KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region will honor Debra Cook with the region’s 2014 Alumni Achievement Award during its commencement ceremony Saturday. Each year, Ivy Tech Kokomo Region honors a single alumnus who exemplifies a dedication to work, an appreciation of lifelong learning and a commitment to community.
In presenting the award, school leaders said Cook exemplified the qualities of a top alumnus. She graduated from Indiana Vocational Technical College Region 5 (now Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region) in 2002 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems. After graduation from Ivy Tech, she went on to Indiana Wesleyan University, earning a bachelor’s degree through its accelerated degree program. Cook continued her education at Indiana University where she earned a master’s degree in Public Management. Like many of Ivy Tech’s returning adult students, she achieved her educational goals while working full-time and raising a family.
Cook worked for the City of Kokomo from 1993 to 2012 where she held positions in the Economic Development Department, including planner and community specialist, development manager and director of development. Today Debra Cook is the chief executive officer of the Housing Authority of the City of Kokomo, Indiana, where she leads a team of 40 employees who manage and maintain 551 public housing units and administer more than 700 Housing Choice Vouchers to help provide clean, safe and affordable housing.
Cook’s commitment to give back to her community through public service and education is apparent in her many civic organization memberships, awards and honors. She has served on Bona Vista’s board of directors and as a member of the Region 4 Workforce Development Board of Directors, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Kokomo Downtown Association. In 2012, Debra was the recipient of the Ivan H. Brinegar Management Award from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns in recognition of her many contributions to the city.
In being named as winter of the Alumni Achievement Award, Cook was cited for her recognition of the role Ivy Tech Community College played in her life and the role it plays in her community. She continues to be a strong ambassador for the College and a valued donor. In her current role as CEO at the Housing Authority of the City of Kokomo, the presenters said, she is a shining example of how education changes people’s lives and serves as an advocate for the College in the lives of others.