OXFORD, Miss. – Like most little girls, Cecilia Caldwell adored her daddy. From the time she was a 2-year-old sitting beside him as he drove, to fishing with him and her brothers on Wissahickon Creek, Cecilia could usually be found by his side. He was her hero.
"He is still my hero," she said. "He always will be. Over all these years, my love and admiration for him, and my appreciation of him, have steadily grown. I am so thankful that he was my father."
Now, because of a scholarship in his name, Caldwell’s legacy will live on. Cecilia, along with her mother, Bettye, and other family members and friends, have created the Henry Cecil Caldwell Pharmacy Scholarship Endowment to honor a man they love and dearly miss.
"Dad always encouraged people to do their best – that’s what he was all about, encouraging people and building them up," Cecilia said. "That’s why we thought this scholarship to assist pharmacy students from Mississippi with financial need is a fitting way to honor him. Dad achieved great academic and professional success in his field, and we hope to make that level of success possible for future generations of deserving students."
Recipients of the Caldwell Scholarship are to be full-time pharmacy students who are Mississippi residents.
Caldwell, a Walnut Grove native, earned a bachelor’s degree from the UM School of Pharmacy in 1952 and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical organic chemistry from UM in 1954. He later earned his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical organic chemistry from the University of Kansas. In 1954, he married Bettye Sue Caldwell, a native of Lena and an alumna of Mississippi College.
His family remembers him as a hard worker and devoted family man. From his humble beginnings on a chicken farm in rural Mississippi, he became the first in his family to graduate from college. He instilled in his children a love and appreciation for the outdoors, and they recall happy days walking in the woods, canoeing, tubing, fishing and rock collecting.
"His Mississippi roots were a big part of him," Cecilia said. "He loved this place."
Caldwell had a long and successful career, working for much of it at SmithKline & French labs (now GlaxoSmithKline) in Philadelphia, Pa., and later at AAI in Wilmington, N.C. He published many significant technical papers and held 23 U.S. patents.
"All who knew him felt he was the kindest, most supportive person they could ever meet," said Marty Beasley, a colleague and family friend. "He was humble even though his career was very fruitful and he held many important patents in his name."
All three of Caldwell’s children have connections to pharmacy. After attending pharmacy school, Cecilia worked in the pharmaceutical industry before going to medical school. She practices as an obstetrics and gynecologist at the Maine Medical Center in Portland. Brent is a chemist in Germany for Boehringer Ingleheim, a pharmaceutical company based in Connecticut. Mark is an architectural engineer who does a great deal of consulting with pharmaceutical companies.
"My dad was an enthusiastic supporter of education," Cecilia said. "He believed strongly that all deserving students, even in the face of economic obstacles, should have access to higher education."
To give to the Henry Cecil Caldwell Pharmacy Scholarship Endowment, send a check so designated to the UM Foundation/H.C. Caldwell Endowment, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655. For more information about the scholarship or giving to the School of Pharmacy, contact Sarah Hollis at email@example.com or 800-340-9542.
by Sonia Thompson