THE BREVARD FAMILY SCHOLARSHIPS IN ENGINEERING were established in 1991 by Mr. Henry C. Brevard Jr. of Tupelo, Mississippi. The Brevard Scholarship Committee, composed of Mr. Brevard, his son, David E. Brevard, or another direct descendant of Henry C. Brevard, and others, select the recipients, who are full-time students enrolled in the School of Engineering.
How does a family honor a mom and wife for all the love, attention and care she has given over the years? The Brevards of Tupelo, Miss., thought an excellent idea was through an Ole Miss Women's Council for Philanthropy Scholarship.
With their $100,000 gift to The University of Mississippi (UM), the family recently created the Elizabeth B. Brevard Council Scholarship. In addition to Elizabeth "Beth" Brevard's name now being forever linked to the university where her husband, Henry Brevard, and son, David Brevard, are alumni, a plaque embossed with her name is to be placed alongside a rosebush planted in a garden adjoining the new Paris-Yates Chapel on the Oxford campus.
David Brevard, who is past president of the Alumni Association and a member of the Commitment to Excellence Campaign steering committee, said when he and his father first discussed the women's council scholarship program with Dr. Gloria Kellum, UM vice chancellor for University Relations, they immediately thought of his mother.
"The scholarship program gave my father, sister, (Elise Smith of Ridgeland, Miss.) and me the opportunity to do two things. First, the chance to support our university and provide additional scholarships," he said. "And at the same time, have the opportunity to honor someone, who in my book, is the greatest mother in the world."
The Brevards chose a women's council scholarship because they liked the idea that students receive leadership training and are assigned mentors from the Ole Miss community.
"I think the scholarship is appropriate and is a wonderful adjunct for what is already being done on campus," Henry Brevard said. "It adds a whole new dimension, a new perspective. I predict it will bear considerable fruit in the future."
"Bearing considerable fruit" is exactly what the council intended when it was formed last year. The group of 25 women with Ole Miss connections, promotes philanthropy and sponsors programs to develop outstanding leadership qualities in students. A supporting organization of The University of Mississippi Foundation, the council will award six students scholarships of $5,000 each per year beginning fall 2001.
Each council scholar then is assigned a mentor from the Ole Miss community to guide the student in developing a career path and networking with alumni and other professionals. Each recipient also participates in seminars developed through the university's Lott Leadership Institute, meets monthly for small-group discussions and, upon graduation, is expected to pledge for the next five years a modest amount of financial support to the women's council endowment to reseed the program.
For Beth Brevard, having a scholarship named in her honor was quite a surprise. "It made me feel very humble, and I questioned whether I was deserving," she said. "On the other hand, I was really delighted they wished to do so."
Beth Brevard may not have attended Ole Miss, but that doesn't mean she isn't one of its biggest fans. A native of Shannon, Miss., and the daughter of an UM alumnus, she hoped to attend Ole Miss but selected Mississippi University for Women instead.
"I planned to stay one year and transfer to Ole Miss, but World War II came along, and I just stayed for four years," she said.
She met Henry Brevard when he was a sophomore at Ole Miss. The two married in 1946. Throughout the years, Beth Brevard has been deeply involved in her community. She taught Sunday school for 26 years, served as president of the Junior Auxiliary, and for the last 19 years, has volunteered in a hospital emergency room. She also became an ardent UM fan, attending countless football and basketball games, helping Henry Brevard with his volunteer work for the university and even being officially adopted into the Ole Miss family by the late Chancellor Porter L. Fortune Jr.
"I have always loved Ole Miss," she said. "My heart has always been there." David Brevard, who graduated in 1978 with a bachelor's degree, is president of B&B Concrete Company, a family business headquartered in Tupelo. Brevard said he was excited to present his mom with the scholarship.
"My sister is not an Ole Miss graduate, but when we started to talk about the scholarship, she immediately came on board," he said. "I think there is a satisfaction that there is something the three of us can do together to honor Momma."
Like his son, Henry Brevard, founder of B&B Concrete and an engineering graduate, also has continued his affiliation with Ole Miss, serving as chair of the University Foundation Board and the Engineering Advisory Board. He, too, is pleased with the scholarship.
"Beth has tremendous loyalty to the family and is always willing to be present for us," he said. "There is inspiration from her standing next to us whatever our endeavors. We are grateful for that."
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