PSS Winter '12

Honoring Parents

Colleges Recognize Generosity of Trustee Lang and Lyn Cook P’99, P’05 with Naming of New Giving Society

Lyn and Lang Cook

Lyn and Lang Cook P’99, P’05

When parents send a child to college, they want to see that their son or daughter is personally fulfilled and engaged in academic work and with people who will help them grow,” says Trustee Lang Cook P’99, P’05. “And as that child builds a relationship with his or her college, the connection between the parents and the college also grows.”

“For us, it started with visits to see our sons play squash and to attend family weekends, that sort of thing,” says Lyn Cook. “Over time, and with two of our four children attending – Whitney ’99 and Freddy ’05, our involvement expanded.”

“Today, we feel like adopted alums,” says Lang.

In the past 17 years, Lang and Lyn Cook have graciously hosted alums, parents, and prospective students and their families at numerous events. As active parents, they have been instrumental in increasing parent interest and engagement in the Colleges. In 1996, Lang joined the Campaign Steering Committee and, in 2002, accepted an appointment on the Board of Trustees. As a Board member, Lang’s experience as the founder of his bond firm ‘Langdon P. Cook and Company’ has been put to good use through service on the Investment and Institutional Advancement Committees.

“As a member of the Board, I was able to see firsthand how the Colleges handled the recession,” says Lang. “There were real financial strains. At an unnerving time, what I observed was a strong collaboration among the administrators, faculty and trustees who all worked together to get through the financial crisis. With each year that has passed, we have felt more and more confident in the Colleges.”

The Cooks recently translated that confidence into one of the largest donations the Colleges have ever received from non-alum parents. Their gift of $1 million will support the Colleges’ greatest needs.

“This is an exceptional display of generosity, one that reflects the Cooks’ dedication to Hobart and William Smith as well as the growing role that parents and families are playing in the future of the Colleges,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “Over the years, the Colleges have benefited tremendously from the Cooks’ counsel. The conviction that Lang and Lyn have shown in our strategic priorities has inspired a new generation of parents and families to consider the many ways they can make a similar difference.”

The Cook Circle is being established in honor of the Cook family to encourage and inspire other families to provide support to the Colleges. Non-alumni families – parents and grandparents – who have made cumulative commitments to the Colleges of $25,000 or more will be recognized as members of The Cook Circle. Those who have given $100,000 or more in cumulative commitments will be inducted as Lifetime Members of The Cook Circle and will receive permanent recognition on campus. The inaugural induction and celebration of The Cook Circle will take place in New York City in fall 2012. Moving forward, Cook Circle events will take place annually in the metro New York area.

“Parents have one of the most direct experiences of the value of Hobart and William Smith,” says Lyn. “If your child is having or has had a good experience, then it makes sense to move the Colleges up in one’s list of philanthropic priorities; that’s what we did.”

“We are thrilled about the establishment of The Cook Circle and about the opportunity to gather each year with similarly motivated parents,” says Lang. “We hope that current and future generations of families will be inspired, as we have been, to make an investment in Hobart and William Smith.”

To learn more about membership in The Cook Circle, please contact Kelly Young, Director of Parent Relations and Stewardship, (315) 781-3783 or


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