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By Karen Fountain
“What do you want to do after you graduate?” people often ask. As a student, you feel compelled to give an answer but alas, you’ve not viewed the map yet. Perhaps you sometimes feel like Abraham on a journey without knowing the destination. Well relax, you have company—Dorian Coover-Cox wondered where the path would lead too.
Though she is now part of the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), Dorian left college with no plans to teach. Now, she can hardly think of anything she would rather do. As Dorian tells her story, signposts appear at points where God has guided her on the road He has planned.
Dorian grew up with her parents and younger sister in a small town in New York State where her father, Gordon Coover (Th.M. ‘54), pastored. Thanks to her parents and teachers at church, she cannot remember a time when she did not know about Jesus, and eventually she understood that she must trust Him as her own Savior.
She speaks of those in the church as “like family” to her. One lady, to whom she refers warmly as “Aunt Marj,” stands out in her memories. People like Aunt Marj made Dorian more aware of the enjoyment of serving others using the skills God had given her.
“Aunt Marj was in charge of junior church and she did the best flannelgraph lessons. I loved her availability—like when she went to Peru at the age of seventy to look after children of missionaries there. She found numerous ways to pass her skills on to others along the way.”
Dorian graduated from Wheaton College with majors in English and Bible. She wondered what her next step should be. “It’s okay if you don’t know your final niche in life,” she explains. “Most of life is a lot of little decisions that add up after a while. Different people are wired for different activities. I think students should aim at getting a broad education, as few will do only one thing in life. I asked the Lord to help me pick the courses that He knew would be useful.”
With a career in nursing ruled out, she decided when she fainted before giving blood, Dorian attended a teaching course, which also failed to appeal to her. Then she found out that Union Gospel Press in Cleveland, Ohio, needed someone with an educational background like hers for an editing job. She accepted the position with them. She liked editing and wanted to improve her skills by learning some Hebrew so she and a friend attended an evening class at a local college.
In order to further improve her editing, Dorian registered for Hebrew and Greek classes at DTS She completed her Masters in Biblical Studies in 1984 and Masters in Theology in 1988, among the first women graduates.
Eleven years ago, Dorian married Chuck Cox and then attained her doctorate from DTS in 2001. As she studied she had part-time jobs grading and tutoring for the Old Testament department and editing Bibliotheca Sacra (a DTS publication).
A turning point came when she realized that both editing and tutoring involved helping people learn. God used this signal to alert her to the direction she should take next. So when offered a job as adjunct teacher in the Old Testament department in 1994, she gladly accepted it.
Now a part of the full-time faculty of the Old Testament department, she also continues to use her editing skills as associate editor for Bibliotheca Sacra.
Don Glenn, senior professor of Old Testament Studies at DTS, has high praise for his colleague, recognizing Dorian as a dedicated teacher and a valuable part of the department. Similarly, Dr. Eugene Merrill, distinguished professor of Old Testament Studies at DTS, commends her self-sacrifice and her reputation as an “outstanding Hebrew teacher.”
When you feel like a pilgrim progressing to destination unknown, relax and remember God’s faithful guidance to Dorian on her journey. He has a road mapped out for you too.
Karen Fountain is an international student from New Zealand currently in her first year of the M.A./CE program. This profile was part of the course work for her Christian Journalism class.