East Carolina University alumna Beverly Cox celebrated her retirement after 43 years with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. this month, and several fellow Pirates were there to share in the festivities.
Cox retired as director of exhibitions and collections management at the gallery, where she was responsible for exhibition programs as well as the care and housing of 20,000 works of art. She has managed the organization of more than 300 exhibits and is the author of several exhibition catalogues.
Cox joined the National Portrait Gallery in 1968 when it opened to the public, just after her graduation in 1967 from the ECU School of Art. She acquired her first position at the gallery by walking into the personnel office without an appointment and asking if any jobs were open. They hired her on the spot as a temporary assistant in the history department.
Cox shared this and other experiences working for the museum in an interview with Washington Post writer Erin Williams. The full interview is available at http://ow.ly/5iC1z.
Joining a surprise celebration in Cox’s honor were members of the ECU Women’s Roundtable, created in 2003 to acknowledge the contribution of outstanding women to the legacy of East Carolina University. Cox was both a member and a WRT honoree, selected as one of “100 Incredible Women” by the organization in 2007.
WRT members who traveled to D.C. to attend the retirement reception included Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballard; Mary Plybon, a 1971 ECU graduate and chair of the WRT board of directors; and Marcy Romary, senior major gifts officer and director of women’s philanthropy at ECU. Also in attendance were Angela Allen, 1981 ECU graduate, now vice president of IBM Global Business Services and a WRT board member; Carolyn Breedlove, a 1970 ECU graduate and WRT member who manages the National Education Association’s Green Across America; and Sylvia Rohrbough , a WRT board member and 1959 ECU alumna.