Farewell, Beloved Friend

June 07, 2014

Dr. Arnold CookDr. Arnold Cook, a long-time friend and supporter of Northampton Community College, passed away on Saturday, June 7. Services were held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, at Congregation Keneseth Israel, 2227 Chew Street in Allentown.

On hearing the news, Northampton's president, Dr. Mark Erickson said, "Arnie was one of the founding members of the foundation and our dental hygiene program. His smiling face, quick laugh, and positive attitude will be greatly missed. I am not sure anyone loved the College more than Arnie. His longstanding commitment to our mission, to the community we serve, and to our students was widely known and greatly admired. With his passing we lose part of the "heart and soul" of the College.

Dr. Cook was one of the leading orthodontists in Bethlehem. Concerned about a shortage of trained dental hygienists in the area, he and other dentists approached Northampton about starting a dental hygiene program in 1969. Because the College had only been founded two years earlier, it faced significant other expenses in erecting classroom buildings. The dentists personally helped to raise the money for a dental laboratory so that a dental hygiene major could be added to the curriculum.

The Foundation born of this private/public partnership has become is one of the oldest continuously functioning community college foundations in the country - a foundation credited with providing NCC students and faculty with resources and opportunities that far exceed those at many other community colleges.

Dr. Cook was one of few individuals to serve both on the College's Board of Trustees and on the College's Foundation Board. He held emeritus status on both boards and continued to attend many events on campus. He participated most recently in the Tribute Garden dedication held in April.

He was also present - and proud - in January of 2013 when Northampton joined St. Luke's University Health Network in opening a new dental clinic on the south side of Bethlehem to provide low cost dental care to area residents unable to afford private care. He is shown in the center of this photo with a representative of St. Luke's and with Sherri Meyers, the director of Northampton's dental hygiene program.

Dr. Cook was Meyers' orthodontist when she was in junior high school. "He was always happy, and I loved going to my appointments," she says. "Having braces was what really turned me on to becoming a dental hygienist. Dr. Cook was a great friend of the dental hygiene program and the college; his smiling face will greatly be missed."

Dr. Cook's influence and impact on the NCC community - both on and off campus - will continue. He inspired hundreds of local women and men to pursue careers in dental health. He recruited countless friends and community leaders to serve Northampton Community College as donors and volunteers on the NCC Foundation Board and the NCC Alumni Association which he helped to found, and he established scholarships and endowed funds - including the Northampton Community College Foundations' very first endowment -- which will serve NCC students forever.

In 2000 Dr. Cook was named an honorary alumnus of Northampton. Although his own undergraduate and graduate education included studies at seven universities including Temple, the University of Pennsylvania, and Loyola, he responded to becoming an NCC alumnus by saying "I have finally arrived. This is the most wonderful school in the country."

Arnie Cook was one of Northampton's most wonderful friends.

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