Ron Cooke

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Sir Ronald Urwick Cooke, FRGS DL (born 1 September 1941[1]) is a Professor of geography and geomorphology who was Vice-Chancellor of the University of York from 1993 to 2002.[2]


Cooke's academic career began as a lecturer in the Department of Geography at University College London in 1961: he rose to the position of Professor in 1981 and Vice-Provost (1991–3) at the same institution.[1][2] From 1993 to 2002 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of York.[2] Cooke was appointed chair of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in 2004.[3] He was a Trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry from 2005 to 2008.[4]

He lives in York where he is active in city life, for instance in fund-raising for the restoration of York Minster, and in planning and restoration through the York Civic Trust.[5] The York Civic Trust also published his monograph Why York is Special.[6] and his 2016 book York, Changing the Face of the City.


He was awarded the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in 1994,[7] and was President of the RGS from 2000 to 2003.[8] In 2002, he received the Scottish Geographical Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.[9] He was knighted for services to higher education in the Queen's 2002 New Year's Honours list.[10] In 2006, he was made Honorary Freeman of the City of York.[8]

The Ron Cooke Hub at the Heslington East campus of the University of York was named in his honour.


  1. ^ a b Debrett's People of Today Sir Ron Cooke
  2. ^ a b c Professor Ron Cooke to retire as Vice-Chancellor in 2002, University of York Press Release, 1 May 2001
  3. ^ Sir Ron Cooke, JISC Chair, JISC, accessed 26 January 2010
  4. ^ Sir Ron Cooke to be trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry, University of York Press Release, 6 June 2002
  5. ^ Substantial donation from York Civic Trust, York Minster Development Office News, 8 November 2007
  6. ^ Why York Is Special, York Civic Trust, York, accessed 14 January 2015
  7. ^ Gold Medal recipients, Royal Geographical Society, accessed 26 January 2010
  8. ^ a b Professor Sir Ronald Cooke - Honorary Freeman, York City Council, 7 March 2006
  9. ^ Scottish Geography Medal, Royal Scottish Geographical Society, accessed 26 January 2010
  10. ^ New Year honours in higher education, Donald MacLeod,, Monday 31 December 2001
Academic offices
Preceded by
Berrick Saul
Vice-Chancellor, University of York
Succeeded by
Brian Cantor