UNIVERSITY, Miss. - Prescott "Peck" Sherman grew up on a farm in Southwest Mississippi, where five brothers learned to love the land from their father, Boston native Carleton Farrar Sherman. It's not surprising that four of them followed his footsteps by pursuing engineering careers. All five siblings earned degrees at The University of Mississippi. Because of the family legacy, Prescott Sherman of McComb has given $2 million to the School of Engineering to establish the Sherman Family Engineering Endowment.
Sherman, who is the last living sibling, said the endowment is intended to honor the lives of family members, including his father and brothers -- Warren, Harold, Lincoln and Carleton. The gift comes from one of Sherman's many successful construction/real estate developments, the Edgewood Mall built in McComb on family-owned property.
"We all thought so much about the high quality of education offered by the School of Engineering," said Sherman. "The university means a great deal to me. It's the top educational institution in the state. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to attend college there, and I'm proud to be an Ole Miss engineer."
The gift will have a dramatic impact on the School of Engineering.
"Prescott Sherman has our deepest gratitude and admiration for his decision to honor his family by enhancing educational opportunities for University of Mississippi engineering students," said UM Chancellor Robert C. Khayat. "It is heartening when one of our graduates enjoys a fulfilling career, then wants to make those same experiences and successes possible for future generations."
Engineering Dean Kai-Fong Lee said income from the endowment will be used to support student scholarships and other activities, faculty development, and to strengthen career service activities and ties with industry.
After graduation from Ole Miss, Sherman launched his career, which included working in Trinidad, British West Indies, with a New York-based architectural and engineering firm. His career was interrupted in 1942 when he joined the U.S. Army, serving in Puerto Rico, Panama and India. He returned to McComb in 1946 and formed a construction business, concentrating on commercial and industrial work. Sherman founded PASCO Realty and Development Corp. to develop family land and other property he had acquired during his years in the construction business. This included the commercial development of Edgewood Mall on the original farm tract -- his proudest career accomplishment because of its economic impact on his hometown. He formed Edgewood Mall Developers in 1984 to own and manage the mall. Sherman has served in numerous business and civic organizations, as well as Centenary United Methodist Church. The man who exhibited leadership skills even as a young man -- president of his Ole Miss engineering class and of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and business manager of the student newspaper -- was later named "Man of the Year" by the American Cancer Society's Pike County Chapter.
Sherman has a daughter, Elizabeth Sherman Shelton of McComb, with his first wife, the late Betty West Sherman, and two granddaughters, Amy Alden Shelton and Cristina Elizabeth Shelton. His daughter, who earned a degree in business administration from Ole Miss, has joined her father in several business endeavors. His second wife, Mildred Ramsay Sherman, also is deceased.