New AU scholarship honors Pulitzer Prize winner, AU alumna

AUBURN – Auburn University recently received a $100, 000 endowed gift from the James M. Cox Foundation in honor of Cynthia Tucker. A 1976 graduate of AU, Tucker was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2007 for “her courageous, clear-headed columns that evince a strong sense of morality and persuasive knowledge of the community.” She is currently the editorial page editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The endowment will provide scholarships for students in the journalism program in AU’s College of Liberal Arts. Known as the Cynthia Tucker ’76 Endowed Scholarship for Journalism Excellence, the gift strives to increase the level of diversity in the journalism program.

“It is such an honor to receive this endowment from the Cox Foundation,” said Anna Gramberg, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “So many of our journalism students admire Cynthia Tucker, and giving them the opportunity to emulate Cynthia’s prestigious career is the best gift I can think of.”

Tucker joined Cox Enterprises more than 30 years ago and the endowment recognizes her contributions not only to the company, but to the entire field of journalism.

“At Cox, we value talent, diversity and acting as a good corporate citizen,” said Leigh Ann Launius, director of foundations and operations at Cox Enterprises. “Creating this scholarship in Cynthia’s name is the perfect way to pay tribute to all three values.”

Tucker was born in 1955 in Monroeville, Ala. At Auburn, she earned a dual degree in journalism and English while writing for the student newspaper, The Plainsman.

Tucker was selected as Nieman Fellow by Harvard University in 1988. In 1993, the National Women’s Political Caucus awarded Tucker the Exceptional Merit Award. In 2005, Tucker received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award, as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College. She was a finalist in 2004 and 2005 for a Pulitzer Prize.

“I’m deeply honored by the generosity of the Cox Foundation, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the bright and committed young journalism students who are scholarship recipients,” said Tucker.

The gift counts as part of the “It Begins at Auburn” Campaign which encompasses all colleges and schools, as well as the AU libraries and museums, athletics and Auburn University Montgomery. Endowments for student scholarships, faculty, programs and unrestricted dollars make up 58 percent of the campaign’s goal. In addition to endowments, the campaign will focus on facilities and equipment, campus beautification, research and current operations.

Contact: Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (, or
Wendy Bonner, (334) 844-1483(