An incoming freshman who found his career path while taking care of his grandfather is the first recipient of the Jim and Gerry Cox Endowed Academic Scholarship.
Bradley Bordelon, who moved to West Virginia from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and a recent Nicholas County High School graduate, is a direct admit in West Virginia University’s nursing program; he plans to minor in Spanish.
Bordelon visited his grandfather when he was in hospitals and helped take care of him after school in what became a normal routine that influenced his choice in majors. He also took part in a mentorship program at his local hospital, where he worked with doctors, nurses and physical therapists, experiences that helped cement his decision to continue his education in the medical field.
“I want to help people,” Bordelon said. “Helping is what I’ve done all my life.”
“We have always been interested in education. We felt like this was our opportunity to give back to Nicholas County High School and WVU,” said Gerry Cox, who along with her husband Jim, established the scholarship.
Both Coxes graduated from Nicholas County High School. Jim Cox came to WVU on a partial track scholarship, and Gerry Cox attended Marshall University for a year-and-a-half before transferring to WVU. Both received bachelor’s degrees in education at WVU and continued their education at the University of Virginia, where Jim earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in audiology and Gerry earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in speech pathology.
After graduating, the Coxes worked for the Virginia Speech and Hearing Foundation prior to being employed as college professors in South Carolina. They returned to West Virginia in 1984 to care for aging family members and entered into business endeavors in Nicholas and Fayette counties.
“We hope to spread educational opportunities to highly-motivated high school graduates,” Jim Cox said.
For Bordelon, that opportunity couldn’t come at a better time.
Paying for college can be very stressful, Bordelon said. When his mother was laid off, he worried about how he was going to pay for school. Bordelon visited WVU’s Financial Aid Office to discover what help was available to him.
“Words don’t show how thankful I am,” Bordelon said. “They helped me pay for my school. They are awesome.”