As a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, I am so honored to present the All Together One Award to Geary Cox II.  Mr. Cox was nominated by many co-workers, staff, and friends.  From these very carefully crafted nominations, the members of ODK were able to clearly see that he is extremely deserving of this important and prestigious award.  I would now like to share what makes Geary Cox, II such an extraordinary individual. 

Geary began his undergraduate career as a Duke in 2003.  His passion for JMU began very early in his time at JMU.  As an undergraduate, he seemed to realize that JMU is not only an institution of learning but a place that opens doors.  He quickly immersed himself in many, varied organizations on campus.  He promoted programs for the Center for Multicultural Student Services, expressed the state of the JMU community to the Breeze, led his peers in the Student Government Association, and began working for the Mine Action Information Center as an Editorial Assistant to The Journal of ERW and Mine Action.  Later he became the Assistant Editor/Research Specialist for this journal.  As a member of the Student Government Association, he campaigned for a range of causes, volunteered whenever someone needed help, and contributed ideas for strengthening the community.

Geary graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in both English and political science in 2006, and he returned as a “Double Duke” to earn his Master of Arts in English in 2008.  Now he is embarking on his Ph.D. in non-profit and community leadership through the School of Strategic Leadership Studies at James Madison University as a “Triple Duke”. 

In addition to his dedication to learning and community building here on campus, Geary Cox represents JMU abroad in countries such as Sudan and Jordan through the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery.  The center assists organizations and individuals in humanitarian crises and post-conflict areas and generates landmine and explosive remnants of war removal training materials.  He is well known for his work as Program Manager/ Program Coordinator at CISR.  There he has integrated his doctoral studies into their mission and thus has improved many of their projects and programs.  He has coordinated the logistics for their Senior Manager’s Course in Explosive Remnants of War and Mine Action.  The course brings together twenty high-level leaders of international landmine-remediation programs to JMU for a five-week crash course in program management and leadership.  Geary makes JMU home to the participants, countless guest speakers, faculty, staff members, lecturers, and visitors.  He ensures that they leave having had a true Madison Experience.  He also brings this Madison Experience to CISR’s sister course in Amman, Jordan.  In addition, in 2009 he traveled with the CISR/State Department team to Bogota, Columbia to facilitate a conference coordinating Columbian mine action.  He reportedly worked through long nights to ensure smooth proceedings.  Overall, he is always willing to give his time to the CISR mission whether that is through coordinating programs, lecturing, or just sharing his knowledge. 

Geary Cox has a natural ability to connect people with the CISR mission.  He seeks out potential applicants for the Humanitarian Demining Fellowship that CISR coordinates with the US Department of State.  He sought out Emma Smith Atkinson to join the Fellowship.  He saw her looking at the CISR website on campus and started up a conversation with her.  She served as a Fellow in 2009/2010, and now she manages a program for the State Department’s weapons destruction programs in Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and in many other places.  Recently, when Geary was challenged to formulate the Center’s long-term plan, he chose to make the key part of his plan the development of the staff.  He wants to make sure the current student employees grow professionally during their time working for CISR.  He is committed to CISR’s mission and strengthening the team behind that mission. 

Geary also has a way of inspiring others here at JMU.  Angela Damiano shared how he inspired her when she had just finished her fourth year at JMU but had not graduated with her peers because she had changed her major late her junior year.  She was feeling left behind after watching her peers graduate, move to new places, and begin their careers; however she says it was her friend Geary who reminded her that there was a good reason why she was going to be at JMU for a fifth year.  He inspired her to keep her objectives in mind for that last year and helped her focus on being successful in her new major.  He has also been a graduate mentor for the Centennial Scholars Program where he helped students transition into university life and find their own path to success at JMU.

Geary Cox is a proud member of the Alumni Association recruiting as many new JMU students as possible.  He is Co-President of the Harrisonburg Alumni Chapter in which he organizes social gatherings, plans community service opportunities, and plays a role in the growth of the largest JMU Alumni Chapter.  His devotion to JMU does not seem to have any bounds. 

Here is a series of quotes from his colleagues and friends:

“He has also inspired many in the office with his extreme passion for JMU sports, particularly football.  There are a few of us – myself included – who have purchased season ticket(s) in part from seeing how much Geary enjoys being a Dukes fan!” 

“When his three year old niece sees purple and gold she says ‘Duke Dog’ and when she says her ABC’s she goes ABCDEFGHIJMU!”

“To this, he is always bleeding purple – his alarm clock tone is the JMU Fight Song, so he wakes to the Marching Royal Dukes on multiple continents.”

“The only time I ever see Geary worry is about the happiness and wellbeing of others.”

“He sees the passion in others that he feels in himself, and does what is in his capacity to inspire, lead, and support them to actualize their goals.”

“He always strove for betterment, personal betterment, school betterment, and world betterment.”

This last quote is one of Geary’s favorite quotes that he uses, and a few of his friends wish to use his own words to express their gratitude. They say, “You have done me a kindness I cannot hope to repay; every time I asked for the impossible you gave me the unimaginable.”

Geary you’ve inspired us all!

Please join me in welcoming Geary Cox, II to receive the All Together One Award!

Written by: Julie Anna Vest

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