Presented annually, the Sarah Belle Brown Community Service Award recognizes faculty, staff and students who serve as examples of social responsibility and have, over an extended period of time, contributed significant personal time and effort to advance The University of New Mexico’s public service mission. Nominations for the annual award honoring Brown are now open.

Award details

  • Nominations are accepted until Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.
  • The award is open to faculty, staff and students.  
  • Nominations may be submitted by UNM faculty, staff, students, alumni, or community members - self nominations are not accepted.
  • Nominations should be submitted online at Sarah Belle Brown Award.
  • Nominations will be blind-reviewed by faculty, staff and students.
  •  If selected, recipients will receive $1,500 in cash. 
  • A reception for award recipients and their nominees will be held Nov. 15 at University House.
  • For full eligibility requirements for faculty, staff and students, visit Award Eligibility.

About Sarah Belle Brown
The Sarah Belle Brown Award was created by former UNM Board of Regent’s President and former dean of the Anderson School of Management Doug Brown to honor his wife. Sarah has devoted considerable time and a personal passion to community service for more than three decades in New Mexico. It’s a commitment that began in high school when she worked in the ER of Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. She tutored elementary school children in Watts during college and volunteered as a Head Start aid in Marin City after graduation.

Those experiences led her to become a teacher where she taught recently-arrived, Spanish-speaking children at LA City Schools. All subjects were taught in Spanish until the children learned enough English to study in their new language. In New Mexico, Sarah founded and managed a downtown café where she nearly always employed at least one homeless person and encouraged young employees to complete their college degrees.

Sarah’s community service in Albuquerque and Santa Fe has been at the Board level, including a current board trustee for the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Foundation, Tamarind Institute, NM Appleseed, The Lensic Performing Arts Center. She has also served on the boards of Women’s International Study Center (WISC in Santa Fe), Amy Biehl Charter Highschool, CNM Foundation (formerly TVI), Mt. Vernon College Trustees in Washington, DC, Chairman of Children’s Home Society of California, chairman of Chinatown After-School Program for Cantonese-speaking children in San Francisco. Also, she was in the first cohort of CASA (Court-Appointed-Special-Advocate for San Francisco Juvenile Court).

When Sarah was a small girl, six or seven, her grandfather sat her down and told her she was “very lucky.” “Not everyone is as lucky as you,” he continued. “When you grow up you must share what you have and share your time with others.” She says she is still trying.

Although Sarah has a busy schedule, she still makes time for her family life; and makes certain to spend time with her husband and two grown sons.

For more information about the award and or the nomination process, contact Terri Johnson at