Former state legislator accepts chairmanship of Fossil Museum

Bill Cook

AURORA – On Friday, March 26, Beaufort County resident and retired state senator Bill Cook accepted the nomination to serve as the new chairman of the Aurora Fossil Museum Foundation Inc. Board of Directors.

Cook’s election occurred during the Annual Retreat held by the Board of Directors. He replaces outgoing board chairman Bruce Hargreaves of New Bern, who chose not to seek reelection after serving a combined total of five years as chairman.

“It’s time for a leadership change, and Bill Cook is the man to lead us into a new era,” Hargreaves said.

With his election, Cook said, “I am privileged to Chair the Board of such an outstanding organization.” 

Cook heads a 10-person board charged with developing policy and strategy for the museum. The museum opened in 1978 and annually welcomes thousands of visitors from throughout the United States and many foreign countries. Visitors can tour the many fossil displays and enjoy digging through sediment provided by Nutrien Phosphate-Aurora in search of 15-million-year-old marine fossils. 

The publicly funded 501(c)(3) non-profit museum’s mission is to educate the public about paleontology in an engaging manner while emphasizing the natural and cultural history of Eastern North Carolina. The museum conducts outreach programs, events, field studies and holds an Annual Aurora Fossil Festival, of which a scaled-down event will be held this year on Saturday, May 29. 

Cynthia Crane, Executive Director and Curator of the Aurora Fossil Museum, adds: “The election of Bill Cook as Board Chairman of the Aurora Fossil Museum greatly strengthens our organization. I’m excited that Bill accepted the board nomination, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to grow the Aurora Fossil Museum.”

Cook served the residents of eastern North Carolina as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly from 2011 to 2019, first in the House of Representatives and then in the State Senate. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and worked for Potomac Power Company for 34 years before retiring to North Carolina. He lives in Chocowinity with his wife, Holly.