Advocate for vulnerable to speak at SGU commencement


St. Gregory’s University recently announced that attorney and state advocate Shirley Cox will give the university’s commencement address. Cox has served as an advocate for the Church relating to issues regarding society’s most vulnerable.

Cox, a legal services developer for the state Department of Human Services’ Aging Division, has been an advocate for those on the margins of society for more than 20 years. In 2007, she became one of the most well-known spokespersons on immigration issues in Oklahoma, specifically in opposition to the immigration law known as HB1804.   She is also a frequent speaker on issues involving end-of-life decisions, senior fraud, the legislative process and advocacy for the elderly.

Prior to assuming the position with DHS, Cox served as a legislative and public policy advocate for the Roman Catholic Church relating to issues that affect the poor and vulnerable, including such issues as the elderly, pro-life, Medicaid, immigration, public benefits, welfare reform, euthanasia, corrections, the death penalty, “English Only”, and  end-of-life. She has been the Director of Catholic Charities Immigration Assistance Program (1987-1997), an Adjunct Professor of Law at Oklahoma City University Law School (Immigration Law) (1993-2005), and an Adjunct Professor of Theology at St. Gregory’s University (1998-2000).

Cox serves on numerous community boards and committees, including the Latino Community Development Agency, Metafund Board, Citizens’ League of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Conference of Churches, and Oklahoma County Mental Health Association. She also has a long list of recent honors, including the 2007 Latino Community Development Agency Advocate of the Year Award, the Central Oklahoma Community Forum’s 2007 Labor/Religion Community Service Award, and the Oklahoma Bar Association’s 2005 Outstanding Service to the Public Award. She was also featured in the Encyclopedia of American Catholic Women in 2001.

Cox has a master’s degree in social work and a law degree, both from the University of Oklahoma. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Oklahoma State University.

St. Gregory’s University is a private institution located in Shawnee, Oklahoma. SGU is the only Catholic university in Oklahoma and the oldest institution of higher learning in the state.

The school’s 93rd commencement is scheduled for May 10 at 11 a.m. inside W. P. Wood Field House. SGU has also scheduled its baccalaureate for May 9 at 7 p.m.

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