ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (May 8, 2013) - The Eastern Ohio Alumni Chapter of Ohio University has named Dr. David Brooks as the 2013 Austin C. Furbee Award honoree, in recognition of his dedication and contribution to Ohio University and the community. An award dinner was held Wednesday, May 8 at 7pm at Belmont Hills Country Club in St. Clairsville in his honor.
Ohio University Eastern Dean Rich Greenlee introduced Brooks at the event. "Dr. Brooks epitomizes the intent of the Austin C. Furbee Award," said Greenlee. "His commitment to the students of the Ohio University Eastern Campus was second to none during his time at OUE. In fact, he enjoyed the equivalent of a second career as an adjunct instructor at OUE and taught geography with distinction. His enthusiasm for teaching was contagious and his service to the campus was exemplary."
Greenlee continued, "It was through his singular effort that a Rotaract group was established on campus and he played a vitally important role in mentoring the students who participated in the organization while he was at OUE. His legacy lives on through the Rotaract group today. He is most deserving of an award that seeks to recognize an individual for his dedication and service to our campus and the community."
Brooks began his teaching career in 1971 as an instructor of geography at West Liberty State College. During thirty-four years of employment at the institution, he had the opportunity to serve as the director of institutional research and planning and assistant to the executive deans for a number of years before returning to teaching. At retirement, he had attained the rank of professor of geography and was subsequently honored for his service to the college with the rank of professor emeritus.
In March of 1984, Brooks accepted an appointment as an adjunct instructor of geography at the Ohio University Eastern Campus. From that time until June of 2012, he taught geography courses at the St. Clairsville based institution. He began by offering one geography class per academic term, and ended his employment offering two or three courses, either in a classroom or online, each term.
Looking back on his career, Brooks is just as passionate today about the importance of teaching as he when he began more than forty years ago. "Many of the more than twelve thousand students that I had the pleasure to teach were the first in their families to go to college," he said. "It was very rewarding to me to have had the opportunity to see them grow and mature into young professionals ready to enter and succeed in the job market."
Brooks holds A.B. and M.S. degrees from Marshall University and an Ed. D. from West Virginia University. Additionally, he received a Mellon Foundation Fellowship for post-doctoral studies at Carnegie-Mellon University.
In 2003, he was invited to join the St. Clairsville Sunrise Rotary Club. During his membership he became a Paul Harris Fellow, served as president of the club and also as an assistant governor of the South-East Rotary District of Ohio.
During his term as President, a number of new project initiatives were begun such as "Pack the Truck" and the establishment of the Rotaract Club at OUE. The OUE Rotaract Club has won the Rotary International Presidential Citation for the past three consecutive years.
"I was honored to have been asked to join and serve as an officer of the Sunrise Rotary in St. Clairsville," he said. "I have never worked with a better group of individuals volunteering to make our community a better place to live."
Brooks is in his fiftieth year of marriage to Amelia Garcia Brooks; they have two daughters, Dr. Monica Garcia Brooks and Heather Anne Brooks who are both employed at Marshall University.
"I cannot express enough my appreciation of the support I received from my family during my career in higher education," Brooks said. "There were many times when I needed to be absent from my wife and daughters when I was in school, and later when my professional responsibilities took me away from home for short periods of time. My wife Amelia, with her traditional family values and a strong sense of unity and love, has always been the motivating force behind everything that I may have achieved as a professor."
Austin C. Furbee, for whom the award is named, played a key role in the formation of the Ohio University Eastern Campus. While serving as a Belmont County Commissioner, Furbee realized that there were limited opportunities for higher education in the Ohio Valley. As a result, he became instrumental in the commission's acquisition of the former Belmont County Experimental Station farmland, which was to become a regional campus of Ohio University.
Furbee's involvement with Ohio University grew throughout the years. He was a long time member of OUE's Regional Coordinating Council and also presided as chairman of the council when Shannon Hall, the first building on the St. Clairsville campus, was dedicated in 1967.
As a result of Furbee's efforts, the Eastern Campus has continued to grow and serve the needs of the community. OUE stands as a tribute to his vision, determination and hard work.
The Austin C. Furbee award was first given in 1981 after Furbee's wife, Gladys, established an endowed fund in memory of her husband. The award is given annually to recognize an individual who has shown dedication, commitment and service to Ohio University and to the community.
Brooks accepted the award with sincere gratitude and appreciation. "I want to thank the Eastern Ohio Alumni Chapter of Ohio University for honoring me with the Austin C. Furbee Award," he said. "To be included in the distinguished list of past Austin C. Furbee Award recipients is a wonderful climax to my professional career."
Previous Austin C. Furbee Award Recipients:
- Mary J. Poston
- Dr. Robert J. Parrish
- Carole A. Mitchell
- Thomas W. Dunlap
- Robert Crum
- Roger W. Stewart
- James Kacsmar
- Charles Wilson
- Karen Nichols
- Robert W. Ney
- Dr. E.R. Bovenizer
- Marshall Piccin
- William L. Toothman
- Elizabeth Sproull
- Harry W. White
- Michael Jamison
- George A. Carroll, Jr.
- James W. Newton, Jr.
- Daniel L. Frizzi, Jr.
- Michael McTeague
- MaryLou Goodman
- John Bisbocci
- Terry A. Lee
- Dama Burkhart
- Dennis Fox