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Barbara Coffman
IU Foundation

Last modified: Friday, May 16, 2008

IU remembers Jesse Cox

May 16, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University officials noted the passing of Indianapolis-area entrepreneur Jesse Cox with expressions of condolences and deep appreciation for his extraordinary and longstanding generosity and support for IU.

Jesse and Beulah Cox

Jesse and Beulah Cox

Print-Quality Photo

Cox, who died May 12 at his home in Carmel, Ind., and his late wife, Beulah, have committed a total of $85 million or more to IU for scholarships for students. This represents the largest gift ever received by IU from individuals, and also the largest individual gift for scholarships.

"The entire Indiana University community is deeply saddened by the passing of alumnus and philanthropist Jesse Cox," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "Jesse was an inspiration to all who believe that happiness can be found in the quest for knowledge and that a strong work ethic deserves to be rewarded. His support, service and generosity have had a profound impact on Indiana University and higher education in Indiana. Jesse's spirit will live on through future generations of outstanding, hardworking students who follow the path he has set and seek to realize their grandest dreams through an IU education."

The gifts -- $15 million outright and an estate commitment valued at $70 million at the time of its announcement in 2005 -- established the Cox Scholars and the Cox Research Scholars programs on the campuses of IU Bloomington and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The Cox Scholarship covers up to 75 percent of the cost of attendance for in-state undergraduate students at either campus; the scholars, who are chosen on the basis of their demonstrated motivation, resourcefulness and academic achievement, earn the remaining 25 percent of their college costs. The program will support up to 63 students annually, two-thirds of them on the Bloomington campus, from which Mr. Cox graduated in 1944 with a degree in business, and one-third of them at IUPUI.

The estate portion of the gift is establishing the Cox Research Scholars program on both campuses. The scholarship is used to recruit and retain highly talented students and provide them with unique opportunities to explore their interests and conduct research under the direction of IU faculty members.

"While some philanthropists reward great achievements, others express their generosity of spirit by rewarding great promise," said Charles Bantz, IU executive vice president and chancellor of IUPUI. "Jesse Cox's experiences in life, especially working his way through college, led him to believe that it takes special determination, special drive, special ambition, to realize the dream of a college education, especially at a campus like IUPUI, where most students work. The Cox Scholarships reward promise and hard work and ultimately fulfill dreams."

IU Foundation President Curt Simic said, "I first met Jesse and Beulah Cox several years ago. Their belief in the power of education, and their understanding of how many very able people struggle financially to develop their potential and make their contribution to the world, is born of their own stories. Jesse once told me that 'accumulated knowledge is the greatest power on earth'. It may be that the Coxes' generosity is an even greater power. I will miss him greatly."

Family and friends will gather from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a remembrance service at 7 p.m. today (May 16) at the Leppert and Hensley Funeral Home, Nora Chapel, at 740 E. 86th St. in Indianapolis, 317-844-3966.

For a biography of Jesse Cox, go to