August 07, 2019

Oakland County Executive and alumnus L. Brooks Patterson died on Saturday, Aug. 3 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Patterson was a two-time alumnus of University of Detroit Mercy. He graduated in 1961 with a degree in English and in 1967 with a Juris Doctor. He was more than halfway through an unprecedented seventh term as Oakland County executive at the time of his passing.

Since taking office in 1993, Patterson helped transform Oakland County with his strong leadership and innovative business development and job growth strategies. According to a news release from Oakland County, his mission was to “make Oakland County one of the best places to live, work, play and raise a family.”

Under his leadership, the county has maintained an elusive AAA bond rating since 1998 and has been ranked among the most digitally advanced counties in the United States. He earned a Public Official of the Year accolade from Governing Magazine in 2013 for his accomplishments.

Prior to becoming executive, he was in private practice and served as Oakland County prosecutor for 15 years. In 1985, Patterson founded The Rainbow Connection, a Michigan-based charity dedicated to granting wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

For more about his life and work, please visit and the University Library Archives blog.