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Pfeiffer Mourns the Loss of Friend and Leader of the NCAA

MISENHEIMER, NC - After nearly a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Myles Brand, fourth president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), passed away Wednesday, Sept. 16. He was 67.

Brand served as NCAA president since January 2003 and led the NCAA through key initiatives including academic reform, increased emphasis on presidential leadership and broad discussions on fiscal issues in college athletics.

Pfeiffer President Dr. Chuck Ambrose was elected by his peers to serve two consecutive terms as chair of the Division II Presidents Council. He, Brand and others were instrumental in the rebranding and development of the strategic positioning “I Chose Division II,” which cleverly highlighted the benefits of the mid-division. That effort generated an overwhelmingly positive response and helped to resolve the feelings of the “middle-child syndrome” from those affiliated with Division II institutions. Despite the end of his second term as chair in 2008, Ambrose has remained active with NCAA and subsequently its administrators, including Brand.

Ambrose said the death of the NCAA chief is a tremendous loss for intercollegiate athletics.

“He was a true friend to Pfeiffer and to Division II,” Ambrose said. “We are grateful that he is counted as a Pfeiffer University honorary degree recipient. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Brand was awarded an honorary degree from Pfeiffer following his keynote address during the university’s 2008 commencement ceremony. In his speech, Brand shared with those graduates the importance of ‘making a moral difference’ and challenged them to work toward “becoming citizens of the world.” It was a motivational speech that Blake Martin, a Pfeiffer alumnus from Albemarle, who was among that graduating class, will never forget.

“His words were so simple, yet profound,” Martin recalls. “He prompted us to really contemplate our lives and challenged us to consider how we could make a difference in the world. It was inspiring, especially coming from such a prominent figure like Myles Brand.”

Termed by some the “education president,” Brand has presided over passage of the most comprehensive academic reform package for intercollegiate athletics in recent history – a package that refocuses the attention of student-athletes, coaches and administrators on the education of student-athletes. Brand has also changed the national dialog on college sports to emphasize the educational value of athletics participation and the integration of intercollegiate athletics with the academic mission of higher education. His tenure has helped reestablish the indispensable role of university presidents in the governance of college sports.

Brand was himself president of two major universities. He served for eight years at Indiana University, an eight-cam¬pus institution of higher education with nearly 100,000 students, 17,000 employees and a budget of $3.4 billion. He spent five years as president at the University of Oregon. Brand earned a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytech¬nic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1967. 

To read more about Brand, including a tribute to his legacy, click HERE to be directed to the official NCAA web site.

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