Centralia College Foundation names Tim Browning as 2024 Distinguished Alumnus


The Centralia College Foundation has named Tim Browning its 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award winner.

He will be recognized at the Centralia College Foundation’s Night of Celebration on June 20 in the TransAlta Commons at Centralia College.

“Tim Browning has been a leader in Centralia for a long time. There’s very little in this city he hasn’t had some influence on,” said Christine Fossett, executive director of the Centralia College Foundation. “He got his start at Centralia College and it’s exciting to honor him with the Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Browning has served Centralia for more than 40 years, both in city government and in service clubs, including the Centralia Rotary and Twin Cities Rotary clubs, Centralia College said in a  news release. He’s a former mayor and current president of the Centralia School Board.

Browning was third in his class at Centralia High School in 1960 and immediately enrolled at Centralia College after graduation

“I didn’t know what my ultimate goal was, but I knew I needed an education. Centralia College was a great opportunity. More than two-thirds of my high school class enrolled at CC. It made sense for me,” Browning said.

Browning found he especially enjoyed history, according to a news release. He was recruited for the debate team and discovered a passion for competition. He graduated as valedictorian in the spring of 1962.

“Intercollegiate debate was the driving focus of my life then,” Browning said. “We competed in tournaments in Washington and Oregon. We competed at Junior College Nationals in Stockton, California, my first year, and at Hutchison, Kansas, my sophomore year. Our competitive success earned me a scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University and I transferred there in the fall of 1962.”

At PLU, Browning earned his bachelor’s degree in speech and business and continued with the debate team. He earned his master’s degree in speech and history from the University of New Mexico in 1966.

While a graduate assistant and then faculty member, he was responsible for forensics and debate.

In 1967, he accepted a faculty teaching and coaching position at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He returned to the Southwest in 1969 to accept a teaching and coaching position at the University of Arizona, where he stayed until 1983. He then returned to Centralia to take over his father’s business, Browning’s Office Supply in Centralia, later known as Browning’s of Washington.

At the same time, he began a career in city politics. In 1984, he joined the Centralia Planning Commission. He was chair from 1987 to 1991. In 1992, he transitioned to the Board of Adjustment, for which he served as chair from 1993 to 1997. From there, he made a run for city council. He served on the Centralia City Council from 1997-2012, including more than a decade as mayor from 1999 to 2010.

“I always felt this town was my home, a place where you could be an individual,” Browning said. “You can make a difference here, for your community and for your family.”

Browning is a founding member and past president of Twin Cities Rotary Club and is the past president and current member of the Centralia Rotary Club. He’s twice been named Rotarian of the Year. He’s also a founding member and past president of the Twin Cities Chamber of Commerce. He was president and a board member for Centralia Babe Ruth Baseball for a decade and previously served on the boards for Lewis County Red Cross, Centralia School District Levy Committee, Lewis County United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Centralia Downtown Association, the Centralia Community Foundation, the Industrial Park at TransAlta and the Lewis County Economic Development Council. He was elected to the Centralia School Board in 2021.

“He’s a seventh-generation Centralian and a tireless community servant,” the Centralia College Foundation said in the news release.

Browning and his son Daniel now own the PostNet International franchises in Centralia and Lacey. He remains close with his Centralia High School and Centralia College classmates, including several previous winners of the Centralia College Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

“I’m honored to be included with such wonderful people,” Browning said of his award. “It’s an incredibly important group, who have achieved great success. It’s been a privilege to know so many of them.”

For more information, visit http://www.centralia.edu/foundation/projects/distinguished-alumni.aspx

Tickets for the June 20 Night of Celebration can be purchased online at www.centralia.edu/foundation