Chief of staff
Division of Student Affairs
Lady Cox, a Mississippi native, joined the Division of Student Affairs in September 2010 where she now serves as the chief of staff. She has overall responsibility for marketing and communications, business administration and the Office of Parent and Family Programs. In her career in higher education, Cox has gained experience in housing and residence life, students in distress, campus crisis response, student conduct, orientation programming and higher education marketing. Cox has degrees from Mississippi State University and Auburn. Also a proud parent, Cox and her husband, Matt, have two daughters, Linnea and Maggie Shaw.
1. You've had an interesting route to student affairs, what drew you to this path?
I started my career in sales and marketing at a Fortune 50 company. Over time, I found that I missed the university community. I started my new life in higher education as the marketing coordinator for student housing at Mississippi State University. From there, I moved to the Dean of Students Office as director of Parent and Student Services. It was my job to communicate to students and parents all of the resources available at the university. In my role as chief of staff, I have a lot of my prior work experiences combined into one position. I still work with parents and marketing, but I also oversee the division's budgets and human resources.
2. What attracted you to work with college parents and families? Do you have one piece of advice you wish every college parent knew?
At my core, my focus has always been communicating with others. In my work with college parents, I try to share with them the type of information I will want to know when my daughters are in college. If there is one thing that I wish all of our parents could remember, it is the phrase, "How are you going to handle that?" College students are going to call home and tell their parents about all of the challenges they are facing. It's easy to tell your son or daughter, "Let me help you," but it's better if you can say, "How are you going to handle that?" When you listen to your students it shows you trust them to make sound decisions.
3. Tell us about some of the places that you and your husband, Matt, have traveled.
Matt and I love to travel. Before we had children, we took a big around-the-world trip. For a year and a half, we backpacked our way on and off the beaten path. We hiked the Inca Trail, trekked with mountain gorillas, rafted the Nile and climbed the temples at Ankor Wat. My favorite place will always be the Galapagos Islands; it was amazing to see so many exotic creatures and beautiful landscapes. This year I have been thankful to travel for Auburn University. I just completed a site visit to Guatemala and I will return there in December with 10 Auburn students for an Alternative Student Breaks trip.
4. After traveling the world, what is it like living in Auburn?
On September 11, 2001, Matt and I were in a tiny coastal town south of Mombasa, Kenya. When we heard the news of the terrorist attacks, we knew we had to come back home to the U.S. Our return plane tickets were for December to fly back home from South Africa. Amazingly, through the kindness of strangers, every person we encountered worked to get us back home. We ended up catching a flight to Paris and then flying to D.C. on different airlines for no cost. When people learned we were Americans they helped to get us home.
For me, this is what it is like living in Auburn. You are surrounded by people who help others without hope of personal gain. I am constantly amazed at how kind and gracious the people are here. I can't imagine a better place to live and raise my daughters.
5. What is your favorite Auburn tradition?
I grew up in Starkville, Miss., as a Mississippi State Bulldog fan, and the campus and town feel very similar to Auburn. I love the cowbells at MSU, but now my favorite college tradition is saying, "War Eagle" for every situation.