(OXFORD, Miss.) – From her Kappa Delta sorority sisters at the University of Mississippi and the young people she worked with at Camp Sunshine in Pike County to her own family members, the late Susan Haskins was known for her caring spirit. To carry forward that spirit, her parents, Don and Barri Haskins of Fernwood, and the sorority have created a scholarship as a lasting tribute to her life.
The Susan Christena Haskins Memorial Scholarship Endowment will provide assistance to hospitality management majors in UM’s School of Applied Science.
“Susan was a very caring person and loved people,” said Don Haskins. “She had a big heart, particularly for individuals who were disabled or struggling economically. She worked every summer as a counselor at Camp Sunshine and loved all the people there.”
Susan Haskins, who died in an August 2009 car wreck, was pursuing a hospitality management major. The student had an “outgoing personality and never met a stranger,” said her father, and those at Ole Miss agreed.
“There was never a time that I would pass Susan in the dorm hallways or headed to lunch at the Kappa Delta house that she wouldn’t stop with that beautiful smile of hers and greet me with her utmost sincerity and hospitality,” said Laura Katherine Henderson, Kappa Delta’s vice president-standards. “Susan was someone everyone in our sorority wanted to emulate.”
The Haskins Scholarship is the first endowed fund for the hospitality management program. Professors in this discipline recall Haskins as being very passionate about her chosen field.
“As faculty we hope for classrooms full of students as attentive and caring as Susan was,” said Teresa Carithers, associate dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “In the words of her adviser Candis Varnell, ‘Susan was an absolute joy.’ This gift will allow many future students, who may have financial constraints, to have amazing experiences within the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management.”
Before coming to the Oxford campus, Haskins graduated from Parklane Academy in McComb, where she was a cheerleader and homecoming queen, as well as a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also was active in First Baptist Church of McComb.
“Susan loved Ole Miss and Oxford,” her father said. “She enjoyed all of her sorority sisters. They were like family to her – such a great group of young women.”
To raise funds for the scholarship, the Kappa Delta sorority hosted the “Susie Haskins Bash” on what would have been Haskins’ 21st birthday. More than 600 people came out to pay tribute to her life and enjoy music and food at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford. The sorority plans to make the “Susie Haskins Bash” an annual fund-raising event for the scholarship.
Barri Haskins said, “Our family has been overwhelmed by all of the love and support from so many people sweet Susan’s life has touched. Young and old have expressed countless comments on the wonderful, kind and loving life she led. My favorite expression coming from many friends is, ‘Susan made us all better people.’ She has definitely left a legacy of showing all of us how God wants us to live our lives daily. She often told me how much she loved her life and that it was so good she would never change a thing. What a true blessing for her, as well as for the rest of us.”
Don and Barri Haskins lost their son, Carr, in a 1997 accident. They also established a scholarship in his memory at Ole Miss, where he was a member of the golf team.
The Susan Christena Haskins Memorial Scholarship Endowment is open to accept gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift, call (800) 340-9542, or mail checks to the University of Mississippi Foundation at 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655 noting “Susan Haskins.”