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George Zook

Educator. Born: 1885. Died: 1951.

Zook grew up in Fort Scott and graduated from Kansas University in 1906. He received a doctoral degree at Cornell University after having taught history. He was then a professor at Pennsylvania State College.

President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to an education committee in 1918 and he thereafter worked for the Treasury Department and served as head of a division of the U. S. Bureau of Education. After five years in Washington D. C. Zook became president of Ohio University. He served on another presidential committee from 1929 to 1931 and President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him U. S. Commissioner for Education.

He resigned a year later and said the country needed to seriously upgrade its public schools. He then headed the American Council on Education. He encouraged the growth of Junior (two-year) Colleges and started the American Association of Junior Colleges. From the early 1920s to the 1940s the number of JUCO's in the United States tripled.

Zook retired from the American Council on Education in 1950 after serving as chair of President Truman's commission on higher education. He was an educational consultant to the Library of Congress in his later years.

Entry: Zook, George

Author: G. Joseph Pierron

Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.

Date Created: November 2012

Date Modified: March 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.