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Haywood Family Foundation scholarships will benefit children of U.S. Army Rangers

While serving with the Dixie Division of the Mississippi National Guard, Robert S. Haywood was called to active duty. He completed basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., and chose to serve as a U.S. Army Ranger during the Korean War.

‘I grew up hearing my father’s Army stories,” said Haywood’s daughter, Elizabeth Gillespie. ‘He loved the Army life, and he treasured his fellowship with the Rangers. Creating scholarships that will help the sons and daughters of today’s Army Rangers is exactly what he wants to do.”

Haywood, through the Haywood Family Foundation, has given the Georgia Southern University Foundation a gift of $400,000 to create four endowed scholarships to educate sons and daughters of active duty or former U.S. Army Rangers.

‘I commend Elizabeth Gillespie and her husband on the creative way they have chosen to honor Mr. Haywood,” said Bruce Grube, president of Georgia Southern University. ‘This gift will not only support future Georgia Southern students, it will also benefit military families. Most important, it will achieve Robert Haywood’s purpose.”

‘Robert was the national president of the Ranger Infantry Companies of the Korean War from 2001 to 2003,” said his son-in-law, Paul Gillespie, a Georgia Southern alumnus, a former football coach, and a board member of the Southern Boosters. ‘His goal was to create scholarships at that time, but he didn’t have the mechanism to accomplish it. When we established the Haywood Family Foundation as part of his estate planning, we decided to make this major commitment. In giving this endowment to Georgia Southern, we are giving where my heart is, but we are accomplishing the goals Robert set.”

Elizabeth Gillespie fully supports the Haywood Family Foundation decision. ‘Not all college attendance is covered by HOPE,” she said, ‘and not all military families have the funds to send their children to college. This will help.”

‘It is truly exciting to think of the impact this scholarship is going to have for the families who apply,” said Michelle Pittman, director of major gifts and planned giving at the University. ‘This generous gift from the Haywood Family Foundation is going to make a difference in many students’ lives for generations to come.”

In 1972 Robert S. Haywood purchased the E. Van Winkle Gin and Machine Works from the Murray Cotton Gin Company. The 24-acre site in Atlanta was used as an industrial complex from 1889 to 1992. Haywood used part of the property to maintain a large sheet metal fabrication company and rented the rest of the space to as many as 40 tenants. Known to locals as ‘Murray Mill,” the property has attracted artists, painters, jewelers, studio set designers, and has been the site of several movies.

When Haywood’s health began to fail recently, the family made a decision to sell a portion of the land and create the foundation. Rather than make small gifts, the Gillespies, who oversee the foundation activities, chose something they could put their hearts into: the Haywood Family Foundation Scholarships.

‘I loved my Georgia Southern experience,” said Paul Gillespie. ‘It’s a friendly campus. The first time I went to the cafeteria and sat down, people came over to sit with me, and soon I had a group of new friends!

‘Georgia Southern has grown, and its needs today are every bit as great as a school with a larger alumni base or a larger endowment,” Gillespie explained. ‘It’s rewarding for us to know that Robert Haywood’s intentions will be carried out in a way that helps Georgia Southern, too.”

For more information about this and other scholarships at Georgia Southern University, contact the Admissions Office at 912-681-5391.

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