The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Hancock scholarships honor causes of alum and faculty member.

Brian Orefice

Charles Hancock and his wife, Theresa, attend the Rose Bowl.

Charles Hancock knew how mentors could change a student’s life. It happened for him.

As a first-generation college student in 1959, he had major aspirations and little money to carry them out. He took odd jobs to pay his tuition at Louisiana State University’s New Orleans campus, where he was one of the first African American students admitted. Family members chipped in when they could.

Once Hancock completed his bachelor’s degree in French education, a National Defense Education Act grant let him continue his studies in France.

There, he met Edward Allen, an Ohio State professor of foreign language education who would become his mentor, colleague and lifelong friend. When Allen, also an Ohio State alumnus, extended an invitation to visit campus and suggested Hancock consider earning his PhD here, he accepted. Hancock graduated in 1970.

“The men were advocates for each other,” said Theresa Meriwether Hancock, who met Charles when they were undergraduates.

A life’s devotion

Charles Hancock teaches a class.
Charles Hancock teaches a class.

In 1986, Hancock began his 26-year journey as a professor of foreign language education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in Ohio State’s College of Education (now Education and Human Ecology). He lectured and taught around the world.

“Charles believed so much in education and devoted his life to it,” Theresa said, noting that he guided more than 60 doctoral students. His other roles: director of the Young Scholars Program in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, associate dean for curriculum and programs and associate dean for diversity, urban and international/global affairs.

“It’s amazing and a joy for us to hear how he touched the lives of so many and from all ethnicities,” Theresa said.

After he passed away in 2012, Theresa and their daughters — Ange-Marie, Nicole ’93 and Janine, all now living in Los Angeles — honored his memory and service to his profession by creating the Hancock Fund, a venture to support various causes special to Hancock.

At Ohio State, the endowment currently supports the Dr. Charles R. Hancock Graduate Scholarship Fund in Urban Education and the Charles Hancock Memorial Travel Abroad Scholarship.

Shared moments

“We knew Dad would want us to share the gift of education with as many students as possible,” said Ange-Marie, a professor at the University of Southern California. “He was a gardener of people, of flowers, of children. Anyone who was a faculty or staff member at Ohio State and spent time with him was a beneficiary of that. He liked to plant seeds and see what would grow.”

Nicole, an attorney with Warner Bros, was on campus while her father was teaching. “It was wonderful being a student at Ohio State and seeing him at work in his office,” she said. “I believe I received a level of respect because people loved and respected him.”

She also liked seeing how he talked with others during meetings and events held in their home. “He told us there was something to be learned in every experience. He was inclusive and believed in bringing people together,” she said, noting that he would be “absolutely overjoyed and grinning from ear to ear” about the scholarships.

Janine, the youngest, graduated from law school in 2000 and returned to Columbus. The opportunity to interact with her dad on a peer level meant a lot. "My Dad was such an inspiration to me and so many others. He gave of himself so freely and genuinely. It was invaluable for me, as an adult, to see how he handled problems and maintained his sense of optimism. He truly loved his work and Ohio State."

Give to the Hancock fund

Established August 30, 2013, with gifts from Theresa Hancock; used to provide scholarship support to graduate students from under-represented groups who have expressed an interest in urban education with particular attention given to, but not limited to, African American, African, Caribbean or Hispanic/Latino students. Give to the Hancock fund today.