ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) – The longest-tenured university president in Indiana has announced that he is stepping down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic school year.

Trine President Earl D. Brooks has seen the university go from a sleepy, crumbling campus to one that is shattering enrollment records with state-of-art facilities.

Trine University
Trine University campus in Angola, Indiana

He even saw it through a name change when it shifted from Tri-State to Trine in 2008.

That name change is just one in a long list of things he did to turn the once middling university into one he says is now known for diversity rather than just being an engineering school.

In 2017 the university topped 5,000 students enrolled for the first time and recorded its fourth-straight year of breaking its prior enrollment record.

And the trend continues today. In 2021, the university set a new record with 5,467 students enrolling during the fall, making it the second-biggest college in the immediate area.

The expansion has not been contained to Angola. This year, university officials announced an expansion into the northern side of Fort Wayne.

Trine healthcare facility.
Photo of proposed health education facility provided by Trine University.

The upcoming facility will employ 100 faculty and staff. It will serve nearly 700 students in Trine’s College of Health Professions showing that Brook’s actions will have long-reaching impacts for years to come.

Under Brooks, the university also stepped into the world of college athletics, attaining NCAA Division III membership in 2004.

Since the move, Trine has had a number of successful Softball teams and Triathalon teams, even winning a triathlon nation championship this year. When asked about athletics Brooks was proud saying, “we’ve built a top ten NCAA Division Three athletic program in the country.”

His other additions include bolstering the campus.

There was a time when there were no recognizable names attached to the school, but now the buildings are a list of big-time Indiana names.

Keith E. Busse, Fred Zollner, Rick and Vicki James, Jim and Joan Bock, amongst many other recognizable Hoosiers.

Those names helped Brooks raise over $250 million for the university in his time.

Brooks notes that, “The model for our success hasn’t been perfect,” but doesn’t regret any of the decisions he made.

President Brooks working in his office

The thing that the campus might miss most is a warm office, with an always-open door.

Currently, the president’s page on Trine’s website says, “Whether student, alumnus or friend of the college, please stop by my office in the C.W. Sponsel Administration Center when you are on campus. My door is open and you are always welcome.”

Leaving the campus means handing it down to its current staff, in which Brooks has the utmost confidence.

“If I’ve had any gift, I’ve hired people of equal or greater talent around me,” he said.

That confidence in the next regime played a big part in Brooks deciding to step down.

Brooks said he knew this was a likely outcome when he signed his last 5-year contract with the university, “After signing that last five-year contract, spending time with my wife and family, we felt like at that time it’s something we would look at seriously, at the end of that five-year period. ”

While he’ll be stepping down at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year, he says that he’s “well prepared” to help a smooth transition, whatever that looks like.