Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Thomas Cooke, Beloved MSB Professor, Dies at 74

Thomas Cooke (LAW ’74, ’76, ’84), a professor in Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business (MSB) for nearly 50 years, died April 8 in Rosslyn, Va. He was 74. 

Cooke began teaching at Georgetown in 1976 and specialized in business law and federal income taxation. He received the Georgetown University Vicennial Medal for 20 years of service at the university in 1996 and won the Georgetown University Distinguished Teaching Award.

Born June 22, 1949, Cooke graduated from Don Bosco Preparatory School in Ramsey, N.J., in 1967 before receiving his undergraduate degree in political science and sociology from Villanova University in 1971. He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center three times, first with a Juris Doctor degree in 1974, then a Master of Laws (LLM) in 1976 and a Master of Law and Technology (MLT) degree in 1984.

Cooke focused his research on topics of legal ethics, international business law and procedure in federal tax law. 

Kirsten Anderson, an accounting professor in the MSB, said Cooke was an irreplaceable part of the Georgetown community and that he fully embodied the traits of a lifelong Hoya. 

“I don’t think it is possible to love Georgetown or being a Hoya more than Professor Cooke did,” Anderson wrote to The Hoya. “He gave his heart and soul to this place and its people.” 

Outside Georgetown, Cooke was an avid horse racer, and he owned TBC Stables, a standardbred horse stable whose horses raced in many east coast states. He enjoyed listening to music by ABBA and the Bee Gees, discussing college basketball with students and vacationing abroad in destinations including Vietnam, Thailand and South Africa. 

Allan Eberhart, a dean and professor of finance, worked with Cooke for 35 years. He said Cooke — an avid traveler — loved South Africa, but not as much as he loved the Hilltop.

“He really loved South Africa and spoke passionately about the country to the students,” Eberhart wrote to The Hoya. “Of course, he loved Georgetown even more and I always thought of him as ‘Mr. Georgetown’ because of his long tenure — just missed achieving his 50th year working on the Hilltop — his love of teaching and his constant presence on campus.” 

His passion for teaching inspired Cooke to help Carlos Manuel Sera (MSB ’18), an 81-year-old who was just a few credits shy of graduating from the Georgetown School of Business in 1959, obtain his undergraduate degree. Cooke instructed Sera in federal income taxation, primarily over the phone, to help him earn his final four graduation credits. 

Sera died in June 2018, six weeks after he graduated from the MSB. 

Nina Simon, a business law professor, stepped in to teach Cooke’s class this semester when he stepped down due to health-related issues. 

“It was an honor to step in to assist when he became ill this year,” Simon wrote to The Hoya. “I will miss him very much.”

Dylan Williams (MSB ’26), a student in Cooke’s Fall 2023 “Business Law” class, said his former professor was admirable and authentic.

“The two things I look for in a good teacher are passion for their subject and a genuine care for their students,” Williams told The Hoya. “Professor Cooke embodied exactly that. You could tell from the first class that he loved what he was teaching and wanted the students to succeed.” 

Jason Schloetzer, an associate professor in accounting and business law, said Cooke had a way of making the environments he was in happier. 

“Tom had great behind-the-scenes qualities,” Schloetzer wrote to The Hoya. “He brought joy to a room without even saying a word,” “You never knew what story he might tell or comment he may make, but you knew something good would happen.” 

In 2020, Poets & Quants, a news organization that covers business education, named Cooke a top 50 undergraduate business school professor.

McDonough School of Business | Thomas Cooke (LAW ’74, ’76, ’84), a distinguished McDonough School of Business (MSB) professor for nearly 50 years, died April 8 at age 74.

Marybeth Kane (MSB ’24), another of Cooke’s former business law students, said Cooke was one of her favorite professors. 

“His passion for his work was infectious, igniting a love of learning in his students,” Kane wrote to The Hoya. “Professor Cooke’s kindness, patience, and unwavering support has solidified his standing as one of the best professors I’ve had in the MSB.” 

Matthew Cypher, a professor and the director of the Steers Center for Global Real Estate, said he met Cooke on his first day at Georgetown 12 years ago. Cypher, whose office sat across Cooke’s, said his colleague was joyful and passionate. 

“Professor Cooke was evidence that you can most certainly have fun in your job and if you are not having fun – you need to do something else,” Cypher wrote to The Hoya. “He was a character, and we had so much fun shouting things back and forth across the hall.”

“If you can conclude your working career by saying that you were passionate about your profession and cared deeply for your employer, you win,” Cypher added.“Professor Cooke won.”

Abigail Kane (MSB ’26) and Will Lambert (MSB ’26) took “The Real Estate Game,” an MSB first-year seminar that Cooke and Cypher taught together, in the Fall 2022 semester. They said Cooke made them feel welcomed in their first semester at Georgetown.

“As our first year seminar professor, Professor Cooke was one of our first introductions to Georgetown,” Kane told The Hoya.“His knowledge and passion for teaching was inspiring and excited us for the rest of our time here.”

“He will truly be missed, but his impact will long be felt by those who knew him,” Lambert added. 

The Holy Trinity Church in the Georgetown neighborhood held a funeral mass for Cooke on April 16. 

Anderson said the MSB is working on plans to celebrate Cooke’s life, with details forthcoming.

“All of us at Georgetown hold Prof. Cooke’s family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” a university spokesperson wrote to The Hoya. 

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Lauren Doherty
Lauren Doherty, Senior News Editor
Lauren Doherty is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences from New Canaan, Conn., studying American studies with a minor in journalism. She is a huge Taylor Swift fan!!! [email protected]
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    Jay KMay 2, 2024 at 10:47 pm

    Great professor that will be missed!