Instructors look to memorialize lost alumna

Remembrance of loved ones always starts with the heart, and the heart of Missouri Southern goes out to one of its alumni.

On March 6, Southern alumna Melanie Cox died from results of a vehicle accident. Cox, a May 2003 graduate, was named as the outstanding honors student at the time of her graduation and was considered to be a “dear and special friend” to the honors program and honors program director, Dr. Pat Kluthe.

Kluthe said she knew Cox when she worked in the honors office her freshman year, and she went to India with Cox in 2000. Six instructors who went to India with Cox are donating money in her name to the Henry Martyn Institute.

The idea for the memorial came from the faculty members who went to India with Cox, who were “shocked and dismayed” by her death.

“They suggested that we put together a memorial for her in India,” Kluthe said.

“I began to think that’s good and we should do that. But then I wanted something local as well. There were so many that loved her and worked with her.”

She said she sent out an e-mail to last year’s honors alumni and those who are in the program now about the memorial and if they would contribute to it.

Kluthe said the response to her e-mail was good.

“I have had a number of students inquire and a number of contributions,” she said. “What we’re going to do is send out another reminder, because I had students say to me ‘Wait until payday.’ We’ll send out another reminder, and once we collect all that we think there will be, then we will talk about that (the memorial).”

The kind of memorial that is being looked at is either a tree with a plaque on campus, or, if there is more money, then there might be a grove of trees. She said the memorial will go up by the end of the year.

Dr. William Kumbier, professor of English, is heading up the contributions to HMI.

Kumbier said although Cox did not know about HMI when she went to India, he believes this is an institute that she would have believed in.

“Melanie was the kind of person that she was very interested in human relations and reaching out to people,” Kumbier said. “She was very interested in children and helping them. We just thought that this institute brought a lot of the kinds of things she believed in together.”

The institute is located in Hyderabad and has a general aim of unifying people of different faiths and religions.

It also provides children of servants an education, as well as providing after-school training for teenagers of Hindu and Muslim faiths to learn some skill.

For information about the memorial on campus call Kluthe at 625-9748, or for the contributions in India, call Kumbier at 625-9639.