Family establishes endowment
A family with a three generation attachment to The University of Mississippi has established an endowment that ensures a lasting legacy at their alma mater.
The C. Wesley Caldwell Family Scholarship Endowment has been seeded with a $30,000 gift and a commitment to grow the fund to provide scholarships for accountancy students.
C. Wesley Caldwell (BAccy 47) and his son Charles Wesley Caldwell Jr. (BAccy 76), both of Natchez, signed the scholarship agreement with The University of Mississippi Foundation in December, before the senior Caldwell passed away in March.
“We started talking last summer about making the commitment partly because Ole Miss has been so good to us,” Caldwell said. “Dad was a native of Oxford and graduated from the university. Then I decided to go there, although he offered to send me anywhere I wanted to go. Then, I have two children who are Ole Miss graduates, so this is a way for our family to give back.”
Expressing appreciation for the gift, Dean Mark Wilder said, “We are so grateful to the Caldwells for their generosity to the Patterson School and their loyalty to Ole Miss. Both Mr. Caldwell and son Chuck have been special friends of the accountancy program for many years. They have each had outstanding careers, and we are very proud of their professional accomplishments.”
The senior Caldwell enrolled at Ole Miss in 1940 after graduating from Oxford-University High School. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was captured by German forces in the 1944 Battle of the Bulge. He was released at the end of the war and finished his UM degree in 1947, majoring in accounting. He joined the firm Silas M. Simmons and Company in Natchez. A certified public accountant and an original partner of the firm,
he practiced there until his retirement in 1992.
Chuck Caldwell joined the firm after earning his degree from Ole Miss in 1976. With both Caldwells enjoying successful careers in accountancy, supporting students who aspire to enter the profession is another reason for establishing the endowment, Caldwell said.
“Together my father and I practiced for 93 years, and we wanted to give back to the profession by encouraging deserving young people to also take the challenge. It’s hard work, but there are plenty of rewards in return.”
Caldwell said the university prepared him for his career beyond simply earning a degree.
“The network of friends in the profession that began when I was a student is still important to me today,” he said. “And there are a number of well-respected people in the profession that I was fortunate enough to have as professors when I was there, and some of them I am still close to—Jimmy Davis and Charles Taylor, and, of course, the late Gene Peery.
“My dad also enjoyed years of good associations with friends he made there. One of the things he enjoyed so much was coming back to campus for alumni meetings.”
In 2004, during the School of
Accountancy Alumni Weekend, the senior Caldwell was inducted into the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
Besides giving back to the university and giving back to society, the father and son also arranged for the endowment to benefit their communities. First preference for the scholarships will be given to students who are residents of Adams, Wilkinson and Jefferson counties in Mississippi, and Concordia and Catahoula parishes in Louisiana.
While the younger Caldwell’s children chose careers other than accountancy, he said they too see the endowment as a vehicle to give back. Kristin graduated from UM in 2003 with a business degree, and Charles earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2007.
“I expect the endowment will be an avenue for my children and grandchildren to add to out of respect for Ole Miss and at the same time to honor my father,” Caldwell said.