ANGOLA, Ind. (Press Release): Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., today informed the Trine University campus community that he intends to retire on May 31, 2023, after 23 years as president of the Angola-based institution. Dr. Brooks is currently the longest serving college or university president in Indiana.
In an email to faculty, staff, alumni and donors, Dr. Brooks wrote, “I am announcing that I have entered my final year as president of Trine University, and that the Board of Trustees has formed a committee to begin the process for selecting the next leader of this great institution. After the tremendous honor of serving 23 years as your president, Melanie and I will move on to the next phase of our lives and I have notified the board that I will retire effective May 31, 2023. I believe this university is in its strongest position ever – academically, financially, strategically – which makes it the best time to turn over the reins to a worthy successor who will keep us on this extraordinary path we built together.”
During his tenure, Dr. Brooks has transformed the university in virtually every possible way, including changing the university name. When he arrived at Tri-State University, as it was named then, with wife Melanie in 2000, they encountered a university facing a variety of challenges, including declining enrollment, a crumbling campus, retention concerns and stressed finances. In the two decades since, enrollment has grown significantly and facilities, academic programs, athletics and student life have undergone radical transformation. More than three times as many residential students now enjoy modern, apartment-style housing, revitalized academic buildings, and a vibrant campus atmosphere supported by state-of-the-art recreational and athletic facilities. Dr. Brooks also played a central role in raising more than $250 million to fund the renewal and transformation. As a result, today’s Trine University continues to set enrollment records (more than 5,850 in Spring 2022), compete for conference and national athletics championships, grow its international student population and offer new academic programs that meet business and community needs while equipping students for successful careers and lives.
Rick L. James, chair of Trine University’s Board of Trustees, said, “Dr. Brooks’ shoes will certainly be difficult to fill, but the tremendous, transformational, work he has done over the last 23 years has put the university in an outstanding position. He also built a world-class administrative team. All of this, along with the university’s very strong financial foundation, means his successor will assume one of the best jobs in higher education. I am confident that our selection process will identify a strong and skilled leader worthy of carrying on Dr. Brooks’ legacy.”
In his message to the Trine community, Dr. Brooks expressed gratitude while looking forward to an exciting future: “Melanie and I are truly excited about spending more time with family and doing the things we love to do together while we still have our health and vitality. Together with the Trine University community, we have done remarkable things and I will always treasure the collaboration and friendship that we forged over two decades. For that, I want to thank everyone with whom I have had the privilege to work. Making the kinds of significant changes and community impact this university has made required the consistent passion and dedication of faculty, staff, students, alumni, coaches, donors and members of our Board of Trustees. We were in this together, and the results of your commitment and dedication are clearly visible.”
Dr. Brooks also expressed confidence in current Trine leadership’s ability to take the university to the next level: “I know that transition sometimes can be unsettling, but we enter this next phase with the comfort of knowing that we already have in place a group of skilled and compassionate leaders throughout the university that will continue to lead this institution on our current trajectory. They are gifted with clear vision and strong administrative expertise and deserve your complete confidence. They also have a deep understanding of what makes Trine University unique and fully appreciate that everything we have achieved, and all we will achieve in the future, is driven by our student-centered mission.”
Dr. Brooks added, “I intend to operate this next year as if nothing has changed and plan to run full-speed across the finish line next May. This means, of course, you’ll still receive the same early-morning emails or texts. I’ll still ask the same hard questions at meetings. And I will still expect to share a laugh when we encounter one another on campus.”
Dr. Brooks concluded his message with additional thank-yous, along with a strong message of optimism for Trine‘s future, “Thank you again for everything you have done to make this such an outstanding university. Thank you for your kindness, support and friendship. And thank you for everything you have taught me along the way. A special thanks goes to my wife Melanie for all of her love, support and encouragement. She has been with me on every step of this journey and has contributed to this university in countless, often anonymous, ways. I also want to thank my daughter Megan, my son-in-law Evan and my granddaughters Emma and Elizabeth (they truly are the apples of my eye) for their steadfast love and support. As we move into this exciting next chapter in the Trine University story, let’s cherish what we have accomplished together and continue to be energized and amazed by all of the wonderful possibility that lies before us.”