Mary Johanna Brown Named UNH Paul J. Holloway Entrepreneur of the Year

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Mary Johanna Brown '89

Mary Johanna Brown '89

DURHAM, N.H.—Mary Johanna Brown '89, founder and president of Brown & Company Design and Big Brown Books, has been named the University of New Hampshire’s Paul J. Holloway Entrepreneur of the Year. She was recognized at this year’s Paul J. Holloway Prize Competition, UNH’s premier business plan competition that celebrates student entrepreneurs and innovators.

Brown, who graduated from UNH with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in etching, founded Brown & Company in 1992. The strategic design firm specializes in creating informed and inspired visual communications for local, regional and national clients online and in print.

Brown was named to the New Hampshire Magazine “Remarkable Women” list in 2009, the Business New Hampshire “Influence Index” in 2014, the New Hampshire Magazine 2018 “It List” and as an “Outstanding Woman in Business” in 2018 by New Hampshire Business Review.

She is the Founding Board Chair Emeritus of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation and has served on several New Hampshire nonprofit boards engaging in many community activities throughout the Granite State.

As a guest speaker and writer, Brown has focused on advancing gender equality, showcasing women’s history and encouraging civic engagement. Some of her UNH keynote speeches include Women in Business, the CEO Forum and various talks on both gender equality and female leadership. She has enjoyed mentoring young aspiring UNH entrepreneurship students through the Meaning of Entrepreneurship class since 2009.

An avid champion of the arts, Brown has both juried and curated local art exhibits, grants and public work commissions. She and her eighteen-year-old daughter Haley co-created Brown’s Art Camp in 2012, a summer camp offered yearly to girls, with an intensive week-long immersion into various art mediums and local artists.

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. A Carnegie Classification R1 institution, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and received $260 million in competitive external funding in FY21 to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.