Alabama Academy of Honor


Max Dale Cooper

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1990 and 2005.



It was on August 31, 1933, that Max Dale Cooper was born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi.

He attended high school in Bentonia, Mississippi, where his father, Otis Noah Cooper, was Superintendent of Education and his mother, Lily Carpenter Cooper, was a member of the school's faculty.

Following high school graduation, Max Cooper attended Holmes Junior College in 1951-52. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi in 1954. Degrees in medicine were awarded him by the University of Mississippi Medical School in 1955 and Tulane Medical School in 1957.

Rosalie Lazzara Cooper is his wife, and they are the parents of one daughter and three sons.

Since 1967 Dr. Max Cooper has been associated with The University of Alabama in Birmingham as an immunologist in the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Microbiology and Pathology.

His academic appointments have been many. In addition to increasing responsibilities at The University of Alabama Medical Center at Birmingham, Dr. Cooper has accepted assignments for lectures and research at medical schools in his native United States and beyond its borders, among them being visiting scientist of Tumor Immunology at the University of London and at Institut D'Embryologie, Institut Pasteur, Paris. His other academic assignments have been at the University of Minnesota, Tulane University, and the Hospital for Sick Children in London.

Dr. Max Cooper has recently achieved three major accomplishments. First, he was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Investigatorship; he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, thus being the first individual in the history of Alabama to be elected from an Alabama institution to that most prestigious scientific body; and he received the "3m Life Sciences Award."

Dr. Cooper has received repeated offers to relocate to other institutions, among them being University of Washington School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Rockefeller University in New York. In all cases he has declined these offers and remained in Alabama.

Dr. Cooper's extremely heavy schedule has not prevented him from an unceasing devotion to his wife and children. Every day that he is in Birmingham, he begins the day with his family and ends it in the same manner. When he does occasionally slip away from his professional responsibilities, he enjoys water sports and travel.