Sunday, March 1, 2009

Welcome to the Brian Maxwell Fellows Web site! We launched the site in March 2009 and we welcome everyone associated with Brian, Jennifer, Haas, Cal and PowerBar to share your thoughts about Brian and what you are doing now.

Our goal of this blog is to continue the ongoing dialogue of the many ways Brian and Jennifer influenced our lives and connected so many individuals along the way. Feel free to share your stories and thoughts so we can remain connected and keep Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit alive. Just like Brian encouraged us to openly and honestly communicate with one another, this blog gives you your own voice.

Brian was our friend, mentor, devoted husband and loving parent, and adventuresome son. We miss Brian dearly and we remember him fondly and eternally. Brian is here in spirit for inspiration and to awaken our passions for life. We are extremely grateful.

Brian represented a philosophy, a way of life and thinking. Looking at life without limitations and knowing that any endeavor is possible. Brian would say, “It’s always been my entrepreneurial philosophy to ignore sensible advice…it was George Bernard Shaw who said that progress is only made by unreasonable people.” Brian embodied that drive to the point where we sometimes did not see his wisdom and rationale. But now, we understand.

On the weekend when Brian passed away in March 2004, when my wife Jenny and I couldn’t sleep, I called my parents at 5:00 a.m. As I was speaking with them looking out the kitchen window, I saw the most glorious shooting star with the longest streaming tail, never before burning so brightly, but all too brief – just like Brian.

When asked to describe his highest hurdle, Brian would say, “Skepticism and maintaining vision and confidence in the face of so many people who said it couldn’t be done. You really have to believe that it’s possible to create something from nothing.” In one of Brian’s favorite books, “The White Spider, The Story of the North Face of the Eiger,” author Heinrich Harrer analyzed the values and ethics of mountaineering and the reasons why people risk their lives to scale such forbidding peaks and test their own qualities to the utmost. Now, for us, comes our test, living without Brian’s presence. We will not let him down.

Brian’s energy burns powerfully and instinctively within us. I am content that he is in our hearts, spirits and intellect for our journeys.

Jennifer created the Brian Maxwell Fellows at the Haas School of Business and asked me to set up the fellowship and run the program in late 2005. Jennifer wants to commemorate her late husband Brian, who had an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit and created opportunities throughout his meaningful, but short life of 51 years. Through the creation of the fellowship, Jennifer wants to make it possible for graduate students with a dream and the drive to “go for it,” to create opportunities, to innovate and bring real value and change to the world.

Jennifer encourages each Brian Maxwell Fellow to “conquer yourself, live your passions, innovate and make a difference.” She envisions a collaborative group of like-minded individuals aspiring to embody Brian’s insatiable desire for innovation and creativity. Jennifer sees the Fellows pursuing their passions and dreams with the goal of creating opportunities, innovating and bettering the world. To capture and perpetuate some of the will and drive that Brian possessed would make the fellowship a success as we aspire to be the nation’s most innovative and leading graduate fellowship programs.

Each year, the Brian Maxwell Fellows Selection Committee awards up to three graduate fellowships to Haas students based on the same entrepreneurial characteristics that drove Brian to success: determined; persistent; passionate; optimistic; courageous; fearless; strong; creative; generous; humble; and peaceful. He also had will and an enduring belief in people.

A Brian Maxwell Fellow is an innovator and an entrepreneur who embodies the spirit and characteristics of Brian. Graduating from Haas is the first step to commemorate Brian in a lifelong quest for innovation and creativity, achieving the extraordinary and keeping alive Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit. A Fellow brings change to the world and shares a lifetime of experiences with their constituencies, colleagues, friends and families and with the Brian Maxwell Fellows family.

In the last three years, Jennifer and I and Haas have been so happy with Elizabeth, Nick, Silvia, Brad, Aleka and James – all uniquely talented, passionate individuals and outstanding Fellows who are committed to continuing Brian’s legacy. The fellowship is the start of a unique experience of innovation and entrepreneurship. We are so fortunate that the Fellows are keeping alive Brian’s entrepreneurial spirit and are making this fellowship a success. Jennifer and I and Haas look forward to growing and sharing a lifetime of experiences within our fellowship community.

I look forward to hearing from everyone and continuing Brian’s legacy.

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