Springs physician Kenneth Williams and his wife, Regina, are committed
to providing health care for rural Mississippians in the future
as well as now.
gift of a $1 million life insurance policy to The University of
Southern Mississippi, they are guaranteeing the premed scholarship
endowment they recently established will be funded into perpetuity.
established the Dr. Kenneth and Regina Williams Premed Scholarship
through a combination pledge-and-cash donation, which will allow
the Southern Miss Foundation to begin awarding an annual scholarship
next fall to minority students interested in pursing a medical career.
funded, the endowment will maintain the premed scholarship each
year. Proceeds from the life insurance policy eventually will be
added to this endowment. Dr. and Mrs. Williams also plan to offer
premed students opportunities for summer employment in their Holly
Springs clinic and hospital.
generosity not only benefits the university and students who receive
the scholarships but also countless individuals needing health care
in the future," said Southern Miss President Shelby Thames.
"This gift is truly a now-and-forever gift that will extend
Dr. and Mrs. Williams's compassion into future generations. We are
truly grateful for their uncompromising generosity."
Williams son, grandson, and great-grandson of dentists and
physicians there was never a question his future would hold
a career in medicine; it was just something he wanted to do. His
summer job in his father's Moss Point dentistry practice confirmed
his belief that helping others is his calling. By introducing these
scholarships and offering openings for experience in the field,
Williams hopes to encourage students to enter the profession and
consider job opportunities in rural settings.
here for a purpose," said Williams, who completed his bachelor's
in biology from Southern Miss in 1981, then earned his M.D. in 1986
at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. "While we are here
on earth, our purpose is to do the best we can to try to elevate,
educate and improve our generation."
this purpose has been a guiding force in Williams's life. Regina
shares her husband's philosophy as the two work together in his
practice to provide medical help to those who might otherwise be
forced to travel long distances for health care. When the community
was in danger of losing its ambulance service, Williams accepted
the financial responsibility, even though these services typically
lose money. When he learned the only hospital in the county planned
to close leaving patients the choice of going to Memphis
or Oxford for hospital care Williams did what he could to
keep the facility open: He bought it.
not sound like much to you or me, but a lot of people don't have
transportation," said Williams. "Without these services,
many would suffer."
I have as a physician is recruiting people to help in a rural setting,"
he added, citing a shortage of African-American medical practitioners.
"Most new doctors gravitate toward the city or large population
areas. There is a particular need for physicians who are interested
in rural areas."
practice is financially successful, he said it has been a struggle
to get other physicians interested in joining him. Two years ago
he recruited his best friend, who had trained with him as a physician
but had become a professor at Wayne State University.
have had to lean on friendship to twist someone's arm to come work
because we really have an excellent practice," said Williams.
"And it's nothing like rural patients to make you enjoy your
work. You really feel like you are doing something." Ben Samel,
Southern Miss associate director of development planned giving,
said life insurance is an excellent planning tool for those who
wish to leave a sizable gift to the university. "During their
lifetime, Regina and Kenneth will have the opportunity to see the
fruits of their labor through the annual scholarship and the assurance
their endowment will be well funded in the future," he said.
reside in Collierville, Tenn., which is in easy driving range of
Holly Springs. They have five children: Kelsey, Courtney, Schuyler,
Parker, and Kendall.