OXFORD, Miss. – Sylvia Foran’s dedication to education as well as a personal friendship with University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat inspired her to create the Bill and Sylvia Sarphie Foran Educational Scholarship.
Foran, a native of McComb, first met Khayat during their freshman year at Ole Miss.
“The relationships that I built while I was here have meant a lot to me throughout my life,” she said. “Robert and I have always remained in touch and we wanted to honor him as chancellor and show our gratitude for the wonderful work he’s done here.”
Foran, now retired, holds a degree in elementary education from UM. After she graduated in 1960, she moved to Corpus Christi, Tex., to take her first job teaching second grade.
“I absolutely loved teaching,” she said. “I’m a teacher in my heart no matter what. I hope this scholarship will help someone who otherwise might not have been able attend Ole Miss and pursue a degree in education. I think an Ole Miss education is invaluable.”
The scholarship will assist full-time students pursuing a degree in elementary education at UM.
In addition to her educational experience, Foran said she gained an inner strength from her years as a student, one that has stuck with her.
“I feel like I gained a tremendous amount of self confidence at Ole Miss,” she said. “It’s helped in many aspects of my life. It helped me move to Corpus Christi and out of my comfort zone to start my teaching career. It’s a place that is special to me and helped make me who I am.”
Khayat said he admires both Foran’s strength and dedication to her profession.
“Sylvia Foran is committed to bettering the lives of students,” he said. “We are grateful for this new scholarship that will benefit our education students. Sylvia was a very good student at Ole Miss and has continued her interest in the university. All of us are grateful for her generosity.”
Foran, and her husband, Bill, live in New Braunfels, Tex. She serves as an elder in New Braunfels Presbyterian Church and volunteers with Kids’ Day Out, a church program for young children.
For more information on making a gift to the School of Education, please visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.
Story by Sonia Thompson