Cecil 'Corky' Richmond

Remembering a Friend and Early Tech Adopter

This scholarship celebrates friendship and a knack for technology. Gary Wiggins, a retired adjunct professor from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, established this scholarship fund in 2006 with his wife, Mia, to honor their friend, Cecil “Corky” Richmond. Gary and Corky became best friends at the age of 14, and both attended Indiana University. They remained close friends throughout their lives.

There are many ways to honor special friends and loved ones; some have the power to transform lives. Consider the case of Gary and Mia Wiggins and Gary’s lifelong friend, Cecil “Corky” Richmond. May their story of generosity inspire you to consider your own powerful and enduring tribute to a friend, colleague, teacher, or family member that benefits future generations.

In 2006 retired School professor Gary Wiggins and his wife, Mia, commemorated a lifelong friendship by endowing a scholarship in his name.

In the early days of the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Gary Wiggins, an adjunct professor, wanted success for the school and its students. There were few scholarships available for the students who were the early adopters, the ones willing to be the first to pursue a major in informatics. Gary wanted to change this, and when he received an unexpected inheritance of $50,000 from the mother of a close friend, he and his wife, Mia, decided to create a scholarship to remember that friend, Cecil “Corky” Richmond (BA ’65), who passed away in 2001.

Gary and Corky became best friends at the age of 14. Their friendship was at first based on a shared love of music, and together they started a dance band. They also spent summers working at a service station owned by Corky’s father. Both were only-children, and they quickly become like brothers. “I guess we blended our families,” Gary says.

Corky’s mother, Roberta Richardson, called Gary her number two son, and he called her his number two mom. Their families were very close, but Gary was surprised to learn she included him in her will, and he and his wife Mia could think of no better use of the money than to establish a scholarship to remember and celebrate his friendship with Corky.

Both Gary and Corky attended Indiana University. Corky received a degree in English, while Gary studied chemistry and Russian. They stayed close throughout their lives.

Corky was a journalist, musician, and veteran. After serving in the Navy, Corky settled in Indianapolis and started working at The Indianapolis Star as an arts and drama and travel writer. He also loved technology, and he was one of the first members of the Atex Newspaper Users Group (ANUG), an industry computer organization.

“Corky was really tuned in to technology,” Gary says. “He was one of the first people I knew to own a microcomputer (one of the first personal computers).”

Back in the days of telephone modems and Radio Shack TRS-80 computers, Corky was pioneering the use of technology in the newspaper business, using telephone lines to file stories from overseas and writing his own programs in BASIC.

In Corky’s 2001 obituary, Randy Jesse, then director of news systems for The New York Times, remembered, "The funny thing was that Corky wasn't really a techie. He was a journalist, a user of the technology. What he liked about technology was that it made his job better, easier, and more fun."

It was the essence of informatics: applying computer technology to an existing discipline. Corky’s passion for applying new technology to journalism is part of his legacy. In establishing this scholarship Gary & Mia Wiggins succeed in commemorating a lifelong friendship and giving young Hoosiers the keys to an invaluable education.