"It felt like home": Harold Cook bids farewell to Dal Agriculture

- May 31, 2013

Dr. Cook, completing his final tour of campus. (Stephanie Rogers photo)
Dr. Cook, completing his final tour of campus. (Stephanie Rogers photo)

“From the moment I walked onto campus, it felt familiar. It felt like home,” says Harold Cook of his return to the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus as its first dean and campus principal last May.

An alumnus of the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College and past dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Cook was the “right person at the right time” to lead Dalhousie’s newest faculty through its first year of transition.

“I always tried to balance what was rich and special here and make it even better within the Dalhousie system,” he explains. “I truly believe we are going to get there; it just takes time.”

After 13 months, Dr. Cook has completed his leadership term as the inaugural dean, Faculty of Agriculture and campus principal of the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus effective Thursday, May 30th.

“We have all seen the impact of Dr. Cook's leadership, experience and wisdom as we moved through the very early phases of one of the most exciting and complex initiatives in the university's history,” said President Tom Traves. “His commitment and contributions devoted to the ongoing successes of students, faculty and staff associated with the new campus and the Faculty of Agriculture are very much appreciated.”

With a mandate to ensure a smooth transition and to bring the Faculty of Agriculture into the Dalhousie community as a full and equal member was not without its challenges.  

“From beginning to end, it’s been a very positive experience for me,” said Dr. Cook. “Without question, the key feature which drew me to this challenge was that this was my alma mater and I felt connected to it, he added. “My efforts over the past year were directed at drawing various parties into common understandings and I believe there will be even more substantial gains over the next four months.”

One last tour

Dr. Cook spent his last official day touring the agricultural campus on a 220 hp CASE tractor.  

“As I did my final tour of campus, I enjoyed a reminder of the many special facets of our campus and the outstanding personalities and talent it is home to,” he said. “This bodes so well for a bright future. We serve and are important to a vital rural and agricultural sector of the Atlantic community and economy. Those connections will continue as we not only adjust to a new future but work together to influence the best possible combination of educational opportunities, investigation of new and applied ways of doing things through quality research and engaging in service to our community and the world.”

Dr. Cook will be returning to his retirement life in South Ohio, Yarmouth County along with his wife, Helen, and plans to spend some quality time on a tractor of his own.

“I have been extremely fortunate the way things have opened up in life for me,” he explained. “Achievements are expected but it’s the relationships that we build that last. I don’t look back and I don’t dwell, as our opportunity to influence is in the future, not the past. I will not miss the work. I enjoyed it but I will not miss it. There will however be occasion to reconnect and renew bonds and relationships in the future and I look forward to that.”


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