Tomorrow is a big day on the Bloomington campus, with the Little 500 and spring football game going forward, but hearts will be heavy. Bill Cook, a Bloomington billionaire noted for his civic sprit and his generosity to Indiana University, to Bloomington, and to the entire state of Indiana, has died at age 80. Cook's most recent and conspicuous contribution to IU is Cook Hall, the new practice facility that Cook and his wife Gayle spearheaded for the benefit of the men's and women's basketball programs. He also was responsible for the installation of permanent lights at Memorial Stadium in the 1980s, a move that benefitted the IU football program and Cook's Star of Indiana drum and bugle corps. Cook made his fortune in the medical device business. His contributions go far beyond IU and its athletic department. The Cooks have been devoted historic preservationists. Cook's best known work was in the restoration and reopening of the West Baden and French Lick Springs hotels in Orange County. Tomorrow, Indiana Landmarks will officially open the Indiana Landmarks Center, which formerly was Central United Methodist Church, just north of downtown Indianapolis. Through the generosity and leadership of the Cooks, this majestic building has been beautifully restored, and will serve as the headquarters for an organization that will preserve other such buildings. Rest in peace, Mr. Cook. Your contributions will live on.
By John M. IU