MSU Promise scholarship honors late author and alumnus Thomas Lawrence

Contact: Amy Cagle

Thomas R. “Tom” Lawrence (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A $100,000 scholarship in honor of the late alumnus Thomas R. “Tom” Lawrence of Opelika, Alabama, has been established at Mississippi State University. The endowment will support the MSU Promise Awards Program, which benefits students from Mississippi families with critical financial need.  

Contributions from Nashville, Tennessee-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals and longtime friend and fellow MSU alumnus Will D. Carpenter, along with other friends and family of Lawrence, are making the scholarship possible. Lawrence served as a charter board member for the specialty pharmaceutical firm. 

“We proudly helped establish this scholarship in recognition of Tom Lawrence’s dedication, valued contributions and pivotal role as a founding board member at Cumberland,” said A.J. Kazimi, founder and CEO of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals. “On Tom’s behalf, we are happy to have our company associated with this tribute as a student scholarship contributor at Mississippi State University.”

Texas-born Lawrence was raised in the Mississippi towns of Cleveland, Jackson and Ruleville. He graduated from MSU in 1961 with a degree in history. Lawrence was the owner of Capital Consultants and the founder of Front Porch Press LLC, as an avenue for his books and for other Southern writers. He also authored numerous short stories and magazine articles and published his first book, “Delta Days: The Tales of the Mississippi Delta in the 1950s,” in 2011 followed by his second book, “Cow College: Tales of Mississippi State University” in 2012.

Lawrence’s last noteworthy project was authoring a biography for Mississippi native and renowned biochemist Carpenter, titled “Will D…A Life in Science.” Prior to Lawrence’s death in March, Carpenter spearheaded the establishment of the scholarship.

“It seemed only appropriate to me that a scholarship in Tom’s name be established at the university he loved so much, and we were very proud to present it to him before his passing,” said Carpenter, a 1952 agronomy graduate and retired corporate executive who resides in Chesterfield, Missouri. “Nothing could have been done besides the MSU scholarship that would have made Tom more happy and serene at that time.”

The Thomas Lawrence Promise Endowed Scholarship may assist with the cost of tuition, fees, meals and housing for recipients. Candidates for the award will be Mississippi residents entering MSU as full-time freshman students or students transferring from a community college. Since 2006, the MSU Promise Program has helped bridge the gap between the cost of tuition and fees after financial aid. The program also provides academic counseling, course-progress monitoring and networking opportunities to ensure students’ continued success.

An open fund in the MSU Foundation, the Thomas Lawrence Promise Endowed Scholarship can benefit from additional contributions. For more information on how to support the scholarship, contact Jack McCarty, executive director of development for the MSU Foundation, at 662-325-7000 or

For more on the MSU Promise Program, visit

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