Supporting Students, Faculty

Rosemary and Sandy Williams, who have been actively involved in various community-building initiatives over the years, are giving $250,000 for University of Mississippi student scholarships and faculty support.

The Corinth, Mississippi, couple’s gift will establish the Rosemary and Sandy Williams Scholar Endowment with $150,000 and the Williams School of Business Administration Excellence in Teaching Endowment with $100,000.

“For years, we have considered doing something that would at least make us feel like we were showing appreciation and the love we have for the university and our experiences there,” said Sandy Williams, one of several members of his family who have earned degrees from Ole Miss. “I want Ole Miss to remain the No. 1 university in Mississippi and rank highly among national institutions of higher learning.”

The Williamses have spent their lives focused on making a difference in their city, county and state.

Likewise, “It is extremely important for the Ole Miss School of Business Administration to have professors who will maintain the quality and principles that have made it successful over the years and make it even better in the future,” Sandy Williams said. “I hope our heirs will be inclined to increase the funding we allocated to faculty support.”

The couple believes education is the key to creating a better future for everyone, and they hope their new scholarship — like others they have helped create — will inspire future generations of students to pursue college degrees.

“I think even a modest scholarship can make a difference in whether a student is able or inclined to seek higher education. And it may help a student decide to go to Ole Miss rather than another college and could play a big part in their decision as to whether they live in Mississippi or not,” Sandy Williams said.

The chair of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works Inc., Williams was instrumental in establishing two other scholarships for Ole Miss business students: the Corinth Coca-Cola Business School Scholarship Endowment and the Refreshments Inc. Partners in Business Scholarship Fund. He also helped found the national Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which has supported scholarships totaling about $81 million since 1989.

“We are extremely grateful for this amazing gift,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “Securing faculty support is one of our top priorities, and the scholarships will help transform students’ lives. The Williams family has invested in our business school for years, and their legacy will impact generations of students.”

Ole Miss has long been part of the Williams family’s story. Sandy Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1957; Rosemary, a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences in 1960.

“I attended her graduation from Ole Miss and gave her a ring that day,” he said. “Our next wedding anniversary will be our 64th.”

Williams and his brother Kenneth Williams — president and CEO of Corinth Coca-Cola — are both founding board members of Corinth-Alcorn Reaching for Excellence (C.A.R.E.), the city’s only community foundation, and are lifelong members and former presidents of the Corinth/Alcorn Chamber of Commerce. The two were joint recipients of CREATE’s “George McLean Award for Philanthropy” in 2009 and were honored with the Red Raspberry Humanitarian Award from the Regional Rehabilitation Center in 2020.

Sandy Williams also was the recipient of the 2020 Jack Reed, Sr. Northeast Mississippi Community Leadership Award from the CREATE Foundation and was named Outstanding Citizen of Corinth in 1998.

Rosemary Williams’ many areas of service led her to several state and national awards and was chosen Corinth’s Outstanding Citizen in 1984. She has been very active in her community and the state, particularly in the areas of preservation and economic development. She led the effort for the establishment of the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center and the preservation and operation of the historic Coliseum Civic Center and the historic Veranda-Curlee House.

Rosemary Williams was co-founder of Corinth’s Symphony Orchestra, now in its 25th year, and served 20 years on the board of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

“It’s important for everyone to do their best to help their community develop and make things better than they were before, to help improve the standard of living for everyone; I think that’s a debt we owe our communities,” Sandy Williams said. “We encourage young people to do the same thing.”

The Williamses are the parents of two grown children, Lane Williams Yoder (Bill) and Harry “Lee” Williams III (Tara), all of Corinth, and the grandparents of Cooper Yoder, Spencer Yoder, Clay Williams, Drew Williams, Matt Williams and Reid Williams.

To make a gift to the Rosemary and Sandy Williams Scholar Endowment or the Rosemary and Sandy Williams School of Business Excellence in Teaching Endowment, mail a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford MS 38655, or give online here.

For information on ways to support the School of Business Administration, contact Angela Brown, senior director of development, at or 662-915-3181.

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