John Brooks to Receive Honorary Degree at SUNY Delhi Commencement

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John Brooks

DELHI, NY (05/04/2018) (readMedia)-- John Brooks, whose vision and leadership helped Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q become an iconic destination for diners, will be presented an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at SUNY Delhi's 101st annual Commencement Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m.

"We are delighted to honor SUNY Delhi alumnus John Brooks in this special way, said SUNY Delhi President Michael Laliberte. "He is a passionate advocate and friend whose achievements are inspiring and demonstrate to students the benefits of a SUNY Delhi education," the president added. "His family also represents an unprecedented legacy-11 family members have earned Delhi degrees."

John Brooks' introduction to foodservice came at an early age, helping his father barbecue chicken at local fund-raisers for not-for-profits. At age 15, his parents built an 80-seat restaurant that was a true family operation with John, his sisters and parents involved in all aspects of the business from cooking to clean-up.

As a Hotel and Resort Management major at SUNY Delhi, he earned the American Culinary Federation's New York City Chapter's Outstanding Foodservice Management Award in recognition of his "enthusiasm and promise for the future." Following graduation in 1967, he served four years in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of sergeant. He then returned home to the family business, joining with his wife Joan to purchase the restaurant from his parents in 1975.

John and Joan took the business to new heights. Thanks to strategic investments, quality food and their personal touches, sales doubled and Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q gained state and national acclaim. The restaurant has earned the prestigious James Beard Foundation "America's Classics" award and has been honored through a Congressional Proclamation and New York State Legislative Resolution. It has been featured by Rachel Ray on Food Network Television and profiled in publications ranging from Upstate Life to

In 2005, Brooks and his wife Joan sold the restaurant to their son Ryan and his wife Beth, who became the third generation of Brooks to run what is now a multidimensional business. It includes a bottling operation that produces more than one million bottles of barbecue sauces annually, including private label sauces for nation-wide food industry leaders. Sauces marketed under the Brooks' brand include SUNY Delhi Bronco Sauce, first introduced in 2017.

The Brooks family has also created a legacy of philanthropy, establishing scholarship endowments at three SUNY campuses-Delhi, Oneonta, and Cobleskill.

John Brooks has been the recipient of numerous honors during his illustrious career, including SUNY Delhi's Distinguished Alumni Award and by awards from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, Fox Hospital, and Future for Oneonta Foundation.