HUX Student Andrew Cox Manages White House Travel

Ties for First Place in CSUDH Thesis Competition

U.S. Air Force Major Andrew Cox has a very interesting job. In his current post, he runs the Executive Travel Branch for the White House. He takes requirements from White House staff for overseas travel, and, using Air Mobility Command Aircraft, including C-5s, C-141s, and C-17s, he transports limousines, communications equipment, Marine helicopters and other material to overseas locations.

Like all military officers, Cox needed an advanced degree to be considered for promotion. According to Cox, most Air Force pilots pursue a masters in either aviation or management, but Cox couldn’t face going to class twice a week for four hours to study an area in which he had little interest.

While thumbing through a catalog, the Humanities External Degree at Dominguez Hills caught his eye. The program has options to pursue either an integrated approach to the humanities or a single discipline approach. Cox was able to choose the integrated approach, yet still emphasize his passion for philosophy (his undergraduate major was religion).

Even through he was taking classes via correspondence, Cox felt a connection with his instructors, including Joanne Zitelli, James Jeffers, Marshall Bialosky, and Mike Shafer. He especially singled out Don Lewis, whom he found helpful, friendly, and enthusiastic. "Without exception, the courses were well-designed, and there was something in each one I could focus on," said Cox. "It was obvious that every time I sent a paper in they were carefully reviewed and professionally received," he added.

Cox graduated this spring (2001). To say that he successfully completed the program is an understatement. He tied for first place in the Office of Graduate Studies thesis competition for his work entitled: "The Criminal Trial of O.J. Simpson and Enlightenment Rationalization of Knowledge."

How the degree will help Cox professionally remains to be seen. While his supervisors are proud that he won the thesis competition, they are still a bit perplexed about his pursuit of a humanities degree.

However, Cox insists that there is something about having an advanced degree that gives you a ‘leg up’ in the military. "There is a sub-community at the senior officer level that believes that a knowledge of history and philosophy, a cultivation of the intellect, subtlety and wit, and a refinement of critical thinking skills is the most important thing an officer can possess at any level," said Cox.

"Being a military officer is about being able to look at a complex situation, sort through a lot of relatively ambiguous and possibly contradictory information, and make sense of it for yourself and your boss," Cox continued. "I feel as though the Masters Degree in humanities has broadened my perspective and my ability to make sense of information."

Aside from enjoying the courses and future professional advancement, Cox feels he has gained a greater sense of awareness of the Humanities in his everyday life. Said Cox, "I now enjoy things like listening to music or even reading the paper even more, and you can’t put a price on that perspective."

Source: College Bound, November 18, 2001, p. 5.