Retired U.S. Marine Corps Captain Kevin Cook ’90 was recently named the chief operating officer for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. In the position, he oversees the market operations of the $3.6 billion and more than 1,700 licensed beds health care organization serving Louisiana and Mississippi.
Previously Cook worked as the chief executive officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Health System in Jackson, Mississippi, where he led a health system of more than 860 beds. Cook’s promotion comes during a challenging time for the healthcare industry. He transitioned from one area that was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic to another that was fighting the virus at an even higher rate.
Starting in his new role in July, during a time of social distancing, remote work and Zoom meetings, has required flexibility.
“The biggest challenge comes in building relationships when so many are working remotely,” says Cook. “However, on the flip side, I have heard so many inspirational stories, and I have seen frontline workers doing heroic things.”
Cook credits his liberal arts education, its multidisciplinary approach to learning, and the curriculum’s emphasis on writing for preparing him for the senior leadership roles in his career. “A liberal arts education prepares you to think more broadly,” says Cook. “The multidisciplinary courses broaden your perspective and allow you to see an issue from a number of different angles.”
During his college search, Cook was first introduced to Hobart and William Smith through his college counselor at his high school Blair Academy. At HWS, Cook played on the football and lacrosse teams and served as the president of student government his senior year. He graduated with an individual studies major with a focus in foreign policy.
After graduation, Cook earned his master’s degree in business administration from Boston University. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1991-1999.