College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Brooks Family Endowment Supports Modern Languages Faculty

The Brooks family with Dean Glenn Hopkins (left)

Virginia Brooks would like to see all students become bilingual because of the personal and professional benefits of studying other languages and cultures. To help with that dream, she and her husband, James, have created the Brooks Family Endowment in Modern Languages for Faculty Support with an initial commitment of $50,000 to The University of Mississippi. The endowment will provide funds to recognize outstanding teaching, scholarship and service in the Department of Modern Languages.

“I don’t know of any better way of getting young people interested in studying languages than to recruit and retain dynamic professors,” said Virginia Brooks of Atlanta, who earned a degree in French from UM in 1976 and now serves on the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board. “The study of languages and other cultures helps broaden our thought processes. In addition, we live in a global community. By becoming fluent in other languages, our students can be better prepared for careers.”

 The university offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in Chinese, French, German, Linguistics and Spanish, and students may also earn minors in Italian, Japanese and Russian. Intensive instruction is offered in Arabic.

“The Department of Modern Languages is very grateful for the generous gift from Virginia and James Brooks that recognizes both Virginia’s and their son’s positive experiences with French professors in our department,” said Donald Dyer, chair and professor of modern languages. “It is quite rare for faculty to have such support opportunities, and we are truly grateful to be the benefactors of the Brooks Family Endowment in Modern Languages.”

Virginia and James Brooks are the parents of Pierce Brooks, a rising junior on the Oxford campus. Although James Brooks graduated from Tulane University, he joins his wife as an enthusiastic supporter of UM and Oxford activities. The couple, who own several Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses, also have purchased a second home in Oxford to spend more time in the community.