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Endowment Fund Established by SHSU Alum

Mildred Hancock is surrounded my members of her family Aug. 9 in Austin Hall as she signs an agreement to start the Mildred Reed Hancock Endowment Fund.

K evin Hayes always appreciates receiving gifts. When he answered his phone one afternoon in January of 2001, he was pleased to learn he would be getting another one.

Hayes, director of alumni relations at Sam Houston State University, was more than willing to accept a copy of the 1960 Alcalde, SHSU's yearbook, for his office. Little did he know, there were more gifts to come.

The generous giver was Mildred Hancock, a resident of Nacogdoches. When she mailed Hayes the copy of the yearbook, she included a hand-written letter.

"I began my studies Sept. 1945, I think. It's been a long time ago," Hancock wrote. "I got married at an early age and quit. Then I started my family. In Sept. 1958, I returned to school, with four small children, to get my degree. They were 3, 4, 7 and 11-years-old. I completed three years of work in two years. No, my grades were not high, only average, but I did it."

Intrigued by her story, Hayes set up a lunch between the two at Hancock's favorite restaurant in Nacogdoches, "The Cotton Patch." After the lunch meeting, the two kept in touch.

Last spring, Hayes asked Hancock if she would be willing to start an endowment in her name to help people such as herself, who left school to raise a family, then came back to get a degree.

She accepted and on Aug. 9 of this summer at Austin Hall on the SHSU campus, members of Hancock's family accompanied her as she signed the agreement.

"A student will truly benefit from Mrs. Hancock's generosity and love for Sam Houston State University," said Hayes. "Her perseverance and hard work is an example for all of us."

A scholarship committee within the Office of Academic Affairs will select the recipient of the award each year. Though every specific detail is yet to be ironed out, Hayes said there is one major goal of the Mildred Reed Hancock Endowment Fund.

"The intent of the scholarship is to provide financial support for a person who at one point enrolled at Sam Houston State, left to raise a family, and is now returning to pursue their degree," he said.

Hayes said anyone interested in applying for the scholarship can contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 936.294.1001.

"I would like to thank Darlene Andrews, Frank Krystyniak, Richard Eglsaer, Barbara Mason and Daniel Cross for their hospitality during Mrs. Hancock's visit," said Hayes, also noting that the University Hotel made her feel welcome during her stay. "They, without a doubt, made it a special day for her and her family."

Some gifts keep on giving.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Brandon Autrey
August 23, 2002
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