History and Traditions
Founded in 2005 as "MBT House," which reflected our three core buildings: Marshall, Buchanan and Thomas, our house was re-named Brooks College House in the fall of 2008 to honor Robert C. Brooks Sr. ‘66, his wife Susan and their son Jim ‘98 in recognition of their support for both Franklin & Marshall College and our house. In February of 2009 we opened and dedicated our beautiful Commons that has quickly become the heart of all the activities of our House. During the dedication ceremony Mr. Brooks observed that "these buildings are the ones that we consider our roots at F&M" as he pointed to Marshall where he once lived as a Franklin & Marshall student and to Buchanan where his son Jim lived when he was at F&M.
Brooks House is one of the most welcoming spaces on campus. Our traditions include a strong sense of community. Our HA's, Brooks House Congress, and the House Dean and Don are all dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Brooksians like to say that we have small rooms and big hearts.
The Brooks House motto is Primus Inter Pares ("First Among Equals"), featured on water bottles and other things. Students in Brooks House strive to do their best while supporting the best efforts of others in the community.
Phoenix Ceremony. During orientation, first-year Brooksians write down something about themselves that they would like to remain in their past as they move on to college and join the Brooks House community. They toss these notes into the ceremonial Phoenix Sculpture, which is placed into a bonfire on Hartman Green. This "rebirth" through fire and the symbolism of the phoenix is an integral part of orientation for new Brooks House members. And then, they write down a goal that they would like to achieve or a part of themselves that they would like to develop during their time in Brooks and at F&M. This second note is collected and then returned to graduating Brooksians as part of our annual senior celebration. It's a touching (and sometimes amusing) moment, as students reflect on their younger selves and their personal and academic growth.
Banner Signing. Since our founding in 2005, incoming first-year members of Brooks College House have signed the back of a large banner that reads "Welcome to Brooks House." This collection of names and class years represents the continuing physical and intellectual growth of our House community.
Robert J. Brooks, Sr. '66, P'98
Bob Brooks '66 P'98 is a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 54th Legislative District that covers parts of Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties. He is the retired Executive Vice President of Strategic Development Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (Wabtec) and the former mayor of Murrysville; he was named Pennsylvania's Mayor of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Mayor's Association in 2015. As a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins, Bob has thrice brought the Stanley Cup to F&M following NHL championships won by the Penguins.
A Math major and a member of the varsity tennis team while a student at F&M, Bob has been a dedicated volunteer and supporter of the College. He has served on F&M's Board of Trustees since 2005 and currently serves on the steering committee for the College's 'Now to Next' fundraising campaign; he is also a founding member of the Diplomat Athletic Club. Bob and his wife Sue have made an enormous impact through their philanthropy at F&M, which includes lead support for the creation of Brooks College House and the construction of the Brooks Tennis Center. The F&M Alumni Association Board presented Bob with the Alumni Medal, its oldest and most distinguished award, in 2011 in recognition of his sustained and outstanding service to the College. He and Sue have three children, including son Jim, a member of the F&M class of 1998.