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Remembering Dr. J. Marvin Cook

On May 13, 2021, J. Marvin Cook, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Instructional Systems Development graduate program at UMBC, died peacefully with his family by his side at the Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, Maryland.  He was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana to Clyde and Ernestine Cook in 1929.  Marvin was 91 at the time of his passing; he lived a full and impactful life, always focused on following his faith service to others.  He was passionate about his faith, continually learning, and had always interested in helping people through his vocation and avocations.  This was evident in his educational and life accomplishments, especially at UMBC.


Marvin earned his B.S. in electrical engineering at Louisiana Tech University, an M.S. in electrical engineering at Texas A&M University, and M.Th. at Southern Methodist University, and a Ph.D. in math-education and curriculum design at the University of Maryland.  His successful career as an electrical engineer was followed by a second successful career in the field of adult training and education.


Dr. Cook founded the Instructional Systems Development graduate program at UMBC (now Learning & Performance Technology) in the early 1970s. It arguably was the first program of its kind in the nation.  It was also one of UMBC’s first Master’s degree program.  Dr. Cook was a pioneer by creating an applied professional program that targeted working adults. He was a sought after consultant by many public and private organizations.  Dr. Cook impacted lives of countless individuals in the greater Baltimore–Washington Metro Area and mid-Atlantic region.


Watch an interview with Dr. Cook that includes reflections on his UMBC experience.


He authored and co-authored a dozen books and numerous articles in the field of adult education and training. Dr. Cook was also the co-founder and president of Educational Developmental Resources (EDR), a successful contracting and consulting firm.


Dr. Cook was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Zula “Abby” Abington Cook, and his wife of 10 years, Gloria O’Donoghue Cook and his son Jim Cook and daughter Celeste Cook Dodson.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at www.michaeljfox.org or the United Service Organization (USO) at www.uso.org.  Online condolences may be made at www.legacy.com.



Posted: May 26, 2021, 10:52 AM