Have a vision of excellence

Samuel DuBois Cook
Have a vision of excellence
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Samuel DuBois Cook: "Have a vision of excellence, a dream of success, and work like hell.”
Image credit: Duke University Archives

To mark the last Monday of Black History Month in the US, our leadership quote this week comes from academic and activist Samuel DuBois Cook


Samuel DuBois Cook (1928-2017) was an American political scientist, academic and civil rights activist, best known for being the first Black faculty member to hold a permanent academic position at Duke University in North Carolina. 

Cook had a distinguished career as an academic. He began teaching at Southern University and Atlanta University. During this time, Cook participated in the Civil Rights Movement by facilitating discussions and meetings between activists and students. In 1966, Cook became the first Black faculty member to hold a permanent academic position at a predominantly White southern university when he accepted a position at Duke University. Cook later served as President of Dillard University for 22 years until his retirement in 1997.

Cook also received federal appointments from two United States presidents. He was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities by President Jimmy Carter and to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by President Bill Clinton.

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