Joan Turner Cox’s journey as a career educator and great supporter of teacher education in Southern California began inauspiciously: “I did not go into teaching with a long-range plan,” she explained.
After graduation with a BA from then Chapman College in 1949, she first worked in a medical office and later in the credit office at the Bullock’s department store. She then became an elementary teacher in San Bernardino County school, starting with an emergency elementary credential. “The pay was good; the hours were good; the vacations were good,” she later wrote.
Eventually, Joan went on to teach elementary in various schools in San Bernardino and 10th grade English at Upland High School. Later, she became the Upland High Department Chair of Special Education, picking up additional degrees and credentials along the way: Resource Specialist Certificate of Competence and Learning Handicapped Specialist from Claremont Graduate School and an MA from California State University, Los Angeles in 1969.
Joan’s philanthropic support of teacher education came in the 1990s when she established Chapman University’s Joan Turner Cox Fellowship and the Barbara and Ken Tye Fellowship, both of which continue to provide scholarships and fellowships to prospective teachers.
Don Cardinal, former dean of the Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies, built a closer relationship with her: “I always enjoyed talking with Joan; she was refreshingly honest and caring. She was a real kick, and I’ll miss her wit.”
Barbara Tye, also a former dean and a professor emerita of Attallah College, explained that over the years, “We became friends and continued to meet long after I was no longer the dean. For me, it has been a very special relationship with a remarkable woman whom I admire tremendously.”
Read more about Joan’s story in her own words.