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College of Business Administration Hall of Fame to induct Class of 2015

Honoring Robert L. Cook and Michael F. O’Donnell

Contact: Heather Smith

​​​​​​​​An iconic educator and a business consultant and entrepreneur are this year's College of Business Administration Hall of Fame inductees.

Robert L. Cook, Ph.D. and Michael F. O'Donnell, '70, '04, collectively have spent more than 70 years serving the university through their expertise, dedication and success. A ceremony to honor their countless contributions will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, in the Bovee University Center Rotunda.

Established in 2013, the CBA Hall of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the names and outstanding accomplishments of business leaders intrinsically linked with CMU's College of Business Administration.

To learn more about the College of Business Administration Hall of Fame, visit:

Learn more about this year's inductees.

Robert L. Cook, Ph.D.

Cook-Rob-CBA-article.jpgThe late Robert L. Cook was an influential and dedicated faculty member in the College of Business Administration for more than 35 years. During his time at CMU, Cook devoted himself to ensuring his students' success both in and out of the classroom.

Cook earned his undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, all in the logistics discipline. While there, he met his wife and partner, Karen.

"If you speak to anyone who knew Dr. Cook, they will tell you he was part of a team; his wife, Karen, was the other half. They functioned as a single unit," said senior logistics major Christopher Lacourt.

With her help, Cook spearheaded CMU's logistics program, making it one of the best in the country.

He is a two-time winner of the CMU Excellence in Teaching Award. As an educator and as the adviser of the Logistics Management Council Honor Society and the Supply Chain Management Association, he positively influenced thousands of young Chippewas and worked tirelessly to connect them with recruiters and companies.

"I have never met a professor like Dr. Cook," said Kenneth Cherry, '90, assistant professor of marketing and professional sales. "He showed total dedication to his students by not only giving them a real-world classroom experience, but by helping them take the next step into their professional careers."

In 2009, a group of former students created the Dr. Robert and Karen Cook Endowed Scholarship to honor his dedication and continue his legacy. 

Michael F. O'Donnell, '70, '04

MikeODonnell-article.jpgMichael O'Donnell embarked on a storied career after graduating from CMU with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1970. Throughout his career O'Donnell has consistently shared his knowledge and achievements with the university's students, faculty and alumni. 

O'Donnell joined Arthur Andersen shortly after graduation. Mike earned his title of partner after a short ten years and became head of their World Oil & Gas Industry practice. In 2002, he co-founded Protiviti, a firm that exclusively deals with risk consulting and internal audit. During his tenure, the company grew from 500 employees and $17 million in revenue to more than 1,800 employees and $600 million in revenue annually.

"As I think about my successes in the business world, it's not about the money I earned or the deals I was part of. It is all about the people. I was fortunate to have successes that allowed me to create job and career opportunities for many, many people," said O'Donnell, who in 2004 received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree from CMU. "CMU provided me a sound education, but it really taught me to do the best you can at everything you do. That's all I focused on."

O'Donnell is the previous Houston-area president and national board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He currently serves as the executive treasurer and executive board member for the Boy Scouts of America. Since 2005, O'Donnell has served on CMU's Development Board and has been a judge for the New Venture Competition.

To further aid students financially, O'Donnell and his wife, Francy, created the Michael F. and Mary F. O'Donnell Endowed Scholarship. 

"Knowing that I have the wherewithal to be able to give back to this university and help today's students is the best part about being an alumnus," O'Donnell said. 

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