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$2.5 Million Gift For Robert E. Cook Honors College

IUP has received a $2.5 million gift from Robert Cook in support of the Robert E. Cook Honors College.

Cook, a 1964 graduate of IUP, previously presented the largest gift in university history to establish an honors college at IUP in 1993. This gift brings his total giving to the university to more than $10 million.

Cook’s latest gift coincides with a five-year plan for institutional support for the Cook Honors College (CHC), the first endowed honors college in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and with a celebration of the Cook Honors College’s tenth graduating class.

“The Robert E. Cook Honors College, its students, and its graduates continue to enjoy extraordinary success,” President Tony Atwater said. “We sincerely appreciate Mr. Cook’s generosity and applaud his vision for the Cook Honors College at IUP.

“Dr. Janet Goebel, its director, and the IUP faculty of the CHC have created an outstanding learning environment that has enabled students to compete very well in the worldwide arena of academics, often exceeding greatly their own expectations.”

Part of the CHC approach is the encouragement and funding of CHC student exposure to the world beyond IUP and Western Pennsylvania, through study abroad, internships, and other broadening experiences, Cook said.

“The CHC attracts students of modest means. Our student body struggles just to pay for their university experience at the CHC. Many students have jobs, and there is little money for extras such as study abroad. With this gift, I hope to initiate full financial support for this extra effort and to motivate others to pitch in.”

A Decade of Excellence

Beverly Roberts-Atwater and President Tony Atwater enjoy a moment with Robert Cook

Charles CashdollarBeverly Roberts-Atwater and President Tony Atwater enjoy a moment with Robert Cook, the benefactor of IUP’s Robert E. Cook Honors College, at the recent celebration of ten years of Cook Honors College classes. The event, “For the Love of Ideas... 10 Years of Academic Excellence,” featured lectures by Sherrill Begres, Philosophy, and Charles Cashdollar (right), professor emeritus of History. As part of the celebration, close to one hundred graduates and current students attended the two lectures, a reception, and dinner celebration.

Photos: Kris Mellinger/Curly Bear Productions