William (Bill) and Cornelia Browne shared a love for each other and a love for lifelong learning. That love inspired Cornelia to establish the William A. Browne IV Fund at Miami University. This year, the fund supports two premedical research projects led by four Miami undergraduates.
One of those projects examines the changes in body weight and feeding behavior of northern cardinals. Senior zoology and creative writing major Emma Wunderlich and senior biology major Lauren Wylie, who are leading the project, hope that their research will lead to a better understanding of insulin-related disorders and how to treat them.
"My time with this project has led to a practical understanding of biology, ecology, and how to produce credible medical research," Lauren says. "It was the perfect way to combine my personal and academic interests during my time here as a student."
Emma says the project has allowed her to expand her understanding of ecological and endocrinological biology.
"As a future veterinarian, I will be utilizing all that I've learned for the rest of my life," she says. Aonesti Williams, a senior biology and premedical studies major, and Desi Ritchey, a junior nutrition and premedical studies major, are studying population genetics of mice from the state of Michigan. They hope to discover that the mice are able to retain their genetic variability due to migration from other mice populations.
"The support from the Browne Fund really helped us take a deep dive into this research," Aonesti says. "This project has been one of the best parts of my time at Miami and I feel much better prepared to go to medical school as a result."
A native of Greenville, Ohio, William A. Browne enrolled in Miami University in 1953, where he met Cornelia Clark, an elementary education major from Xenia. Like so many Miamians, the two quickly fell in love, married during their junior year and lived together 57 years as Miami Mergers.
The two moved to Philadelphia after graduating while Bill attended medical school and subsequently returned to Greenville, where he set up a family medical practice.
The Brownes returned to Oxford in 1985, where Bill served as the director of student health services at Miami. During his time, Bill oversaw the department's move from MacMillan Hall to a new space on Campus Avenue, where it remains today.
In retirement, Bill and Cornelia kept learning as voracious readers and Bill met in the morning with his close "coffee buddies" to settle Oxford and world affairs. He also enjoyed gardening and spending time in his summer home in Canada.
Throughout all of his time practicing and learning, Bill always credited his opportunities and success to his education at Miami. In keeping with his appreciation for his education, Bill named Miami as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
Following a long battle with cancer, Bill passed away in 2013 and Cornelia established the William A. Browne IV Fund.
"Bill gave Miami the glory for having presented him with such a wonderful education," Cornelia says. "We always felt so grateful for our opportunity to study at Miami and we wanted to pay something back."
Cornelia recently visited campus to meet the students benefiting from her and Bill's generosity.
"It's very rewarding," she says. "This is a dream come true that I would be helping these students further their educations."