James Cook's lifelong devotion to Albion students and alumni, his service to the College and the community, along with his never-ending thirst for learning, are among the many reasons he has earned this award. A prolific and affable entrepreneur, writer, and musician who defies nutshell descriptions, Cook is to this day one of the most engaged, interested, and interesting individuals in Albion.
Cook served in counterintelligence in the U.S. Army after attending Albion and earning his B.A. from Wayne State University. Recipient of an M.A. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Wayne State University, he was a proud member of the Albion College faculty from 1962 until 2000. During his 38 years in the English Department, he became Albion's first Langbo Trustees' Professor of English. Among his many scholarly activities, he translated numerous literary works from Italian into English and has been a three-time Fellow of the Newberry Library in Chicago, and a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Toronto's Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies. His work as a biographer led to his becoming a stipendiary Fellow of the British Academy. Cook has served as a senior consultant for the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business, and has designed and supervised systems research and training programs for the U.S. Navy and state government agencies. He served briefly as a graduate dean at Walden University's Central Division.
Cook has been regularly involved in the Albion community. He served as president of the Albion District Library Board and the Albion Rotary Club in addition to remaining active in the Albion First United Methodist Church. An avid violist, Cook has played with the Albion College Orchestra for most of the past 54 years.
He and his wife, and sometime co-author, Barbara, now divide their time between Albion and Grawn, Michigan. They have three children, Christopher, Kathleen, '84, and David, and six grandchildren.