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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank: Board Member's Bio In Doubt

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Some keen-eyed numbers crunchers have noticed that the official biography of a prominent Ohio Republican doesn't seem to add up. Cincinnatian Phillip R. Cox serves on several corporate boards of directors, along with the governing bodies of the University of Cincinnati and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Both Diebold Corp., the voting machine manufacturer from Canton, and the
University of Cincinnati say that Cox is a college graduate. He is reported to have picked up a diploma in 1968. Some of the bios say he was awarded a B.S. degree is political science and psychology from Xavier University.

That appears to be inaccurate. Has a case of resume padding been uncovered? Cox went to Xavier -- where he played football -- but is considered a non-degreed alum. Apparently, he was supposed to finish in 1968 but may have changed majors, dropped out, or earned credit hours in classes that didn't lead to a diploma. It is unclear why Xavier does not consider him a graduate.

Now here's where things gets really interesting. Former Republican Gov. Bob Taft appointed Cox to the University of Cincinnati board of trustees in 1999, soon after Taft took office in his first term. The state school considers Cox a graduate of Xavier, its crosstown rival. This is what U.C. says on its Web site about its GOP-appointed trustee:

"Mr. Cox is a frequent speaker for companies, universities and civic organizations throughout the country, and has been the keynote speaker for scores of national and local organizations. He is well known for his dynamic and motivational speaking style. A native of Cincinnati and a graduate of Xavier University, Mr. Cox worked briefly for General Mills before founding the firm he now heads. He is chairman of the Cincinnati Business Committee (CBC) and serves on a variety of boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank, Cinergy, Cincinnati Bell, Touchstone Mutual Funds, Bethesda Hospital and the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. In addition, he recently accepted a position on the board of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, an organization charged with the promotion and oversight of business development in the City of Cincinnati."

Has Cox embellished his resume? There is evidence he did not. The Bellwether checked with the governor's office and learned that Cox's November 1998 bio on file when he was vetted for the Bob Taft appointment to the University of Cincinnati board of trustees says Cox "attended" Xavier University. In other words, he did not claim to be a grad.

But somewhere along the way he picked up a degree, a B.S. in political science and psychology. Perhaps U.C. decided to pump up his academic credentials. After all, how would it look for a major state university to have a trustee --indeed, a former chairman of its board of trustees -- who didn't have a sheepskin?

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