Cook accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award in December, in a speech that recalled growing up in Alabama in the 1960s and seeing firsthand the "devastating impacts of discrimination."
Cook drew attention to Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., two men who "sacrificed everything, including their lives, as champions of human rights and human dignity," and has championed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that passed the U.S. Senate but has yet to appear before the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. Cook again directed attention to the legislation this week while "reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act."
The Auburn Alumni Association, however, has focused its attention on Cook himself, in a video (above) that includes comments from Apple's chief of operations Jeff Williams and Disney chief executive Bob Iger. Both described Cook's humility, ethics and philanthropy as defining aspects of the man who was personally recruited by Steve Jobs in 1998 to serve as the company's senior vice president of worldwide operations.
Cook profiled as promoting technical excellence, human welfare & sustainable manufacturing
The Alumni Association noted, "Tim Cook has become one of the most recognizable names in the business world over the past two years when he succeeded Steve Jobs in the role of CEO of Apple, Inc. Cook served as the chief operating officer of Apple from October 14, 2005 to August 24, 2011, and served as head of its Macintosh Division, where he played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships.
"He served as executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations of Apple Computer Inc. from 2002 to 2005. He joined Apple in 1998 as senior vice president of worldwide operations. Prior to that, he served as vice president of corporate materials at Compaq Computer Corporation ('Compaq') from 1997 to 1998 and was responsible for procuring and managing its product inventory.
"Prior to his work at Compaq Computer Corporation, Cook served as chief operating officer of the reseller division of Intelligent Electronics. He also spent 12 years with IBM as Director of North American Fulfillment, where he led manufacturing and distribution functions for IBM's personal computer company in North and Latin America. Mr. Cook has been director of Apple Inc. since August 24, 2011. He has been an independent director of Nike Inc. since November 2005.
"Cook remains involved with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. He is the founding chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering's Alumni Council, founded the ISE Endowed Fund for Excellence, founded the Tim Cook Leadership Scholarship, arranged for trials of Apple products for the ISE department to use and evaluate, established the Tim Cook Endowed Professorship, and was selected as the distinguished Auburn Engineer and Outstanding ISE Alumnus of 2000.
"Cook also took time to give the 2010 commencement address for all Auburn graduates. Cook remains a high profile figure within technology and business circuits across the globe. He continues to promote technical excellence, progressiveness in human welfare, and innovativeness in environmentally friendly manufacturing, while maintaining the core values set forth within the Auburn Creed."