Remembrance of Life: Pamela Browning
Pamela Browning, Chair of the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education and professor of education, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018 at the age of 62.
Browning served as the department chair for 19 years and professor of education for 29 years. During her time in those roles, Browning was noted by her students and fellow faculty members as someone who worked hard to serve students. As a result, Browning received two commendable awards for teaching and advising.
Professor of Education Dr. Laura Anderson remembered Browning as a teacher who always worked to give her all, one of the main reasons she received the awards.
“She had high standards for her students, but she had high standards for herself as well,” Anderson said.
Anderson, alongside Browning, administered the Elementary Education program for several years, growing to become the largest early childhood education major offered at Lee.
Dean of the College of Education Dr. Bill Estes recounted the time he spent with Browning on the assessment system needed for the Elementary Education degree, as they were required to have national and state accreditation. He said her hard work with him led to her becoming the assessment coordinator later on.
“She was a consummate administrator, as well as a great teacher and advisor,” Estes said.
Anderson also commemorated Browning for the way she handled a heavy workload. Along with roles within the education department, Browning also served as a Gateway professor.
Anderson further explained that Browning displayed interest in working alongside incoming freshman.
“She’s taught Gateway classes for years,” Anderson said. “Most of her courses are upper level education courses for juniors and seniors, but she loved doing Gateway because she loved interacting with incoming freshmen.”
Lee University alumna Hannah Davis was a Peer Leader for Browning’s Gateway for two years. Davis graduated from Lee University spring of 2018 but never lost her respect and love for Browning.
The second year that she taught alongside Browning, the distinguished professor was not in class very often due to her illness. However, Browning took it upon herself to do as much as she could to still be present despite her health at the time, according to Davis.
“She would even push herself to do the exit interviews at the end of Gateway, and we told her we can do that if you need us to. But she said no. She wanted to do that,” Davis said. “She definitely had a lot on her plate, and I’m sure she struggled. But she never let that show. She always had a smile on her face and stayed on top of getting things done.”
Davis said that Browning really cared about her students and was committed to training the next generation of educators.
“She had genuine compassion for everyone that she taught, everyone that came through her office,” Davis said.
Browning also took interest in conducting study abroad trips through the Global Perspectives Program. Browning took students to Russia, Alaska, Mexico, England, Ireland and France. Most recently, she traveled to Thailand six times with Dr. Higginbotham and Lee students.
“She has a real sense of adventure,” Anderson said.
Estes noted that Browning used the study abroad trips as a major source for connection and impact in the lives of students.
“I saw a lot of her relationships [with students] through the trips,” Estes said. “She didn’t see them as just a trip. It really was educational. It really was personal. It really was relational.”
Anderson said Browning cared greatly for everyone, both inside and outside of the classroom.
“Dr. Browning was an amazing colleague, but she was even more than that: she was a good friend,” Anderson said. “She always had the biggest smile and she was always positive and upbeat.”
Anderson said Lee hates to lose Browning, and a huge hole will be left behind from her influence.
“Her legacy is in the teachers that she sent out that were in her classroom but now are in classrooms teaching,” Anderson said. “Her effect is going through them into the next generation of students. I think that is definitely her greatest success.”
Browning graduated from Slaton High School in 1974, received her bachelor’s degree from Lee College, earned a master’s degree from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. In 1989, she began her career in education teaching at an elementary school in Naples, FL.
Browning is survived by her husband, Gene Browning, two daughters and her seven grandchildren.
Lee University held a Remembrance of Life Service in the Lee University Chapel on Sept. 7, 2018.