His Legacy Lives On

Today there are well over 100 Cox Scholars on IU's Bloomington campus. We each represent very different majors and areas of study, and our ultimate goals are unique. But there are a few qualities we all share that bring us together as Cox Scholars. These qualities at IU were first recognized in a single individual. One man whose spirit, hard work and success now live on in all of us. 

"There's a great happiness, a happiness that most people hardly ever reach, probably. And I've been that happy ever since I graduated from college." -Jesse Cox

Jesse Cox - Where it all began

Jesse learned what hard work meant as a child working on a farm. He never stopped working a day in his life. When he met Beulah and wanted to get married, he worked even harder. He went to night school, saved every penny he earned and was able to attend IU. At IU, Jesse found more ways to earn money to support himself and Beulah. He first set up a carpool system by using old cars and putting up flyers all around campus offering people rides home and back. He did this until he was told it wasn't exactly legal (as far as liability insurance and vehicle inspections go...), but this didn't kill his drive. Jesse's next venture was making and selling handbills with a mimeograph he bought with money he just barely scraped up. Beulah would also help out by making and selling sandwiches around campus. Jesse and Beulah were finally able to marry in 1939. While in the service, Jesse worked several jobs. Eventually, he invested in a blind and drapery company and started other businesses. Needless to say, the Coxes' hard work paid off, and they found great success. 

"Accumulated knowledge is the greatest key to a future of happiness." -Jesse Cox

What Jesse gave us

Overall, Jesse and Beulah Cox gifted IU with over $85 million dollars for scholarships. In addition, they donated money to create the Jesse H. and Beulah Chanley Cox Pavilion in the IU Arboretum. More importantly, though, Jesse has given each and every Cox Scholar the momentum, passion and confidence to pursue a higher education and career of their dreams. 

"The way to build confidence is to do everything you can the very best that you can do it. You exude confidence and people are willing to do, or help you do, what you say you're going to do." -Jesse Cox

The largest IU scholarship program

I will never forget the first time I learned about the Cox Scholarship. I was a senior in high school at an IU recruiting event. A current student started talking to me about IU, and I told her how I had been searching for possible scholarships. I knew I wouldn't be able to attend IU without finding financial help. She told me about different scholarships IU offers. Just as we were about to end our conversation, she remembered a scholarship program she had forgotten to mention before. As she was describing the Cox Scholarship, everything clicked for me. I felt like it was a program I truly belonged in, one where I could continue my hard work. Now as a current student, I attend IU recruiting events where I meet high school students just like me, tell them about my experiences and hopefully inspire some of them to seek out a Cox Scholarship.

Applying for a Cox Scholarship is more than just filling out a form and hoping for the best. To be a Cox Scholar, you have to know and relate to Jesse's story. If you feel like the following characteristics are descriptive of yourself and your values, I urge you to learn more about this program and apply: self-motivation, passion, committment, eagerness to learn, desire to positively impact your community, have worked at jobs throughout high school, have a strong desire to attend Indiana University. 

The Cox Scholarship has 5 branches. 

  1. Engagement
  2. Exploratory
  3. Legacy
  4. Research
  5. Access

Each branch differs in the work component that is paired with the scholarship. Yes, there is a work component. This is not a scholarship in which you are simply handed money. We all work hard for the money we are being given, whether it's giving back and helping other students connect with the community, gaining knowledge by discovering different aspects of campus, working a part-time job or conducting meaningful research.

Sometimes being a Cox Scholar is difficult. Sometimes it's stressful. Some weeks you have to work much harder than others. But these are the times when I always remember why and how I'm here at IU. It's because of Jesse. Jesse and Beulah never had children of their own, but us Cox Scholars are their children. I never met Jesse. I will never get to tell him how thankful I am for what he has done for me and many others. But I feel like I know him well, and he will continue to inspire me every day. In the future when I find myself successful in my career and with my own family, it's him I will think of and his legacy I will know I was able to carry on. That's when I'll know that I've made him proud. 

Sources on Jesse and Beulah Cox and the Cox Scholarship Program:

About The Author
Alexea CandrevaJournalism and Communication & Culture major - Class of 2015 - Crown Point, IN

Dog lover. Adventure seeker. DD iced coffee aficionado. Peanut butter addict. Future PR pro.