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Humans of Hillsdale: Ian Brown

Humans of Hillsdale: Ian Brown

Humans of Hillsdale is an ongoing series spotlighting Hillsdale College student-athletes, spotlighting the people behind the uniforms.

Next in the series is Charger men's track athlete Ian Brown

WORDS: Calli Townsend
PHOTO: Carmen Botha


Ian Brown — Multi-talented

Class of 2020  |  Men's Track & Field  |  Omaha, Nebraska

What might a hurdler, singer, door-to-door salesman, and history major all have in common?

Well, they can all be used to describe none other than Ian Brown

"In high school, I was like the musician in athletics, but when I came to Hillsdale, the roles reversed," Ian said. "I became the athlete in music."

He not only competes for conference championships, but has participated in semester recitals as a talented singer. Teacher of Music, Melissa Osmond, who is Ian's voice instructor, has encouraged his participation in music over the past few years. 

"Missy has asked me to get more involved each semester," he said, which has led to taking an opera workshop as well. 

While running and singing at Hillsdale, Ian is pursuing his education as a history major. 

"It's fun because you can nerd out," he said. "I feel like history majors are more fun to have at a party."

But he says he has no plans to use his major, but he relies on the full-bodied education that Hillsdale provides, as he wants to go into realty. His uncle convinced him to study what he enjoys in college because he can always learn business and the necessary specific skills later. 

He enjoys sales for the study of people. He says the goal of a salesman is to improve the lives of others, and make money for himself, too.

"You can't sell somebody on something they don't want, but a good salesman will help people find a need for anything," he said. "You have to study and understand people to sell to them. A sale is a transfer of feelings so it's not about the right words, but assessing the situation and finding the right need of the person."

He says he likes the limitless opportunity of sales as well.

"Sales doesn't have a commission cap," he said. "No matter how hard you work, a salary is the cap. But with sales, the harder you work, you get paid on that."

Being rewarded for this hard work is something he has learned from his older sister, Hannah, who Ian says has had the biggest influence on his life.

"She didn't always have the natural gifts, but she's the hard worker," he said. "I was usually the naturally talented one but she always worked way harder than me, and now she's reaping that reward in grad school."

Hannah is studying athletic training and sports medicine, so Ian calls her whenever he thinks he may have an injury.

"She's always the one I call when I think I might be injured," Ian said. "One time I thought my appendix was bursting, so I called my sister. I had like four bowls of cereal with milk, ice cream and yogurt, so she was like 'Ian, I think you're just lactose intolerant.'" 

This lesson in hard work and persistence has been put into practice on the track, which has improved the many other areas of life in which Ian is involved.

"Track has helped me developed a stronger mindset and emotional stability because track is not fun, but the fun is in winning," he said. "Understanding delayed gratification is important because the hard work in the fall, it's all done for one number."

The many sides of Ian Brown blend together, whether he's training, singing, or selling, to create the driven, personable character he has.

"You just have to know and trust yourself that if you're doing the right work, you're going to get paid, literally in sales, and figuratively on the track," he said.