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University receives $1 million gift from Knoxvillian in honor of his family

Photo of Mildred Knight Cockrum in the 1944 Appalachian yearbook

(Dec. 11, 2014) – Carson-Newman University has announced that Knoxville resident Roy Cockrum has donated $1 million to the University.

Cockrum made the gift in honor of his mother, Mildred Knight Cockrum, a 1945 graduate of Carson-Newman. The gift will go toward an already endowed scholarship in her name.

“Words simply fail,” Carson-Newman University President J. Randall O’Brien said. “It is difficult to express the amount of appreciation the University has for the Cockrum family and their longstanding friendship. I am pleased that Roy Cockrum shares Carson-Newman’s belief that ‘students come first.’ That is truly the best part about this gift; it will directly benefit our students, while at the same time honor his beloved mother.”

The gift from Cockrum supports a dream by his late father, Howard Cockrum, some 15 years earlier, when he endowed a scholarship to honor his wife, Mildred Cockrum. Howard Cockrum’s love for the University was evident throughout his service as a member of the board of trustees. Over the years, he and Mildred Cockrum sought to support and advance the mission of Carson-Newman.

The University recognized Mildred Cockrum in 1996 with its Outstanding Community Service Award for her work as a hospice volunteer, 45-year devotion as a Sunday school teacher and commitment to teaching conversational English to American immigrants.

“My family has had a relationship with Carson-Newman since the ‘Mossy Creek’ days,” Roy Cockrum said. “My grandmother, mother, aunts, uncles and many cousins and friends hold degrees from Carson-Newman. With this gift I honor them all. I am most grateful to Carson-Newman, however, for introducing my parents to each other when they were students there. Without that meeting and the romance that followed I would, well, not be around to make any gifts.

“My prayer is that this endowed scholarship fund in my mother’s name, as founded by my father, will honor my parents and will provide many generations of worthy students the same opportunity to receive the high quality education from Carson-Newman that my family has enjoyed for more than 100 years.”

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