In recognition of their tremendous generosity in funding the Cox Scholars Program, the largest scholarship program at IUPUI and at Indiana University as a whole, Jesse and Beulah Cox were posthumously presented with an IUPUI 50th Anniversary Chancellor’s Medallion on May 6, 2019, during the Cox Scholars graduation ceremony. Tom McGlasson, attorney and family friend of the Coxes, accepted the award from Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar on their behalf.
Staunch believers in the value of both hard work and a good education, Mrs. Cox graduated from Indiana Central Business College and Mr. Cox attended business college and Butler University part-time while working. In 1939, the same year the two were married, Mr. Cox enrolled at IU, putting himself through school by working and starting a number of small businesses, including a transportation service and mimeograph business.
After graduation, Mr. Cox started the J.H. Cox Manufacturing Co., which supplied venetian blinds to retailers Sears & Roebuck, L.S. Ayres, and William H. Block. Shortly afterward, the couple started Aero Blind & Drapery Inc., which, at the time of its sale in 1982, had 920 employees and annual sales of $30 million. Through other ventures, the Coxes began farming nearly 1,500 acres in Boone, Hamilton, and Putnam counties, as well as buying and managing commercial real estate rental property.
The Coxes’ commitment to hard work, the spirit of philanthropy, and the future of higher education in Indiana was demonstrated through the creation and funding of the Cox Scholars Program at IUPUI in 2005. The Cox Scholarship Program assists working students who are enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program, relieving much of the financial burden of attending college.
For his service to the state, Cox was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon in 2002. He also received the IU Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2007 and the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award in 2009.