Special to the Register
Both current and former recipients of the Mary Josephine Cox scholarship at North Central Texas College were on hand Saturday for a special reunion to honor the woman who has given so much to the school.
The special ceremony also included the renaming of the NCTC Library Learning Resource facility to the Mary Josephine Cox Library.
NCTC regent Patsy Wilson, who is also the president of the NCTC Ex-Students and Friends Association, shared some history of Mary Josephine Cox with those in attendance.
Keith King, the vice-president of the NCTC Ex-Students and Friends Association and himself a Mary Josephine Cox scholarship recipient, introduced three other recipients to share how the scholarship has impactedtheir lives.
“I am so thankful for this scholarship,” current student Taylor Bozarth of Gainesville said. “It has been such a great opportunity and I am so much farther along in my education than I thought I would be. I have more time to study and more time to be in shows that I love doing so much.”
Patrick Hermes, a retired educator and principal and current president of the Cooke County Retired Educators, also spoke to the crowd.
“When you look at the Mary Josephine Cox history, it’s amazing how many people that she has influenced and how many people that she helped,” Hermes said. “She has given us so many lessons we can learn from her. Can we help people like that and can we be a positive influence on others?”
Also speaking was Patrick McCage, the director of the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department and a member of the Kiwanis Club.
“Hopefully in the future, we are touching as many lives as Mary Josephine Cox did,” he said.
NCTC President Dr. Eddie Hadlock noted that it is important that the community pause to honor our history even in the midst of our rapid progress.
“As we focus on Ms. Cox’s impact on the education of Cooke County students, I can’t help but think of those who impacted me both as a student and as an educator, and it is important to honor yesterday and those who paved the way for our successes,” Hadlock said.
He noted that NCTC has grown from being a part of the Gainesville ISD with 26 students, to a fully-comprehensive regional community college with more than 10,000 students.
Since 1924, Mary Josephine Cox has played an important role in the college’s history in helping to educate students and providing resources to ensure Cooke County students have the opportunity to attend college.
“Ms. Cox would be excited to learn that since 2,000, over 23,787 people have taken a credit course offered at the NCTC Cooke County campus, 1,402 Cooke County residents have graduated from NCTC, 8,382 individuals have enrolled in a Lifelong Learning coursed offered in Cooke County, and 1,185 Cooke County juniors and seniors have taken a dual-credit course,” Hadlock said. “As Ms. Cox stated in her will, her wishes were to provide support for boys and girls of Cooke County to attend the college. I think she would be proud to know how NCTC is accomplishing her wishes.”
For Wilson, who is not only on the Board of Regents at NCTC but also served as the school librarian before retiring, the re-naming of the library to honor Ms. Cox was an especially gratifying experience.
“It was a proud moment, primarily because I was a Mary Josephine Cox scholarship recipient myself in 1965 and would not have been able to come to college and ultimately get a degree had it not been for that,” she said. “It’s great to be able to give her credit where credit is due.”
NCTC Vice-President of Institutional Advancement Debbie Sharp, herself a Cox scholar, said she is blessed to work with alumni and donors who follow Ms. Cox’s footsteps and continue her work in Cooke County, along with Denton and Montague counties and in Graham.
“Since we began planning this event, I have been awed by Ms. Cox’s impact on our college,” Sharp said. “I have also been reminded of the opportunities each of us have to make a difference in the lives of our students.”
A reception followed the ceremony and visitors were able to take a tour of recently-remodeled areas of the college.