Dr. George Cooper devoted much of his career to the advancement of HBCUs along with serving on the faculties of a few institutions. The former president of South Carolina State University passed away last Sunday, and his loss was a blow to the Obama Administration, according to a statement from the President.
Cooper, a Tallahassee, Fla. native, went to Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University. Cooper earned his Ph. D. from the University of Illinois-Urbana. Most recently, Cooper worked as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In a statement, President Barack Obama expressed sorrow over Cooper’s loss and highlighted the work Cooper did in support of HBCUs and ensuring that the quality of education at those institutions were on par with larger, predominantly white colleges and universities. Obama said that Cooper’s passing was a “great loss” to his administration.
Cooper was a member of the faculties of Alabama A&M and Tuskegee, and worked for 17 years at the government level. For those years, Cooper worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and helped provide resources to HBCUs around the nation.
Cooper served as the 10th president of South Carolina State University between 2008 and 2012 until he stepped down citing family issues and a desire for more career opportunities.
Cooper was 68.