Robert Cook ’64
The Cook Honors College’s namesake and benefactor provided remarks at the college’s anniversary celebration, which took place in John Sutton Hall on April 25. The event coincided with the announcement of a $2.5 million gift Cook made to the college.
His first multi-million-dollar gift, made in 1993, was the largest in university history and served to establish the college. He also is the primary benefactor of the Cook Honors College Achievement Program, which provides assistance for the college’s students to study abroad and undertake enrichment activities.
Robert E. Cook speaking at the dinner.
Cook, a member of IUP’s Class of 1964, earned his MBA from George Washington University. He received the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from IUP in 2000.
Cook spent his career as a serial entrepreneur in computer software. His first company was VM Software, later named System Center, which was founded in 1981, listed on both the NASDAQ stock market and the New York Stock Exchange, and sold in 1993. He acted as a seed investor, CEO advisor, and board member of several other software companies and was president of the software division of the Association of Data Processing Services Organization, the trade group for the industry.
IUP President Tony Atwater, Beverly Roberts-Atwater, and Robert E. Cook.
He served as a Regular Army officer from 1964 until 1969 with service in Europe, Vietnam, and Washington, D.C. He holds the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, and the parachutist’s badge.
Cook and his wife, Paula Brooks, are active vintners in St. Helena, California. They planted and actively manage the Dancing Hares Winery, which produces an estate-bottled wine that is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot varieties of red wine grapes and was mentioned as “a cult wine to watch” by the San Francisco Chronicle.