Former CWU president James Brooks dead at 91
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On April 2 former Central Washington University President James E. Brooks passed away at the age of 91.
While active, Brooks’ administration saw campus growth in numbers: 20 buildings were added, acreage was more than tripled and the student body grew from 2,320 to 7,483.
During his time in office, he saw the establishments of the CWU foundation and the CWU Faculty Senate, as well as notable growth in faculty. Brooks Library is named after him due to his contributions to the university.
At 35 years old, Brooks was the youngest person, as well as the only CWU graduate to serve as president. He served from 1961 to 1978. It was in 1986 when CWU named him distinguished alumnus.
After stepping down as president, he taught geography and geology courses in 1985 and again from 1987 to 1993. He received a Distinguished Professor in 1989 for his work in the department of geography and land studies.
Before he took office, Brooks received his bachelor’s degree in education and social science at CWU in 1949. While teaching, Brooks also pursued his master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from the University of Washington.
Other notable achievements of Brooks’ include Friends of the Library, an organization dedicated to funding and promoting the library, and the James and Lillian Brooks/Reginald and Isabel Shaw Geography Endowment. The endowment has awarded over $50,000 to undergraduate geography majors in the past 20 years.
Brooks will be remembered by many. Current CWU President Jim Gaudino had this to say about his late friend: “No one loved Central more than Jim and we’ll all miss his commitment, humor and friendship.”