Cox Center Suite 423.

Cox Center Celebrates Birthday and Support from Jim Cox Jr. Foundation

More than 30 people turned out on Dec. 3 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia and 20 years of support of the Center by the Jim Cox Jr. Foundation in Atlanta.

The group also had come to tour the new facilities of the Center on the renovated fourth floor of the Journalism Building on the University of Georgia campus.

The Cox Center is the international outreach arm of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Al Hester and Dr. Thomas Russell speaking at the celebration.

Among those in attendance were Emeritus Professor and Emeritus Center Director Dr. Al Hester, who founded the Center in 1985, former Grady College Dean and Emeritus Professor Dr. Thomas Russell, and Atlanta attorney Larry Hooks, representing the Jim Cox Jr. Foundation.

Dr. Russell was dean of the Grady College when then President Frederick C. Davison signed a letter on June 27, 1985, officially creating the Cox Center.

Dr. Lee B. Becker, current director of the Center, who took over that position when Dr. Hester retired in 1997, said "we are gathered here to celebrate three distinct events: the creation of the Center, the decision in January 1990 of the Jim Cox Jr. Fund to support the Center, and the movement in late August to the new space."

Dr. Hester said that he created the Center when he realized that "the Grady College had something to offer" to journalists around the world. He said he also realized that the college could benefit from involvement with those journalists.

Dr. Russell spoke fondly about the discussions he had had with Mrs. Betty Holland, the widow of James M. Cox Jr, and about the decision of Mrs. Holland and the Foundations she created to honor her fomrer husband by supporting the Cox Center.

From left to right: Carol and Larry Hooks and Dean E. Culpepper Clark.

That support for the Cox Center, as well as support for the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Newspaper Management Studies, which also began in 1990, has continued to this day.

Hooks said that the Foundation had approached other universities but found that the Grady College and the University of Georgia were most receptive to the initiatives of interest to Mrs. Holland.

Dr. Becker said that is was important to recognize the foresight of the college faculty and leadership in 1985, when the Center proposal was sent forward to the university administration for review.

At. Dr. Becker's request, Laurie Anglin, administrative specialist in the Center, read the names of all those who had been members of the Grady faculty at the time. Several of those listed remain on the faculty and were present. Others listed have retired, and several of them joined in the Dec. 3 celebration.

Jay Smith, Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Cox Center, was unable to attend the event because he was recovering from surgery.

Smith said he wanted to reiterate the high regard he had for the work of the Center. "At no time have the world's events mattered more, and the intensity of their importance is only going to grow," he said, in comments that were read at the gathering by Cox Center Associate Director Dr. Tudor Vlad.

The event began at 3:30 and was held in the reception area outside the Cox Center's new suite of offices, which look onto the garden outside the Journalism Building and north campus. In 1998, the university dedicated that garden to Mrs. Holland.

Several of those present toured the Cox Center suite, which provides offices for Anglin as well as Drs. Becker and Vlad, as well as for visiting journalists and scholars and graduate and undergraduate students working in the Center.

Portait of James M. Cox Jr. in the hall of the Center's new office suite.

The Center had been housed in a suite of offices on the third floor of the journalism building that had last been renovated in 1990, when the name James M. Cox Jr. was added to the front of the Center's original name.

James M. Cox Jr. was chairman of Cox Enterprises in Atlanta when he died in 1974.