Hi, my name is Tim Cox and as a child, I loved to draw, and my parents encouraged my interest in arts mostly because it kept me entertained, kept me quiet during church services, and kept their refrigerator well decorated. But at 11 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer, and my love of drawing became my escape from the tests, the waiting rooms and, most of all, the pain. During my battle with cancer, my parents and other mentors emphasized the idea that “attitude is everything,” which helped me develop a slightly off-center sense of humor. The humor helped during my many hospital stays, and I had to take the reigns of my faith and depend fully on God to help through this time. The cancer eventually crushed all the nerves in my spine making me a paraplegic and a latter infection caused me to have my left leg amputated. So for about 10 years my life changed drastically, but the things that mattered most stayed consistent like my family, my faith and my love of creating.
After high school, I attended Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and received my A.A. in fine arts, graduating cum laude. It was at NOVA that a mentor encouraged me to consider a career in graphic design because it complimented my talents and interests. From there, I continued my education at Harding majoring in graphic design. I discovered that my mentor was right — I enjoyed the daily creative challenges, and I developed a skill-set that readied me for internships and the real world.
Shortly after graduating with my B.F.A. in graphic design, I began work as a government contractor in the Washington, D.C., metro area with the National Counterintelligence Center, a division of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). I was thrown head first into an exclusive world of intelligence, politics and complex issues where my designs were needed to help educate and inform the intelligence community. My challenge was to provide quality designs on various documents — posters, report covers, seals, info-graphics, brochures and websites — that would make people take notice and, more importantly, remember amidst a sea of paperwork and red tape. During my tenure with the CIA, my work garnered high praise including several intelligence citations and awards.
I met my wife Erin (Harrington) Cox in a Bible study in Fairfax, Virginia, in early 1999. She had just graduated from Harding and was working on the White Water investigation as a paralegal, and her brother, Brian Harrington, gave her my name because he and I had both been in Knights. She and I soon became friends and after several “dates” where I let her pay her own way because I wasn’t sure if it was a date or not, we began dating. We got engaged in May 2000 and were married in February 2001. We both were working very stressful jobs and tired of the rat race of the D.C. area, and we decided we would move but were not sure where that would be until we ran into Dr. John Keller from the art department. He said that, if I was ever interested in adjuncting, I would be welcome. We decided God was tapping us on the shoulders, and we moved to Searcy in November 2002 where I discovered the best of both worlds by teaching amazing students and continuing my work with the government by telecommuting.
We both became and remain very active on campus becoming sponsors for Knights and Chi Omega Pi. We believe that working with the students is the reason God pointed us in this direction. The students are very special to us, and we love having them over to our home and joining in on their myriad activities. They all have become older siblings to our daughter Corban, whom we adopted in 2006, and our son Sullivan, whom we adopted in 2011. Knights even queened Corban, and she loves the extra attention she gets from them. Erin loved her time with Chi Omega Pi but Delta Nu had a need for sponsors last year so she made the move over to them and greatly enjoys her time with them. The students have helped make our house a home that they are always welcome in.
Work was as busy as ever but on March 1, 2013, God allowed us to depend on him once again. After 16 years with the CIA contract, my position was lost due to government sequestration and sweeping budget cuts. Though this was quite a blow, I truly feel that it is a blessing. We did not want to leave the students and the friends we have made so until full-time work could be found, I decided to further my education and was accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design where I am currently pursuing my Master of Fine Art in graphic design online. It has been challenging but the benefits to my creativity have been incredible. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to now work full time for Harding as one of the graphic designers in the Public Relations Office, but I also get to continue teaching as a adjunct in the art department. I am excited about bringing my creativity and skills to this position and help make sure the Harding that I love looks as great as I know the faculty, staff and awesome students make it. God continues to bless my family and me, and we look forward the path he has laid out for us.
Tim Cox, graphic designer