Past Samuel DuBois Cook Award Recipients

2021 Cook Society Award winners, clockwise from top left: Charles Becton, De’Ja Wood, Michael Cary Jr., Nolan Smith, Tom Bonfiel
2021 Cook Society Award winners, clockwise from top left: Charles Becton, De’Ja Wood, Michael Cary Jr., Nolan Smith, Tom Bonfield, Ajenai Clemmons, and Richard Powell.

2021 Award Recipients

Each year, we recognize community members who follow Dr. Cook's example of social activism and leadership. View the Duke Chronicle ad . The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to re-imagine the event, which was held as a Zoom webinar.

Samuel DuBois Cook Society Awards


Ajenai Clemmons   Ajenai Clemmons, Ph.D. Candidate,
Sanford School of Public Policy

Ajenai Clemmons studies the relationship between police and the community and the factors that may harm that relationship. She spends her volunteering efforts empowering girls and women through leadership development, as well as working with young people from marginalized identities.

Nolan Smith   Nolan Smith, Director of Basketball
Operations and Player Development
Duke Men's Basketball

Nolan Smith oversees the student manager program. He has served as ambassador for Teen Cancer America, raises awareness of social justice issues in the Durham community, named a George H.W. Bush Points of Light Inspiration honoree in 2020, and recognized as the Tar Heel of the Month in October 2020 by the Raleigh News & Observer for his significant contributions to North Carolina and the region.

De'Ja Wood   De'Ja Wood, Class of 2021

De'Ja Wood majors in education and human rights and has served as NAACP President of Duke's Chapter, and Vice President of the Black Student Alliance. She has also served on several boards under the University President. Her community volunteering efforts include mentoring students, leading voter registration drives, and organizing efforts in support of historically disenfranchised, low-income communities.


Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award


Michael Cary   Michael Paul Cary Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor in the
School of Nursing

Michael Cary prepares nursing students to care for a diverse and aging population by recommending patient-centered approaches to reduce health disparities. He has served in a variety of roles in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the School of Nursing and across Duke, including serving as chair of the faculty advancement and retention committee where he worked to implement strategies to advance equity across the institution.

Richard Powell   Richard J. Powell, Ph.D., John Spencer Bassett
Distinguished Professor of Art History

Richard Powell focuses on the arts of the African Diaspora and contemporary visual studies, as well as other facets of Black art and music.


Special Recognition Service Award Winner


Charles Becton   Thomas J. "Tom" Bonfield, Former Durham
City Manager

Tom Bonfield retired in 2020 after a 42-year local government career. His many contributions to local community management include recognition as (Durham) Wallet Hub Best Run Cities, #1 Citizen Engaged Community, #1 Digital City, and Award of Excellence ICMA Center for Performance Measurement, among others.


Distinguished Service Award


Charles Becton   Charles L. Becton, Former Judge North Carolina
Court of Appeals

Charles Becton is a Duke alumnus and former judge for the North Carolina Court of Appeals with an illustrious career that includes having served for 30 years as litigator for major criminal and civil trials and being included in The Best Lawyers of America since 1993. He has also served as President of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2008, served as interim chancellor for North Carolina Central University, appointed interim chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, and has taught trial advocacy skills for the past 35 years including visiting lectures and professorships at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and Duke Law


2020 Award Recipients

2020 Cook Society winners

L-R: Zoila Airall, President Vincent Price, NC Sen. "Mickey" Michaux, Barbara Stokes, Ashleigh Smith, Charmaine Royal, Hala El-Nahal, Alyson Diaz, and Margaret (Margie) Muir (EDI winner). Not pictured: Sherilynn Black (EDI winner).
Photo: Ken A. Huth | Huth Photo

Cook Society Honors Lives Led in Service at Duke and in the Community


2020 Award Recipients

  • Henry McKinley "Mickey" Michaux, Jr.: Distinguished Service Award
  • Charmaine Royal: Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Zoila Airall: Sammie Award
  • Alyson Diaz: Sammie Award
  • Hala El-Nahal: Sammie Award
  • Ashleigh Smith: Sammie Award
  • Barbara Stokes: Sammie Award


2019 Award Recipients

2019 Cook Society winners

L-R: Vincent Price, E'Vonne Coleman, Corey Pilson, Adriane Lentz-Smith, Benjamin Reese, Pamela Montgomery, Onye Emmanuel Akwari (seated), Felix Odilli Nwogbo Jr., Dionna Monique Gamble, and Syliva F. Cook

Cook Society Honors Leaders Building a More Inclusive Campus


  • E'Vonne Coleman: Distinguished Service Award
  • Onye Emmanuel Akwari: Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Adriane Lentz-Smith: Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Dionna Monique Gamble: Sammie Award
  • Felix Odili Nwogbo, Jr.: Sammie Award
  • Pamela Montgomery: Sammie Award
  • Corey Pilson: Sammie Award
  • Benjamin D. Reese, Jr., Special Recognition


