2007 Recipient - Rose Mary Brooks
I want to tell you about a woman whose presence has made a difference and to share with you a few ways in which her life exemplifies the Hellenic Ideals.
For many of her 93 years, in addition to being the mother of two excellent children, Rose Mary Codell Brooks has been involved in five major areas of pursuit: Education, Church, Historic Preservation, Women’s Progress/Equal Justice, and The Arts.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from William and Mary and an MA from the University of Kentucky, Mrs. Brooks was a teacher of Home Economics and Science. She taught at the Winchester High School, Murray State University and Winthrop College in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She also served as Assistant State Supervisor of Home Economics Education in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
In a volunteer capacity, she later served on the Kentucky Advisory Council for Vocational Education, where she was its first female member.
Having been an educator, Mrs. Brooks has been sensitive to the benefits of reading. She was instrumental in developing the first public library in Winchester, Kentucky. As the first Board Chairperson of this library, she went to Louisville while pregnant with her first child, and drove a bookmobile home to better serve the reading needs of Clark County.
She has continued her desire to promote reading by serving on the University of Kentucky Library Board, the International Book Project, and as a friend of the Lexington Library.
For her volunteer work, Mrs. Brooks received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1965 from the UK School of Home Economics, and in 2004 from the UK School of Human Environmental Sciences. At its graduation ceremonies in 1981, UK bestowed upon her the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion; UK’s highest award for community service.
Mrs. Brooks has applied her experience in education in matters involving her church. She was the first woman chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Lexington Theological Seminary, where she served three terms.
She has been a trustee of Central Christian Church and a member of the Kentucky Council of Churches. Mrs. Brooks was the first woman elected to the Board of Trustees for the Disciples of Christ International Pension Fund.
She has also served as chairperson of the Cane Ridge Preservation Project in Bourbon County, an important historical site for the Disciples of Christ and for the “Great Awakening” of the 19th Century.
As with Cane Ridge, Mrs. Brooks has been instrumental in other important preservation projects and organizations. She is a member of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Smithsonian Associates, the Land and Nature Trust, the Filson Historical Society and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Through her donations, she is a friend of Ashland (Henry Clay’s Home), a friend of Holly Rood (the home of Kentucky’s first governor, James Clark) and a friend of Shakertown (both at Pleasant Hill, KY and Canterbury, NH).
Mrs. Brook interest in these projects and organizations stems from her desire to educate others about the important aspects of our nation, state, and local history.
Women’s Progress/Equal Justice
While pursuing a career and leadership positions in the first half of the 20th Century, Mrs. Brooks, like many women, encountered discrimination due to her gender.
This encounter led to her active membership in the National Organization for Women, the Equal Rights Amendment Alliance, the American Association of University Women, and the YMCA.
The local YMCA bestowed its “Women of Achievement” award on Mrs. Brooks in 1993. She has also volunteered extensively at the Chrysalis House, which helps women with alcohol and drug dependencies, and has served on the Board of Planned Parenthood.
Her encounters with gender discrimination made Mrs. Brooks sensitive to other forms of discrimination. She has supported other organizations for equal justice, such as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the League of Women Voters in Winchester and Paris.
Mrs. Brooks is a life member of the Speed Museum of Louisville and the Headley Whitney Museum, where she has also served as a Board member.
She s a member of the National Council of Arts and Crafts, the National Museum of Women in Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Living Arts and Science Center and the UK Art Museum.
She belongs to the Society of Fellows for the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council and has been a member of the Lexington Philharmonic Guild and is one of a selected few who is an Honorary Member of the Lexington Philharmonic Board.
How fitting it is that we honor Rose Mary Codell Brooks who makes a difference wherever she is.