Professor of English
September 21, 1991
Kathryn Dapp Cook was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1908. She earned a B.A. in 1930 from Wellesley College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year. She studied at Oxford University, England, on fellowship for a year. She then studied, also on fellowship, at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her M.A. in 1935 and her Ph.D. in 1937.
She has taught at Penn Hall Junior College, Lawrence College in Wisconsin, Abington Friends School in Pennsylvania, and New Jersey College for Women.
Her association with Hobart and William Smith Colleges began with a position teaching summer school in 1942. She fell in love with the Colleges and, in the fall, accepted the position of director of William Smith admissions. She also taught some English courses. In 1943, she was appointed assistant professor; in 1950, associate professor; and in 1958, professor.
Dr. Cook introduced courses in comparative literature, modern novelists (including James Joyce), and Russian literature. These, in addition to Shakespeare, became her specialties. She also was one of the architects and teachers of the course in Western Civilization. She was a vital force in the Honors Program from its inception in 1949 to her retirement from that program in 1983. In recognition, the faculty awarded her their prize for curriculum development in 1978; she had also received the faculty prize for teaching in 1975. She received citations from the William Smith Alumnae Association in 1965 and the Hobart Alumni Association in 1975. The Classes of 1966 jointly awarded a 25th reunion citation to Dr. Cook in 1991.
Her high standards and expectations, her enthusiasm and energy, her interest in students, and her penetrating written comments on their papers led her students to try their best.
Professor Cook retired from the faculty in 1979. In 1984, the Colleges appointed her to the rank of professor emerita and awarded her the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.