Hampton entrepreneur gets degree he always wanted

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By Erin Dolan, Staff Writer

Foster's Daily Democrat, June 20, 2004

HAMPTON — In 1946, Stanwood Brown entered the University of New Hampshire to begin his college education in what was then the Economics Department.

Stan Brown, a recent honors graduate of the College of Lifelong Learning, is eager to devote his time once again to his passions. He stands in his 12-bay detached garage containing a backlog of projects and memorabilia awaiting his attention. Andrew Moore/Staff photo It wasn't long, though, before the young World War II veteran and lifetime resident of Hampton decided to take advantage of the booming economy and make some money.

He left UNH, entered the workforce, and didn't look back.

This month, at age 79, Brown finally completed his college education as the oldest graduate in his class at New Hampshire's College for Lifelong Learning. He graduated, with honors, with a bachelor of science degree in entrepreneurship and small business management.

"At first I had a fear of failing in front of younger people," Brown said. "But they were all very receptive to me being there. We had some good times, and I never really felt out of place."

Brown added that he feels he would not have had the same experience had he returned to a college not geared toward adults.

"The teaching staff at CLL knew just what we needed," he said.

Brown filled his time between leaving UNH and graduation this June with more life experiences than most people ever have, and he does not regret taking so much time off from school.

"All I wanted to do was work and earn money and have a home and car, and I got it all," he said.

Brown raised a son, Arthur, and a daughter, Julia, and has played a big role in the lives of his three grandchildren, all of whom live just down the road from his home.

He has started and run five different businesses, including an MG-Jaguar-Triumph dealership and a company that manufactured antique car upholstery kits sold all over the world.

He bought an old train station and an old factory, and transformed both into successful business centers.

He has also always loved to restore antique cars.

In a building behind the home on Woodland Road where he and his wife, Jewell, have lived for 54 years, there are multiple cars restored to their original condition. He calls the building his "shop", though it is almost as large as his home.

A Model T sits in a corner, taking up a small amount of the ample space in the building that houses multiple cars and motorcyles.

"My wife and I have been all over the mountains of New England in that," he said proudly of the Model T.

His shop is cluttered with items: bicentennial license plates from across the country, bumper stickers, political paraphernalia, stickers from almost 30 years of car show and automobile flea market attendance, and photos documenting travels across America and Canada and the many business ventures of which he has been a part. All are signs of a long life in which there has seldom been a dull moment.

When Brown began to lose his hearing four years ago, he realized that finishing his education had always been in the back of his mind. He decided to go back to school.

"If I'm ever going to get my diploma, it better be now," he said.

He received credit for his time in the military and his year spent at UNH. As someone over age 65, he was eligible for waived tuition for one class per semester.

He took one class a semester for four years, in science technology, math, sociology and the humanities.

His family has been very supportive.

When he encountered problems with typing — he wasn't very good at it since he had a secretary for all the years he was in business — his daughter helped him.

His son helped him with difficult homework in science technology.

"We're a very close family," Brown said. "There were times when I said 'I'm crazy to do this.' But my son said I had to, my grandchildren were watching."

Now that Brown has finished his education, he will return to the hobbies that have been on the back burner while he was involved with his studies.

"I've got a few projects to work on," he said, glancing around his shop with a grin.

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