The Samuel DuBois Cook Society was founded in 1997 to honor the first African American faculty member hired and tenured at Duke University, and to recognize his contributions as a member of the Duke University Board of Trustees. The late Dr. Cook dedicated his professional life to social justice. While at Duke, he championed the rights of non-academic employees, promoted Black student access, mentored junior faculty, and enhanced the University’s relationship with the Black community. He also sought to strengthen relations between Black and Jewish people—work that he carried out on the national level as well. A close personal friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Cook always shared Dr. King’s vision of the beloved community.
At its inception, the mission of the Samuel DuBois Cook Society was to provide a forum for analysis of issues with particular impact on African Americans; address the organizational issues that impede the creation of a sense of community; examine the historical experiences of the diversity represented at Duke in order to develop an enlightened appreciation of each group; and enhance the University’s capacity for becoming a truly inclusive community. The Society is open to any and all who are interested in these objectives and are committed to working toward the progress of African Americans who are part of the Duke University community.
Members of the society commit themselves to the objectives to which Dr. Cook dedicated his professional life:
- Nurture a sense of community and belonging for African Americans
- Translate the promise and potential of African Americans at Duke into fulfillment and actuality
- Foster positive and constructive interpersonal and intergroup relations within both Duke University's and Durham's Black communities
- Cultivate positive relations between African Americans and other ethnic, racial, and national groups on the basis of an enlightened appreciation and knowledge of our historic interdependence
Learn more about the aims of the Cook Society
2023 Awards Ceremony & Winners | Ticket Information
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Samuel DuBois Cook Society 2023 Awards Ceremony
Congratulations 2023 Award Recipients
Each year, we recognize community members who follow Dr. Cook's example of social activism and leadership. The 2023 Awards Ceremony will be held at 5:30 PM on Monday, February 13, 2023 at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club - President's Ballroom.
Distinguished Service Award
|Elaine M. O'Neal, J.D.
Mayor of the City of Durham
Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award
|Brigit Carter, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N.,
Professor and Associate Dean for
Diversity and Inclusion in the
Duke School of Nursing
Samuel DuBois Cook Society Staff Award
|Lisa P. Davis, Ph.D., M.S.P.H,
Research Program Leader
for the Duke Clinical &
Translational Science Institute
Samuel DuBois Cook Society Graduate Student Award
|Kamillah Jena Kassam,
Doctoral Candidate in the
Duke Department of Chemistry
Samuel DuBois Cook Society Undergraduate Student Award
Duke Department of History
Current President of Duke Africa,
Member on the President's Council
on Black Affairs at Duke University
Thank you to the members of the Duke community who purchased tickets and generously sponsored tables. All ticket and table sponsorship sales are now closed.
Please contact Angela Kalo if you have any questions or concerns.
Each year, the Samuel DuBois Cook Society recognizes community members who follow Dr. Cook's example of social activism and leadership. In that spirit we seek nominees who, in their work and life, have helped improve relations amongst people of all backgrounds at Duke and beyond.
Nominations for the Samuel DuBois Cook Society 2023 Awards have closed. The presentations will be made at the awards ceremony on February 13, 2023 at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Course.
Please contact Angela Kalo if you have any questions or concerns.
Click here to see who won in years past.
Society is open to all who are interested in our objectives and are committed to working toward the progress of African Americans who are part of the Duke University community. If you would like to stayed informed of Cook Society activities, please email your contact information to Angela Kalo.
Sign up for the Cook Society mailing list: Mailing List Signup
About Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook
Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook was a retired Duke University professor and Dillard University president who dedicated his professional life to social justice. While at Duke, he championed the rights of non-academic employees, black student access, mentoring for junior faculty, the university’s relationship to the black community, and the relations between blacks and Jews — work that he also carried out on the national level. A close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., he always shared Dr. King’s vision of the “beloved community.”
A native of Griffin, Ga., he is 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 has taught at Southern University, Atlanta University, the University of Illinois, UCLA and Duke University, where he was appointed a professor in Duke’s political science department in 1966, making him the first African-American professor to hold a regular faculty appointment at any predominantly white college or university in the South. Nine years after his appointment to Duke, he was chosen to serve as president of Dillard University, a historically black liberal arts institution in New Orleans. He served as president for 22 years, retiring in 1997. During his tenure at Dillard, President Cook initiated a Japanese language studies program (the first at a historically black college) and founded the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations. A member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Dr. Cook is a Korean War veteran and a former ordained deacon at White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, N.C. He holds honorary degrees from Morehouse College, The Ohio State University, Dillard University, Illinois College, Duke University, the University of New Orleans and Chicago Theological Seminary.
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. He was president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. from 1999-2001, and chair of the Presidents of the United Negro College Fund. Dr. Cook served as a member of the Duke University Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1993. In 1993, Dillard University honored Dr. Cook by naming the school's new fine arts and communication center after him. That same year, he was elected by Duke University's Board of Trustee as a trustee emeritus. 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.
Dr. Cook continued to lecture at universities and colleges around the country until his death on May 29, 2017. 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.