10 Things You Didn’t Know About President Richard Cook

  1. He attended one-room schools, complete with “outdoor plumbing,” for the first six grades.
  2. As a youngster, he was awarded several medals in rifle marksmanship.
  3. He made the acquaintance of the local fire department as a boy when he set a field ablaze with a homemade rocket.
  4. He once wrestled a 350-pound black bear at a forestry exposition. “The bear won,” President Cook notes dryly.
  5. Although apparently it was no help in the contest with the bear, he holds a black belt in Okinawan karate.
  6. With his father, George, he planted 8,000 Norway pines on the family homestead in northeastern Michigan.
  7. He was a personal acquaintance of the late two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling and is linked as Pauling’s “scientific grandson” through doctoral advisor Kurt Mislow.
  8. He was once detained at gunpoint by the revolutionary government in Sierra Leone.
  9. He nearly drowned while whitewater kayaking in Switzerland.
  10. He has traveled professionally on every continent except Antarctica. “That’s next,” he says.

This article was featured in the Winter/Spring 2008 issue of Allegheny Magazine.