More than 40 years ago, George Goza came to the University of Mississippi an impressionable freshman eager to pursue an engineering education. Today, the successful construction company contractor is making generous donations to ensure others like him are able to do the same.
"I will always owe a great debt to my alma mater and the experiences I had as a student there," said Goza, vice president of Clark Construction Inc. in McComb. "That's why I served on the School of Engineering alumni advisory board and have given various amounts over the years."
Goza named Sam DeLeeuw, Karl Brenkert, K.P. George and Frank Anderson as some of the faculty and staff who most impacted his career.
"Dr. DeLeeuw has been a wonderful mentor and friend to me," Goza said. "Because of him, I volunteered as a judge in the annual Mississippi Engineering Society MathCounts competition, which we coordinated for 26 years."
DeLeeuw, UM chair emeritus and professor emeritus of civil engineering, remembers Goza as a very good student who excelled at whatever he did.
"I still keep in contact with George because of MathCounts," DeLeeuw said. "I see him at St. Peter's Episcopal Church whenever he comes to Oxford."
During his college years, Goza served as president of the campus chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and was a member of Chi Epsilon honorary society and Sigma Nu fraternity.
"I was also influenced by Peck Sherman and Bailey Fridge, two Ole Miss civil engineering graduates from Pike County," he said.
Kevin Gardner, development officer for the UM School of Engineering, said Goza is a model donor.
"We are grateful that George Goza helps promote the School of Engineering and opens doors for our students by joining the Woods Society," Gardner said. "Like many of our engineering graduates, Mr. Goza responded to an appeal to help us complete the Samuel L. DeLeeuw Civil Engineering Endowment."
The Woods Society is composed of donors whose gifts support School of Engineering students through scholarships, technology, internships, engineering career fairs, competitions sponsored by professional societies, global experiences, service learning, undergraduate research, leadership training and more. The society – named for the late Jesse B. "Jess" Woods Jr., a young nuclear engineer with the U.S. Navy who had been named a Rhodes Scholar and a Taylor Medalist while at Ole Miss – honors donors who help the school promote a well-balanced engineering education.
Goza and his wife, Virginia, have two grown children who are both Ole Miss graduates: Mary Walker Goza, a 2005 business graduate who works for the Hess Corp. in New York, and a son, Reid Goza, a 2010 business graduate employed with the Cowen Group, a New York investment bank.
For more information on supporting the UM School of Engineering and its Woods Society, contact Kevin Gardner, development officer, at 662-915-7601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.