His parents are a teacher and an attorney. His maternal grandfather is dean of engineering. And his middle name carries the weight of American history.
Felix Loving Cook arrived just after Christmas last year. He’s the son of Sonia (Mungal) Cook ’04 and Jeffrey Cook ’04—a public defender and teacher of science, respectively. His maternal grandfather is Godfrey Mungal, dean of SCU’s School of Engineering. The boy’s middle name also carries a little history, as names often do—it’s inspired by a landmark Supreme Court decision.
Born in Pasco, Washington, where the family now calls home, Felix made his first stroller tour of the Mission Campus last summer—though that’s not where his parents met. That happened on an immersion trip to Mexico to build houses.
Study and travels took them throughout Latin America—including several months learning Spanish and working with children in Nicaragua, where Sonia’s mother, Patricia, is from. Godfrey is originally from Trinidad. He taught engineering at Stanford, and it was Sonia’s experiences at Santa Clara that opened his eyes to the interesting ways in which Jesuit education animates a school of engineering. The sense of “engineering with a mission,” as he puts it, in turn drew him here to serve as dean.
Jeff studied chemistry at Santa Clara, while Sonia studied philosophy and political science. One influential professor she cites is Lawrence Nelson, who is also an attorney. After Sonia studied law at U.C. Berkeley, they moved to Seattle, Jeff’s home. Sonia worked with a high-powered law firm before a teaching opportunity drew them to the Tri-Cities area in central Washington. Jeff now teaches chemistry and nanobiology in Spanish. Sonia contracts as a public defender, working with indigent clients—many of whom are Latino farmworkers.
As for Felix’s middle name, that’s inspired by Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court case that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. “Friends and family assumed it was my idea, since I am the lawyer, but it was actually Jeff’s idea,” Sonia says. “He learned about the case from me back when I studied it in law school. We are happy that his middle name honors something that has been so important to our lives and keeps that history alive.”
Also especially happy to welcome Felix to the Bronco Family: Jeff’s sister Sarah (Cook) Stevens ’08 and her husband, Scott Stevens ’06; and Sonia’s younger siblings Myrna Mungal ’10 and Justin Mungal, S.J.