Charles Lee Cooke '59
From the farm where he grew up four miles from town, Charlie Cooke could hear the bell on Chambers (when the clapper had not been purloined) calling Davidson's "loyal sons" to class or chapel. After he graduated from North High, the bell rang for him as well. Among his classmates, he is fondly remembered as diligent and good humored, as ready to spend time with members of the faculty and staff (whose sons and daughters had been his schoolmates) as with members of the student community.
From Davidson, "Cookie" went on to study medicine at the University of North Carolina and, after a tour of duty in the Air Force Medical Corps, began a distinguished career as a teacher and practitioner in Richmond, Virginia, and more recently as a Clinical Associate Professor of the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia. A Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology, he has authored dozens of articles and abstracts in his field, and even made scholarly forays into such arcana as the illnesses of John Calvin, which probably made his responsibilities as a Presbyterian elder more understandable, if not enjoyable!
His interests range from Civil War history to woodworking to the collection of antique clocks. His engagement in community activities is both broad and deep, and he is a treasured friend to many in his community, even as he is to his schoolmates from Davidson days. In returning to campus for his 40th class reunion this weekend, he reenters the part of the world in which he reckons literally thousands of relatives. Thus Charlie Cooke has come home once again to the place which matches his affection for it with the warmth of its appreciation and gratitude for him, and for his life and work.
Because you have brought to bear the best you learned in this neighborhood as boy and Davidson student to your vocation and your life; because you have mended the bodies of thousands with your professional skills while cheering their hearts with your winsome and caring presence; and because you never tire of "coming home again," either in fact or in memory's eye, to this place which you dearly love, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, Charles Lee Cooke, Class of 1959, and presents you with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of hte 40th Reunion of your class.