Remembering Dr. J. Marvin Cook

Published: May 26, 2021

On May 13, 2021, J. Marvin Cook, Ph.D., Founder and Director of
the Instructional Systems Development graduate program at UMBC, died peacefully
with his family by his side at the Charlestown Retirement Community in
Catonsville, Maryland.  He was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana to Clyde
and Ernestine Cook in 1929.  Marvin was 91 at the time of his passing; he
lived a full and impactful life, always focused on following his faith service
to others.  He was passionate about his faith, continually learning, and
had always interested in helping people through his vocation and avocations.
 This was evident in his educational and life accomplishments, especially
at UMBC.


Marvin earned his B.S. in electrical engineering at Louisiana Tech
University, an M.S. in electrical engineering at Texas A&M University, and
M.Th. at Southern Methodist University, and a Ph.D. in math-education and
curriculum design at the University of Maryland.  His successful career as
an electrical engineer was followed by a second successful career in the field
of adult training and education.


Dr. Cook founded the Instructional Systems Development graduate program
at UMBC (now Learning & Performance Technology) in the early 1970s. It
arguably was the first program of its kind in the nation.  It was also one of UMBC’s first Master’s
degree program.  Dr. Cook was a pioneer
by creating an applied professional program that targeted working adults. He
was a sought after consultant by many public and private organizations.  Dr. Cook impacted lives of countless
individuals in the greater Baltimore–Washington Metro Area and mid-Atlantic


Watch an interview
with Dr. Cook
that includes reflections on his UMBC experience.


He authored and co-authored a dozen books and numerous articles in
the field of adult education and training. Dr. Cook was also the co-founder and
president of Educational Developmental Resources (EDR), a successful
contracting and consulting firm.


Dr. Cook was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Zula “Abby”
Abington Cook, and his wife of 10 years, Gloria O’Donoghue Cook and his son Jim
Cook and daughter Celeste Cook Dodson.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either The Michael J.
Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at or the United Service Organization (USO) at  Online condolences may be made at


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