As many people have noted, Clyde Cook–the president of my alma mater Biola University for 25 years–passed away this past Friday in his home in Fullerton, California.
Memorials abound, including this post by Professor John Mark Reynolds. A group of journalism students at Biola has also created a blog to chronicle stories about Dr. Cook.
It is impossible to describe just how much Dr. Cook was admired by students of the university. His near-universal respect had much to do with his genuine concern for students and his Reagen-esque sense of humor.
For example, by the time I was a sophomore at Biola, the university had developed a significant parking problem. When Dr. Cook was introduced at convocation that spring, he delayed his entrance to the building, then ran in with his jacket off and out of breath. The audience was, naturally, a touch confused. It was unlike Dr. Cook to be late, and it was rare for him to be seen without a jacket. When he made it to the microphone, he lamented that he couldn’t find a parking spot and that he had to park all the way across campus.
Dr. Cook shepherded Biola through a period of enormous expansion. When Dr. Cook took over in the early 1980s, Biola was struggling to stay afloat. Morale dropped considerably around campus, and buildings and the grounds fell into disrepair due to budget difficulties. It was Dr. Cook’s insistence that the grounds and buildings be maintained that helped keep morale high and that allowed for the growth in the 1990s. Dr. Cook’s steady guidance through that period helped Biola become one of the elite Christian universities in the world.
Though I never had the honor of knowing Dr. Cook personally, my many friends who were able to spend time with him and his wife had nothing but the highest praises for his commitment to prayer, to service, and to loving those around him. I have no doubt he is the sort of man whose impact will never be fully known, and far more extensive than it might seem.
Clyde Cook was 73.