Henry Brooks - 4-H Hall of Fame honoree

  • Served at UMES for 33 years

    Monday, October 29, 2018
    Dr. Henry M. Brooks

    Dr. Henry M. Brooks, who served 33 years as 1890 extension administrator at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. 

    Honored by the Maryland 4-H Youth Development Program, Brooks was among 15 people inducted during the Oct. 19 ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md. 

    National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council; the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents; or 4-H National Headquarters/National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels. 

    Honorees were presented with a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, a plaque and a memory book during the ceremony. 

    “We are proud to recognize the 2018 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they have shown toward young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” said Jeannette Rea Keywood, National 4-H Hall of Fame Committee Chair. 

    Brooks has been a champion of 4-H youth development for more than 50 years.  An extension career that began in Alabama in 1967 culminated with his retirement from UMES in 2014.  Brooks continues his commitment today to young people and their development.

    Brooks moved to Maryland in 1980 to begin his 33-year journey as 1890 Extension Administrator.  While his responsibilities encompassed all extension program areas he stayed a staunch supporter of the growth and enhancement of 4-H programs.  Notably, in his approach to his position he ensured the delivery of a 4-H youth development program that blended the resources of the 1890 program with those of the 1862 programs. 

    During his tenure he financially supported a full-time State 4-H specialist position as part of the integrated state-wide 4-H Program.  As a capstone to his career, Brooks collaborated with state 4-H leadership to create and fund a 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) team that annually reaches more than 2,000 youth with after-school, summer and campus-based STEM programs designed to ignite a spark that will enable youth to take what they learn into their communities and careers. 

    Across the nation, Brooks was viewed by fellow 1890 administrators as a leader who brought 4-H youth development expertise to the table.  He helped 4-H become more inclusive while serving as a member of the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees for over a decade.  A fellow trustee noted that “he consistently contributed, often with bold and passionate creative ideas and support.” 

    Now retired, Dr. Brooks continues to give back as a citizen.  In his 4-H work with young men, he provides educational mentorship programs for middle and high school youth in his community. He brings his 4-H camp experience to his volunteer work with a camp for children of incarcerated parents.  He shares his commitment to education and providing opportunities for all youth to succeed as a volunteer tutor at a local elementary school. 

    The youth with whom he worked so greatly valued this connection that his former students, now in the 50s and 60s, still communicate with him regularly. 


    UMES expresses thanks to the National 4-H organization for sharing this news about Dr. Henry M. Brooks, which has been lightly edited.