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1983 Horatio Alger Award Recipient

Benjy F. Brooks*

Professor & Chief of Pediatric Surgery

University of Texas

“Our children should be considered our greatest natural resource and asset, and we should take better care of them.”

Born in 1918 in the northern Texas town of Lewisville, Benjy Brooks moved with her parents to Oklahoma at a young age. From age four, she wanted to be a doctor and operate on her sister's dolls with manicure scissors.

Brooks worked her way through North Texas State University and graduated at age 19. She completed medical school at the University of Texas (UT) and did her pediatric surgical training at Harvard Medical School. In 1957, Brooks studied pediatric surgery at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland.

Returning to Texas in 1960, Brooks became that state's first woman pediatric surgeon. In 1973, she became a full professor at UT's Medical School, where for 10 years she headed its division of pediatric surgery. She received scores of awards, including distinguished alumni awards from the UT Medical Branch.

Brooks was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1985. The Benjy Brooks Foundation for Children, Inc. was established in her honor by the grateful parents of one of her patients and has the goal of advancing the surgical care of children in Texas.


*Deceased