Mercer wordmark

Engineering Double Graduate Cook Earns DuVall Award and Scholarship

May 19, 2008

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON, Ga. – Derek Cook, of Homerville, Ga., has earned one of Mercer University’s top honors for graduates, the Wallace Odell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award, given to outstanding students in the form of a monetary award to further their graduate study.

Cook is the son of Phillip and Beverly Cook of Homerville, and graduated magna cum laude from the Mercer School of Engineering’s five-year master’s program, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering with a specialization in electrical engineering.

The DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award is given annually to a student or students who have been accepted into an accredited graduate program and have demonstrated the abilities to motivate and inspire the confidence and trust of others, while possessing vision, intelligence and integrity.

In his time at Mercer, Cook has maintained high academic standards while also serving as a campus leader.  He served his fellow students as a peer advisor for three years. Cook is a member and served a term as recording secretary of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, and Phi Eta Sigma, the freshman honor society. He is also a member of the national honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. Cook was a Mercer Presidential Scholar, a Georgia Governor’s Scholar and a Georgia Baptist Scholar. In addition to his academic work, Cook has served as a treasurer for two terms and as president of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order. He also served as vice president of scholarship for Mercer’s Interfraternity Council.

About the Wallace Odell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award:
The Wallace Odell DuVall Excellence in Leadership Award at Mercer University recognizes the outstanding leadership of a graduating senior from one of the University’s undergraduate schools and colleges who has been accepted into an accredited graduate program. Candidates must have demonstrated the abilities to motivate and inspire the confidence and trust of others, while possessing vision, intelligence, integrity and common sense, and having a good academic record. The selected recipient receives a financial award.

Wallace Odell DuVall (1901-1993) was an Atlanta attorney who spent most of his career in the banking industry. He served as secretary and attorney of the Atlanta Building and Loan Association, which later became Georgia Federal Savings and Loan Association, of which DuVall became chairman of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Executive Committee. A generous benefactor and longtime friend of Mercer University, he was a founding trustee of Atlanta Baptist College, which merged with Mercer in 1972 and became the University’s Atlanta campus. He served three terms on Mercer’s Board of Trustees, 1972-77, 1978-83 and 1985-90. The Dean’s Suite at Mercer’s Law School is named for him as well as an academic building on the Atlanta Campus, where his portrait hangs.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
— 30 —