Franklin Lanier Cox was a distinguished longtime faculty member of The University of Texas with the rank of Ashbel Smith Emeritus Professor of Business Law and Education. He was extremely bright and graduated from high school in Harlingen at an early age, entering The University of Texas at Austin in 1930 at the age of 14. He majored in accounting in the College of Business Administration, receiving a BBA in 1934. He then received an LLB (JD) degree from the School of Law with Highest Honors in 1937. At the ripe age of 21, Lanier was appointed as an assistant professor of business law in the College of Business Administration at The University of Texas. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1941, and to the rank of full professor in 1949. For forty-four years as a full-time faculty member, Lanier served the University as a distinguished teacher, writer, and administrator.
The press interviewed Lanier upon his appointment as Ashbel Professor in 1980. He said he loved teaching and helping students and “always found it exhilarating—I would almost be on a high” at the end of class. For those who knew Lanier, that was quite a statement in and of itself. When asked to compare the 48,000 students then at UT with the 5,000 who were enrolled when he first began teaching in 1937, Lanier said that students were basically the same—“We still have three kinds of students—excellent, good, and indifferent. You’re challenged by the excellent students, of course, but also by the indifferent ones.” He went on to state that when a professor can help an indifferent student “catch fire,” that’s most rewarding.
During his tenure at UT, Lanier received a number of awards for his outstanding teaching and service, even though there were fewer awards given in those days than there are today. His teaching awards included the UT Austin Student Government Teaching Award, Student Council of College of Business Administration Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Joe D. Beasley Excellence Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Graduate School of Business.
For his contributions and service to higher education and to The University of Texas, Lanier received the first College of Business Administration Foundation Advisory Council Distinguished Academic Contribution Award Texas, and the Junior College Teachers Association Appreciation Award. Lanier was also inducted into the CBA Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by the McCombs School of Business for “exceptional service to education and human betterment, and for distinguished contributions to the University and to the business community.”