Four generations of John Y. Browns graduated from UK


LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Four generations of John Y. Browns have now graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, three of whom became well-known political figures in Kentucky.

John Y. Brown, Sr., graduated from the UK law school in 1926, and became a trial lawyer, as well as a politician.  He served nearly three decades in the Kentucky House of Representatives, rising to the post of Speaker, plus one term in the U. S. House.  He died in 1985.

John Y. Brown, Jr., after receiving his Juris Doctor from UK Law in 1960, spent most of his time in the business world.  He turned Kentucky Fried Chicken Inc. into one of the largest fast-food operations in the world, then was elected Governor in 1979, during his very first political race.

John Y. Brown III, graduated from UK with his law degree in 1992.  Four years later, he was elected Kentucky secretary of state at the age of 32, one of the youngest to hold statewide office, and won re-election in 2000.  He started a consulting firm over a decade ago, and he is currently a member of Kaplan Johnson Abate & Bird LLP in Louisville, handling government relations.

For several years, John Y. Brown III taught business law as an adjunct professor at Bellarmine University and would sometimes take his son to class with him.  John Y. Brown IV, who was around 12 or 13 years old at the time, would sometimes raise his hand to answer a question.

John Y. Brown III also recalled walking with his son through the law building after a UK basketball game when John Y Brown IV was around 7 years old.  During that visit, the father suggested that maybe his son would also attend the law school one day.

In fact, he did. John Y. Brown IV received his bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration from Bellarmine University before coming to UK for law school, where he graduated this semester.

“UK law school has been the pinnacle of my academic career and helped mold and shape me – personally and intellectually – and prepare me as well as I could hope for the workplace and my future career,” John Y. Brown IV said.

No word yet on whether he plans to follow in his family’s footsteps by entering politics.


University of Kentucky Communications contributed to this story.


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