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Scholarships Honor University of Mississippi Alumni
Dr. Preston Lee (right) of Oxford, Mississippi, greets Elizabeth Cossar, the 2017 recipient of the Lee Family Dentistry Scholarship.

The University of Mississippi Foundation recently announced the recipients of three scholarships established by Oxford, Mississippi, dentist Preston Lee and his wife, Elise Hayles Lee.

The Lees created the Lee Family Dentistry Scholarship; the Lisa Jacob Hayles Scholarship in honor of Elise Lee's mother; and the Karen Crocker Lee Scholarship in honor of Dr. Preston Lee's mother, both of whom graduated from Ole Miss in 1972 and 1973 respectively with bachelor's degrees in education.

Preston Lee, a 2004 UM School of Business Administration graduate, who owns Lee Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Oxford and Senatobia, said he believes education plays a critical role in ensuring a better future for Mississippi.

“Elise and I both went to our respective colleges on scholarships, and we feel pretty passionately that we need to support the young people in the communities where we practice and serve,” he said. “College graduates earn more money and have a better quality of living, but college is expensive. This is a way that we can help defray some of these students’ costs to make college a little more affordable for them.”

Samya Clayton, a freshman elementary education major from Oxford, received the Karen Crocker Lee Scholarship.

“I am super grateful and happy to have received this scholarship. It's really the best thing that has ever happened to me and it's a blessing,” said Clayton who hopes to become a teacher. “With this scholarship I don't have to pay for any of the college necessities like cost of living, attendance and meals. I am able to focus on my work more because I don't have to stress about trying to get a job to help pay for school or take out any loans.”

Elizabeth Cossar, a freshman pharmaceutical sciences major from Senatobia, Mississippi, is the 2017 recipient of the Lee Family Dentistry Scholarship, designated for students from Tate County in recognition of Dr. Hugh “Monty” Monteith, who owned the dental practice in Senatobia prior to Preston Lee.

“It’s really such an honor to be chosen for this scholarship and it helps so much. It gives you an extra push because you know people are supporting you and wanting you to do well,” Cossar said.

Though she hasn’t yet decided what she will do with her degree, she said, “I’m enjoying getting to know about the different professions you can pursue with pharmacy.”

The 2017 recipient of the Lisa Jacob Hayles Scholarship is Gabrielle Withrow, a freshman biological sciences major from Oxford.

"Paying for college was a big concern as my senior year of high school was coming to an end. This scholarship was a huge help in reducing college tuition at Ole Miss," Withrow said. "With this scholarship, I hope to thrive at Ole Miss academically and live a successful life with a job in healthcare."

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By Bill Dabney


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.