President Barack Obama:
Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. George Cooper, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As a native of Tallahassee, FL, Georgeâ€™s love of education and HBCUs began as a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, continuing his education at Tuskegee University and receiving his Ph. D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana. George spent the majority of his life ensuring that students at our nationâ€™s HBCUs were receiving a quality education and had the necessary resources to succeed and make their communities and our country better. He served on the faculty at several universities including Alabama A&M University, Tuskegee University and as President of South Carolina State University. His service extended beyond working with students at institutions.Â For 17 years, he worked with the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ€™s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, ensuring that HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions were receiving adequate resources to strengthen research and academic programs. Georgeâ€™s passing is a great loss for my Administration, the HBCU and higher education communities and for everyone that knew him.Â Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Diane, family and friends during this difficult time.
WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield released the following statement today on the passing of former South Carolina State University President Dr. George Cooper:
â€œMembers of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. George Cooper, a lifelong supporter of higher education and our countryâ€™s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
â€œAs a former president of South Carolina State University and the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Dr. George Cooper understood well the role that HBCUs continue to play in providing access to higher education for many African American and minority students.
â€œHe was a Senior Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and served 17 years with the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ€™s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where he provided key oversight on programs and legislation impacting historically black land grant universities and other minority serving institutions.
â€œOver the course of his life, Dr. George Cooper contributed great service to our countryâ€™s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the impact of his legacy of service as a leader and champion in higher education will be remembered for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.â€