Remembering Civil Rights Champion and Ohio State Alumnus, Samuel DuBois Cook

June 9, 2017
Samuel DeBois Cook

Ohio State Alumnus leaves distinguished record as a scholar, educator, administrator and public servant
Published on June 9, 2017

Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, distinguished political scientist, civil rights activist and an alumnus of The Ohio State University died, May 29, 2017 at the age of 88. A truly legendary figure in higher education, Cook left an indelible impression on each institution he served. In his honor, the annual Samuel DuBois Cook Summer Academy is run through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion here at Ohio State University. The academy invites young scholars for a one-week residential academy to introduce students entering grade 12 to collegiate life and expectations.

Cook’s accomplishments are many, starting with his early life as a candidate for the Benjamin Elijah May’s early admissions program at Morehouse College, where he began his college education at the age of 15.

A native of Griffin, Ga., Cook graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 with a degree in history and received his master’s and doctorate in political science at The Ohio State University. After a short stint in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Cook taught political science at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Cook taught later at Atlanta University, the University of Illinois, UCLA and Duke University, where in 1966, he become the first African-American to hold a tenured faculty appointment. The Duke Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and professorship were established in his name in 2006.

Cook became the fourth president of Dillard University, a Historic Black College in 1974, and served in this capacity for 22 years.  Cook was the first black president of the Southern Political Science Association and served as the vice-president of the American Political Science Association (1976-1979). He leaves a legacy of scholarship, mentorship and activism.

The Department of Political Science at Ohio State extends deepest condolences to the Cook family and as we reflect on his lifetime of leadership and scholarship, we are grateful to count him in the Buckeye family.