Barbara I. Wood Cook, PhD
Retired Dean of Students Emerita Purdue University
Barbara I. Wood Cook, 83, of West Lafayette, passed away on April 10, 2013, at 8:31 a.m. at Mulberry Health and Retirement Community in Mulberry, IN. Dr. Cook was born on December 8, 1929, in Memphis, TN to the late Karl Wood and Thelma Champagne Wood. She was married to Salem Francis Cook and he passed away in 1956.
Burial will be at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemeteries, Memphis, TN. A service honoring Dr. Cook will be held at St. John Episcopal Church, at a later date with the Rev. Dr. Bradley Pace officiating
Dr. Cook was graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1951 and became an assistant dean of women and director of women's residence halls at the University of Arkansas in 1954 after earning her MA degree in Student Personnel from Syracuse University in 1954. In 1956, she joined the staff of the Office of the Dean of Women at Purdue University, earned a PhD in Counseling and Personnel Services in 1967 and rose to serve as the dean of students from 1980 to 1987. She retired from the University in 1989 after teaching in the College of Education for two year.
During her 33 year career at Purdue, Cook received numerous awards including the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion award in 1976; having the Mortar Board Chapter named in her honor in 1987; the Sagamore of the Wabash award in 1987 and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Purdue in 1996. The YWCA of Greater Lafayette named her the Mary Keller Ade Woman of Wisdom at the 2001 Salute to Women banquet.
Active in the Greater Lafayette community, Dr. Cook served on the YWCA Foundation of Greater Lafayette, Inc. Board of directors; St. John Episcopal Church Foundation; and chaired the capital campaign for the Salvation Army's building 1990-1991. From 1989 until 2003, she served on the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission and was a member of the Governor's Commission for Women from 1992-1996.
Professional memberships included being an active member of the National Association for Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors, serving as president from 1975-1976. From 1985 until 1993, Cook served on the Mortar Board National Foundation serving as President from 1987 to 1993.
The Purdue marker at the corner of Northwestern and Stadium Avenues was named in her honor by the Barbara Cook Chapter of Mortar Board with funds raised from friends and loyal alums.
She is survived by her brother, Karl Wood, Jr. of Boston MA and her guardians since 2007 Betty M. Nelson, dean of students emerita, and Captain Sally Watlington, USN (Ret.) of West Lafayette.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may contribute to the YWCA Foundation of Greater Lafayette (permanent endowment fund,) 605 N. 6th St. Lafayette, IN 47901 or to the Mortar Board National Foundation, Barbara Cook Fellowship, 1200 Chambers Road, Suite 201, Columbus, OH 43212.