Stratton D. Brooks

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Stratton D. Brooks, as he appeared in the 1915 Sooner Yearbook.

Stratton Duluth Brooks (September 10, 1869 – January 18, 1949)[1] was the third president of the University of Oklahoma and eleventh president of the University of Missouri.

Early life[edit]

Stratton Brooks was born in 1869 in Everett, Missouri. At the age of two, he and his parents moved to Michigan where his father, Charles Brooks, was a Sheriff in Isabella Co. Michigan (1878–82) Stratton Brooks graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan class of 1887 [2] Brooks was educated at the University of Michigan and held a master's degree from Harvard University. Prior to being appointed president of the University of Oklahoma, he had been superintendent of Boston public schools.

University of Oklahoma[edit]

When Brooks was first being courted for the position of OU president in 1911, he at first did not want the position. It was seen as a fledging university and many on the East Coast were "still in shock" at the summary discharge of former president David Ross Boyd.[2] He wasn't approached again until 1912 while at a national superintendent's meetings in St. Louis, Missouri. He was approached by William A. Brandenberg who was a member of the new Oklahoma State Board of Education. Again, Brooks refused the job but Brandenberg continued to pursue telling him that the Board desired to keep politics out of the selection process. Brooks still refused but gave advice on how to keep politics out of the process by saying that only the university president could appoint faculty and that the Board should have nothing to do with the administration of the university.[2] Eventually, the Board agreed to these guidelines and was able to convince Brooks to accept the position. Brooks later said that, "Whatever was accomplished during my eleven years as president of the University, was possible only because the Board of Education that appointed me, and its successors, never violated the basic principles set forth in that first conference."[2]

President Brook's inauguration in 1912 in front of Evans Hall.

Brooks was inaugurated as president of the university in the spring of 1912. He immediately set to rebuilding the university. He found that many of Oklahoma's own citizens (over 1,500) were sending their children to out of state colleges.[2] He immediately went about strengthening the faculty but he did not fire one individual brought in because of political connections if he was a good teacher. At the university, Brooks established a permanent faculty salary, sabbatical leave, and permanent tenure.[2] He also acquired land around the university where the stadium and armory now stand. Brooks had a great reputation with the Board of Education (now the Board of Regents) and the Oklahoma legislature. During his years as president, many building were constructed around campus.

Brooks' was also OU's first wartime president, have served during the duration of World War I. He made many efforts to see that the university was at the forefront of preparedness for all war needs. He imposed strict food regulations on the university and he established thirteen courses in seven different departments for the direct purpose of "training soldiers, training men who expect to become soldiers, and training people who take the place of soldiers in civil life."[3] Some of these courses included: wire telegraphy, wireless telegraphy, stenography and shorthand, oxyacetylene welding, orthopedic surgery, military field engineering, and first aid courses. Students under 21 were required to take special courses in the Student Army Training Corps. Barracks, an infirmary, bathhouse, guardhouse, and canteen were constructed. By the latter part of 1918, the university was practically a military base.[3] All in all, 30 faculty members, 500 alumni, and 1,875 students were in military service during the war.

University of Missouri[edit]

Brooks held his job as OU president until 1923 when he accepted a job as the president of the University of Missouri, a job he held until 1931. He was buried in Norman.


  1. ^ Missouri Secretary of State, Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1956
  2. ^ a b c d e f Keith, Harold (February 1949). "Dr. Stratton D. Brooks, 1869-1949" (PDF). Sooner Magazine. pp. 7–11. Retrieved 2006-06-30. 
  3. ^ a b Long, Charles F. (September 1965). "With Optimism For the Morrow: A History of The University of Oklahoma". Sooner Magazine. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
A. Grant Evans
President of the University of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
James S. Buchanan
Preceded by
John Carleton Jones
President of the University of Missouri
Succeeded by
Walter Williams