ROBERT E. COOK
Dr. Robert E. "Bob" Cook was born on August 26, 1927, and was reared on a general livestock farm near Spencer, West Virginia. During high school, he was active in 4-H and served as the State FFA President. Bob entered West Virginia University where he received a B. S. degree in Agricultural Education in 1949. Prior to serving in the U.S. army during the Korean conflict, he was employed by the International Harvester Company. After being discharged from the Army, he taught Vocational Agriculture for one year before entering graduate school at West Virginia University where he received his Master’s degree in Animal Science. He then entered NC State University where he completed his Ph.D. degree in poultry genetics in 1958.
On September 1, 1958, Dr. Cook joined the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Florida in Gainesville as an Assistant Professor. In the fall of 1961, he moved to become the Coordinator of the USDA’s Southern Regional Poultry Genetics Project. From 1964-1965, Bob worked exclusively for USDA as Leader of Genetic Investigations. In 1965, he entered his first university administrative position as the Chair of the Department of Poultry Science at The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1969, he became head of the Department of Poultry science at NC State. During his Department tenure at NC State, he served on numerous state, industry and university committees and on a number of Department evaluation teams for the USDA.
In 1985, Dr. Cook was appointed as an Assistant director of the NC Agricultural Research Service. He served in that capacity until 1986, when he was named as the Assistant Dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. One of his primary duties while serving as Assistant Dean was to work directly with the North Carolina Legislature to address the research and extension needs of the College and Agriculture in general. He retired from active service at NC State on September 30, 1992. Retirement was not, however, the end of Dr. Cook’s contributions to North Carolina agriculture. He has actively worked with the NC Poultry Federation in many capacities since his retirement, and in 1997 was appointed by then Governor James B. Hunt to serve as a member of the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission. He served tirelessly on that commission to represent agriculture and the animal industries viewpoints on proposed environmental regulations. He retired from the Commission in 2001.
During his tenure as Department Head at NC State, both the Department and the North Carolina Poultry Industry grew at phenomenal rates. Although no one person is responsible for such growth, Bob’s leadership and untiring efforts on behalf of the Department’s extension, teaching and research programs played a key role. Based on his leadership, the Department became one of the premier educational units of its kind in the world.
During his tenure as Assistant Dean, Dr. Cook was one of those who was instrumental in working with the poultry industry and the NC Legislature to fund the renovation and doubling of the size of Scott Hall, the home of the Poultry Science Department at NC State. That accomplishment was instrumental in the continued success of the poultry teaching, research and extension programs at NC State.
Dr. Cook has received numerous honors over the years, a few of which include: An Achievement Award horn the Ohio Poultry & Livestock Industry, 1969; the Golden egg Award from the North Carolina Egg Marketing Association, 1974; Distinguished Service Awards from the North Carolina Poultry Federation, 1971 and 1983; a Certificate of Merit from Phi Kappa Phi, 1984; a Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Egg Marketing Association, 1986; and the "Workhorse of the Year" Award from the Southeastern Poultry and Egg Association in 1990. He was also very active in a number of industry and scientific associations, and he served as a Board member and President of the Poultry Science Association in 1976-77 and as Vice president of the USA Branch of the World’s Poultry Science Association from 1984-1988. He was named as a Fellow of the Poultry Science Association in 1981.
The poultry industry, both within and without North Carolina, have greatly benefited from the leadership of Dr. Robert Cook, and it is our pleasure to place him into the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame on this the 16th day of August, 2002.