CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A spokesman for Xavier University says the private Jesuit school in Cincinnati has no record of awarding a diploma to Phillip R. Cox, a prominent Ohio business leader who claims to be a graduate with a bachelor of science degree. Cox is a trustee on the University of Cincinnati board. He is also chairman of the board of Cincinnati Bell Inc., an Internet and telephone company with about 3,000 employees in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. There's more on Cincinnati Bell at Yahoo Business. He also serves on the boards of Timken, Duke Energy and Diebold, and was on the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank's board until 2006 when his term ended.
Cox was appointed to the University of Cincinnati board of trustees by former GOP Gov. Bob Taft in 1999. Cox's term expires in 2008. A brief official biography of Cox appears on the state university's Web site and notes he is a "1968 graduate of Xavier University."
However, Xavier University spokesperson Deb Del Valle told The Daily Bellwether this week that Xavier officials have been unable to find any records showing that Cox received a diploma awarding a degree. She said Xavier has fielded inquiries about Cox's history at Xavier in the past. She said he attended the school, but is not a graduate.
"We cannot say that he has a degree from Xavier. The registrar has searched and there is no record that he is a graduate. This has came up before,'' Del Valle said.
Last May, Cox was questioned in a court deposition (Warren County Common Pleas Court, Case No. 06 CV 66932) and testified he had a degree from Xavier University. Here is an excerpt:
Q, And you went to college in the Cincinnati area as well?
A. Xavier University.
Q. And what year did you graduate from Xavier University, with what degree?
A. 1969. [Editor's Note: The University of Cincinnati bio linked above said Cox graduate from XU in 1968.]
Q. With what degree?
A. Political science, BS.
Q. Was that a bachelor's degree?
Q. A bachelor of science. And did you go on to a graduate level program?
A. No, I did not.
During the deposition, Cox was asked if he had ever made claims about his past that were misleading. He said material was circulating that purported to show he was a fabricator.
Q. It is accusing you of making a practice of lying about your credentials. Do you see that in paragraph 2?
A. Yeah, I see it. Yeah.
Q. You deny that allegation.
A. I deny it, yes.
Q. You would say that you've never been in the Secret Service?
A. Same answer I gave you before, right.
Q. But you would disagree that you ever claimed that you did, correct?
A. Never claimed it.
A. You ever claimed to have a master's degree in psychology?
A. No. I said I had a degree in psychology -- psychology and political science.
Q. And did you ever claim to have a law degree from the University of Michigan?
A. No. I have a degree from the University of Michigan for a course taken there; plaque's on my wall.
Q. What course was that?
A. It was an industry course for financial planning.
The deposition's cover sheet shows it was taken May 31, 2007 at Five Seasons County Club.