Couple's generosity creates scholarships like they received as students
Mike and Emily Williams enjoy family time with their daughters Samantha and Annie.
Fourteen years ago, Mike and Emily Williams both graduated from the University of Mississippi with bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering. Since then, they have raised two daughters and thrived in their avocations. And they continue to provide generous support for the School of Engineering.
 
As scholarship recipients, the Williams are appreciative of the assistance they received during college. Since graduation, they have contributed their time and money to ensure future generations of UM engineering students continue to receive the opportunities they did. They have established a scholarship fund for Ole Miss engineering students and continue to contribute to The Woods Society each month.
 
Mike Williams was born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, which he described as the “heart of Cajun and LSU country.” Despite his roots, he decided to attend Ole Miss.
 
“I really liked the small town feel of Oxford, the beautiful Ole Miss campus and the small size of the engineering school,” he said. “I also received more scholarship support from Ole Miss than from any other school which made my parents very happy!”
 
Emily Williams is originally from Portland, Oregon, but grew up in various towns across the Southeast. When it came time for college, Ole Miss was a simple choice. Emily was a National Merit Scholar in high school and was offered a full-tuition academic scholarship from Ole Miss.
 
“This generous scholarship and the beautiful campus definitely made my decision easy,” she said.
 
Both Mike and Emily said the education they received at Ole Miss has been instrumental throughout their lives and careers. After working for ExxonMobil, XTO Energy and other small companies in the upstream oil and gas industry, Mike is reservoir engineering manager at MorningStar Partners, a new oil and gas company in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
“Beyond the standard textbook engineering knowledge that is taught in every school, the professors at Ole Miss also taught us several intangible concepts that have been extremely beneficial, such as the importance of being able to work effectively in a team, the role economics play in engineering decisions and the concept of propagation of error and levels of uncertainty,” he said.
 
Post-graduation, Emily worked as an engineer for a few years, until she decided to go back to school to pursue a new degree. Enrolled at Texas Christian University, she is in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree in biology with plans to pursue a doctorate in immunology.
 
“The process of earning an engineering degree instills a very strong work ethic and ability to be a creative problem solver,” Emily Williams said. “These skills continue to serve me well as I am now back in school pursuing a new degree.”
 
“As scholarship recipients, clearly the Williams want others to benefit by studying engineering at Ole Miss as well,” said Kevin Gardner, engineering development officer at UM. “It is easy to see the love for Ole Miss by their early example of giving back soon after graduation. We are grateful to Emily and Mike for their purposeful generosity.”
 
For more information on supporting the UM School of Engineering, contact Kevin Gardner, development officer, at 662-915-7601 or kevin@olemiss.edu. To make a gift online, visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.
 
Callie Mayo