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New medical student scholarship honors legacy of John Cooke family

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A new scholarship established by Curtis A. “Curt” Winter, M.D., and his wife, Cynthia, at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine honors the legacy of the John Cooke family in southern West Virginia.

Curtis Winter is a 1982 graduate of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Cynthia Winter is a two-time Marshall University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in zoology and a Master of Arts in biological sciences and a descendant of John Cooke. The Cooke family was among the first settlers in present-day Wyoming and Logan counties in West Virginia. Arriving in America in 1771, John and Nellie Pemberton Cooke and their four sons left the Narrows of New River (location) in 1799 to re-settle in western Montgomery County, Virginia—the area that later became Giles County, Virginia, in 1806, then Logan County in 1824 and finally Wyoming County in 1850. 

The John Cooke Family Scholarship gives first preference to entering Marshall medical students from Logan or Wyoming county and renewable for up to three additional years. Second preference is designated for any medical student from Logan or Wyoming county and renewable for the remainder of their time in medical school.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of past and present Wyoming County citizens are descendants of John and Nellie Cooke, so it seems fitting that Cynthia and I give a hand up to deserving medical students, as others have done for me throughout my medical career,” Curt Winter said.  “Inspired by the poem, ‘The Bridge Builder,’ we decided it was time to give back to the school and community that gave us so much.”

The Winters now reside in Berryville, Virginia, where Curtis is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist. In his retirement, he still serves as regional medical director for Privia Health. Cynthia retired as a clinical lab instructor for the Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy.

For more information or to make a gift to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, please contact Linda Holmes, director of development and alumni affairs, at 304-691-1711 or For news and information, follow us on Twitter @MUSOMWV, like us on Facebook or visit


Media Contact: Sheanna M. Spence, Director of External Affairs, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Friday, May 6, 2022