Dr. Donna Cox

Written by Chanel Wright

When Reverend Dr. Donna M. Cox transitioned to the University of Dayton over twenty years ago, she had no idea the impact she was going to make in such a short amount of time. Moving from southern California where she was a public school music teacher in the LA area, she was excited to be on a college campus again. Dr. Cox shared, “ there is something about being immersed on a college campus that feeds my soul.” Through her warming presence and musical contributions, she too, feeds the soul of our campus.

Dr. Cox is professor of music and the Coordinator of Bachelor of Arts in Music Degree Program & Church Music Certificate Program. She is a graduate of the Masters program in Theological Studies here at the University of Dayton, as well a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri where she received both the Ph.D. and M.M. degrees in performance practices: choral conducting. In addition to serving as chair of the Department of Music for seven years and Coordinator of Vocal Activities for another seven, Dr. Cox is a choral conductor.  One of her initial tasks after joining UD was to develop the course MUS 390, also known as Ebony Heritage Singers. This course is a wonderful hybrid of an academic course and a place where students can explore their faith through music. This inspiring ensemble has performed for several professional conferences and in various parts of the world. Some of Dr. Cox’s favorite moments at UD have been through the work she is able to do with students outside of the classroom. The tremendous work of racial reconciliation and cultural understanding has been the hallmark of the Ebony Heritage Singers experience. Her ability to engage with students in discussions about their faith, personal issues, future plans and a plethora of other connections, she hopes will be the gift that keeps on giving.

In addition to her work as a professor, Dr. Cox is a much-sought lecturer and choral adjudicator. She regularly presents for professional music organizations such as the American Choral Directors divisional and national conferences, International Association of Women in Music, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, American Music Therapy Association, Ohio Music Education Conference, Music Educators National Conference, Chicago Children's Choir, Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association and symposiums held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Berea College, and University of Colorado at Boulder.

Outside of her time at UD, Dr. Cox is a Pastor-at-Large and enjoys teaching Bible studies, leading retreats for married and engaged couples and working with young adults. She is a die-hard crafter and enjoys the creative process immensely. When asked what impact she hopes to leave at UD, Dr. Cox shared, “I want to know I’ve made a difference in students lives.” There’s no doubt that she has.