When the late Evangeline Donald Harrison graduated from her Randolph, Mississippi, high school in 1952, she was not financially able to attend college and instead went to work in a factory.
“Evangeline loved the charm of the Ole Miss campus, and we feel if she had been financially able, she would have attended college there,” said Brenda Donald Elam, Harrison’s sister and the family representative.
To enable others to follow their dreams of higher education, Harrison’s siblings are establishing the Evangeline Donald Harrison Scholarship Endowment at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media with a gift of $50,000.
“She was exceptionally supportive of her siblings, generously contributing her time, encouragement and financial assistance to each of us,” said Elam of Harrison, who was able to study accounting and computer science at the State Technical Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. “Evangeline’s compassion and benevolent spirit did not end with her family, as she helped many people in their time of need.”
A familial history of military service that dates to the American Revolutionary War led Harrison’s siblings to give first preference for the scholarship to journalism students who are serving, have served or are dependents of U.S. Armed Forces veterans.
“Evangeline was thankful for all armed forces service members — which included her late husband, William, and several other family members — and she always supported veterans,” Elam said. “And, like her, we passionately believe our freedoms have been protected by the United States Constitution, freedom of the press and the many lives and sacrifices of the brave members of our armed forces.”
School of Journalism and New Media Dean Andrea Hickerson said that, along with providing financial support, the Harrison scholarship will also further students’ understanding of the significance and protections the U.S. Constitution and its amendments provide journalists.
“It’s wonderful and fitting for our school to have this generous scholarship requiring an essay on the First Amendment, which is what makes good journalism possible,” said Hickerson. “We are extremely grateful to be a steward of this scholarship, and I’m excited to see what students will write.”
Throughout her career in the news media — including being a proofreader for the Oak Ridger in East Tennessee — Harrison met many interesting people such as the official photographer for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission’s Oak Ridge Manhattan Project.
To provide a window into Harrison’s personality, Elam shared: “Two of her favorite sayings were, ‘Life is not to be understood; it is to be lived,’ and, in instances where courage is needed, ‘Close your eyes and hang on tight.’
“Being a child born in the years after the Great Depression, Evangeline knew from experience that America is a land of opportunity,” Elam continued, adding that the woman whose career began in a factory retired from an international company (Buckman Laboratories of Memphis) with a distinguished service recognition award.
“Evangeline was a trendsetter who did not criticize but gave support, encouragement and acceptance,” she said. “I know our special sister would want the scholarship recipients to be as proud of their own accomplishments as she was of her own.”
Harrison’s other siblings include sister Rosa Donald Mahler of Nashville, Tennessee; and three brothers, Witt Donald of Jackson, Tennessee; Joe Donald of Las Vegas, Nevada; and Tom Donald of Sevierville, Tennessee.
Gifts can be made to the Evangeline Donald Harrison Scholarship Endowment by sending a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or by giving online here.
For more information about supporting the School of Journalism and New Media, contact Clint Tucker, development associate, at email@example.com or 662-915-6384.
By Mary Stanton Knight/UM Development