Jesuit Father John Brooks Remembered as an Educational Leader of Holy Cross

Nearly 1,000 mourners said goodbye on Monday to Jesuit Father John E. Brooks, the former president of the College of the Holy Cross who boldly broke gender and race barriers at the once all-white male school and who is credited by many with pulling the liberal arts institution from the brink of financial collapse.

St. Joseph Memorial Chapel was packed with mourners, who attended the 90 minute funeral Mass.

The 88 year-old Fr. Brooks, who served as president from 1970 to 1994, died July 2 at the UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, where he had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

Fr. Brooks is credited with a number of achievements at the school but he is particularly well-remembered for traveling up and down the East Coast in the late 1960s in search of black high school students who might be interested in attending Holy Cross and in making the school co-educational.

In his homily, Jesuit Father Earle L. Markey, associate director of admissions for Holy Cross, recounted the many initiatives Fr. Brooks undertook in making Holy Cross a nationally-renowned liberal arts college: recruiting an excellent faculty and bright students, adding new buildings, introducing new academic programs and building the endowment — all while staying true to the College’s Catholic roots.

“In the midst of great change, John always confirmed that the college remains a Catholic college,” he said. “He never wavered from his view that the College of the Holy Cross served the Church as an instrument of intellectual competence, where the Church met the world and world met the church. It was a place where faith and reason could meet and be reconciled each to the other.”

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One Response to “Jesuit Father John Brooks Remembered as an Educational Leader of Holy Cross”

  • I am sure Father John will be missed. He made a difference in other people’s lives. designs and builds memorial crosses. Honor your loved ones today. Simple and bold crosses to honor those special people that change people’s lives. Thank YOU Father John for being a servant of God.