Jack Kent Cooke was a famous entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist who was perhaps best known as the former owner of the Washington Redskins of the NFL, the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, and the Los Angeles Wolves of the United Soccer Association. As an owner he developed a reputation for spotting great leaders and hired three future Hall of Fame executives to lead his teams, Sparky Anderson, Joe Gibbs, and Jerry West who combined for a stunning 13 championships. Due to his excellent hiring choices, Jack Kent Cooke has been referred to as the best owner in the history of American sports. He was born in Hamilton, Ontario and moved to the United States in the early Sixties where he became a media mogul by acquiring numerous cable television stations along with the newspaper the Los Angeles Daily News. Cooke passed away in 1997 and donated the majority of his 825 million dollar estate to help students of all backgrounds to achieve their reams of higher education. Aside from sports teams and media outlets, Cooke also had an interest in thoroughbred racing and bought Elmendorf Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where he bred and trained horses. In 2000, three years after his passing, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation was established in an effort to provide scholarships to high school students, college undergraduates, and grad school students across the world. The scholarships are a combination of need and merit-based and help 650 students per year. The Jack Cooke Foundation is one of only two national scholarships that, in addition to college aid, provides tuition assistance for high schoolers.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is meant to provide financial assistance to high school seniors who display leadership qualities and are academically successful and hope to attend one of the country’s top four-year universities. The scholarship may cover up to $40,000 of expenses including tuition, books, fees, and living expenses. It is a highly competitive scholarship that allows recipients to pursue any major and also provides advice to help students transition to life on campus. Every year 30 to 40 students are chosen based on grades, standardized test scores, financial need, leadership, and community involvement. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA, a minimum 1200 SAT score or 26 ACT score, and come from a household whose annual income in $95,000 or less. Additionally, students must fill out the College Scholarship Program Profile which can be downloaded from the website, write a personal essay, and provide two letters of recommendation, one from an 11th grade teacher and another from a teacher who has worked with them for two of the past four years both of whom can attest to the student’s character and academic performance. The application period runs from September through November with the review period lasting from December through February and final decisions made in mid-March. The scholarship will provide assistance for a four-year program, not the fifth year, and will not cover tuition assistance for a four-year online program.