Former Dillard president Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook dies at 88

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, who led Dillard University as its president for 22 years from the 1970s through the 1990s, died Monday, the university said. He was 88.

Cook, who served as Dillard's fourth president from 1974 to 1997, was also highly regarded as a political scientist, author, educator, administrator and civil rights leader.

A native of Griffin, Georgia, he came to Dillard in the 1970s, and strengthened the university's curriculum and the number and percentage of faculty members holding doctoral degrees was increased, school officials said.

He is also credited with raising the requirements for admission, increasing student enrollment by 50 percent, and leading fundraising efforts for the campus.

In 1989, Cook created the Dillard University National Conference on Black-Jewish Relations, the only one of its kind.

He received a A.B. degree from Morehouse College in 1948 and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University. Cook taught at Southern University, Atlanta University, the University of Illinois, UCLA and Duke University, where in 1966, he became the first African-American to hold a regular and/or tenured faculty appointment at a predominantly white southern college or university.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Dr. Cook was a Korean War veteran and a former ordained deacon at White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina. 

Cook held honorary degrees from Morehouse College, The Ohio State University, Dillard University, Illinois College, Duke University, the University of New Orleans and Chicago Theological Seminary.

He was initiated in the the Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., at Morehouse and was a member of the  Eta Omega Chapter in Atlanta.

Dr. Cook is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Sylvia; as well as two children, Samuel DuBois Cook Jr., and Karen J. Cook; and grandchildren Alexandra Renee Cook and Samuel DuBois Cook III. 

Funeral services will be held in the Ray Charles Center on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta on June 6 at 11 a.m.

View the full tribute here