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Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook

November 21, 1928 ~ May 29, 2017 (age 88)

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Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook

Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, former president of Dillard University, husband of Mrs. Sylvia Cook, passed on May 29, 2017.  Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 11 am at Morehouse College's Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, 830 Westview Dr. SW.  Fraternal rituals will begin at 10 a.m. The Morehouse College community mourns the loss of Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook ‘48, a history-making educator and former president of Dillard University who became the first African American tenured professor in the South to teach at a predominantly white college.

Dr. Cook was the epitome of a Morehouse Man – he was respected by his peers as a stalwart for social justice, and a trailblazer in his field. He was a friend and classmate of Martin Luther King Jr. and a mentee of the legendary Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse College’s sixth president.

He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Mrs. Sylvia F. Cook; his children, Samuel DuBois Cook Jr. and Karen J. Cook; and his grandchildren, Alexandra Renee Cook and Samuel DuBois Cook III.

Family of Dr. Cook said that he leaves behind a legacy of love for his country, his work in education, and his commitment to civil rights for all to remember him by.  "Dr. Cook loved the Lord and he loved all people unconditionally," said his daughter, Karen Cook. "He told us to remember God is no respecter of persons and we should love and respect all people no matter their station in life."

“This is a great loss for the Morehouse community; our prayers are with the family of Dr. Cook,” said Interim President Bill Taggart. “We at Morehouse are inspired by his life of service, his pursuit of academic excellence, and his dedication to the success of historically black colleges and universities.”

Morehouse religion professor Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, said he is saddened by the transition of his longtime colleague and friend. Carter said he met Dr. Cook nearly 40 years ago and that he invited Carter to preach at Dillard’s chapel several times. The two would often have dinner and talk about life and their spiritual beliefs. “Dr. Cook was walking integrity,” Carter said. “He was a tremendously hospitable soul. He loved to laugh, and was as funny as could be. He loved preachers, and had a profound spiritual awareness. “I will miss his humility, his sincerity, and his honesty,” Carter said. “He was always encouraging and was a joy to be around.”

Dr. Cook received his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate from The Ohio State University.

Carter said Dr. Cook was a sought-after educator and revered Morehouse Man. He was groomed to become a college president by Mays, and in turn, mentored others throughout his successful career. In 1974, Dr. Cook was named as president of Dillard University, a position he held until he retired in 1997. (While at Dillard, he established the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations.)

“Dr. Cook would always say he was one of Bennie’s boys,” Carter said. “Dr. Cook was the last of the presidential protégés of Benjamin Elijah Mays.  In Cook was chosen by Mays to deliver his eulogy.” In 1966, Dr. Cook became the first tenured black professor of Duke University. He later taught at Southern University, Atlanta University, the University of Illinois, and University of California, Los Angeles. “He was the first African American professor to receive tenure at a majority university in the American South,” Carter said. “They have major programs dedicated to him at Duke University and The Ohio State University.”

In 1997, Duke University, established the Samuel DuBois Cook Society, and in 2006, Duke established a new postdoctoral fellowship in his honor in its Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences. 

The Ohio State University has established the Samuel DuBois Cook Summer Academy and the Samuel DuBois Cook graduate fellowship in Political Science.

Dr. Cook’s work was noted by sitting presidents of the United States who called on him to serve his country.

President Jimmy Carter appointed Dr. Cook to the prestigious National Council on the Humanities, and President Bill Clinton appointed him to the historic United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Dr. Cook was also the first black president of the Southern Political Science Association and served as a former vice-president of the American Political Science Association. He is a former president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc., and former chair of the Presidents of the United Negro College Fund.


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