Maj. Gen. John V. Cox (’52) and Patricia (McMichael) Cox have supported Truman State University for many years. In 2021, they combined their philanthropic interests with a six-figure gift to establish the Cox McMichael Scholarship for First Americans, a full-tuition, room-and-board scholarship for Truman students with Native American ancestry. The name is in reference to the words of Harry S. Truman who, during his presidency, used the term “First Americans.”
An endowed fund, the Cox McMichael Scholarship for First Americans is designed to be awarded in perpetuity. The inaugural recipient of the scholarship is Heather Beard from Farmington, Missouri. She is studying business administration and marketing and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.
Maj. Gen. Cox graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. From Bevier, Missouri, he enrolled at the University in 1948. He recalls the opening of Blanton Hall, the first of the school’s residence halls, and working in a cafeteria on campus as a student.
Patricia grew up on a farm just east of Atlanta, Missouri. They met at a fraternity/sorority dance at the Millard Road House in 1950 and were married in 1953. Patricia taught one year at a country school in Gibson, Missouri. She was one quarter short of graduating when she and her husband moved to Pensacola, Florida.
Moving often as part of military life, Patricia returned to northeast Missouri several times to stay with family when expecting their children. Maj. Gen. Cox remembers flying from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina into the airport in Millard to meet children born in Macon and Kirksville.
Both the Cox and McMichael families have a long history with the University. Maj. Gen. Cox’s grandfather, James L. Love, enrolled in 1875 and 1876. His sisters, Josephine (Cox) Jansons (’39) and Nancy (Cox) Smith (’47) were alumni. Patricia’s mother and aunt, Ruby and Inna Borron, and her brother, Wayne, along with several nephews, also attended.
Maj. Gen. Cox enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation and served as a naval aviator, flying 292 combat missions in two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1977 and Major General in 1981. He served in this capacity until July 1, 1985. During his career, he amassed 5,043 hours total flight time and was a pilot in nearly every Marine Corps fixed-wing aircraft of the Cold War, including the FJ-4 Fury, F8U Crusader and F-4 Phantom, many from aircraft carriers. Maj. Gen. Cox also has a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University.
The Coxes have four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. They reside in McLean, Virginia.