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Gift From Educator Edward Cooke Will Benefit Needy Students Enrolling At The University Of Virginia

June 20, 2002-- The University of Virginia has received a gift of more than $1.3 million from the estate of educator Edward Cooke to fund scholarships for needy students, particularly students from the Petersburg area.

Cooke, who died in 1999, was a graduate of Virginia Tech and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in education at U.Va. in the 1960s. He devoted his life to public education, spending 37 years as an administrator in the Prince George County School System and 10 years in the Richmond Public School System before his retirement in 1986.

Cooke left the majority of his assets to U.Va. and Virginia Tech, specifying that the funds be used for scholarships. In keeping with Cooke’s wishes, U.Va. will give preference to needy students and to students from the Virginia counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George and Sussex, and the cities of Petersburg and Colonial Heights.

"He came from a poor farming family in Southside Virginia, and he understood the value of a college education," said J. Peter Clements, president and CEO of the Bank of Southside Virginia, Cooke’s great-nephew and co-executor of his estate. "He knew that a good education made it possible for him to pursue his career as a teacher and administrator. And he understood the growing need for scholarship assistance because of the increased expense of a college education."

A native of Keysville, Va., Cooke began his career as a vocational and agriculture teacher at Carson High School in Carson, Va. He later served as an elementary school principal and as assistant superintendent for vocational education in Prince George County. He then became director of vocational and career education in the Richmond public school system. He also was director of the cooperative school program for the Virginia State Department of Education.

"Dr. Cooke’s devotion to education, as reflected in his life and in his remarkable gift, will have a lasting impact on generations of students. It is fitting that those who have few financial resources and who come from Southside counties will particularly be able to benefit from his generosity," said John A. Blackburn, U.Va. dean of admission. "We are deeply grateful to Dr. Cooke and his family for the establishment of these scholarships."

The assets in Cooke’s estate consisted primarily of shares in the Bank of Southside Virginia, a community-owned bank that has been managed since the 1930s by the family of Cooke’s first wife, Margaret Halligan Cooke, who preceded him in death. Cooke was a former director of the bank.

Contact: Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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