Lewis and Carolyn Ford Bock of Cape Girardeau and The Woodlands, Texas, have been named the 2017 Friends of the University by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. They will be honored at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in the atrium of the River Campus Cultural Arts Center as part of the annual President’s Council Gala.
The Friend of the University Award, which recognizes those who support and who are closely associated with the mission, purposes, plans and programs of the University, is the highest honor bestowed by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. When the Foundation Board established the award, it also established the criteria for naming the Friend of the University. The Friend of the University must have the respect of the community and the University, and must have acted to confirm their interest and involvement with the University.
Carolyn Ford Bock is a 1969 graduate of Southeast Missouri State College, earning a Bachelor of Science in Education with majors in French and elementary education. During her college years, she was an officer in Delta Delta Delta sorority and went on to earn a Master of Arts in Education from Southeast in 1986.
Carolyn has worked as a public school teacher, GED instructor and librarian in southeast Missouri for 22 years, serving in various districts, including Cape Girardeau, Crocker, Nell Holcomb, Rockwood, Jackson and the Campus School. She has served as president of the Friends of the Cape Girardeau Public Library, a Sunday school teacher and a member of the Area Board of Young Life, and has been active with the United Way Women’s Council and the United Way After School Study Program. She currently volunteers as a tutor in the Read to Succeed program, volunteers for Mothers of Pre-school Children (MOPs), and is a group leader with Bible Study Fellowship International.
Lewis Edgar Bock followed in his family’s footsteps when he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southeast in 1963. His mother, Catharine Lewis Bock, was a 1933 graduate of Southeast Missouri State Teachers’ College, and his grandfather graduated from the Southeast Missouri Third District Normal School in 1888. Son, Richard, completed the 122-year cycle with his degree in 2010.
During Lewis’ years at Southeast, he was active as the president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Westminster Fellowship, and a member of Interfraternity Council and Sigma Rho Journalism Society. He also served as sports editor of the Capaha Arrow, forerunner to The Arrow.
After graduation, he had a brief career in banking and finance in Cape Girardeau before joining Allstate where he held a series of management positions over 33 years. His career took him from Cape Girardeau to Kansas City, Missouri; Northbrook, Illinois; and The Woodlands, Texas. He retired in 2000 as a senior account agent and splits his time between Cape Girardeau and The Woodlands.
Lewis was awarded Southeast’s Alumni Merit Award from the Harrison College of Business in October 2000. The Alumni Merit award is presented to graduates or former students of Southeast who have brought distinction to themselves and the University.
Lewis has a long history of community service, including involvement with the Jaycees, Rotary International and Habitat for Humanity. In Texas, he served as the speaker chair for the Montgomery County Prayer Breakfast, chaired the Montgomery County Young Life Board, and was an elder, deacon and Sunday school teacher at The Woodlands’ Presbyterian Church. Lewis is in his 14th year on the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board. He is chair of the Gateway Region Young Life Board, involved with the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society and the Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Cemetery Board. He is a tutor in the Read to Succeed Program.
The Bocks, who married in 2003 and are members of Cape Bible Chapel, are the sponsors of a charitable gift annuity that funds a scholarship for Southeast students. Carolyn sponsors multiple scholarships, while Lewis has established the Lewis Family/Bock Family Scholarships.
“The Bocks have lived the values we try to instill here at Southeast,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast. “They have led exemplary lives of service to their family, their community and to this University.”
Lewis said, “We are proud Southeast graduates. Southeast provided us with a solid education that could be taken into the workplace and compete with virtually any institution. It is a wonderful feeling to give back to the place that got you started. We are deeply humbled the University is honoring us in this way.”
Lewis, a native of Cape Girardeau, is the father of twins, Richard Bock and Catharine Bock Golomski (Adam) and grandson Bert, and has a stepson, Andrew Larson. Carolyn Bock has a daughter, Kathryn “Kate” Sanders (Scott) and grandchildren Grace and Ben.