Stetson Trustee heralded with World-renowned Award

Hyatt Brown-Freedom of City of London
A significant highlight of Hyatt Brown's award ceremony was held in the "Egyptian Hall" at the Lord High Mayor's Residence in London.
A significant highlight of Hyatt Brown’s award ceremony was held in the “Egyptian Hall” at the Lord High Mayor’s Residence in London.

Growing up, Stetson University Trustee J. Hyatt Brown, CPCU, CLU, chairman of the Board of Brown & Brown, Inc., expected to be in the insurance industry like his father, Adrian Brown, who founded Brown & Owen Insurance Agency in 1939.

What Hyatt did not expect was to be honored earlier this year with a prestigious award given to the likes of Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela – the “Freedom of the City of London” Award.

“It certainly ranks top as far as awards go. I give a lot of speeches every year, but this was the first time I was introduced with a herald of trumpets. THAT was something else,” Brown explained with a small chuckle. This humble response comes from someone who was front-and-center at a very prestigious ceremony for his outstanding and meritorious career in the insurance industry.

The “Freedom of the City of London” is one of the world’s oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence. It is believed that the first Freedom honor was presented in 1237.

The London-based Worshipful Company of Insurers, the City of London’s Livery Company for the UK insurance industry, invited Brown to become an Honorary Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his work in the worldwide insurance industry as well as for his relationship with the United Kingdom and London market.

“As Americans we don’t always realize the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of British Society and there was certainly a lot of that with this award,” Brown noted. “It’s an old-world award that has survived for hundreds of years. It was certainly a great honor and it was extra special to have our three sons and one of our daughters-in-law there as well.”

Hyatt (Hon. ’92) and his wife Cici (Hon. ’07) are two of Stetson University’s most prodigious supporters. Last year, they jointly received Stetson’s George and Mary Hood Award, which is bestowed annually to a member or friend of the university community in recognition of significant commitment to and passionate support of Stetson University and its core values.

Brown has been a member of the Stetson University Board of Trustees since 1981, including one term as chair, and currently serves as chair of the Finance Committee. His wife, Cici, a former buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue, has served on Stetson’s Board of Trustees for 16 years and also served 13 years (including one term as chair) on the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors.

Brown served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1972-80, and as Speaker of the House from 1978-80.

(Pictured on the front page with Hyatt and Cici Brown: Graham Dickinson, Master of the Worshipful Company of Insurers, and Claire Dickinson.)

By Trish Wieland