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Apple employees and customers greeted Cook with a standing ovation. Cook took time to mingle with staffers and pose for pictures with a crowd of onlookers.
An Alabama native, Cook received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University. He has served as Apple CEO since 2011 when he took over for company founder Steve Jobs.
Cook was in Birmingham for the debut of Apple’s new education initiative for Alabama students. Apple partnered with city and school officials, as well as TechAlabama, to bring its Community Education Initiative to Birmingham.
The Apple-backed Education Farm will provide opportunities to students, teachers and local adults to learn how to code and use technology to enhance their learning. The program, which is already live in Nashville, Chicago and several other cities, seeks to prepare students in underserved communities for advanced educational opportunities and the future workforce.
Cook’s trip occurred as Apple and other U.S. firms contend with the impact of coronavirus on their business operations. Apple warned earlier this month that the outbreak had impacted its supply chain and hurt consumer demand in China.
Cook told FOX Business Network’s Susan Li that he is “optimistic” about China’s efforts to combat coronavirus.