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Call For Volunteers

RanRandy and Nancy Cookdy and Nancy Cook are shining examples of dedicated King alumni.

Since graduating from King and returning to Bristol, the Cooks have spearheaded many volunteer projects to help better the lives of current King students. Leading by example, the Cooks’ hope is to encourage other King alumni to give back to King, be it in big or small ways.

King holds a special place in the Cook’s hearts. They never lost touch throughout the years, returning every Dogwood weekend after they graduated.

“It wasn’t a matter of easing in at all; we jumped right into our activities with King as soon as we moved back,” said Nancy. “What else are we going to do? We certainly didn’t want to go back to work! This is fun; there is so much to be done, and so much that the students need. There are things that Randy and I are willing to do and organize that don’t take much time and are very rewarding. Our philosophy for volunteering is outcome-based; volunteering improves the quality of life for students and faculty, so we just do whatever it is that needs to be done.”

Randy and Nancy met three days into their freshman year at then King College in 1964. Both graduated in 1968 with degrees in Physics and were part of the first class to be offered a Bachelor in Science in that degree. Nancy was the first female with a degree in Physics to graduate from King.

“Our education allowed us to be able to articulate clearly verbally and through writing,” said Randy. “We could do these things because of our liberal arts degree from King. When you hear us say that King has made us, it is not an understatement.”

After graduating, both went on to work as civilian scientists for the Unites States Department of Defense for more than 25 years.Randy Cook ('68) at the North Pole April 12, 1991

During his time at the DOD, Randy managed classified programs in naval intelligence and undersea warfare. He made six expeditions to the North Pole during the period 1987-1992, making him the only King graduate to have gone to the North Pole. While at the North Pole, he continued to represent King by letting the King College flag wave in the arctic wind.

Nancy served as program manager and representative for a variety of DOD programs, including the Submarine Combat Systems for which she oversaw a budget of more than three billion dollars. At the time of her retirement, she was the senior civilian in the Navy’s Submarine Combat Systems Program.

Randy retired in 1994, and Nancy followed two years later in 1996. Shortly after retirement, the Cooks moved back to Bristol to devote themselves to the King community and the surrounding region full-time.

Currently, the Cooks volunteer efforts include the Exam Care Package project as a fund-raiser for the Friends of the Arts at King, hosting receptions for student recitals, and serving continental breakfast for almost all admissions events on the Bristol campus. They also host cookouts for the men and women’s soccer teams yearly.

Individually, Nancy maintains the bulletin board on the administration floor of the E.W. King Building, organizes and directs the president’s receptions held after the King choirs’ Christmas concerts, and spends every Wednesday afternoon in the Admissions Office with Anne Foley preparing the outgoing mail. Nancy also remains a ‘lifetime learner,’ taking one history class per semester under Dr. Marin Dotterweich.

Randy enjoys attending basketball and volleyball games and is King’s #1 soccer fan. He built lockers for the men’s and women’s soccer teams and is currently building lockers for the women’s wrestling team. He has also completed several small construction projects around campus, including a music storage system for Dr. Pat Flannagan, closet shelves in many offices, shelving units for the Admissions office, and custom handrails in the Chapel.

Nancy has also written many grants for King and other organizations in the surrounding region. She wrote the original grant request that resulted in Healing Hands Health Center and its first United Way application, as well as an Urban Forestry Grant with Dr. Richard Moyer, a former Biology professor at King. She is also a member of the Industrial Development Board of Bristol, Tenn., and works with non-profit organizations to help strategic planning for local agencies. 

Nancy also continues to travel and teach performance-based specifications contracts for the U. S. Navy Blackhawk Helicopter team of Naval Air Systems Command, serves as a facilitator for the Department of Transportation, and teaches certification courses for Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. “It is very rewarding to continue to travel and teach what I had worked on so hard for many years,” said Nancy.

Randy has served 12 years as a member of the board of directors of Holston Habitat for Humanity, including a term as president of the board. He served as site supervisor for thirteen builds in Bristol and Elizabethton. Currently, Randy is the teaching director for an evening community Bible study, is the chairman of the building and grounds committee at First Presbyterian Church, and a member of the Better Property Board for the City of Bristol, Tenn.

The couple also enjoys a yearly trip to Scotland where the two travel to appreciate Pictish stones.

The Cooks are both eager to see more alumni participating in volunteer efforts at King. “Moving forward, we need for other alumni to pitch in for a few hours. There are multiple things that can be done in a short amount of time,” said Nancy. “The young students on campus need to be nurtured, as we were nurtured when we were here. We are here as Christians, and this giving comes from the Christian ethos of the way we treat people.”

“Folks need to establish, or re-establish, a relationship with King,” said Randy. “King still has the same values and principles. Some alumni have a feeling that things have changed, and so they may be hesitant to help now. But Nancy and I prefer to say, ‘Things have changed; I’m going to stay, and I’m going to come back and participate in what King is now.’”

If you are interested in volunteering at King University contact Randy and Nancy Cook at NancyTCook@aol.com, or contact Michael Webb, director of alumni services at mcwebb@king.edu or 423-652-6399.

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