Gayle Karch Cook is a businesswoman, administrator and philanthropist. Cook graduated from Indiana University in 1956 with a BA in Fine Arts. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1993. Cook is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society, which is the oldest honors society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States.
She was recently recognized with the 2015 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. “The Distinguished Alumni Award is one of the highest honors the College bestows on its graduates,” said Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Gayle and her husband William Cook have made many philanthropic contributions to IU and Bloomington. The Cooks have made substantial gifts to IU’s schools of Music, Education, Medicine, and Business, as well as supporting athletics, the Wylie House Museum, the Wells Scholar program, and research in the College of Arts and Sciences. She has maintained a strong connection to her alma mater as a board member of the Indiana University Foundation, a life member of the Alumni Association and the Woodburn Guild, and a member of the Well House Society.
Gayle Cook’s contribution to Indiana comes in the form of historical preservation. She is a member of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, a founder of the Monroe County Historical Society Museum, and a Landmark member of the Nature Conservancy. Cook has spearheaded about 70 historic preservation and economic preservation projects, including the Graham Hotel and the James Cochran House in Bloomington. Additionally, she co-founded the Monroe County Historical Society Museum.
Gayle Cook is also well known for co-founding the Cook Group with her husband, which is one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturing companies.
She has written two books on historic conservation: A Guide to Southern Indiana (with William Cook) and Monroe County in Focus: Portrait of Indiana County (with Diana Hawes and Will Counts).