Longtime Accounting Professor Doris M. Cook Dies at Age 91
Doris M. Cook and Karen V. Pincus at the announcement of the Doris M. Cook Chair in Accounting in 2000.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Doris M. Cook, the first woman hired as a full-time accounting professor at the University of Arkansas who taught in the Sam M. Walton College of Business for 53 years, passed away Jan. 4. She was 91.
Known for a long list of firsts at the U of A, Cook was best known to her accounting students as a beloved teacher and as the professor who wore red to class every day.
“Dr. Doris Cook was a woman of many firsts, including first in the hearts of generations of accounting students,” said Karen V. Pincus, Walton College accounting professor who holds the Doyle Z. and Maynette Derr Williams Chair in Professional Accounting. “She dressed in Razorback red every day, and her devotion to the University of Arkansas knew no bounds – an unforgettable professor.”
Cook joined the business college faculty in 1947 and taught at the Walton College until 2000, including three years teaching part-time after her retirement in 1997.
“Dr. Cook made a monumental contribution to the profession and to the department and college that helps us to be where we are today,” said Walton College interim Dean Matthew A. Waller. “She dearly loved her students and her colleagues and will be long remembered in the Walton College.”
Cook was honored over the years for research and teaching and for her many firsts at the university and in the state and the nation. Among those were:
- First full-time woman professor hired in the Department of Accounting
- First woman Certified Public Accountant in Arkansas
- First woman member of the Arkansas Society of CPAs
- First woman to serve on the National Council for Beta Alpha Psi, the International Honor Organization for Financial Information Students and Professionals
- First woman to serve as national president of Beta Alpha Psi
- First woman at the University of Arkansas to hold an endowed lectureship or chair (the Nolan E. Williams Lectureship in Accounting)
- First woman at the University of Arkansas to hold the rank of University Professor
- First person in the Department of Accounting to hold the rank of University Professor
At the Walton College awards banquet each year, the outstanding accounting seniors receive the Doris Cook Award. As a teacher, she chaired 42 doctoral dissertations and served on 23 other doctoral committees.
“As I visit various alumni, I am amazed by how many she taught over so many years and that Doris Cook is the first professor they ask about,” said Vernon J. Richardson, chair of the Department of Accounting. “Doris Cook made a major contribution to our department over more than half a century. She was an outstanding teacher and her students loved taking classes from her.”
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees approved the Doris M. Cook Chair in Accounting in 2000. The stated goal of the endowed chair is "to support a faculty member who will continue Dr. Cook's traditions of excellence in educating students and advancing the field of accounting."
Gary F. Peters, an accounting professor and director of the Master of Accountancy program, now holds that chair in the department.
“The Cook Chair has been instrumental in supporting the growth of our MACC Program and national placements of our MACC students,” Peters said. “The support from the Cook Chair also has enabled me to advance the college’s reputation in the field of auditing research.”
Cook was also an outstanding student at the U of A, earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration in 1946 and a Master of Science in 1949. Both were in accounting. She was president of Beta Gamma Sigma, secretary of Alpha Lambda Delta, secretary of the Commerce Guild junior class and treasurer of Mortar Board. Cook graduated as the most outstanding scholastic senior and was elected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. She received her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1968.
In 1997, she was honored as the accounting department’s outstanding alumna.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
David Speer, director of communications
Sam M. Walton College of Business
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