2018 Award Recipients

2018 Cook Society winners

L-R: Felicia Tittle, Andrea Harris, Rev. Willliam Turner Jr., Michael J. Ivory Jr., Debra Brandon, and Danielle Purifoy

Six Honored by Cook Society for Leadership & Community Activism


  • Andrea Harris: Distinguished Service Award
  • Debra Brandon: Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Felicia Tittle: Sammie Award
  • Danielle Purifoy: Sammie Award
  • Michael Ivory, Jr.: Sammie Award
  • William Turner, Jr.: Special Recognition
2017 Award Recipients

2017 Cook Society winners

L-R: David Malone, Richard Brodhead, Juan Ramirez, Jr., Henry Washnington, Jr., Edward Gomes, Wahneema Lubiano, and Leonidas Nelson, Jr.

For 20th Anniversary, Cook Society Celebrates Seven for Service & Activism


  • Richard H. Brodhead: Distinguished Service Award
  • David Malone: Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Wahneema Lubiano: Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
  • Juan Ramirez, Jr.: Sammie Award
  • Henry Washington, Jr.: Sammie Award
  • Edward Gomes: Sammie Award
  • Leonidas Nelson, Jr.: Sammie Award
2016 Award Recipients

2016 Cook Society winners

L-R: Delbert Wigfall, Courtnea A. Rainey, Stephanie Helms Pickett, and Paula Tanabe. Not Pictured: Kari Braclay and Carolyn Henson (for Sharon Elliott Bynum)

Five Receive 2016 Samuel Cook Society Honors for Service


  • Sharon Elliott Bynum: Distinguished Service Award (posthumously awarded) received by Carolyn Henson (sister)
  • Stephanie Helms Pickett: Sammie Award
  • Courtnea Rainey: Sammie Award
  • Kari Barclay: Sammie Award
  • Delbert Wigfall: Sammie Award
  • Paula Tanabe: Sammie Award
2015 Award Recipients

2015 Cook Society winners

L-R: Sherilynn Black, Natalie Hall, Lee Willard, Barbara Lau, and Martin Eakes. Not Pictured: Marcus Rodriguez

Cook Society to Recognize Six for Community, Leadership, Activism


  • Martin Eakes: Distinguished Service Award
  • Barbara Lau: Sammie Award
  • Lee Willard: Sammie Award
  • Sherilynn Black: Sammie Award
  • Marcus Rodriguez: Sammie Award
  • Natalie Hall: Sammie Award
2014 Award Recipients

2014 Cook Society winners

Top L-R: David Stein, Patricia James, and Camille Jackson
Bottom L-R: Unnamed son of William Barber II, Kerry Haynie, Naureen Huda, and Roketa Shanell Sloan

Seven Who Changed Their Communities: Cook Award Winners Honored Tuesday


  • William J. Barber II: Distinguished Service Award
  • Kerry Haynie: Sammie Award
  • Naureen Huda: Sammie Award
  • Camille Jackson: Sammie Award
  • Patricia James: Sammie Award
  • Roketa Shanell Sloan: Sammie Award
  • David Stein: Sammie Award
2013 Award Recipients

2013 Cook Society winners

Top L-R: Daniel Kimberg, Lee Baker, Marcus Benning, and Kevin White
Bottom L-R: Yuridia Ramirez, Li-Chen Chin, Dorothy Powell, and Charles West

Duke Honors Eight Service Leaders With Cook Awards


  • Kevin White: Distinguished Service Award
  • Lee D. Baker: Sammie Award
  • Dorothy L. Powell: Sammie Award
  • Li-Chen Chin: Sammie Award
  • Daniel Kimberg: Sammie Award
  • Yuridia Ramirez: Sammie Award
  • Charles H. West: Sammie Award
  • Marcus Benning: Sammie Award
2012 Award Recipients

2012 Cook Society winners

Samuel DuBois Cook is pictured (center) with award winners Alexandra Swain, William Griffith, Allison Curseen, Rev. William C. Turner, Dr. Evelyn Schmidt and Chandra Guinn

Six Honored at Cook Society Ceremony Tuesday


  • Evelyn Schmidt: Distinguished Service Award
  • William Griffith: Special Recognition Award
  • Alexandra Swain: Sammie Award
  • Allison Curseen: Sammie Award
  • Chandra Guinn: Sammie Award
  • William Turner: Sammie Award
2011 Award Recipients

2011 Cook Society winners

Kevin McDonald, the president and CEO of Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), received a "Sammie" distinguished service award. Other "Sammie" winners were Raymond Gavins, Lauren Kottis, Navid Pourtaheri and Deborah Wahl. With the award winners is Samuel Dubois Cook, front left.

