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.”
- College of the Holy Cross memorial: “In Memoriam: Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. ’49, 1923-2012“
- New England Province of the Society of Jesus memorial: “Fr. John E. Brooks, SJ dies at 88“
- WBUR’s “Here and Now,” July 5: “Remembering Father John Brooks”
- The New York Times, July 5: “The Rev. John E. Brooks Dies at 88; Widened Paths to Holy Cross”
- The Boston Globe, July 5: “John E. Brooks, 88; led Holy Cross for 24 years and diversified the college”
- Catholic Free Press, July 5: “Father Brooks saw many changes at Holy Cross”
- “Today,” July 4: NBC’s ‘Today’ Show Features Holy Cross and ‘Fraternity’
- BusinessWeek, July 3: “Reverend John Brooks Changed Lives and the Course of History”
- Telegram & Gazette, July 3: “Rev. Brooks left an indelible mark”
- Telegram & Gazette, July 3: “Slideshow: Rev. John E. Brooks, 1923-2012″
- Telegram & Gazette, July 9: “Rev. Brooks mourned at Holy Cross funeral”
- Telegram & Gazette, July 9: “Slideshow: Rev. John E. Brooks mourned”
- College of the Holy Cross, July 9: “Former Holy Cross President Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. ’49, Laid to Rest”
- Welcome Remarks by Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs
- Homily by Jesuit Father Earle Markey
- Eulogy by Jesuit Father P. Kevin Condron