EPHRAIM—Friends and colleagues lined up at a reception at Founder’s Hall in the Noyes Building on Wednesday, July 6 to honor outgoing Snow College President Brad Cook before his departure to become president of the American University of Bahrain.
Although the new position might sound exotic, not so to Cook. Although he was born in Sevier County, when he was 11, his parents moved to Saudi Arabia, where he learned to speak fluent Arabic.
Cook returned to the states and began his college education at Snow, then went on to Stanford for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees before obtaining a doctorate from Oxford University in England.
Cook held academic positions in Egypt and Kuwait and served as president of the Women’s College of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
He was an administrator Utah Valley University and served 10 years as provost at Southern Utah University before being appointed as president of Snow College in November 2018.
When COVID-19 struck, he found himself supervising a drastic expansion of online learning. “I’m glad we didn’t shut completely down,” Cook said. “Our students fared better mentally than students at a lot of schools that did.”
He said the COVID experience has actually positioned the school to expand its online reach permanently.
Something he takes particular pride in is creation of the new technical college division that has been a factor in boosting Snow’s enrollment to more than 6,000 for the first time.
The number of foreign students enrolled at Snow more than doubled under his tenure, as did fundraising. Cook says that the school is in possibly the best financial position ever.
The Middle East is a volatile area that can sometimes be dangerous for Americans. Asked if he had any safety concerns, Cook said he has never had any problems in all his years in the Persian Gulf region.
“The people in Bahrain are quite friendly to Americans,” he said. “If I thought we would be in danger, we wouldn’t go.”
Cook says he will implement many of the things he learned at Snow at AUD. Asked what he sees ahead for Snow Collage, Cook said he foresees enrollment at 10,000- plus within 10 years.
Asked about speculation that Snow is moving toward becoming a four-year school, he said, “It’s inevitable, and it’s a good thing.” He said students in Central Utah need a place where they can get their degrees closer to home.
Cook’s resignation is effective July 15. Vice President, Stacee Mciff will served as interim president until Cook’s successor is appointed.