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Statement on Passing of Dr. Robert Cooke

February 11, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Sunday February 2, 2014, Dr. Robert E. Cooke, a pediatrician who worked with Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to create Head Start, died at age 93.

The following statement should be attributed to Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association: 

“Robert Cooke was a great visionary whose lifetime of advocacy and tireless efforts molded Head Start into the nation’s preeminent early childhood education program. Dr. Cooke’s life is a moving reminder that Head Start was and continues to be an intentional national commitment to our most vulnerable children. From the beginning, Dr. Cooke’s work on a team of America’s best and brightest cross-disciplinary minds – pediatricians, psychologists, sociologists, child development and education experts – was anchored by a profound belief that Head Start would be game-changer in the lives of poor children and families. Fifty years – and 28 million graduates later – Dr. Cooke’s vision continues to inspire and fortify the Head Start community.”

Additional information about the National Head Start Association can be found at

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