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Willam M. Cox Sr. ’61

William “Bill” Cox, Sr., arrived on the campus of the University of Kentucky in the fall of 1960 with a small group of fellow graduates from Madisonville. During rush Bill quickly saw that a fraternity could provide a training and transition vehicle from high school to college. Cox pledged Kappa Sigma and was initiated on Founders Day 1961. Little did he know that he was joining a fraternity that would develop young men into a brotherhood for life. He obtained his degree (BA in Education) in the spring of 1965.

After graduating, Cox returned to his hometown and was employed as Executive Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. He left his position with the chamber to seek election as State Representative. Bill was (at that time) the youngest person ever elected to the House of Representatives. He began a career that would be almost evenly divided between working in the trucking industry and governmental service.

Bill has served as Chief of Staff for a Lt. Governor and Special Assistant to a Governor. He has served as Vice Chair of the Public Service Commission, Vice Chair of KET, and Vice Chair of the Council for Higher Education. Bill was nominated by President Jimmy Carter, and confirmed by the United States Senate, to head the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC. The annual budget of the FHWA when Cox was Administrator was $8B. He was elected Mayor of Madisonville in 1989, and later served for a brief period as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Revenue.

Cox entered the trucking industry in 1965 when hired by the late KY trucking czar Arnold Ligon. He rose on the management team of Ligon Specialized Hauler, Inc., to the position of Senior Vice President. In his years with Ligon the company’s revenues rose from $1M to $100M annually. Following the sale of Ligon, Bill purchased a small KY based machinery transport company, Thomas Heavy Hauling, and grew that company from $400,000 to $4M in annual revenues. After selling his company, Bill was employed as Assistant to the President of Landstar Ranger, the Jacksonville, FL, trucking giant with annual revenues of $400M. He later served as President of Economy Transport in Tampa, FL. Cox was invited to serve on the Board of Consultants to The Eno Foundation for Transportation in Westport, CT. He has been awarded the Trail Blazer Award by 3M Corporation, and the Student Leadership Award by the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma. He is a 51 Year Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner.

He and his wife, Edith, were married in 1963. They have two children, Anne and Will, and two granddaughters. He is one of Jackson’s Men of Kappa Sigma. His son, Will, is also a Kappa Sigma. He says “no experience at UK has had the lasting relationships that Dad has enjoyed from Beta- Nu. Dad appreciates UK, but he loves Kappa Sigma!” Edith and Bill have resided in Louisville for the past 16 years.