Dr. Greggory E. Tharp’s dental patients fell in love with Catherine Hutton almost from the moment they met her.
Characterized by Tharp as “smart as a whip, efficient, diligent and very personable,” Hutton joined Tharp’s practice in Flowood immediately after receiving her dental hygiene degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in May 2002.
Patient care was foremost with Hutton, a Tchula native who made an indelible impression on everyone around her. But at 27 years of age, “Cat” was diagnosed with Stage IV Adenocystic carcinoma of the liver. After a valiant year-long battle, she died on May 12, 2008.
“I accompanied her through all the stages of dying,” said Tharp. “The grace, faith and dignity of Cat and her family affected me deeply. My faith was at first shaken, then reaffirmed mightily by this journey.”
Tharp’s wife, Karen, decided to start a scholarship in Hutton’s honor. The Tharps set up a fund, and on Nov. 18, 2013, the Catherine Anna Hutton Memorial Endowment was established.
Recipients of the academic scholarship must be actively seeking an undergraduate degree in dental hygiene with a minimum 3.5 grade point average, possess high moral character, emulate the kindness, compassion and leadership skills of Catherine Hutton, and be a U.S. citizen and resident of Mississippi.
Recipients will be selected by a scholarship selection committee comprised of dental hygiene program faculty, staff and the donor or his designee in perpetuity.
For Tharp, the endowment represents the qualities that made Hutton a “wonderful young lady.”
“She deserves this, and it’s a great way to give back and reward other young people who share those traits that made Cat who she is,” he said.
To contribute to the Catherine Anna Hutton Memorial Scholarship Endowment, mail a check made payable to the University of Mississippi Foundation with the fund noted in the memo line to the UM Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655. Online gifts can be made at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift. For more information, contact Sheila Henderson, firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 815-3302.