Dr. Richard (Rick) Smoot will be the guest speaker at the 8th Annual John Sherman Cooper Lecture to be held in the Citizens National Bank Community Room of the Harold Rogers Student Commons located on the Somerset Community College Somerset Campus on Tuesday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited. The SCC Somerset North Campus is located at 808 Monticello Street in Somerset.
Dr. Smoot will be discussing Cooper’s role in American health care.
Dr. Smoot is a graduate of Marshall University and the University of Kentucky. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “John Sherman Cooper: The Paradox of a Liberal Republican in Kentucky Politics.”
Dr. Smoot has published several books, articles and book reviews and has taught at the University of Kentucky, Marshall University and McNeese State University. He currently holds the rank of Associate Professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Cooper was born in Somerset on August 23, 1901. He graduated from public schools. He attended Centre College in Danville, but graduated from Yale College in 1923. Cooper attended Harvard Law School from 1923-1925, admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1928 and then set up his law practice in Somerset.
Cooper was elected to the Kentucky Legislature in 1928. He served as judge of Pulaski County from 1930 to 1938. Cooper was a veteran and served in World War II and rose to the rank of captain in the Army. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946 and served until 1949. He was elected to the Senate a second time from 1952 to 1955. On Nov. 6, 1956 Cooper was elected a third time to the Senate and was reelected in 1960 and 1966. His Senate service ended on January 3, 1973 when he declined to run for reelection.
Cooper was also a member of the board of trustees of the University of Kentucky from 1935-1946, served as a delegate to the United Nations, and was appointed Ambassador to India, Nepal and the German Democratic Republic. He died on February 21, 1991 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The inaugural Cooper Lecture was given by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell in August 2005. At that time McConnell said, “One of the greatest senators in Kentucky history, and certainly the greatest of my adult lifetime, is John Sherman Cooper. He stood fast for what he believed was right, no matter how large the opposition or great the cost. He taught me how to be a senator. And he taught everyone who knew him the value of integrity, forthrightness and moral character.”