As part of our Coffee Chat series, a Capstone employee will be interviewed each month and featured in our monthly newsletter, The Erudite. For the October issue, the editors of The Erudite sat down with Matt Brown. Matt joined Capstone in 2018 from the higher-ed world to head up Capstone Management Partners, CDP’s campus housing operations and maintenance entity. Outside of the office, Matt enjoys hiking trails with his family and exploring all of the great outdoor recreation opportunities that Denver offers. When you talk to Matt you will see that he is truly passionate about student housing – he has lived and breathed student housing since his sophomore year of college when he first became a RA.
Pittsburgh State University, 1995
Bachelors, Political Science
Oklahoma State University, 1998
Masters, Higher Ed Administration, Student Affairs
Indiana State University, 2008
PhD., Higher Ed Administration
Where are you from originally?
Kansas City – Go Chiefs!
What college did you attend?
I went to a small public school in Kansas called Pittsburg State University for my undergrad. I selected it primarily because I had gone there for track meets; I was an athlete in high school. It had an enrollment of about 6,000 students and felt like the right size for me.
Did you live in on-campus housing?
Yes, for my undergrad I lived on-campus all four years at Pittsburgh State. I only had a roommate my freshmen year because beginning in my sophomore year I became a RA.
Did you work during college/ What job did you have?
I got a job as a resident assistant my sophomore through junior year. Then for my senior year I was an undergrad hall director and I had the responsibility for 120 students and 4 RA’s. As a senior RA, I lived in an apartment, which was an amazing bachelor pad for a senior. I really enjoyed working in student housing. I think that being a RA was natural experience for me — working with students and helping people and developing community. So that was my initial foray into student housing – and I’ve literally been doing it ever since.
Favorite class from college?
As a political science major, I took government, history and geography. So probably my favorite class was Anthropology. It was a class that was taught by my advisor, Dr. Hilts, who was also the dean of the honors college. I just enjoyed working with him and he was a really great professor. Looking back the subject was difficult, but I think really enjoyed the class because I enjoyed the professor.
Is there a podcast that you are listening to right now or book that you are reading?
I like to listen to “The Art of Manliness” podcast. It has been on for about 11 years. They cover all kinds of things you can imagine related to business, self reflection, etc. Recently, they had a great podcast on mindfulness. The last podcast was about learning life lessons from losing where they interviewed athletes who were very successful but had experienced an incredible loss as an athlete and what they learned from that experience. I really enjoy this podcast for its variety of topics, but it really is focused on masculinity and being a better person (for men).
What do you do in your free time or are you an active member of any organizations?
Professionally, I’m a member of a number of organizations such as ACUHOI and often present at the annual and regional meetings.
Right now, having recently moved to Denver, my wife and I have really taken up hiking. We try to get out and hit a different trail every weekend. It’s just amazing the access that we have to incredible out door spaces here in Colorado. We’ve really tried to embrace that. I really wasn’t a big hiker before, but I just don’t know how you can live here and not get out and ski, mountain bike, hike, etc., just there’s a lot of things you can do here year-round. Particularly in the COVID environment where we can’t take vacations or travel as much so Carla and I took advantage of what we had here in Denver.
Are there any hikes you are training for?
Yes, in a couple of weeks I’m going out to Zion National Park in Utah with a group of friends. We get together once a year for a guy trip and this year this is what we decided to do. We were actually all RA’s together in college. We’re going out for 4 days and we’re going to do a couple of intense hikes, some will be long hikes and overnight.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Most people may not know that I actually served in the army national guard for 6 years. It was a big part of how I paid for college. I juggled being in the national guard while being a RA and going to college. I was a 63 Tango, which is a Bradley fighting vehicle mechanic. I was a mechanic on infantry vehicles for a mechanized infantry group. I was mobilized for federal service for Desert Storm. I did not get deployed but I did go to Fort Riley and actually missed my first semester of college because I was at Fort Riley assisting their mobile infantry division.
What do you enjoy most about working on college campuses?
You are getting the opportunity to impact and shape the experience of young people who are going to be future leaders for us in medicine, business, and a variety of businesses. I just had a such a great experience in college — living on campus and making friends and kind of finding my place. There was a time when I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish college, but once I got plugged into a student organization and I got a RA job, it convinced me to stay in it. We get to provide not just housing, which is a basic need, but we’re providing a developmental experience and a community where students can be engaged. And if most of them are like me, I look back and those were amazing times for me. I had some of the best conversations and I was challenged in how I viewed the world. My values were important. If I had challenges I would talk to other folks sitting around in the lounge of the residence hall. Probably what I enjoy most is that we actually have a mission to support student success. At the end of the day it is about students and their success.