President's Distinguished Scholar

On Feb. 10, 2022, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, announced that Luke T. Cooper Jr., JD, MBA,  would serve as UMB’s President’s Distinguished Scholar.

In this role, Cooper will dedicate his time to helping UMB design a strategy to strengthen our engagement with and support for minority business enterprises, particularly in the West Baltimore community. He also will engage and advise faculty, staff, and students on key Universitywide entrepreneurial activities.

About Luke T. Cooper Jr., JD, MBA

Luke T. Cooper Luke T. Cooper Jr., JD, MBA, is an entrepreneur, growth leader, mergers lawyer, partner at San Francisco-based Preface Ventures, and the founder and CEO of Latimer, a $250 million venture fund with the mission of helping underrepresented founders reach outcomes. In 2021, Cooper founded Latimer with the aim to elevate the experience of Black tech entrepreneurs, provide training curriculum and advisory services to founders who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, and facilitate strategic connections between investors, Fortune 1000 acquirers, and high-growth companies.

Cooper sold his previous venture, Fixt, to Assurant for more than 11x revenue. He grew revenue more than 400 percent year-over-year, raised over $6 million in Series A funding, and delivered an Enterprise SaaS product used by millions of end users. He served as vice president, Global Growth, Alternative Service Delivery, at Assurant after the transition. He is only the second Black tech entrepreneur to see a company through to a successful exit in Baltimore.

With more than 20 years’ experience in leadership, strategic planning, and growth execution, Cooper has a proven track record of growing sales and margin expansion while leading operational improvements to drive productivity and reduce costs. He has deep experience in technology operations, product development, go-to-market strategies, sales growth, talent management, and business transformations and mergers and acquisitions. He is passionate about building a diverse and inclusive culture.

Recognized as one of Baltimore’s “40 Under 40” business leaders and one-time Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, Cooper is a trusted advisor to investors, business leaders, startup founders, academia, and government leaders. He is recognized as a prominent voice advocating for more equitable participation of underrepresented communities in entrepreneurship.

Cooper advises dozens of high-growth companies, has served in a variety of nonprofit and institutional board and trustee roles, and uses his platform to raise awareness of the unique challenges facing Black entrepreneurs. He has been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Ebony, Baltimore, and the Baltimore Business Journal, among other publications.

Cooper previously was a member of the Maryland TEDCO Board of Directors, focused on providing startup funding, resources, and connections to early-stage technology and life sciences companies. Also a former member of the UMB Foundation Board of Trustees, he holds a JD from Syracuse University, an MBA from Babson College, a Mergers and Acquisitions Certificate from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from Adelphi University.