Setting foot on the main University of Mississippi campus brings back countless memories for Nashville, Tenn., native Gladys Garrett.
"In the '40s, Ole Miss was nothing like it is now, and neither was Oxford," Garrett said. "We didn't even have a hotel. When my husband graduated the neighbors put his family up so they could come to graduation. That's how far we have come."
Garrett has committed a planned gift of $100,000 to the UM School of Pharmacy and recently was honored at a luncheon on the Oxford campus.
"It was an absolute pleasure to meet Mrs. Garrett and to thank her for her commitment to the pharmacy school," said David D. Allen, the school's dean. "Her gift will make a huge difference in the lives of our students and her generosity is deeply appreciated by all of us."
Garrett is the widow of Marvin "Lynn" Garrett, a 1949 pharmacy graduate and former owner of Lynn Garrett Drug Store in Nashville.
"My dad looked at being a pharmacist as a profession, not a job," said Douglas Garrett, Lynn and Gladys Garrett's son. "That included being a pharmacist, counselor between doctor and patient, community leader and friend. I am quite pleased that my mom is making this donation to support the university that gave my dad a vocation and principles for success."
Half of Garrett's donation will support Faser Hall renovations, while the other half will establish a scholarship endowment bearing the Garrett name. The school is updating the second floor of Faser Hall to include a state-of-the-art skills laboratory. A room in the new space will be named after the Garrett family.
Garrett said she wanted to give to the pharmacy school not only to honor her late husband but also to support a school that educates "some of the best pharmacists in the country."
"Ole Miss has so many fine qualities," Garrett said. "We hired many Ole Miss alumni. Whenever you get a good education, you can make a good living. That was the importance of the pharmacy school in my life."
Garrett's family, along with Allen, the school's leadership team and students, attended the luncheon, where she was presented with a framed certificate.
"My family is close-knit, and they absolutely thought my husband was the best," Garrett said. "They wanted to be (at the luncheon) because they are so proud."
Keith Shelly, a 1978 graduate and owner of Donelson Drug Mart in Nashville, also attended the luncheon with his wife Lori.
"I had the good fortune of knowing Lynn Garrett and to relate to him as a pharmacist, independent pharmacy owner and proud Ole Miss alum." Shelly said. "He was, without question, one of the most passionate and dedicated individuals I have known, and I was honored to he his friend.
"To my lasting benefit, I was also afforded the opportunity to befriend his dear wife Gladys, a generous, caring and thoughtful lady whose friendship has enriched my life immeasurably. So, it is certainly no surprise to me, or anyone who knows Gladys, that she would make such a gesture, striving to enhance both the School of Pharmacy, as well as the lives of the future recipients of the Garrett scholarship endowment."
For those students who will receive one of the scholarships she is funding, Garrett has a bit of timeless advice.
"Always put your best foot forward," she said. "You'll only do as good as what you put into anything."
To learn more about supporting the UM School of Pharmacy, contact Raina McClure, pharmacy's development director, at 662-915-6967 or [email protected]