David Cook discusses first months as NDSU President

President David Cook hits the ground running as 15th President of NDSU

President David Cook Photo Courtesy | NDSU

David Cook has hit the ground running, when he became the 15th President of North Dakota State University on May 17. Cook has been welcoming students to campus as his first semester on campus began on August 22. Cook speaks on his future plans for NDSU and what he has been doing over the summer. 

Prior to his job at NDSU Cook served as the vice chancellor for the Office of Public Affairs and Economic Development at the University of Kansas. After an extensive interview process to decide who was well suited to replace Former President Dean Bresciani, David Cook was given the job as President at NDSU on February 23, 2022. 

“President Bresciani was great to me,” said Cook. He was able to meet with him over Zoom which allowed him to “hit the ground running on May 17,” said Cook

Over the summer, President Cook participated in a statewide tour of North Dakota. On this tour he met with people and learned about NDSU’s impact on the state. During the tour he gained a “better understanding of what the land grant institutions is and mission of this place is,” said Cook, “we mean something dearly to this state and we just need to live that everyday.”

On the tour they visited cities such as Bismarck, Wahpeton, Streeter, Grand Forks and Standing Rock Reservation. The tour allowed Cook to meet legislators, alumni, community members, and extension officers from around the state. “I loved how our students are out there working in those extension offices through the summer,” said Cook.  

Cook stated that the purpose of this tour was “listening and learning.” Through the tour Cook learned more about the land grant institution at NDSU. 

Through the first weeks at school, Cook has continued to learn about the NDSU students, faculty and staff. He has met with every college and hopes to meet with every unit throughout the year. He has spent time “talking with them, getting their feedback,” said Cook. 

Students have returned to campus and Cook has been involved in many of the activities and events. Through Saturday Night Live, Ag Olympics, the block party and talking with various clubs and organizations, he has been able to connect with students. Cook also welcomed freshmen to campus this year by the NDSU gate. “Cook enthusiastically welcomed more than 2,500,” according to NDSU.  

“That has been fun to see the students back on campus and of course the staff and faculty as well,” said Cook. He explained that move-in week has been one of his favorite parts of his time at NDSU. Cook was also able to help students move into their dorm rooms and participate in campus activities. “I’m so impressed with how we welcome and engage and make people feel included and have all these activities,” said Cook. 

Cook’s future plans are focused on enrollment, retention and student success. Wellness is also a priority to him as he will evolve “from just student wellness to really staff and faculty wellness, and campus wellness.” Cook will also focus on research and will begin standing up President’s Counsels. “Right now it’s just running full speed, having fun and wishing I could have a couple more days in the week,” he said.  

As the semester continues many other events will be happening on campus. Cook has been able to attend NDSU athletics practices and is excited for this football season. “Homecoming is a big week,” said Cook, “a ton of energy and excitement there.” 

“I want the students to know how impressed I am with them, the sense of community, the way they all get along and care about each other,” said Cook. 

Leave a Reply