CARBONDALE, Ill. — A successful businessman and philanthropist who is a longtime advocate for Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been elected to preside over the SIU Foundation Board of Directors.
Greg Cook, president and co-founder of Cook Portable Warehouse (also known as Cook Sales, Inc.), is the newly selected president of the SIU Foundation. His appointment was effective July 1.
The volunteer board governs the SIU Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides alumni and friends a means to invest in the University’s future. Established in 1942, the Foundation solicits and administers gifts from private sources in support of SIU Carbondale’s academic mission. Private funding is generated through annual giving, planned giving, major giving, corporate and foundation relations and campaigns.
“Being a part of the Southern Illinois University Foundation, and being asked to serve as its president, is an incredible honor,” Cook says. “I am happy to give back to an institution which I so dearly love. The act of ‘giving back’ or ‘paying it forward’ and seeing the impact one can make in other’s lives is incredibly rewarding.
“I look forward to working with the Foundation Board, the Foundation staff, our alumni, and our University along those lines.”
Cook, who majored in business administration at SIU Carbondale in the late 1970s, was initially elected to the SIU Foundation Board in 2006. He served the last two years as president-elect of the Foundation Board.
The Carbondale native and his father, John Cook, co-founded Cook Portable Warehouses, which are small to midsized residential wooden storage buildings; with manufacturing plants in Cobden Ill., Valdosta, Ga., Hattiesburg Miss., and Austin, Texas. The four plants service more than 250 dealers in portions of 13 states, with sales of more than 12,000 buildings annually. The company currently employs more than 250 people.
Cook and his wife, Nancy, a 1980 elementary education graduate of SIU Carbondale, are avid Saluki fans, and, life members of the SIU Alumni Association. They were both born and raised in Carbondale.
The Cooks are season ticket holders for Saluki football, men’s and women’s basketball, and softball. The couple donated $1 million to Saluki Way in memory of Greg’s father in 2008. Additionally, Greg also served on a six-member, volunteer steering committee to generate private support of Saluki Way, an $83-million project. Primary components of Saluki Way included building Saluki Stadium; renovation of the SIU Arena; and constructing Boydston Center, an athletics support facility housing locker rooms, meeting rooms and office space for Saluki men’s and women’s basketball, as well as football.
Cook and his father also served on the “Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment” planning committee.
A licensed pilot with a lifelong love for flying, Cook has owned and piloted four different aircraft that have been used to enhance his business. He often utilizes his aircraft to give back to organizations he is passionate about. In addition to Saluki Athletics, he generously supports the Corporate Angel Network, Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society, and the Veterans Airlift Command in this fashion.