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President Branam on Campus: Visitation followed by Life Celebration

April 21, 2012

Thanks to the graciousness of the Branam family, Rose-Hulman hosted an open visitation in the Hatfield Hall Alumni Center on Monday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Branam's immediate family, some from as far as Georgia, were all present to share this moment with the Rose-Hulman community.

Lines of people anxious to pay respects went from Alumni Hall, through the Alumni Office, and out the North door of Hatfield Hall for the entire four hours, and many were still waiting when the visitation ended. Funeral services for friends and family were held immediately after visitation at Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home in Terre Haute with burial in Rosedale Cemetery. See below for the full obituary.

Later in the week, an on-campus "Celebration of a 'Great' Life" will be held. On Saturday, April 28 at 1 p.m. the Rose-Hulman community will take the opportunity to celebrate President Branam's life and accomplishments. The event will be held in the Sports & Recreation Center (SRC).   

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorial contributions be made to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for the Matt Branam Scholarship Fund.


Obituary for Matt Branam

Branam in office  

Matt Branam, 57, of Terre Haute died Friday morning, April 20, 2012 in Union Hospital.  He was the 14th President of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.  Matt was born July 2, 1954 in Terre Haute to Everett Branam and Winoa Overpeck Branam.

Survivors include his three children, Brooke Branam of Alexandria, VA, Clint Branam of Washington, D.C., Travis Branam and his wife, Julie, of Terre Haute;  his father, Everett Branam of Terre Haute;  two sisters, Laura Branam of Atlanta, GA and Kim McDonald and her husband, Lon, of Terre Haute;  a grandmother, Grace Branam of Terre Haute;  and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.  He was preceded in death by his mother.

A native of Terre Haute, Matt grew up in the children's home his parents operated, which is now the Rose-Hulman Pi Kappa Alpha house.  Matt graduated from Terre Haute North Vigo High School and attended Indiana State University and Taylor University before enrolling at Rose-Hulman, where he earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1979.  Before becoming Rose-Hulman's president, he worked for the United Parcel Service (UPS) for 24 years, starting as a package sorter and driver and working his way to Vice President of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.  After UPS he served as the first Chief Operating Officer of the American Red Cross at the request of its former president, Elizabeth Dole.  While there he was instrumental in providing ongoing efficiency and effectiveness of network of 1,300 Chapters: 32,000 employees and 1.3 million volunteers.  He was a seasoned leader, experienced in providing vision, strategy, operations and financial management for companies such as the National Academy of Public Administration, the United States Postal Service, Watershed Associates, Inc. and TRED, LLC. 

Known for his leadership qualities and ability to relate to faculty and students, he was on a mission to propel Rose-Hulman to international status as a college of excellence in engineering, science, and math.  As President, his accomplishments included launching a strategic planning process known as "The 'Great' Debate" and sustaining Rose-Hulman's number one rank among specialized undergraduate engineering colleges as rated by U.S. News & World Report.  Matt was also involved in several campus improvements including the creation of the Student Innovation Center, the construction of a LEED-certified residence hall and the construction of the William Alfred Cook Laboratory for Bioscience Research.  Matt served on the Board of Trustees for the National Hospice Foundation and Board of Directors of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and Union Health System.  He also served on the President's Council of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.  Matt's hobbies included sailing, motorcycle riding, golfing and driving fast.

Visitation will be held Monday, April 23, 2012, from 9AM to 1PM at the Hatfield Alumni Center on Rose-Hulman's campus.  A funeral service for family and friends will be conducted at 2PM at Callahan & Hughes Funeral Home, 605 South 25th St.  Burial will follow at Rosedale Cemetery.

A Celebration of Life service will be held for the Rose-Hulman community, friends, and the public on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 1PM at the Sports and Recreation Center on Rose-Hulman's campus.

The family of Matt Branam kindly requests that memorial contributions may be made to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 5500 Wabash Avenue, Terre Haute, IN 47803.