Brookhart honored by U of I ACES Alumni Association
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[May 22, 2014]
URBANA - Jerry Brookhart of Macomb,
Ill., was presented an Award of Merit by the University of Illinois
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Alumni Association during the college’s annual award banquet held
April 14 at the I-Hotel & Conference Center. The Award of Merit is
given annually to College of ACES’ graduates who have made
significant contributions to their chosen profession and to the
human sciences and food and natural resources industries.
Brookhart received his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Sciences
in 1963, and his commitment to Illinois and his academic
excellence and leadership were exemplified by the various
positions he held on campus: Outstanding Agriculture Freshman of
the Year, Vice President of the Ag Council, President of Field
and Furrow, and Vice President of the Illini Student Union.
Brookhart’s career path was spurred by a fateful 1962 summer
internship in the USDA’s Crop Reporting Service in Washington,
D.C. Although computers were large and unwieldy, the USDA
required all interns to learn about them. Brookhart knew there
was something “magical” about the computer business, and after
graduation, he turned down a Ph.D. fellowship in soil physics at
the University of California to go to work for IBM.
Brookhart’s exceptional performance in his 16-year career with
IBM was acknowledged with numerous sales awards, including the
Regional Managers Award, and the highest IBM sales honors,
including eight IBM 100% Clubs and two IBM Golden Circle awards.
Brookhart’s career with IBM was followed by a series of
positions with various tech start-up companies, and his
responsibilities included giving sales pitches to Bill Gates
(Microsoft) and Larry Ellison (Oracle). He also worked in
technology and manufacturing sales management for Lockheed in
Burbank, California, followed by selling internet banking
systems for NCR.
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In 2000, Brookhart moved back to his roots in Macomb,
Illinois. He has acquired his insurance and investment licenses,
and currently works in semi-retirement for Purdum, Gray,
Ingledue, Beck, Inc., while also managing the Brookhart family
farm in McDonough County.
Brookhart (along with alumni William Kirk, Jr.) is the
co-chairman of the Turner Hall Renovation campaign. Brookhart
leads by example, both in action and giving. For the last
year-and-a-half, he has met twice a month with the development
team, and gave a large gift to address a critical need in the
Crop Sciences department - a high-tech classroom that will
accommodate global collaboration between students, faculty
members and professionals.
[Text received; LEANNE LUCAS,
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS]