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Rachel Strickland Cook Receives Spelman's Founders Spirit Award

April 2019

Rachel CookRachel Strickland Cook, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, grew up surrounded by family and community role models who demonstrated the benefits of scholarship, leadership and service. She is the 2019 recipient of the Spelman College's Founders Spirit award.

A member of the class of 1968, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and secondary education. She then earned a Master of Arts degree in Instructional Systems Development and Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland; and an Administration and Supervi­sion Certificate from McDaniel College.

A respected educator and core community advocate, she has become the legacy her village envisioned. Having seen both drive, determination and success, as well as challenges and opportunities unrealized for youth throughout her work, Cook made serving her community beyond the classroom a priority. From her early work with local educational organizations to exposing youth to STEM as an annual chaperone for the National Black Engineer of the Year Award conferences in Baltimore, to most recently being the Delta Scholars Program Liaison for the Columbia Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, education has been at the forefront of Cook's life.

Inspiring Others to Change the World

In the spirit of our founders, Cook has initiated interest and nurtured the lives and careers of current and future educators. Whether through an surreptitious encounter, a formal program or college fair, she has shared the value of education, and in particular, the lifelong benefits of pursuing a degree at Spelman College.

Her work as recruitment chair for over twenty years for the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, Columbia Chapter, has placed Maryland in the top five of the College’s feeder states. With each sisterly encounter paired with her radiant smile and spirit-filled conversation makes her efforts truly extraordinary. She has undeniably garnered the support and efforts of Spelman sisters through her longstanding membership and engagement.

Giving Back to Her Beloved Alma Mater

Cook is a consistent donor to the College and co-creator of the Strickland-Cook Study Abroad Scholarship which was established with her two daughters who are also Spelman alum­nae. She has been married to her husband Freddie, a Morehouse alumnus, for 51 years and they are proud parents of Gretchen, Elon, and Frederick.

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