A Clarkson Mosaic - page 76

During the winter season of his college years, he taught in the public schools and
continued his teaching career for a year after graduating. He then went to St. Paul, Minn., where
he worked in a drafting room for the Burlington Railroad. While on the road for that railroad,
Brooks and his fellow workers camped in tents in Iowa during the winter and slept on bags of
hay a foot thick. He worked on railroad construction near Sioux City, la., and helped build a
short railroad near Streetor, 111.
His engineering career began when he returned to the east and went to work for the J.
Edwin Jones firm in Boston, from 1886 to 1890. He left Boston to teach as an instructor of civil
engineering at Lehigh University from 1890-97, returning to Dartmouth to get his master of
science degree in 1894. He then moved to become professor of civil engineering at State
University of Kentucky, 1897-1906, and at the University of Illinois, Urbana, from 1906 to
1911, when he returned east to assume the directorship of Clarkson. He was the author of a
Handbook of Surveying, the Handbook of Street Railway Location, and a textbook on
reinforced concrete. He was an associate member of the American Society of Civil Engineers
and a member of the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education, of Sigma Xi, and
Tau Beta Pi.
He insisted that he remembered clearly the day Lincoln was shot: he was at home with
his mother when his father hurried home with the news. Later, on September 6, 1901, while
attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y., Dr. Brooks was just entering the door
of the Music Hall where a reception was being held for President McKinley, when he heard the
shot that killed the president. He recalled that he was turned back by the guards, and didn't
realize at the time that it had been an assassination. While in Potsdam, he helped lay out the
Potsdam golf course and drew up plans for its clubhouse. He pursued a musical hobby of
playing the flute throughout his lifetime, and practiced cabinet making after he retired.
When Brooks joined the Clarkson staff in 1911, the school had only 57 students and a
faculty requiring only nine men. When he left after 20 years, the student population had grown
to over 400. He had found a nucleus of faculty in Professors Michel, Toll, Russell, Miller, and
Wheeler. He hired John A. Ross in mechanical engineering, A. Raymond Powers in electrical
engineering, and Harold Royal in mathematics. Soon thereafter he replaced Wheeler with Prof.
Cloak, and Miller with Prof. Wilson to solve one of his threefold problems: to stabilize the
faculty, to gain the friendship and support of the alumni, and to prove to the Potsdam
community that Clarkson was an institution worthy of their interest and support. Those two
changes stabilized the faculty, for no other faculty changes occurred until 1919.
The local response to his call for help for the College in the early 1920s was an amazing
$140,000 from the community. Among the local pledges were promises of clerks and mill
workers to give $260 each over a five-year period.
In 1959, "Doc" Powers assessed Brooks' contributions to the College:
Dr. Brooks did more for Clarkson than any other one man. He made Clarkson known by visiting high schools, he
organized and stabilized the faculty, led the student body to be an organization loyal to the College, brought back
the alumni interest, persuaded the community that the college was an integral part, and taught classes in applied
mechanics and reinforced concrete.
Glenn Morse Graduated.
Among 23 graduates was Glenn R. Morse, a star Clarkson
basketball and baseball player, and pianist for chapel, movies, and dances. In the 1920s, he
joined Murray Walker in running the J. R. Weston Bookstore. He later served on the Board of
Trustees for 30 years, including 25 as secretary.
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