BLOOMINGTON — Three Indiana University alumni received IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award on Thursday, Oct. 14, during homecoming weekend on the Bloomington campus. The award is the highest bestowed on an IU alumna or alumnus by the university.
IU President Pamela Whitten presented the awards to 2021 honorees Daniel E. Aron, Lawrence Brownlee, and Marie Collins Johns.
Recipients of the award are chosen for service and achievement in their fields, and for significant contributions to the community, state, nation, or university. With the addition of these recipients, IU has honored 352 alumni since the award’s inception in 1953.
The following is a brief biography of award recipient Lawrence Brownlee (Kappa Alpha Psi):
Lawrence Brownlee, MM’01
A graduate of the IU Jacobs School of Music, Lawrence Brownlee is now a leading figure in opera, both as a singer on the world’s top stages, and as a voice for activism and diversity in the industry. Captivating audiences and critics around the globe, he has been hailed as “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today.” Brownlee is a regular guest performer at the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera (New York), La Scala (Milan), Royal Opera House–Covent Garden (London), Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna), and Opéra National de Paris.
Currently the artistic advisor for Opera Philadelphia, Brownlee is a passionate advocate for diversity initiatives. He is a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically black fraternity, which he joined in 1999 while a student at IU. Founded on the IU Bloomington campus in 1911, the fraternity is committed to social action and empowerment. Along with fellow Jacobs School alumni and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers Quincy Roberts, BM’02, and Richard White, MM’99, DM’12, Brownlee established, in 2018, the Brownlee, Roberts, and White Brothers in Achievement Scholarship at the IU Jacobs School of Music. Aligning with IU’s commitment to diversity, special consideration for the scholarship is given to underrepresented populations.
“At Jacobs, students are exposed to world-class performances, have world-class resources, and get world-class instruction from world-class musicians,” Brownlee says. “It is important for me and my friends to give back as others have done for us. We all benefited from scholarships to further our educational pursuits, and we felt a responsibility to provide the same opportunity for others.”