Margaret Cox Coker Endowed Scholarship in the College of Education
A conversation with L. Nick Davis.
Why did you choose to create a scholarship at Auburn University?
I believe in Auburn and I believe in Auburn students: while I studied at Auburn, I worked three jobs to support myself and pay my tuition, books, and fees. I want today’s students to be able to focus fully on academics, extracurricular activities, social activities, athletics, and frankly, just have fun. As I tell my nieces and nephews, “It is your job to make excellent grades and enjoy your college years.” You may not be able to realize it while you are here at Auburn, but this is the time of your life. Love and cherish every moment.
What would you want the recipients of this scholarship to know about the person for whom it is named?
This scholarship was named for my grandmother, Margaret Cox Coker. She was a proud graduate of the Auburn University College of Education. She earned her undergrad and master’s degrees while working full-time. She was the first generation in her family to attend college. She came to Auburn with virtually no parental support; she worked full-time. She believed in work, hard work. She retired after 30-plus years of preparing future generations of learners as a home economics teacher. She knew Auburn had served her well and she wanted to share her passion for education and Auburn with others. She often spoke about her experience at Auburn and how that time prepared her to be the best, expect the best, and get the best out of her students. She earned the respect of her fellow man; she excelled in her career, earning numerous awards; she held statewide and nationwide leadership positions. Like most of her generation, she was self-disciplined, had a spirit that was not afraid of what was before her, and had a determination to prepare herself to meet the challenges of the future. She prepared herself financially to live a full life into her twilight years, enjoying international travel and continuing to quench her thirst for experiencing new things and people whose lives were very different from her own. She believed in the human touch - affecting the lives of countless other educators, students, and her own family. My parents attended Auburn, as well as many in my generation. We have one in the fourth generation who was graduated from Auburn and several attending now. She learned what many of us have learned-she learned to love Auburn, she learned to love the Auburn Creed and lived by the Creed. And because my grandmother believed in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
Tell us about your Auburn story, favorite tradition, a “War Eagle!” moment, or what Auburn has meant to you.
My earliest memories are of coming to Auburn for game day weekends; this was before the completion of I-85 from Atlanta, where we lived. The five-hour trip here was full of long, winding roads, building the anticipation of the big game on Saturday. I remember going to the area outside of the locker rooms and seeing the coaches and the players. I still have all my programs from those early years, many with autographs of the Auburn greats: Shug Jordan, Pat Sullivan, and Terry Beasley, among many others. Auburn is an integral part of my life from my earliest memories, through my adolescence, my college years and the adult years. I believe in Auburn and love it.
What do you hope your recipients gain through this scholarship?
I hope this scholarship gives the gift of time: time to focus on being an Auburn student and enjoying all it has to offer.