Our Namesake: Dean Barbara Cook
Barbara I. Cook has devoted her career to student affairs administration, culminating in a distinguished tenure as Purdue's dean of students.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Arkansas in 1951, a Master's in student personnel administration from Syracuse University in 1954, and a doctorate in counseling and personnel services from Purdue in 1967. As Barbara Wood, she was initiated into Mortar Board at the University of Arkansas in 1950.
Dr. Cook's administrative career began at her undergraduate alma mater as assistant to the dean of women for Women's Residence Halls, then assistant dean of women and director of Women's Residence Halls.
She came to Purdue in 1956 as a counselor in the Office of the Dean of Women. During that time, she was director of the Placement Service for Women, assistant and associate dean of women, and associate dean of students before serving as dean of students from 1980 to 1987. She also held a lectureship in the School of Education, and was a professor of education from 1987 until her Purdue retirement in 1989.
Dr. Cook is nationally recognized for her advocacy of broadening career opportunities for women. At the national level, she served as president, national program chair and foundation president for the National Association of Women Deans, Administrator and Counselors (now the National Association for Women in Education). She also has held national office for Mortar Board, Inc. She was the Purdue Mortar Board chapter's adviser for 30 years, which today is named in her honor. Dr. Cook also has been active in state professional organizations, including the Indiana Association for Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors and the Indiana Personnel and Guidance Association. Dean Cook was awarded the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion for Distinguished Contributions to Purdue University along with the Dean Beverley Stone Award for Personal Counseling Contributions.
Since her retirement, she has been an active community volunteer with the Salvation Army, Greater Lafayette YWCA, West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission and Indiana Governor's Commission for Women, among others. In the July 2002, Barbara Cook was the recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Mortar Board Member award, the highest honor given to alumni members. This award is given by Mortar Board, Inc. and the Mortar Board National Foundation to alumni who have demonstrated Mortar Board's continuing commitment to the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service.