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November 30, 2021

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Former Chair of the Johnson County Community College (JCCC) Board of Trustees and retiring Trustee Dr. Gerald "Jerry" L. Cook has been awarded a Lifetime Membership by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) in Washington, D.C. 

This special recognition acknowledges his exceptional advocacy role in community college leadership and was awarded to him at the regularly scheduled Nov. 18 Board of Trustees meeting.

Dr. Cook is a former President of the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau and a previous school superintendent and has served as a JCCC Trustee since 2009. He is not seeking re-election. His current term ends in January 2022.  

Dr. Cook’s leadership helped navigate JCCC through both robust and declining economic times, shifting political climates, technology innovations and major personnel transitions. Dr. Cook co-chaired the search committee that resulted in the hiring of JCCC’s current President, Dr. Andy Bowne, in 2020. Trustee Cook’s unwavering support has remained guided toward assuring JCCC's commitment to student success.  

Current JCCC Board Chair Greg Musil said, “Jerry Cook has been synonymous with thoughtful, enthusiastic and visionary leadership for our College and, really, education at all levels. His insight and institutional memory will be sorely missed on the Board and this award is well earned and well deserved. Everyone in Johnson County should thank Jerry for his servant leadership.”

Originally from northern Minnesota, Dr. Cook earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Moorhead State University in 1967. He earned a Master of Education from the University of North Dakota before garnering his Doctor of Education Administration at the University of Wyoming in 1980. After serving as an elementary teacher for several years, Dr. Cook became Superintendent of Harrisonville School District in 1980 and then entered the private sector in 1988.  

In 1996, Dr. Cook joined the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau (OPCVB), where he retired in 2014. Upon his retirement, OPCVB Board Chairman Bruce Boettcher stated, "Under Jerry's leadership and commitment, Overland Park's hotel occupancy reached its highest levels, and the city evolved into a premier destination for meetings, conventions and sports events. He always represented Overland Park in the best of ways, and we thank him for his countless contributions."

During his private sector career, Dr. Cook served on several boards, including the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, the Travel Industry Association of Kansas, the Hotel and Lodging Association of Kansas City and the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees (KACCT), and served as the Kansas state coordinator for the ACCT. Dr. Cook represented JCCC at KACCT and ACCT for many years. His leadership roles helped JCCC maintain its cutting edge in governance and higher education issues.