John Cox ’92 shared a story familiar to Montevallo alumni during his keynote speech at the annual donor scholarship luncheon March 1 in Anna Irvin Dining Hall.
Speaking to a crowd of scholarship donors and the student recipients of their philanthropy, Cox said the impact the institution had on him remains apparent in his daily life three decades removed from his time on the red brick streets.
“Attending Montevallo was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Cox said. “Montevallo is a special place to all of us. My three closest friends in the world are guys I met at Montevallo over 30 years ago. We just enjoy being around each other, and we realize how fortunate we are to have created life-long friendships. And for that, we’re forever grateful to this University that sits in the geographic center of the state of Alabama.”
For Cox, the University being in the center is central to its story.
“There’s something very special about Montevallo being in the center, welcoming with open arms those from the left and those from the right,” Cox said.
Cox and other scholarship donors like him have played an important role in UM welcoming many bright and talented students experiencing the same life-changing impact today. Cox continues to impact academic endeavors with a scholarship inspired by his mother, Katie, and named in memory of his sister, the Laurie Ann Cox Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in English.
Cady Inabinett, a junior English major and one of two recipients of the scholarship, spoke about the many opportunities that donors provide with their gifts. Financially, Inabinett said, the scholarship she received will help her set aside more money in savings for graduate school. However, the benefit provided to students who receive scholarships isn’t just a financial one.
“It feels like a vote of approval,” Inabinett said, “as if your work and your abilities are being seen, and someone is saying they see the value in what you do.
I have had this scholarship, I have felt more assured and confident as a student than I ever have before.”
Cox said seeing students like Inabinett excel at UM inspires him to continue making an even greater difference in the lives of students by increasing the amount of scholarship funds.
“I encourage and challenge you to do even more, if possible, if your heart is leading you in that direction. Having more scholarships available only increases the odds that Montevallo will continue to attract and retain the kind of people who will change the world one day. The kind of people who truly embody our motto ‘You belong at Montevallo.’”
Inabinett said the scholarship opportunities provided by donors like Cox have certainly made current students feel like they belong at Montevallo.
“I would like to thank every single person who made it possible for me or anyone else in this room to receive any scholarship,” Inabinett said, “but I would like to especially thank my donor, Mr. John Cox. It’s people like you that help students like me feel more confident in our abilities to succeed and that make Montevallo such a special and unique place.”