CWU News

Former CWU President Praised for 40 Years of Washington Business Week

“This is the 40th year and, in 40 more, it will be 80 years that we’ve had [Washington] Business Week. With my wife (Lillian), I intend to be there,” said former Central Washington University President James Brooks (1961-1978), to enthusiastic applause at the Ellensburg campus celebration of the milestone.

Brooks, now 91, was instrumental in the development of Washington Business Week, through spearheading meetings involving state business and education leaders. Those discussions focused on ensuring that high school students graduated with the skills that employers needed and led to the inaugural WBW, held at CWU, in 1976.

“Forty years, this is amazing!” Brooks added, noting that, initially, it was thought that WBW would be a single-year event. “You people [students] are amazing—your enthusiasm. I can see many of you going out and really being successful in the business community.”

Throughout those four decades, more than 69,000 Washington state students have participated in the annual, week-long summer programs, and related school-year offerings, which aid high school students prepare for the workforce through helping them learn business skills, while honing the confidence and values needed to succeed.

During the CWU celebration, Linda Mackintosh, the first WBW executive director, further acknowledged Brooks for conceiving of the WBW idea and for getting the program off-the-ground and established.

“Jim is definitely the one—and the reason that you’re here today,” she stated. “You owe him a great deal of thanks. We had the thought, back then, that Business Week was just lighting a candle; one candle per student. But what happens, when one student has a candle, is they light the next candle. That’s the challenge to you [students], to take the candle—to take the ideas you’ve learned, the enthusiasm, the self-respect and respect for others and pass it on to the people you know.”

Don Ide, marketing teacher and DECA student organization advisor at Lynnwood High School, was a student-attendee of the first WBW, following graduation from Eisenhower High School in Yakima.

“Business Week is about getting mentors,” Ide said. “And here is a tremendous mentor in Dr. Brooks. Without his vision, we would not be here today. So, when you go out into the world—whatever you do—make sure you have a vision, like Dr. Brooks, because he has changed so many lives and so positively.”

Media contact: Alicia Crank, WBW director of development and strategic partnerships, 253- 815-6900,

August 2, 2016

Photo (l. to r.):
• 13th district state Senator Judy Warnick;
• Don Ide, marketing teacher and DECA student organization advisor at Lynnwood High School, and student-attendee of the first Washington Business Week (WBW) in 1976 at CWU;
• Linda Mackintosh, the first WBW executive director;
• Lillian Brooks;
• Former CWU President James Brooks.