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Karen Cook, the dean of the School of Business and Law at Anne Arundel Community College, was named chair of the BWI Business Partnership, the first female to lead the organization in its 36-year history.

Cook will assume the position of chair on July 1. The announcement was made via pre-recorded video that has been shared on the organization’s website.  She replaces outgoing chair Sam Minnitte, area manager of Maryland and Delaware for WSP.

As dean at AACC, Cook provides strategic vision and leadership for instructional programs, including business, transportation and logistics, economics, entrepreneurial studies, homeland security, criminal justice and legal studies. She also fosters partnerships with leaders and organizations in business, law, education, and government. Cook is an attorney and former chief administrative officer for Anne Arundel County.


Karen Cook, dean of the School of Business and Law at Anne Arundel Community College and chair of the BWI Business Partnership.


Resides in: 



Juris Doctor/Bachelor of Arts, English and education

As chair, what is your top priority for the Partnership as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic? 

My top priority for the BWIBP as we navigate through this pandemic is to maintain the Partnership’s financial and programmatic viability and its leadership role in our community as an advocate for strong transportation policies and initiatives, a driver of economic and workforce development, and a relationship builder that spurs growth and development in the BWI region.  Another goal, specific to being the first woman chair in the Partnership’s 35-year history, is to launch a ‘Women In Leadership Series’ to focus on topics that are important and unique to many of our members while highlighting the extraordinary talent in our organization.

If you had not chosen education as a profession, what profession would you choose and why?

Growing up, my goal was to be a high school English teacher, which I did for several years, but I was also interested in law, so I left the education field after a few years to attend law school and then pursued a legal career. I enjoyed being a practicing attorney, but I always knew I would go back into education. I assumed that return would be as a professor in a law school, but when an opportunity arose to teach law at Anne Arundel Community College, I took it and never looked back. Working at a community college, first as a law professor and now as Dean of the School of Business and Law, is immensely rewarding in many ways but, particularly, in terms of the impact you have on students’ lives. I have been blessed to be able to combine two professions I love – education and law – and also work in an environment that changes people’s lives for the better.

Favorite vacation: 

My favorite vacations are those spent with the whole family at our beach house on the Eastern Shore.

When I want to relax, I … :

When I want to relax I go for a long walk along the water with my husband and Portuguese Water Dog, Zoe.

Favorite movies:

“My Cousin Vinny” and “A Few Good Men”

Favorite quotation: 

I have two favorite quotes. The first, “You can do anything you put your mind to,” was instilled in me by my mom and I passed it along to my children and my students. It is the belief that with determination, perseverance, and a positive attitude anything is possible. The second, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years,” inspires me to try to live my best life each day and make every day count.

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