'Compliment Guy' pays final compliment at Purdue commencement

May 12, 2011

After three years of delivering free compliments at Purdue University and around the nation, the Purdue Compliment Guys, Brett Westcott (at left) and Cameron Brown have retired because Brown is graduating. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Compliment Guy Cameron Brown will make his last appearance as a Purdue student on the Elliott Hall of Music stage during Purdue's last spring 2011 commencement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (May 15).

University President France A. Córdova invited him to take part in the ceremony at which Brown, of Toledo, Ohio, will receive his bachelor's degree in management. Córdova invited Brown when she visited the guys during their final free compliments session on campus.

Together with friend Brett Westcott of Des Plains, Ill., Brown has been delivering free compliments each week to all passersby for three years from their post at the center of campus. Their unique example of goodwill and perseverance earned them international notoriety and invitations to appear on national TV shows, including "Oprah Winfrey," "Good Morning America," "Fox & Friends" and "Today."

After the national fanfare that included a popular YouTube video the Compliment Guys spent a summer on a Kodak-sponsored tour to deliver compliments and prompt smiles from New Orleans to New York.

"We just wanted to brighten people's days," Brown said. "People could have assumed we were insincere, but we have been here for three years doing what we love to do. It's been awesome."

Westcott hatched the free compliments idea, but Brown insisted on joining him the next week and every week that followed. Brown has begun interviewing for jobs, but Westcott will return in the fall for his final year of civil engineering studies.

"I'm glad we stuck with it. It's made a difference. You don't see people walking by here without a smile," said Westcott, who will not continue dishing out compliments without Brown. "All along it has been the Compliment Guyssss, not Compliment Guy, and I just can't go on without Cam."

The Purdue Compliment Guys have spurred imitators around the nation including at Purdue, Washington University and University of California at Los Angeles. It even prompted a Florida middle school to launch an anti-bullying campaign built on giving free compliments.

"If other people want to do it, I'm a hundred percent supportive," Brown said. "It's great."

Writer:  Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu 

Sources:  Cameron Brown, cebrown@purdue.edu

                   Brett Westcott, bwestcot@purdue.edu  

Note to Journalists: Go to ftp://news69.uns.purdue.edu/Public/ComplimentGuys/  for broadcast-quality B-Roll, sound bites, package and photographs. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu