| Founding of Alpha Zeta|
On January 2, 1922, a senior collection of agricultural students established
the idea of forming an honorary agricultural society at Rutgers University.
The College of Agriculture had been founded the previous year, and already,
agricultural students had found the need to bind together. They met in the
old Poultry Building, since renamed Thompson Hall, under the sponsorship
of Professor Willard C. Thompson. The new organization was named the "George
H. Cook Club" in honor of Dr. George H. Cook, who was one of the chief organizers
of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and its first director.
In the latter part of April, 1922, a petition for a charter to establish
a chapter of Alpha Zeta was sent to the High Council and was approved. Thus,
on May 22, Brother Potter was able to install the Cook Chapter as the thirty-second
chapter of Alpha Zeta, and initiate its members.
Dr. George H. Cook
George H. Cook, a Rutgers University professor for 30 years, provided
New Jersey and the nation with many discoveries that benefited agriculture
as well as other industries. As a New Jersey State Geologist, he was responsible
for creating the first detailed topographical maps of the state, an ambitious
project that took nearly a decade to complete! Dr. Cook's topographical
maps identify every forested area, swamp and wetlands, and water bodies
in New Jersey with an amazingly accurate tolerance of 30 meters, and even
include the full 1880s road and rail network of the entire state. The
college name was recently changed to Cook College in honor of his many
achievements. As furthur details will show, George H. Cook was by far
the most important single figure at ninetenth-century Rutgers.
Cook was the single reason as to why Rutgers is designated as a land grant
school and not Princeton. In 1859, university President Theodore Frelinghuysen
fired every faculty member except George H. Cook. His devotion to the
college and well-liked demeanor elevated him to a stature above all other
professors at the time. In 1862, the first Morril Act was passed by the
US congress. This act provided grants of federal land to support schools
that would offer courses of study in mechanized agriculture and begin
agricultural research projects. A unique American contribution to higher
education, this land-grant concept transferred research technologies to
local problems and helped agriculture in the state dramatically. Cook
rallied for Rutgers to be the beneficiary of this award. He made the critical
difference in the fight with Princeton for land-grant designation; due
to his experience as assistant state geologist, he knew the state better
than anyone at Princeton. He and his colleagues did the necessary lobbying
of the legislature and Rutgers was given the land.
Among other numerous achievements, George Hammell Cook became the first
director of the agricultural experiment station, and was the first secretary
of the NJ state board of agriculture.
The Founding of Cook College
The Hatch Act of 1887 allowed for research grants in agriculture. Cook
used this act to set up New Jersey's first Agricultural Experiment Station.
Cook established the Agricultural Experiment Station on the College Farm
shortly following its passing. In 1914, the Smith-Lever was passed in
congress. This allowed for the cooperative extension programs to be implemented
at Rutgers. Such programs allowed for the spread of agricultural knowledge
to the public through organizations such as the 4-H clubs. As more and
more courses were instituted into the Rutgers programs, separation between
the "Rutgers Scientific School" and the main college became distinct.
In 1921, the section known today as the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, was formally named "College of Agriculture."