'Leadership Development' Develops into Lifelong Habit
By Judy Currin
Some things you just know instinctively. During the summer of 1989, Tarrick Cox, a high school junior from Clinton, N.C., knew after participating in ECU’s Legislative School for Youth Leadership Development that he belonged at ECU.
“The program inspired and empowered me,” said Cox, now associate director of admissions at ECU. The program included academic enrichment, communication and organizational skill development, personal growth and wellness, community involvement and group team building processes. The experience spawned Cox’s interest in education – which culminated in a master’s in elementary education by 2000 – and cemented the values of leadership and service he embraces today.
Cox took on a leadership role at St. Paul’s Church of Christ in Wilson during his undergraduate stint at ECU. The pastor was an acquaintance from his hometown of Clinton.
“The pastor asked for my help in overseeing the organization and distribution of food our church received from the local food bank,” Cox said.
Assisted by four volunteers, Cox learned to maximize the food resources for the more then 200 families who attended. “I’ve been involved with the church for 20 years,” Cox said. “The food truck comes in on Friday night. We unload, organize and sort so that after the meal, everyone can leave with part of the donation.”
When Cox is not at St. Paul’s, he’s on the campus of ECU or Pitt Community College engaged in activities involving the local chapter of 100 Black Men of America.
“The goal of the organization is to educate and empower Pitt County eighth-grade males and their families, while positively impacting our communities,” Cox said. “In many ways it reflects ECU’s motto Servire - to serve.” Cox is a 2009 inductee into ECU’s Servive Society.
The campus meetings give participants a feeling they can and will succeed, Cox said. “We talk about how we can make a difference through programs involving education, health and wellness, economic development and mentoring.
“Our motto is, ‘What they see is what they’ll be.’”
Now entering their third session this fall, participants from the first and second groups will act as mentors to incoming eighth-graders. Cox and 25 adult members will oversee them all.
Cox implements the value of education, leadership and service in his position as senior associate director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. He oversees special events such as Open House, Multicultural Family Day, On-Site Admissions and EC Scholars Selection.
He provides leadership for the office’s outreach to and recruitment of special populations to meet university enrollment and retention goals. “Outreach to traditionally underrepresented populations enhances the university’s commitment to diversity,” Cox said.
Cox and his wife Nicole, a communications specialist with the Brody School of Medicine, are proud parents of six-week-old Tyler David.
“I expect he’ll understand the meaning of the word ‘Servire’ long before he’s able to spell or pronounce it,” Cox said.