Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook is a symbol and expression of the active quest for social justice and equality at Duke University. During his lifetime, Dr. Cook had a distinguished record as a political scientist, scholar, educator, author, teacher, administrator, civil and human rights activist and public servant.
A native of Griffin, Ga., he was the son of the Rev. and Mrs. M.E. Cook. He received a A.B. degree from Morehouse College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University. He 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. He served 22 and a half years as president of Dillard University in New Orleans, La. Upon his retirement in 1997, the Dillard board of trustees elected Dr. Cook President Emeritus. While at Dillard, Dr. Cook established a National Center for Black-Jewish Relations, the only one of its kind.
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, N.C. He 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.
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 the author or editor of numerous scholarly publications, including Black-Jewish Relations: Dillard University National Conference Papers, 1989-1997. His final publication was Benjamin E. Mays: His Life, Contributions, and Legacy, written about the inspirational and pioneering former president of Morehouse College.
Dr. Cook was the first black president of the Southern Political Science Association and also served as the vice-president of the American Political Science Association. Additionally, he was president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc., and chair of the Presidents of the United Negro College Fund.
In 1997, Duke University, where he was a Trustee Emeritus, 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.
On May 29, 2017, Dr. Cook died at his home in Atlanta. He is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Mrs. Sylvia F. Cook, their children Samuel DuBois Cook Jr. and Karen J. Cook, and Samuel DuBois Cook Jr.’s two children with his wife Nicole Peoples Cook, Alexandra Renee Cook and Samuel DuBois Cook III.