Scholarship, and for the continued engagement of the Brown family,” she said. “These scholarships provide more opportunities to share Colten’s story with future generations of Behrend students and hopefully will inspire them to live like Colten—with an open heart and a passion for sharing joy around Behrend.”