Blaine A. Brownell

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Blaine A. Brownell
12th President of
Ball State University
In office
Preceded byJohn E. Worthen
Succeeded byJo Ann M. Gora
Personal details
Born (1942-11-12) November 12, 1942 (age 78)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Spouse(s)Mardi Brownell
Alma materWashington and Lee University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Blaine Allison Brownell (born November 12, 1942) is an American university teacher, administrator, and specialist in U.S. urban, southern, and twentieth-century history, and was the 12th president of Ball State University. Author or co-author of seven books and over twenty-five articles, he has served as tenured full professor at four universities.


Blaine Brownell received his early education in the Birmingham, Alabama city school system, and graduated from Ramsay High School. He earned his B.A. degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in United States history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1]

Academic career[edit]

During 1971–72 Brownell was a senior research fellow at the Institute of Southern History at Johns Hopkins University. He co-founded the Journal of Urban History and served as editor from 1976 to 1990. He served as department chair, graduate dean, and dean of social and behavioral sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1974–1990), provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Texas in Denton (1990–1998), and executive director of international programs at the University of Memphis (1998–2000).

International work[edit]

A lifelong interest in international education began with his appointment as the Fulbright Lecturer at Hiroshima University, Japan (1977–78) and continued in a visiting professorship at Sichuan University in China (1987) and appointment as academic specialist for the U.S. Information Agency in Brazil. He also served as editor of the International Education Forum (1998–2000) and for over a decade as member and chair of the board of directors of the International Student Exchange Programs in Washington, D.C..

Ball State University[edit]

In 2000, Brownell succeeded John E. Worthen as president of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.[2] He also accepted a tenured appointment as Professor of History and Urban Planning. During his presidency at Ball State, enrollment rose to its highest level in twelve years and the university received the largest grant in its history ($20 million from the Lilly Endowment) and the largest single gift ($17.2 million), leading to the naming of the Miller College of Business.[3][4][5] He also helped establish Ball State as a leader in the innovative use of digital media and encouraged the expansion of the university's international presence and profile. Additions to the campus during his presidency include the Art and Journalism Building (2001), Fisher Training Complex (2001), West Quad building renovation (2001), Shafer Tower (2002), and renovation of the Fine Arts building.

Later career[edit]

In 2004 he was appointed the first president and CEO of U21 Pedagogica, the academic quality assurance arm of Universitas 21, the U21 global academic consortium of seventeen major research universities, headquartered at the University of Virginia. Subsequently, he served as interim dean of business, senior advisor for strategic planning and international programs, and interim provost at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg,[6] and for several years as consultant and advisor to the national universities of the United Arab Emirates for the Minister for Higher Education and Research.

He is now retired and living in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Personal life[edit]

Blaine and Mardi Brownell have two children: Blaine E. Brownell, an architecture professor at the University of Minnesota, and Allison Brownell Tirres, a law professor at DePaul University. They have five grandchildren.



  • The Urban Ethos in the South, 1920-1930, 1975. ISBN 0807101575
  • Urban America: From Downtown to No Town, 1979. ISBN 0395273978
  • The Urban Nation, 1920-1980, 1981. ISBN 0809095416
  • Using Microcomputers, 1985. ISBN 0803922914
  • Washington and Lee University, 1930-2000: Tradition and Transformation, 2017.[7] ISBN 0807166987


  • "Birmingham, Alabama: New South City in the 1920s", Journal of Southern History, XXXVIII, pp. 21-48 (Feb. 1972)
  • "A Symbol of Modernity: Attitudes Toward the Automobile in Southern Cities in the 1920s", American Quarterly, XXIV, pp. 20–44 (March 1972)
  • "The Commercial-Civic Elite and City Planning in Atlanta, Memphis, and New Orleans in the 1920s", Journal of Southern History, XLI, pp. 339-368 (August 1975)
  • "If You’ve Seen One, You Haven’t Seen Them All: Recent Trends in Southern Urban History", The Houston Review, I, pp. 63-80 (Fall, 1979)
  • "Urbanization" (C.R. Wilson and William Ferris, eds.), Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, University of North Carolina Press, pp. 1435-1441 (1989)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Layne Cameron (October 20, 2003). "Universitas 21, international consortium of research universities Ball State President Blaine Brownell Named To Lead U21 Subsidiary Charged With Academic Standards And Quality". University of Virginia News. Ball State University. Archived from the original on December 31, 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
  2. ^ "Blaine A. Brownell, 2000-2004". Ball State University. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Past Presidents". Ball State University. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  4. ^ Ball State University (4 September 2003). "Ball State University Receives Largest Private Gift; To Rename College of Business". Inside Indiana Business. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Blaine Brownell: Ball State's 12th president". Ball State Daily News. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  6. ^ USF St. Petersburg names interim business dean (Tampa Bay Business Journal), Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Brownell, Blaine A. (2017). Washington and Lee University, 1930-2000: Tradition and Transformation. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 9780807166987. OCLC 967767635.
Academic offices
Preceded by
John E. Worthen
President of Ball State University
Succeeded by
Jo Ann M. Gora