Electrifying $6 million gift

Maryland Institute: Investment expert's donation paves way for expansion of city arts institution.

March 25, 2001

IN HIS 22 years as a "Wall Street Week" panelist, fund manager Eddie C. Brown has shown his prowess as a stock picker. "I believe in investing to promote growth and achievement," he explains.

He is putting some family money where his mouth is. He and his wife, Sylvia, are donating $6 million to the Maryland Institute, College of Arts, which will name its soon-to-be-built Center for Art & Design Technology in honor of the Brown family.

When the Bolton Hill college's main building was constructed after the Great Fire of 1904, Andrew Carnegie was the major donor. It is heartening that the lead benefactor now is a local family, which has quietly practiced philanthropy for years.

The Browns have shown they care about Baltimore in other ways as well. More than a year ago, Mr. Brown raised eyebrows by buying a rundown mansion at Calvert and Biddle streets and renovating it for his firm's headquarters. Some of his rivals could not quite understand the choice of such an unfashionable location. But, then, Mr.

Brown's business is to spot opportunities others spurn.

The technology center is an example. An electrical engineer by training with an MBA, he recognizes that electronically based programs, which have grown exponentially in recent years, play a decisive part of the future at Maryland Institute. That is especially significant if the institution wants to successfully compete for the best and brightest artistic talent.

The technology center will be the first all-new structure on the Mount Royal Avenue campus in almost 100 years. It will further strengthen the institute's growing reputation for daring creativity and uncompromising academics.

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