Cook joins Rice Public Affairs team as government relations director

Nathan Cook, a government and community relations expert, joined Rice as director of government relations March 2.

In his new role, Cook will work alongside Rice’s academic and administrative divisions to identify and prioritize legislative goals at the local, state and federal levels. He will also raise the university’s profile by linking Rice faculty experts with policymakers at the state and federal levels.

“Nathan brings a wealth of experience working on state and federal government relations to Rice,” Vice President for Public Affairs Linda Thrane said. “With the Texas Legislature and Congress in session, he’s hitting the ground running and we can count on him to get us across the finish line.”

Cook joins Rice from McKesson Specialty Health – The US Oncology Network, where he served as senior manager of government and community relations. Prior to that he served as district director for U.S. Rep. Pete Olson ’85 and as deputy regional director for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1997 to 2005.

Cook received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Texas A&M University.

His community involvement includes serving as vice president and founding member of the Voter Awareness Council and on the board of directors for the Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership.

“Houston is known for the Port of Houston, the energy corridor and the Texas Medical Center, and in my mind, Rice ranks right up there,” Cook said. “I think Rice is a jewel in the crown of Houston.

“We’re in the midst of an interesting political climate with the new administration in Washington,” he said. “Everyone is working to find out what this will mean for a lot of issues – the economy, energy, immigration, trade, health care and higher education. With our teams in Washington and Austin, working to see how this climate will affect Rice is our top priority.”

An outdoor enthusiast, Nathan enjoys hiking, kayaking and hunting in his free time.

About Kendall Schoemann

Kendall Schoemann is a staff writer in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.