Florida College honored Dr. Paul B. Cook with the Friend to Youth award following the evening lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. The Friend to Youth award is the most prestigious honor awarded at Florida College.

Cook has worked diligently to help Florida College provide the best possible educational experiences for young people. He brought a wealth of experience as a faculty member and a high-level administrator to his role on the Florida College board of directors for 21 years, including four years as chairman, and he now serves the college as a director emeritus.  President Payne continues to call on Cook for advice and counsel as he strives to lead Florida College.

“His wisdom, insight, and massive experience provided a safety net and a source of encouragement for this president for which I will be forever grateful,” Payne said.

After growing up in south central Kentucky, Cook earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Western Kentucky University. In 1960, he began to work at WKU as a faculty member and later served in high-level administrative roles, including several years as vice president and one year as interim president. He has also served as a faithful elder for many years and currently serves in that role at the Lost River Church of Christ.

It was in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that Cook began his dedicated service to young people. He has served many in that area over the years, including Dr. Thaxter Dickey, a professor in the social and behavioral sciences department at Florida College.

“I think that it is safe to say that whatever benefit I’ve been to Florida College is directly attributable to Paul Cook,” Dickey said. “And of course, I’m just one of many young people that he has benefited over the years.”

Since falling in love with Florida College and its mission and coming to serve on the board in 1993, Cook has unselfishly offered his expertise and service to Florida College board members, administrators, faculty and students.

Florida College would like to thank Dr. Paul B. Cook for his outstanding service to Florida College students and congratulate him on receiving the 2017 Friend to Youth award!