Keeping a boy’s dream alive.

photo of John William McKenzie (Mack) Brady

This week, in the midst of holiday cheer, our Penn State community received news that stopped us all in our tracks. Dean Chris Brady of the Schreyer Honors College here at Penn State tragically lost his 8 year old son to an aggressive blood infection.

Here Sunday. Gone Monday.

Like the rest of our community, I can’t help but be stunned, shocked, and unsettled by this sudden and inconceivable loss. Eight year olds shouldn’t be buried. They should rejoice in hopes and dreams, be celebrated for their accomplishments, and encouraged to reach for the stars. Mack Brady’s passion was soccer, and his dream was to be the starting keeper for the US National team. To this end, a soccer scholarship is being established in Mack’s name. It is one way that Mack can still be “on the field” he hoped to play on some day.

Memorial gifts may be made online at or by sending a check, payable to Penn State with “In memory of Mack Brady” in the memo line, to: Penn State University, One Old Main, University Park, PA 16802.

My former colleague, Cole Camplese, knew the Brady family well and is encouraging our Penn State community to help make this dream a reality. I’d like to take this call to action one step further:  I’ve seen what my higher ed community can do when one of us is hurting. Please consider donating whatever you can to help endow this scholarship. $5. $25. $50. Whatever you can share. Even if you’re not from Penn State. Because we’re all in this together, connected by our own desires to make a difference. It’s what we do in higher ed.

Help us create some light in the midst of this tragic darkness. Not for Penn State. Not for a family’s loss. But to keep a young boy’s dream very much alive.

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