Atlanta, GA The name “Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook” has long been associated with academic excellence and civil rights. For his contributions in those areas and others, Bro. Cook has been recognized repeatedly over the past few decades, from honorary degrees to academic buildings named in his honor. On August 24, 2015, Bro. Cook was once again celebrated as Duke University formally named its Center on Social Equity for him during a private ceremony.
When the trailblazing Cook was appointed a professor at Duke in 1966, he also became the first black tenured faculty member at a predominantly-white college or university in the South. He later served on Duke’s board of trustees. A University press release for the naming ceremony lauded Bro. Cook as “a symbol and expression of the active quest for social justice and equality at Duke”.
The naming ceremony was attended by a number of family, friends, Duke administrators and faculty, including the University’s president, Dr. Richard H. Brodhead. The keynote speaker, Billye Aaron, recounted some of Bro. Cook’s character-building early life experiences and noted that at a young age, he exhibited high aspirations. After learning cursive, he began signing his name “Samuel DuBois Cook, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.” Bro. Cook would go on to attain all of those distinctions and more.
A native of Griffin, Ga., Bro. Cook is the son of the late Rev. and Mrs. M.E. Cook. He entered Morehouse College at the age of 15 and soon made his mark as a student there, serving as student government president and establishing a campus chapter of the NAACP. It was at Morehouse in 1947 that Bro. Cook was initiated into Omega Psi Phi through Psi Chapter. He would also become a mentee and friend of another giant in education and civil rights, Bro. Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse’s president at the time.
After graduating from Morehouse in 1948 and receiving M.A. (1950) and Ph.D. (1954) degrees from Ohio State University, Bro. Cook would embark on an illustrious career in higher education. He taught at Southern University, Atlanta University, and UCLA before arriving at Duke. In 1975, he left Duke for a 22-year tenure as president of Dillard University in New Orleans. Throughout his career, Bro. Cook promoted social activism in addition to academic achievement to his students.
The brothers at Eta Omega Chapter in Atlanta, where Bro. Cook has been a longtime member, congratulate him on this well-deserved honor. He has truly been a bridge builder and, as noted on the resolution he received during the naming ceremony, “a dedicated champion of inclusion in education and human rights.”