David Cook: Celebrity turned 15th NDSU President

Dr. Cook reveals his past success in the music industry

Dr. David Cook at seventh season of American Idol.
Photo by | Cassey Tweed

Now that the 15th President of NDSU, Dr. David Cook, is setting up for his time on the job, students should get to know more about the new leader and how his experiences led him to NDSU’s campus. 

“I am now comfortable coming forward and giving a little more information about my past,” Cook said. “I am sure you will all be pleased to hear about my previous and current success in the music industry.”

It may shock you to know that Cook comes from a large music background. Believe it or not, he actually won a popular singing competition television series.

“It was an experience I will never forget, and I hope that I can continue my career in the music industry while fulfilling my duties as the President of NDSU,” Cook said. 

Born in 1982 and raised in Blue Springs, Missouri, Cook’s interest in music started in second grade when his elementary school gave him a solo part in Shrek the Musical.  

While in high school, he formed a band with friend Bobby Kerr called Red Eye, later changed to Axium. Cook wrote the band’s first song “Red Hot,” when he was fifteen years old.

“The idea behind the band name is connected to an incident at my buddy’s lake cabin. We ran out of towels and ended up having to share one. Little did we know, Bobby, who used the towel first, ended up giving us all pink eye, lmao, don’t recommend it,” said Cook. 

After listening to Cook and his band perform “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses, Evan Sula-Goff of 8stops7, a rock band from the 90’s, encouraged them to make their own album. The band went on to produce three studio albums and some live albums – Matter of Time, Blindsided, The Story Thus Far and Alive in Tulsa.

In 2006, Axium broke up and Cook moved to Tulsa to join the band Midwest Kings. 

2 years later, Cook was talked into trying out for American Idol by producers and ended up winning the seventh season. Cook received 56 percent of the votes, with 12 million votes over the runner-up.

Cook also sang “The Time of My Life”, the winning song of the 2008 American Idol Songwriter’s Competition.

“The music business has settled down quite a bit, so I am ready to focus back on my education and new position at NDSU,” Cook said.

Prior to American Idol, Cook attended Iowa State University to pursue his Bachelor of Arts from Iowa State University. Once the music side of things slowed, he decided to earn his master’s and Doctorate degree from the University of Kansas (KU). 

From there, Cook served as vice chancellor of the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS. Experiences and success in the vice chancellor role eventually led him to earn his current position as the vice chancellor for the Office of Public Affairs & Economic Development at the KU.

Cook saw the position open at NDSU and decided to apply. He felt it would bring him better connections to celebrity Josh Duhamel, a North Dakota native. 

“I plan to perform an annual concert for students and faculty at NDSU,” said Cook. “I am hoping to have my buddy Duhamel there as well to increase morale.”

Cook would like to have band members from NDSU submit auditions to be a part of the event. For more information on auditions, contact his email at davidcookamericanidolsinger@hottiemail.com.

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