Samuel DuBois Cook, a renowned political scientist and scholar as well as a human rights activist, died May 29 in his Atlanta home. He was 88.
Cook was named the fourth president of Dillard University, an HBCU in New Orleans, in 1974. He strengthened the curriculum, increased the percentage of faculty members with doctorates, increased student enrollment by 50 percent and started the first Japanese language studies program at an HBCU. In 1989 he created the Dillard University National Conference on Black-Jewish Relations. Later President Bill Clinton appointed him to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
In 1993, Dillard named its new fine arts and communication center after him. He remained the school's president until he retired in 1997 as president emeritus.
He also was the first African-American professor at Duke University in Durham, N.C., beginning in 1966. Between 1981 and 1993, Cook was on the Duke board of trustees. In 1997, the Samuel DuBois Cook Society was founded in his honor to promote the development of black studies at the school and in 2015, Duke created the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.
Cook graduated from Morehouse College in 1948 with a degree in history and received his master's and doctorate in political science at Ohio State University. In addition to Duke, he also taught at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., Atlanta University, the University of Illinois and UCLA.
His funeral will be at 11 a.m. on June 6, at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College.