Brooks was from Burlington, Iowa, and he was the first president of Wesleyan who was not an ordained minister of the Methodist church. Brooks received his A.B. from York College, his M.A. from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from the State University of Iowa. He was also the superintendent of the Burlington Junior College, president of the Iowa Teachers association. He was IWU’s 11th president and served from 1937-1939.