Despite the miles dividing this grandfather and grandson legacy, James ‘59 and Jack Brooks ‘22 were excited to share stories on the deeply rooted bond that ties them to New Rochelle. It wasn’t until Jack was in the college decision-making process that he learned that his grandfather had graduated from Iona. Though he had already made the decision to attend Iona, learning of James's experience affirmed his assessment of the College as a close-knit, supportive community.
“I loved the family feel of the school, everyone is so kind. Each night when I go back to my dorm the security guard starts up a chat and it's really nice to know that they care about each individual,” said Jack.
Though his grandfather had a different experience as a commuter student, he also has fond memories of the campus. He recalls, “As commuters, we mostly worked back in our hometowns, thus campus life was limited. Ryan Library allowed for a comfortable place to complete class work and labs, while sustaining ourselves on cafeteria 'Mashed w/gravy", about $ 0.25 per serving back then, and it was really good!”
Added to this legacy is James’s brother, William J. Brooks ‘57, an accounting major, who helped with his admissions process in 1955. He states, “With eleven 'day-hopper' commuters from Mt. Kisco and surrounding areas, we pooled with 3 - 4 cars to New Rochelle daily.” James and his brother William are natives of Mt. Kisco and attended St Mary’s High School, Katonah, N.Y. A U.S. Army veteran, James was able to attend Iona with help of the U.S. GI Bill after returning from Korea in 1955.
After a successful career at General Food Corporation and Fuji/Fujinon, James, now retired and living in South Carolina, especially loves to hear about the updates of life on campus from Jack, who is a computer science major focusing on Cyber Security. Jack, a native of Ridgefield, Conn., attended Immaculate High School, where he was a founding member of his high school’s cyber security club, a runner, and tennis player. Most memorable to him were the inspiration and support handed down to him by his high school mentor, and IT Director, which influenced his choice of major at Iona.
“I got interested in cyber security while working and getting close to the IT director at my school. I worked every day after school helping with the tech problems in the school and was even trusted with administrative responsibilities. I became well known by the faculty for being the assistant tech support student and helped a lot with fixing the problems at the school.”
Jack looks forward to meeting new people and focusing on his academics and urges new students to get out there and enjoy the college experience. For grandfather James, who is gearing up for his 60th graduation celebration from Iona, the best piece of advice to new and prospective students is to endorse Iona's pledge to move the world. He adds, “The solid preparation I received at Iona made all the difference to my professional career and personal life.”