Spengler honored at Millsaps' Founders Day


Special to the Advocate


Millsaps College recently celebrated Founders Day by recognizing the late Thomas L. Spengler, who left the majority of his estate including his Belhaven home, to the college.


His gift established the Thomas L. Spengler Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund to benefit students majoring in English or theater.


Each year, Millsaps holds a commemoration of the college’s 1890 founding by Reuben Webster Millsaps, Charles Betts Galloway and William Belton Murrah. The celebration included a luncheon to honor Founders Society members and those who have established scholarships at the college. Scholarship donors and their student recipients had the opportunity to get to know each other over lunch.

 The Millsaps Founders Society is made up of individuals and organizations who have played a key role in shaping the future of the college through lifetime gifts to Millsaps of $1 million or more.


Dr. Frances Lucas, president of Millsaps College, hosted the Founders Day festivities. She invited senior Cari Taylor, a psychology major from Long Beach,  to speak to the crowd of nearly 170 guests. Taylor described how much her scholarship and her time at Millsaps meant to her.


 “Thank you for giving us a chance to change our lives — a chance to find the true purpose of our lives,” said Taylor, choking back tears. “Thank you for giving us a chance to succeed in this world. I don’t know what my life would have been like without Millsaps College, but I know, and I’m sure that you all agree, that I will never want to find out what my life would be like without Millsaps College.”


Following Taylor’s speech, Spengler was posthumously inducted into the Founders Society. Lucas spoke warmly of him, saying that he was “a dear friend to Millsaps College and a true original.”  She described his impact on the city of Jackson, his lengthy career in advertising, his involvement in New Stage Theatre and his love for Millsaps. Attending on behalf of Spengler were his friends Miriam Weems, Ann Brock and Marjorie Underwood, the women he called “the three reasons why I never married.”


The luncheon was adjourned to the Millsaps Bell Tower for the unveiling of Spengler’s plaque.  “Tom would have loved this,” smiled Weems, “all these friends gathered here on this beautiful day.”