History in the Making
February 2, 2010
By Joanne Ward-Jerrett
Of the more than 60 professors in five different universities who tried to teach Jenny Cook (PhD ’96) the meaning of history, one – only one – actually nailed it.
“There was no greater challenge to a professor than having me as a student,” says the Canadianist. “And Dalhousie’s Michael Cross survived the experience.”
In recognition of that mentorship, Ms. Cook recently took the laudable step of including a sizeable bequest in her will to establish a graduate scholarship in History at Dalhousie.
“The award is made not to the history department, but to Michael,” says Ms. Cook. “Because I had no training in Canadian history prior to coming to Dalhousie, Michael really took a big leap into the unknown accepting me as a PhD student. This bequest honours Michael and the fact that he never stopped teaching me history.”
The gift will also fund the history department’s annual graduate student reception, now re-named the Sutherland Gathering in honour of David Sutherland, another Dal history professor and mentor of Ms. Cook’s. As well, she says, the bequest pays tribute to her husband, David Marcogliese (MSc ’80), without whom, she would never have come to Halifax and Dalhousie in the first place.
At the inaugural Sutherland Gathering held at the University Club in September, Ms. Cook paid tribute to her two mentors, as well as to colleagues and friends. “My goal in making the bequests is to thank the people who have made my life fuller and more meaningful and supported me when I needed supporting,” she said at the reception.
As Ms. Cook points out, even a small bequest can make a big difference. “I’d like to ask other people to think about setting aside a portion of their estate for students. It doesn’t have to be much. The money can be used to make other peoples’ lives better, content= no matter the amount.”