Father Vincent M. Cooke, S.J., a former superior of the Jesuits’ New York Province and president of Canisius College in Buffalo, died June 22 at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University in the Bronx. He was 81.
For the New York Province he served as provincial, 1978-1984, and before that as vice provincial for higher education, 1976-1978. In 2010, he was assistant to the provincial for higher education, and later assistant for strategic planning for the Maryland, New England and New York provinces.
He served as the 23rd president of Canisius, 1993-2006, and was acting president in 1992 and academic vice president, 1991, at John Carroll University in the Cleveland suburb of University Heights.
He became director of the collegiate program at Murray-Weigel Hall for Jesuits working on a master’s degree in philosophy in 1981.
He taught at Fordham as an associate professor of philosophy, 1985-1991, and also taught there, 1963-1964 and in 1971-1976.
He taught at Regis High School in Manhattan, 1961-1963.
Father Cooke served as chairman of the Higher Education Committee of Jesuit Provincials, College Presidents and Rectors, 1980-1984, and as delegate to the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in 1983 and 2008. He received the Citation Award for Community Leadership, National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York in 2007, and was recognized by the Preservation League of New York State for excellence in historic preservation in 2003.
He served as associate editor of the International Philosophical Quarterly.
A native of Manhattan raised in Hoboken, N.J., he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, in 1954 and studied for the priesthood at Fordham and Woodstock College, when Woodstock was located in New York. He was ordained in 1967 at Fordham.
He earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin; advanced theology degrees from Woodstock College and Yale University; master’s degrees in philosophy and teaching; and a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated June 27 at Fordahm University Church. Burial was in the Jesuit Cemetery in Auriesville.