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Regent W. J. Cocker

Regent W. J. Cocker image
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Hon. William .1. Oocker, candidate for re-election as regent of Michigan University, is Engllsh by birtb, but a thorough Michigan Unlversity man in education, sentiment and affection. His father, Benjamin F. Cocker. was flrst wcll known in this state as a leading Methodist elergyman iu Detroit conference, but completed his honorable and useful career as professor of mental and moral pbilosopby in the University, a position to wliicli he was chosen in 1830. The son, who is the subject of this sketch, took his preparatory studies at the Aun Arbor High school, and entered the academIcal department of the University in 1864. He graduated in 1869, having in the Interim, served oue year as assistant librarían. After graduation he removed to Adrián, where he was for ten years principal of the High school, and five years superintendent of schools, besides serving for a term on the school board. These experiences were sufficient to tie him to educational interests, but Mr. Cocker has, in addition, accomplished something in authorship. His first book was a small text book on punctua'tlon, published by A. S. Barnes & Co., of New York. The sceond was a book on the civil governmeut of Michigan, whlch is published by the Itichmond & Backus ('o., and bas already reached its fourteenth edition. He has also written a larger work on the government of the United States, published by Harper Bros., of New York. This has been translated into Spanish, aud published by the government press of Guatemala, with a long introduction by Valero Pujal, once a colleague of Emilio Castelar, now a memoer of the Spanish Iioyal Academy and one of the most distiuguished citizens of Guatemala. But in addition te bis Bcholastic and literary pursuits Mr. Cocker bas had business training as well. He has for some years been president of the Commercial Savings Bank of Adrián, has extensive business interests of his own, and is a member of the executive eommittee of the American Bankers' Association. In his official capacity as regent this business experience has been of great service. Though the funds of the University were always carefully husbanded the method of their distribution which had prevailed for some years was neither systematic nor satiafactory. At each meeting of the board the immediate needs of eacb department, as presented at the time, were considered, and appropriations made accordingly. The departments whose heads were the most persistent in their applications, were apt to get more than their fair proportiou, and the appropriations were sometimes exha usted before the end of the year. For this haphazard method Kegent Cocker, as chairman of the tinanciai eommittee for sevtral years, bas introduced a much more systematic procedure. He first visited a number of the eastern uuiversities, reported upou their methods and proposed the plan siuce adopted. Uuder it the regents at the beginning ot the year make a careful estímate of their total resources, and careful Inquiry into the needs of each department They then make an apportionment of funds to each department to be drawn only as Deeded, and not in any case to be exceeded. If any balance remains at the end of the year it is returned to the general fnnd, and reapportioned. llnder this method. which must eommend itself to every business man, neither the University nor any of its departments has in any year gone bevond its income. In the general concerns of the University Regent Cocker has taken an active and intelligent interest. During his seven year's service he has uever missed a meeting of the board, except when he was out of the state, and lias usually gone to Ann Arbor a day or two in ailvance of the meetings in order to inforra liimself thorouglily in reference to the business iu hand. His re-election. by a handsome majority, will be as much a benefit to the University as it will be a deserved compliment to himself.


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Ann Arbor Courier