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Darla Moore School of Business

  • Karen Brosius speaking in classroom; text reads: Karen Brosius, Executive Director of the Folks Center for International Business (2019-2023)

In Memoriam: Karen Brosius

The Moore School Family awoke on October 14, 2023 to the shocking and sad news that its very dear friend and colleague, Karen Brosius had passed away at home overnight.  Her husband, Willson Powell, was at her side. Karen had been battling a severe form of brain cancer.

Karen became the Executive Director of the Folks Center for International Business in 2019.  She came to us on the heels of a distinguished career in corporate management and nonprofit leadership, including her pathbreaking work as a senior philanthropy, corporate affairs, and communications executive in Altria Group for over twenty years, followed by thirteen years of pioneering leadership in transforming the Columbia Museum of Art.

From day one, Karen brought to our community a unique combination of elegance, energy, creativity, and integrity that was inspirational.  She made us feel better about ourselves as individuals and as a team.

In a rather short period of time and with limited resources, Karen Brosius built the Center’s strategic mission and vision. Working closely with her new colleagues, she launched pioneering forums of public discussion and student enrichment with international business and policy leaders, transformed our communication and outreach with vital stakeholders, and created new, generous avenues of financial support for our programs and students. 

Her collaborative approach to leadership and her dedication helped the Moore School raise the awareness of international business programing and thought leadership to further develop a world-class global business community.  Among other initiatives, her leadership and dedication were exemplified by developing multiple avenues of readership of a brand new Folks Center e-newsletter, The Edge, resulting in 6,000 + recipients per edition, undertaking dynamic brand positioning initiatives for the Center, and driving extensive engagement strategies with Folks Center Global Advisory Board members, students, alumni, business community members, and other key stakeholders.

Karen Brosius’ passion for community partnerships and engagement imprints a lasting impact on the Moore School’s international business programs, communities, and legacy world-wide. 

But most of all Karen Brosius was such a good friend, collaborator, and mentor.  We have been so lucky to have her wisdom, compassion and energy imbued now in all that we do. Read Karen's obituary.

“In her work as executive director of the Folks Center, Karen Brosius quickly recognized the opportunity to bring the business and political leadership of South Carolina, a state deeply involved in international activity, together with the great expertise of the outstanding international business scholars of the Moore School faculty, and the unparalleled resource of students capable of developing their international business skills through its graduate and undergraduate programs. She sought to define and develop a center where these three groups could be brought together into a living community of benefit to all. She developed activities and programs which realized this vision with a graceful, charming touch. It was a joy for all of us to work with her, because we could always rely on her creativity and humanity, her kindness to others, and her focus on the tasks at hand. We were blessed by her presence and we miss her greatly.”
William R. Folks Jr., Chair Emeritus, Folks Center Global Advisory Board

“We were all saddened by the unexpected death of our friend and colleague, Karen Brosius. She raised the profile of the Moore School, the Folks Center and the University of South Carolina during her tenure. Karen was a fabulous networker and tireless fundraiser who made the Folks Center a place where important business leaders gathered and good things happened. After leaving a meeting with Karen, you couldn’t help but be optimistic and energized about the future of the Center and its role in the life of the University. We will miss her greatly, and extend our sympathies to Wilson and her family.”
—Gov. James Hodges, Chair Emeritus, Folks Center Global Advisory Board

“Karen was the driving spirit behind the Folks Center in her all too short time here. Her warmth, leadership, wisdom and positive energy impressed everyone who met her. She will be missed by all of us.”
—Christopher Mangum, Chair, Folks Center Global Advisory Board


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