Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

July 12, 2012 Volume 33, No. 34

CAFNR professor inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame

Alternate text

Mike Cook


Induction is reserved to those who’ve made community contributions

Mike Cook has earned the title hero — a cooperative hero.

On May 2, he was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame at Washington D.C.’s National Press Club. Induction to the hall is reserved for those who have contributed to the cooperative community.

Cook, the Robert D. Partridge Endowed Professor in Cooperative Leadership and executive director of CAFNR’s Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL), has had a varied career. He has been a CEO and a mentor to CEOs of national and global cooperatives, counseled cooperative leaders in more than 40 countries, and inspired students who have gone on to be leaders and award-winning professors. He continues to try to help solve the global hunger problem, something he’s pursued since serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay in the mid-1960s. 

“The roster of the Cooperative Hall of Fame tells the story of the U.S. cooperative community through the lives and accomplishments of extraordinary individuals,” said Gasper Kovach, Jr., board chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), which administers the Hall of Fame.

Cook is one of only six educators who have been inducted into the prestigious group since 1976. Dick Vilstrup, Cook’s mentor during his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, is one of the others. “I was inspired by his brilliant mind,” Cook said. “Every time I went to see him, he had 10 new ideas and he was working on them all.”

Of his successes, Cook is most proud of his students and the global network they’re creating through research, outreach and education.

“One of the reasons he has such a passion for coops is that deep inside he’s a Peace Corps Volunteer who wants to serve the world,” said Juanamaria Cordones-Cook, his wife and a professor of Spanish at MU. 

“That’s one of the things I admire in him — the desire to give to his fellow human beings, to make life better for other people.”

Mike Burden