Ricky Cooks
Stamps Forty Acres Scholarship, supported by Beverly and Will O'Hara
Chevron Enrichment Award
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2021
Wake Village, TX
High School
Texas High School

When it came to choosing where I wanted to go to college, it really boiled down to three things: a great business school, cool location and school spirit. Of course, a lot more thought went into the choice, but UT so easily checked those criteria, I hardly wanted to look anywhere else. Whatever I do in life, I want it to be for the benefit of the greater good–I want to change the world. It’s hard to say exactly how I plan to utilize a business degree. At Texas McCombs, they value a lot more than students pursuing a career in business. Rather, they want the lessons learned from business to lead to a successful career of any sort. A year ago, I would have told you I was planning on doing corporate law. And while that’s still a good possibility, I’ve branched out and looked into potential work for a non-profit, especially one involving education. I truly believe education is the key to success, so one day I hope to help others in that sense. My experiences in high school have shaped me into a hopeful guy with dreams that seem a little too big at times. Through serving as student body president, being on the newspaper staff and spearheading a fundraiser to build a water well in Swaziland, I geared my focus more towards public service and government. I think it was something people saw in me way before I saw it in myself. I was fortunate enough to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program, and there I was exposed to a lot of what D.C. had to offer. So hopefully, when this biography is in the National Archives or something, I will have a bigger status than “Forty Acres Scholar.” While at The University of Texas, I hope to explore my interests in public service, business, and Tex-Mex. But really, I’m looking forward to seeing what life has to offer, and want to do the most I can while on campus. I’m not certain where my future lies, but one thing will always ring true: Hook ‘em Horns.


What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)? 
What’s not to love about this program? Although I was blessed enough with a family capable of funding my college education (with other scholarships), the Forty Acres Scholars Program opens so many doors for what I can accomplish at UT and beyond. A few days after hearing the news of my status as a finalist, I looked up the FASP Facebook page: I saw the older scholars participating in an African drum class. I was slightly confused at first, but it was at that moment I realized that the program offers way more than a full-ride scholarship; it offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I never knew were out there. During Finalists Weekend, I not only learned more about the program itself, but got to hear from several scholars about the things they were able to do because of FASP; it made me all the more excited, but also a lot more stressed about whether or not I wasn’t going to get it. Now, here I am, a member of the Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2021. I’m still awestruck by the opportunities that I have yet to experience. And if there’s one thing I’m certain about when it comes to FASP, it’s that I’m being given the resources to truly live up to this university’s motto–to change the world.