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Woodbury Remembers Alumna Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown, a Woodbury alumna famous as editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and author of the groundbreaking "Sex and the Single Girl," has died. She was 90. As  CNN reports, the high school valedictorian put herself through Woodbury Business College (today Woodbury University) and earned a business degree. Gurley Brown recounted fond memories of Woodbury, where her sister Mary also attended school (1936-37) before being stricken by polio.  The school helped Gurley Brown find a job and she paid her tuition -- $24 a month -- by working at radio station KHJ on Melrose Avenue.  Taking the street car to the station, Gurley Brown answered fan mail and created charts of birthday and anniversary announcements for a radio announcer.

“I have only good memories and thoughts about (former Woodbury president) Pop Whitten and Woodbury.  They were total professionals and taught me what I needed to learn to go out and earn a living," she said.

Counter to common advice to “dream big,” Gurley Brown looked back and advised young people to “do the work in front of you as good as you can.  Convince yourself that it’s important even if it seems trivial.  If you do that long enough, you will succeed. I think it’s (foolish) to dream your way to success.  You work your way to success. Keep looking for something better, of course, but work hard at what you do. I live in the real world.”

Woodbury commends Gurley Brown, who received an honoary doctorate from her alma mater in 1987, for her pioneering ideas that helped to change the role of women in America.