My days at Ole Miss Engineering School began in 1956 after my graduation from Northeast Mississippi Community College. I had spent two years working in Memphis as a truck driver prior to beginning my college career and had grown accustomed to a nice solid paycheck. Of course, this stopped and I was compelled to take odd jobs on campus and what summer jobs that could be rounded up, sometimes truck driving and sometimes in a survey party with the Highway Department, all of which was good experience. Most of my recollections of campus life were relative to economic challenges along with the academic challenges. One of my recollections is the time that I was one of a group of engineering students that began meeting in the engineering library at Carrier Hall as a study group. That particular evening we were studying diligently for a big test the next day when the professor who was giving the test walked by. He did a double take, backed up, and leaned around the door to inquire what in the world we were doing there at that hour. When we responded proudly that we were a special study group studying for none other than his test the next day, his response was, "Well, you ought to be over at the Grill fraternizing with the business students. After all, they will be the ones hiring you one day." Needless to say, our balloon was burst. We learned that there were more than technical studies involved in being a well-rounded person.
Other recollections are the times that my family members have been involved at Ole Miss. One of my great uncles, Christopher Longest, taught English and Spanish there for something like 43 years and one of my cousins, William Longest, taught Biology and Science there for a number of years. A relative of one of my forebears, I am told, brought the money from Jackson up the Natchez Trace in a saddlebag on horseback for the purchase of the land upon which the University of Mississippi would be established. I had come to know and love Ole Miss even before my days as a student and since graduation have come to realize how much my education and the friendships acquired during that time have influenced my life both academically and socially. The mentoring as well as the teachings of the Professors has been especially meaningful. They were very knowledgeable and were concerned about me as an individual and their influence helped shape my career as an engineer both professionally and academically. The honors and awards I have received are a direct result of this leadership and guidance.
Life has been full and I could go on and on about Ole miss, about how Ole Miss is more than just a place, about the things learned that are more than just academic and more than casual friendships. Ole Miss is a place of launching of a career with a solid foundation that improves life and living.