Up until now, the new building has simply been known as “the new building,” but on March 9 at the school’s winter event in New York City, IYRS announced that the new home for its modern making programs will be “The Brooks Building” at IYRS. The building’s name is in honor of IYRS trustee Matt Brooks’ father, Jack Brooks, and there is a wonderful connection and story associated with Jack.
He was born in 1923, the son of a Navy engineer. His first job was working as a welder in a shipyard, and right out of high school he was off to King’s Point Merchant Marine Academy, looking forward to a life at sea. Just days after completing his basic training at the academy, World War II broke out. He and his fellow cadets were immediately assigned to active duty aboard a liberty ship, and a series of tours took him to the South Pacific, North Africa, the Persian Gulf, and India.
After his graduation from the Academy in 1944, Jack Brooks joined the US Navy, and at the age of 21 became chief engineer aboard the USS Allandale. He would have happily spent the rest of his career aboard one ship or another, but after the war, he returned home, fell in love, and got married. He went back to night school, studied engineering and law, started a business, and over time, became a builder of cities in his native California. If you live in Fremont or San Leandro or San Ramon… suburbs east of San Francisco… there’s a good chance your home was built by him.
Jack was one of the co-founders of the Oakland Raiders football team and a force to be reckoned with in California politics for more than fifty years. In all that time, he never went to back to sea again, but in 2006 he was promoted by President George W. Bush to the rank of rear admiral in the US Merchant Marines, in recognition of his service to his community and his country. He wore his two stars with pride for the rest of his life… and passed his love of the sea along to a grateful son, IYRS trustee and owner of the iconic S&S yacht Dorade.
Matt Brooks is IYRS’ General Counsel and a member of the Executive Committee. His wife Pam Rorke Levy has also been active at the school, often working with the management team on strategic issues of branding and marketing.