CWU News

Brooks Family Donates One-of-a-Kind Gift to CWU

Former Central Washington University President James “Jim” Brooks and his family noticed something missing from campus and were moved to action. The longtime CWU supporters’ generosity resulted in two new custom benches being installed near the Library—a gift to CWU students.Jim and Lillian Brooks sit on bench

“We hope they’ll (students) enjoy them as much as we enjoyed providing them for them,” stated Brooks.

The benches were fabricated by local metalsmith and CWU alum Jerry Bement of J. Dub’s. He along with the Brooks family, the Friends of the Library, and the Brooks Library collaborated to design the signature benches.

The end pieces incorporate the CWU logo and mountain on one end and a silhouette of a reader—one male, one female—on the other. Both benches adorn a metal plaque. One lists the names of the Brooks and their five children while the second includes Jim’s graduation year and the spirited call “Go Wildcats!” 

Jim, his wife Lillian and their children have earned nine CWU degrees between them and have more than 50 years invested in the university. The couple began their college careers at Central in 1946, married the following year and later raised their family in Ellensburg.

Jim served as CWU’s sixth president from 1961 to 1978, and, after leaving that office, served as a professor of geography for nearly 20 years. They have remained contributors of both the community and CWU ever since.

“We owe a lot to Central,” Jim said, as Lillian smiled and nodded in agreement.

Watch the video of the Brooks—who celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary last month—discuss their most recent gift to CWU.

Media contact: Dawn Alford, public affairs coordinator, 509-963-1484,

October 4, 2016