Gift to Rowan athletics to help University expand to West Campus
Robert and Susan Brooks are hoping that their $100,000 gift to Rowan University will help take the University’s athletics program to the next level. That next level might just be construction of facilities on the university’s West Campus.
South Jersey natives, Bob (Wenonah) and Sue Davenport Brooks (Woodbury Heights) recently presented their gift to the Rowan University Foundation and the Profs athletics program through their Brooks Family Foundation.
“The Brooks’ gift provides us seed money that will help us build athletic facilities on our West Campus,” said Rowan President Ali Houshmand. “The future growth of our athletics program is significant to the continuing evolution of our institution. We want it to grow as our University grows. Athletics are an extension of the classroom and are very important to the future of Rowan University.”
Athletic Director Dan Gilmore says athletics are also important in attracting top students.
“There are three things students consider when looking at colleges,” says Gilmore. “Academic reputation, housing and athletics. Our academics are better than they ever have been, our housing is beautiful, and this gift will help propel our athletic program into the future.”
Sue Brooks, who earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University in 1966, agrees that Rowan is a transforming campus and says that’s exactly what attracted her and Bob to give to University Athletics.
“As an alumna, it has been incredible to watch the developments and changes at Rowan during the past few years. Bob and I are excited to support the University and its vision and look forward to being a part of Rowan’s future,” she said.
Gilmore hopes to build indoor and outdoor training facilities on the West Campus within the next few years. Rowan’s West Campus is made up of 600 acres of land at the intersection of Rt. 322 and Rt. 55—approximately 1.5 miles from the University’s main campus—and is home to the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University.
The University’s long-range plan is to locate all of its athletic facilities on the West Campus, which will make room for additional academic buildings in Glassboro.
“The Brooks’ gift will not only help with the planning of the facilities, but it also serves as a definitive vote of confidence in Rowan and our athletics program,” says Gilmore. “We fully expect that others will follow their lead.”
The Brooks’ support of Rowan dates back to 2007, when they established the Susan Davenport Brooks Scholarship to benefit students in the College of Education. To date, their support has assisted 10 students in pursuit of education degrees.
“The support of the Brooks’ highlights the importance of the integration of academics and athletics,” noted Rowan Development Director Brittany Petrella. “Their dedication to providing the best opportunities and resources for Rowan’s students—both on and off the field—reflects their commitment to the development of the University on all fronts.”
Bob and Sue Brooks consider athletics to be a key component of the collegiate educational experience.
“Athletics equip students for success both in competition and in life. Student-athletes learn valuable lessons—in teamwork, self-discipline and time management—that benefit them long after they’ve earned their college degree,” says Bob Brooks.
About Robert and Susan '66 Brooks
Heavily involved in professional and semi-professional athletics, Robert and Susan Brooks are investors in several sports teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Texas Rangers. They and their children have/had ownership affiliation with the minor league baseball team the Altoona Curve (Pirates, Class AA) and the minor league ice hockey teams the Wheeling Nailers (Penguins, Class AA), Wilkes-Barre Baby Pens (Penguins, Class AAA) and the Adirondack Phantoms (Flyers, Class AAA). In addition, they are affiliated with the State College Spikes (Cardinals, Class A), the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers, Class A), and the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena for Soccer and Lacrosse.
Bob Brooks graduated from Franklin & Marshall with a B.S. in Mathematics and earned his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Although now retired, he was Chief Financial Officer at Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (Wabtec) and he currently serves as Mayor of Murrysville, Pa. where the couple resides. He also serves on the NASDAQ’s Nominating Committee.
An alumna of Rowan’s College of Education, Sue is active in her church as an Elder and in the Franklin Regional Adult School that offers classes to residents of Murrysville. She received her degree in Kindergarten-Primary Education and worked as a substitute teacher for many years and continues to do so.