Featured Donors

Hazlewoods’ Establish Scholarship Endowment

Gifts Support Deserving Students in School of Engineering
'Lew' and Janice Hazlewood, who have created an endowed scholarship in the School of Engineering, are greeted by Kevin Gardner (left), development officer for the school, and Engineering Dean Alex Cheng (right).
'Lew' and Janice Hazlewood, who have created an endowed scholarship in the School of Engineering, are greeted by Kevin Gardner (left), development officer for the school, and Engineering Dean Alex Cheng (right).

When it comes to generosity toward the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, P.L. “Lew” Hazlewood Jr., of Oxford, is a shining example.

Hazlewood and his wife, Janice, generously established the Janice and P.L. “Lew” Hazlewood Jr. Engineering Scholarship Endowment. The couple set up a planned gift for the future, but in the meantime are donating flow-through funds to accommodate the scholarship.

Giving to Ole Miss comes naturally for the couple.

“My parents paid for my college education,” said Lew Hazlewood, a chemical engineering alumnus. “Very often, this isn’t the case now, and the burden is left on the student.

“Janice and I wanted to help these students obtain a college education and to help grow the University of Mississippi School of Engineering. We urge others to donate to the engineering school via this scholarship.”

A native of Liberty, Lew Hazlewood was first exposed to the university at a 1959 football game against rival Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Coincidentally, his future wife, a native of New Iberia, Louisiana, also was at the game, although they didn’t meet until a few years later.

“From that time, I have dearly loved Ole Miss,” Hazlewood said. “To show our affection, we even bought a customized Ole Miss van.”

Lew Hazlewood enrolled at the university in 1967. Following graduation, he worked for the PPG Industries chemical facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for 35 years.

“At first, I was a process engineer,” he said. “Then, I was promoted and ultimately became team leader. My education at Ole Miss enabled me to understand chemical processes and gave me the necessary skills to perform my job.”

The Hazlewoods always wanted to be able to attend more UM sporting events by retiring to Oxford. They moved in 2004 and worked for the university for several years. He was is the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, and she worked in the Department of Psychology.

“We are grateful to be able to celebrate with them now, as we welcome our Hazlewood scholars to campus,” said Kevin Gardner, UM Foundation development officer for the engineering school. “This present and future commitment will greatly assist us in our recruitment for exceptional academic students.”

With this gift, the School of Engineering Scholarship Committee will be able to select a deserving student who has demonstrated an exceptional academic record and remained in a major track in engineering at the university.

The Hazlewoods’ donation has already proven very beneficial for the program, Dean Alex Cheng said.

“With the impending growth that has steadily become the norm at the School of Engineering, donations of any type are very well received, especially ones for student scholarships such as the gift from ‘Lew’ and Janice Hazlewood,” Cheng said. “Their timely generosity is helping to accomplish the provision of unique scholarships for the School of Engineering.”

The Hazelwoods’ planned gift gives them membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts.

For more information about including the university in a will or other estate plans, contact Sandra Guest, vice president of the UM Foundation, at 800-340-9542 or 662-915-5944, or visit www.umfoundation.com/planning. For information on giving to the School of Engineering, contact Kevin Gardner, development officer, at 662-915-7601 or kevin@olemiss.edu.

By Edwin Smith

Finishing Strong

Law Graduate’s Planned Gift Will Benefit the School That Started His Career
John Gee often trains for races on the dirt paths of Henry Cowell Redwood Forest in Santa Cruz, California (above). Below, Gee wins a recent race.
John Gee often trains for races on the dirt paths of Henry Cowell Redwood Forest in Santa Cruz, California (above). Below, Gee wins a recent race.

At 67 years old, John Gee ranks in the top 25 nationally among runners in his age group.

“I’ve got a 28-inch waist and 8 percent body fat and my resting pulse is 41 because I’m a lifetime long-distance runner,” Gee said. “I train on hills and dirt. I told everybody that running on asphalt is going to hurt them and none of them believed me. Now those guys are couch potatoes, and I’m still out beating 25-year-old kids.”

Gee has won races from 5Ks to marathons, logging over 100,000 miles since he started running. His prizes have included ribbons, medals and trophies. Now, he’s got a prize in mind for the University of Mississippi.

Gee and his wife Susan have generously agreed to donate half of their testamentary estate to the UM School of Law from which he received his juris doctorate in 1974. His unrestricted gift may be used by the school to support scholarships, faculty programs and more.

The planned gift awards Gee membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts.

“We are very appreciative to Mr. Gee for his generosity, which will play an important role in strengthening the School of Law and help it reach new heights of excellence,” said Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. “It is gratifying that this gift will honor the education he received that helped shape the successes in his life and will create a lasting legacy to help others be successful too.”

Gee, who grew up in Pulaski, Ohio, received a political science degree from DePauw University in 1971. He then enrolled at Ole Miss Law School because he liked the southern climate and the tuition was affordable.

“I paid my own way through law school. I worked on the section gang on the railroad every summer and I worked a part-time job at a plywood factory in Oxford, so I paid the whole deal myself,” Gee said, adding that moving to the South came with a level of culture shock.

“That was the first year the law school had a lot of out-of-state law students,” he said. “The local guys spoke a different language, literally. I remember Robert Khayat was an associate professor at that time, teaching civil procedure. I was called on to talk about a particular case and I said Lafayette County the way it’s pronounced in the north and I got a chuckle from the class.”

Additionally, Gee remembers being the only student with long hair in his first-year class.

“They were the Rebels, but I was more of a rebel than they were,” Gee said, laughing. “So I get a kick out of Ole Miss now with recent players Dexter McCluster playing football and Stefan Moody playing basketball with their long hair.”

After earning his law degree, Gee moved to Cincinnati, where he established his own practice as a plaintiff lawyer specializing in worker’s compensation cases. There, he met Susan, a court reporter, during a deposition; she’s now president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association and owns her own court reporting business.

When the Gees aren’t working, they enjoy spending time in Capitola, California, and Boulder, Colorado.

Gee says his Ole Miss legal education gave him the foundation he needed to establish a successful career (42 years and counting) and, for that, he’s grateful: “I’m just pleased to help out Ole Miss; the university was good to me, so I wanted to try to return the favor.”

The university is likewise grateful for him.

“We are always thrilled to know that our graduates had such a great experience here that they want to give back,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean in the School of Law. “And to give back in a way that enables us to address areas of greatest need is just exceptional. We truly appreciate Mr. Gee’s very generous planned gift.”

For information on including the University of Mississippi in long-term estate and financial plans, alumni and friends can visit www.umfoundation.planmylegacy.org or contact Sandra Guest, UM Foundation vice president, at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu.

By Bill Dabney