Hall of Fame Member Biographies

James J. Cook

Higher education in Oklahoma needs leaders to bring new ideas and strong programs to bear on the full development of Oklahoma’s youth.  One such leader has been James J. Cook, who has served as president of Seminole  Junior College (1987-1996), Executive Vice President at Rose State College (1996-2000), and then President of  Rose State College (2000-2007).  He currently is the lead instructor for the President’s Leadership Academy at Rose State College. James Cook grew up in Tulsa, earned his B.A. in 1970, his Master of Arts degree in 1973, and his Doctor of Education degree in 1977 from Texas Tech University.  He taught for several years at Schreiner College in Kerrville, Texas, but by 1977 he began his career in administration by becoming Director of Student Activities at Midland College.  He then served at New Mexico State University at Alamogordo, East Texas State University at Texarkana, and then became Vice-President for Student Services at Seminole Junior College in 1982 and in 1987 President of that institution.  At Seminole Junior College he implemented his programs of student leadership development by creating a student honors program, renovating nine of the eleven campus buildings, and building computer assisted instructional laboratories.  In 1996 James Cook moved to become Executive Vice President at Rose State College, and in 2000 became its president.  At Rose State, he created the President’s Leadership Class and expanded scholarship opportunities for students; he supported new instructional programs such as the Cyber Security degree program and obtained funding for a Health Sciences building and the Professional Education and Training Center.   For his innovative and creative ways of eliciting leadership among Oklahoma’s youth, the Oklahoma Higher Education History Society welcomes James J. Cook into the Higher Education Hall of Fame.