Adding It Up: Minorities in the Sciences


  • Kevin McDonald: Distinguished Service Award
  • Raymond Gavins: Sammie Award
  • Deborah Wahl: Sammie Award
  • Navid Pourtaheri: Sammie Award
  • Lauren Kottis: Sammie Award
2010 Award Recipients

Cook Society Announces Award Winners at Annual Dinner

  • Ann Atwater: Distinguished Service Award
  • Bradley Collins: Sammie Award
  • Alethea Duncan: Sammie Award
  • Keith Lawrence: Sammie Award
  • Naomi Johnson, The Girls Club: Sammie Award
  • Shari Baker, The Girls Club: Sammie Award
  • Loren Krueger, The Girls Club: Sammie Award
  • Kelsey Porter, The Girls Club: Sammie Award
  • Gary Ybarra: Sammie Award
2009 Award Recipients

Cook Society Announces Award Winners at Annual Dinner

  • Peter Klopfer: Distinguished Service Award
  • William Fulkerson: Sammie Award
  • Martha Absher: Sammie Award
  • Mel Williams: Sammie Award
  • Flint Wang: Sammie Award
  • Dinh Xuan Phan: Sammie Award
2008 Award Recipients
  • Robert J. Thompson, Jr.: Special Honoree
  • MaryAnn Black - deceased: Distinguished Service Award
  • Patrick Alexander: Sammie Award
  • Maureen Cullins: Sammie Award
  • Paula McClain: Sammie Award
  • Lauren Gonzalez: Sammie Award
  • Calvin Howell: Sammie Award
  • Andrew Cook: Sammie Award
2007 Award Recipients
  • LeRoy T. Walker: Special Honoree
  • Rev. Joseph Harvard: Distinguished Service Award
  • John Cline: Community Betterment Award
  • Nirmala Chilamkurti: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Luke Stewart: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Xing Zong: Graduate Student Award
2006 Award Recipients
  • Mayor William V. Bell: Distinguished Service Award
  • John M. Branion, III: Pioneer Award
  • Robert Dean: Pioneer Award
  • Jacqueline Looney: Community Betterment Award
  • Mayme Webb-Bledsoe: Community Betterment Award
  • Ripal Shah: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Marcia Eisenstein: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Cord Whitaker: Graduate Student Award
2005 Award Recipients
  • Johnnetta B. Cole: Distinguished Service Award
  • R. Sanders Williams: Pioneer Award
  • Bradley Simmons: Community Betterment Award
  • Judith S. White: Community Betterment Award
  • Julia Hamilton: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Venis Wilder: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Staci Arnold: Graduate Student Award
2004 Award Recipients
  • Nannerl O. Keohane: Distinguished Service Award
  • John Burness: Distinguished Service Award
  • William "Monty" Reichert: Pioneer Award
  • Martina Bryant: Pioneer Award
  • Judith Ruderman: Community Betterment Award
  • Amanda Earp Diekman: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Amy Lazarus: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Robert Saunders: Graduate Student Award
  • Shayla Nunnally: Graduate Student Award
2003 Award Recipients
  • William Chafe: Special Honoree
  • Charles Johnson: Special Honoree
  • Charles Payne: Pioneer Award
  • H. Curtis Bowens: Community Betterment Award
  • Kesav Mohan: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Victoria DeFrancesco: Graduate Student Award
  • David Edwards: Graduate Student Award
2002 Award Recipients
  • Susan B. King: Distinguished Civic Service Award
  • Phail Wynn, Jr.: Distinguished Civic Service Award
  • Brenda E. Armstrong: Pioneer Award
  • James E. Coleman: Community Bettement Award
  • Deanna Atchley: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Adam Grossman: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Herb Sellers: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Bianca Williams: Undergraduate Student Award
  • Christina Chia: Graduate Student Award
  • Wilda Gafney: Graduate Student Award
  • Charles McKinney: Graduate Student Award
2001 Award Recipients
  • Mary D.B.T. Semans: Distinguished Civic Service Award
  • Elna B. Spaulding: Distinguished Civic Service Award
  • Kathy A. Silbiger: Pioneer Award
  • John W. Strobehn: Pioneer Award
  • Linda Fayd Capers: Community Betterment Award
  • Kenneth Kreuzer: Community Betterment Award
  • Constance Simmons: Community Betterment Award
  • Denis Godwin Antoine: Student Award
  • Marco Luis Davila: Student Award
  • Laura Elizabeth Hayman: Student Award
2000 Award Recipients
  • Myrna Adams: Pioneer Award
  • Karla Holloway: Pioneer Award
  • Janet Smith Dickerson: Pioneer Award
  • Anita-Yvonne Bryant: Community Betterment Award
  • Paul Nii-Amar Amamoo: Community Betterment Award
  • Jeremy Huff: Community Betterment Award
1999 Award Recipient
  • Paul Jeffrey: Special Honoree Award
1998 Inaugural Dinner
  • No Awards Given