When Shirley Wagner Crawford speaks to you, it’s like she’s letting you into a special world where anything is possible. She exudes a zest for living – it’s in the 65 year-old’s movements, he sparkling eyes, and especially her smile.
Now longtime Ole Miss supporter Susan Martindale is paying tribute to the spirited Crawford, a senior secretary in the School of Business Administration, by endowing an Ole Miss scholarship in Crawford’s name.
Susan Martindale of Atlanta decided to do something for the woman who contributed to her husband’s success. Larry Martindale met Shirley Crawford while playing basketball at the University. Crawford’s husband, Senior Associate Athletics Director Eddie Crawford, was the head basketball coach while Martindale was a student.
“When Larry was a freshman, Shirley took him under her wind,” Susan Martindale said. “She was a real mentor to him. Throughout our whole marriage, he kept talking about Shirley. He really credits her mentorship for his being able to get through college.”
Crawford said taking care of the basketball players was a pleasure, not a chore.
“They were just like my children,” she said. “They were always at our home. If they were sick, we took care of them. If they needed to talk about something, we were there. We just enjoy young people.”
The Shirley Wagner Crawford Endowment is under the umbrella of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy. Beginning in 2001, Women’s Council scholarships of $5,000 per year go to men and women to attend Ole Miss. Throughout their college careers, the students receive guidance from Women’s Council mentors and leadership training.
The Crawford scholarship is designed for students who have shown a spirit for life.
“We wanted to make a scholarship available to students who we felt like were always positive about life,” said Susan Martindale. “We want to award intent and enthusiasm – those who are always right there to help when something needs to be done. Often it is attitude in life that takes you places.”
If she were thinking about returning to school herself, Susan Martindale might qualify for such an award. A graduate of Berry College, Rome, Ga., she has devoted countless hours to her passion: improving the quality of life for children in her Atlanta community. She serves on the boards of both the Circle for Children and Cobb Street Ministry.
The Circle for Children attracts funding for community agencies, such as this year’s recipient, a home for troubled children. Martindale also has organized and solicited gifts for the organization’s large Christmas parties for underprivileged children. The Cobb Street Ministry provides assistance and training to homeless mothers. Martindale also is an enthusiastic public school advocate.
She and her husband share a love for beautification, landscaping and service projects, as well as a devotion to his alma mater and its future. The two have been deeply involved with Chancellor Robert Khayat’s initiative to enhance the beauty of the Oxford campus and also helped with the massive renovation plans for the Old Gym, which now is the efficient, yet stunning, Martindale Student Services Center.
For Crawford, learning if the Martindales’ gift in her name is overwhelming.
“It is such an honor, I am humbled but it,” she said.