One day I was driving to a pet store with some dorm friends when I got a telephone call on my cell phone. I could tell from the number that it was from Biola but I was surprised to hear Clyde Cook on the other end. He asked if he could speak with my
dad but when I told him that the number was my personal cell phone he took time out of his day to speak to me.
Even though it was an "I didn't mean to call you, but I'll talk to you
anyway" moment, I was astounded that he took five minutes to chat with me
and ask how classes and everything were going.
Whenever my friends and I remember Dr. Cook I always mention how he and I are so close that he calls me on my cell phone just to shoot the breeze.
He will be missed dearly.
With all respect and sympathy to his family,
A year ago I was in the hospital after my pelvis was broken in a car accident. My mom took three weeks off of work to be with me as I recovered. Every day people came in to see me and my mom would stay on the side and watch. A couple times someone from
the Board of Trustees
came in per Dr. Cook's request, which was just wonderful!
But the best thing was when my room phone rang and I heard my mom say, "Hello, Dr.
He had called to talk to her and see how she was doing. He cared enough about me and my family to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to my mom. It was absolutely marvelous.
I talked to him about two months after my accident and told him who I was and his response was, "I was just praying for you this morning and wondering how you were doing. I'm glad that you are doing so much better. Praise God!"
My first encounter with the amazing Clyde Cook was at the SOS baseball game my freshman year. As hundreds of us new students were watching the game and enjoying some food, my SOS leader Megan leaned over to me and said,
"There's Dr. Cook!"
She said this in great wonder and awe as she pointed to the tall man and his wife sitting four rows in front of us. From that moment, I knew this man was one to be revered and respected. In my freshmanly ignorance, I still had to inquire of Megan
who he was, to which she replied, "The president!"
By far my fondest memory of Dr. Cook happened just about a year ago. We left chapel about the same time and were walking together toward McNally. As we passed the bell tower, he inquired about my major and hometown and current Biola experiences.
Then, as we walked past the library, he paused our conversation to scold a passing bike rider.
"Excuse me, young man," he said authoritatively. "Please walk your bike in this area."
That Wednesday morning, I learned a little more about his love for Biola students and for Biola's safety.
I saw him just a week ago. It was a two second encounter, nothing special at all, but Iâm sure it will stick with me for a long time.
I had just eaten lunch, scarfed it down in about 3 minutes trying to make it through my busy day and failing. I dropped my dirty dishes off in the caf and walked out the glass doors, taking a bite of my apple when Clyde walked around the corner.
He surprised me, dressed in his typically sharp suit, having not seen him in person in so long. I took the apple from my mouth and smiled at him. He briefly made eye contact with me, said Hi, just like he always does (did? ...wow, thatâs strange).
As I walked away, I thought about how strange it must be for him to return as a visitor to a place he called home for so long.
Now he is gone.
I suppose this memory is a sort of goodbye not many people are fortunate enough to have, and Iâm thankful for it.
I was walking through the Lower Level lobby of Metzger in the hours after Dr. Coreyâs official inauguration. I found Dr. Cook sitting on the couch by himself. I sat down to chat with him. As we talked, various faculty and employees walked past. Some
delivered dollies full of boxes and others rushed through with briefcase in hand. Dr. Cook greeted each one by name and each responded that it had been a while since they had seen him. They missed him.
As we talked a young guy in a green t-shirt loitered around the lobby, looking uncomfortably at the doors on the sides. Dr. Cook called him over in the endearing, yet intimidating term he used with most male students.
âYoung, man,â he said. âAre you new to new to Biola?â The young man was. He said he was visiting with his parents.
âHave a seat,â said Dr. Cook. Soon they were talking of everything from surfing in California to Biolaâs math program. Then two other men arrived and stood behind the back of the young manâs chair.
âAre these your family?â said Dr. Cook.
The young man introduced his father and uncle and they began to talk. Between bouts about the different programs and people at Biola, Dr. Cook made sure to tell how much he loved his school.
âBiolaâs a wonderful school,â he would say every chance he got. The employees kept walking by. Everyone called to him by name and he answered them by name in return. Finally the parents caught on that whoever this guy in a suit was, a lot
of people loved him.
âSo are you a professor here?â they asked.
âOh no,â said Dr. Cook. âIâm retired.â
I wanted to speak up and declare that no in fact, they were talking to Mr. Biola himself. But his last line kept me silent as I realized how much it said about this man.