Dr. Gary Cook Serves as DBU President for 10,000 Days

Gary Cook

On August 23, 2015, Dallas Baptist University celebrated Dr. Gary Cook's 10,000th day of service in his current role as president. For over 27 years, Dr. Cook has led the school faithfully, through seasons of prosperity and seasons of hardship.

When the DBU Board of Trustees elected Dr. Cook as president on April 6, 1988, the institution, plagued by financial issues, seemed to have an incredibly bleak future. However, the Lord had other plans for the school and intended to use Dr. Cook to set those plans into motion.

Within the first 20 days of his presidency, Dr. Cook called upon the campus community to seek the Lord through prayer and ask for His help to make DBU all that it could become. He established the Intercessory Prayer Ministry as a direct result of this initial call to prayer that has marked the culture of the university ever since.

"Beginning the prayer ministry was an honest confession to the Lord that we couldn't survive as an institution apart from the work of God," Dr. Cook later recalled. "We were desperate, and this desperation caused us to call out to God."

Answers to the prayers that were lifted on behalf of DBU began to slowly be answered. The student population grew, the debt shrunk, and the campus itself took on a new look, reflecting the Lord's provision and grace on the university.

From a student enrollment of 1,859 in the fall of 1987, the school has grown to 5,319 students in the fall of 2015. Additionally, the university's net assets have grown from $19.9 million to $171.5 million, and DBU has finished each fiscal year in the black for the last 26 years.

The number of master's degree programs have increased from three in 1988 to 28, while graduate enrollment has increased from 187 in the fall of 1987 to 2,004 in the fall of 2015.

The campus has expanded from 200 acres to 292 acres. Average SAT scores for incoming DBU freshmen have been raised from 887 in 1992 to 1124 in 2014. In addition, 81.7% of full-time faculty have doctorates or terminal degrees, compared to 52% in 1988. Another 9.5% of the full-time faculty are currently working on a terminal degree.

A Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program began in the summer of 2005, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program began in the fall of 2005. In the spring of 2004, the DBU board of trustees voted to name a new academic division of the University the Gary Cook School of Leadership.

The impact that Dr. Cook has had on this institution over the last 10,000 days can be seen in every corner of the campus and every aspect of life on University Hill. His leadership will leave a legacy that stretches long beyond 10,000 days.

Last spring, Dr. Cook was elected to the chancellor position by the Board of Trustees, and will assume that position full-time upon the selection of the next DBU president.

Written by Courtney Hackett

Courtney Hackett (Smith) served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Communications in the University Communications division at DBU.