Happy 111th birthday, Mr. Cooke

This week, as we celebrate the 111th birthday of the visionary Jack Kent Cooke, we reflect on his incredible legacy. Born in 1912 in Ontario, Canada, Mr. Cooke’s life journey was a testament to resilience and ambition. Despite the challenges he and his family faced during the Great Depression, he built a media empire encompassing radio stations, cable television, magazines, and newspapers. He also acquired an impressive portfolio of sports teams and real estate during his life. His success, however, was tinged with the regret that he couldn’t pursue a college degree due to his family’s financial circumstances in his youth.

Driven by a profound belief in the power of education, Mr. Cooke became a passionate advocate for knowledge. He immersed himself in various fields, from literature and music to sports and architecture. His thirst for learning was insatiable, making education a lifelong pursuit. When he passed away on April 6, 1997, he bequeathed most of his fortune to establish the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – it has since awarded $282 million in scholarships to over 3,300 Cooke Scholars, and distributed $133 million in grant funding to educational organizations all over the country.

Through the Foundation, Mr. Cooke’s spirit lives on. His generosity has opened doors for countless exceptional students, breaking down barriers and helping them defy the odds of being a student with financial need. His lasting impact is embodied by a thriving network of Cooke Scholars, a strong community of current Cooke Young Scholars, College Scholars, Transfer Scholars, and Alumni who are making profound contributions in every field.

On his 111th birthday, we express our deepest gratitude to Mr. Cooke for changing lives and providing opportunities that continue to ripple through generations. His gift has given Cooke Scholars the chance to transform their aspirations into realities. As we honor him, we not only celebrate the man but also the enduring impact of his kindness and generosity. Happy birthday, Mr. Cooke, and thank you for lighting the way for countless others.

Blast from the past: enjoy this video of Cooke Scholars wishing Mr. Cooke a happy birthday in 2012.