Published on March 24, 2021 by Leighton Doores  
Box Jeanie

In retirement, professor of teacher education and former dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education Jeanie Box Cook is looking forward to spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren, walking, reading and settling in to her new home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Cook will retire from Samford University in May after 30 years of service.

When asked what she will miss most about Samford, she said “It has to be the relationships. I find working with the students very fulfilling, and of course I always enjoy working with the faculty.”

Cook has served in numerous roles during her time at Samford. She began as an assistant professor and later also served as the department chair of teacher education and as the associate dean. She later served as dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education for 12 years from 2005 until 2017 and is currently a professor of early childhood education.

Even though Cook’s career at Samford began in teacher education, she found great fulfillment in making an impact on students in all departments as she began taking on administrative roles. At the time, nutrition and dietetics, sports medicine, exercise science, and interior design were all housed in Orlean Beeson School of Education along with its current programs.

“When I became dean, I really wanted to focus on increasing enrollment in all the programs and making each department outstanding. I wanted it to be a time of building and growth for all departments within the school of education.”

Cook said a highlight of her career was the establishment of the Children’s Learning Center under her leadership as dean. It opened its doors in 1998 with 98 children from ages 6 weeks through 5 years of age. The purpose was to provide services to Samford families and serve as a teaching laboratory for Samford education students with the goal of providing a model for early childhood education. It was accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children and received a national award for architectural landscape projects under $1 million in the United States.

Another highlight included traveling to Samford University’s London Study Centre with a group of students and traveling to Denmark with a group of colleagues to study problem-based learning.

 Cook fondly remembers being heavily involved with accreditation and developing partnerships within the community that helped to enhance the reputation of Orlean Beeson School of Education.

When reflecting on her work over the last 30 years, Cook describes it as “fulfilling, stimulating and challenging.” She believes the invigorating environment at Samford allows faculty and students to constantly create and collaborate with each other, which she will miss greatly.

Cook said Samford has always been a “special place or a second home” and she feels blessed to have been a part of the university.

“Thirty years is a long time and it really has been just a remarkable experience.”

We invite you to join us in celebrating Dr. Jeanie Box Cook and her tremendous investments in the life of our Samford family. As a special gift to share with Dr. Box Cook, we are creating a keepsake filled with notes of encouragement and special memories. Share a note of encouragement or special memory with Jeanie Box Cook, or make a gift in her honor to the Orlean Beeson School of Education Legacy Scholarship.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.