Iconic Professor Recognition Ceremony

Regrettably, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have to postpone the Iconic Professor Recognition Ceremony scheduled for April 24, 2020.  We apologize for any inconvenience this action may cause.

Ceremony ♦  About  ♦ Iconic Professor Biographies

Please join the College of Science and the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement in recognizing our first iconic professors: Professor Meredith James Cox, Dr. Sanford Jones Sr., and Dr. John Meisenheimer Sr.



If you have any inquiries regarding this event, please email us at science@eku.edu.


In consideration of the influence past faculty have had to positively impact the history and trajectory of our institution, the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) College of Science wants to permanently honor the legacy of the professors who positively impacted the lives of our students by recognizing them as Iconic Professors. Honorees will be selected from nominations by departments and alumni within the college.

The first three individuals to be recognized as iconic professors are the late Professor Meredith James Cox and Drs. Sanford Logan Jones Sr. and John L. Meisenheimer Sr. These professors will be honored by naming a prominent space in the science building after each of them.

While honoring these exemplary professors who transformed the lives of our students, it is also an opportunity for their former students, other alumni, and friends of EKU to help recognize their contributions to education by making a gift to the College of Science Endowment for Faculty Success Fund which has been established to support the next generation of iconic professors. The gift can be designated in honor of any of the iconic professors, or contributed without a designation. These gifts will provide a reliable source, in perpetuity, of enhanced support for faculty professional development, research, and tools for effective and innovative teaching.

If you would like to make a gift or pledge today to honor the legacy of any of our iconic professors, and challenge our current and future faculty to become successful professors who change lives the way your own life was changed, visit https://www.alumni.eku.edu/s/1763/index.aspx?sid=1763&pgid=1779&gid=2&cid=4113&ecid=4113&post_id=0.

Professor Meredith J. CoxProfessor Meredith James Cox was born in Cave City, Barren County, Kentucky. He began his undergraduate work at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky before transferring to Peabody College, in Tennessee, where he received his B.S. and M.A. degrees in chemistry. He did further graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, Columbia University and Duke University. Prior to coming to Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) he taught in two high schools and at Berea College.

Professor Cox served 18 months during World War I with the meteorological section, serving in this country and in Europe.

Professor Cox taught chemistry at EKU from 1924-1966 and was essential to the creation of the pre-medical program at EKU. Ten years a sponsor for the pre-medical students’ Caduceus Club, students were his passion and student success was his mission. His commitment to the success of his students was so strong that he reportedly had the reputation of threatening to jump out the window when his students did not perform up to his high standards. Not surprisingly, many of his students went on to become national leaders in their fields following graduation from EKU. His papers on chemistry and related subjects, available at EKU Archives, demonstrated his personal investment not just in the classroom, but to the wider world as well.

He was actively involved in community organizations and held many positions in professional organizations dedicated to the advancement of education. He worked devotedly toward the advancement of EKU’s chemistry program and continued his interest in the institution even in retirement. He died in Richmond on April 30, 1976.

Professor Cox and his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Highland Cox, had a son, William H. Cox M.D., and four grandchildren: Alice Putman, the late James William Cox, the late Elizabeth Bright, and William H Cox II.

Dr. John Meisenheimer Sr.John L. Meisenheimer Sr. grew up in the small village of West Salem, IL. At age 12, a great uncle showed him how to make a carbide cannon from a molasses can, and the experience prompted his lifelong interest in chemistry. He attended Evansville College, where he received the Strickler Award as the outstanding chemistry major.

Commissioned in the Air Force in 1954, he entered the Weather Officers school at the University of Chicago. He was assigned to the Weather Detachment at Patrick AFB, FL, and was a Launch Weather Officer (LWO) at Cape Canaveral. He worked with several missile engineers; the most notable was the old “German Rocket Team,” headed by Dr. Werner von Braun, the designers of Explorer 1, America’s first satellite. Meisenheimer was the LWO for Explorer 1 and entered the history books with no-go forecasts for two days due to a shift in the jet stream that would have destroyed the satellite. A two-star general pressured him to alter his projections, but he held firm. On the evening of Jan. 31, 1958, Meisenheimer gave the all-clear, resulting in a successful launch, making Meisenheimer the first “space-age” meteorologist.

Later Meisenheimer attended Indiana University, where he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry. In 1963 he joined the chemistry faculty of Eastern Kentucky State College. An author of fourteen scientific publications, Dr. Meisenheimer, also received several EKU teaching excellence awards. As a premedical advisor, he sponsored the Caduceus Club and sat on the Executive Committee of the Rural Kentucky Medical Scholarship Fund. Dr. Meisenheimer was honored as a Kentucky Colonel in 1967 and an EKU Foundation Professor in 1994. He retired in 1999.

Dr. Meisenheimer and his late wife, Mrs. Alice Meisenheimer, have two children, John “Lucky” Meisenheimer M.D. and Ben A. Meisenheimer M.D., both EKU alums.

Dr. Sanford JonesDr. Sanford Logan Jones was born in 1925, the son of a coal mine worker and a teacher. Dr. Jones grew up in Perry County, KY, and attended a one-room school. During World War II he served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army 15th Air Force, from 1944-1945. He completed 35 combat missions over Europe as a crew member on a B-24 Liberator bomber, and was awarded the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

Upon discharge in 1945, he returned home and completed high school. With support from the GI Bill, Dr. Jones attended Eastern Kentucky State College from 1946 to 1950, graduating from Eastern with a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry. He served as a high school science teacher in his native Perry County from 1951 to 1955. In 1954, he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Kentucky. He obtained his M.S. degree in Anatomy and Physiology from UK in 1956. In the fall of 1956, Dr. Jones began work on his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee Medical Units at Memphis. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Physiology from UT in 1960.

In 1961, Dr. Jones accepted a faculty position in the Department of Biology at Eastern Kentucky State College. During his 31 years at Eastern he served on a number of committees and organizations, and was Chairman of the Faculty Senate and President of the Kentucky Academy of Science. He was part of a cadre of faculty that served as a nucleus to attract new faculty having professional teaching and research skills supportive of an expanding curriculum and programs of study. When the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences was formed, Dr. Jones was selected to be the new chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He served in that position from 1979 until his retirement in 1992. Reflecting on his tenure as a faculty member and chair, his colleagues felt that he fostered an atmosphere of cooperation and collegiate interaction, and was highly regarded.

Throughout his tenure at EKU, Dr. Jones cared not only about what his students were experiencing in the classroom, but also about their future careers. He was especially committed to premedical education and worked tirelessly to assist students interested in medical or dental school.

Dr. Jones and his wife of 62 years, the late June Elizabeth Daugherty Jones, have three children: Dr. S. Logan Jones, Jr. of West Chester, OH, Dr. Henry M. Jones of Rancho, Mirage, CA, and Ms. Catherine E. Jones of New York, NY.