Scruggs fulfills pledge to Miss. School of Arts

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 8, 2002

Former resident Richard “Dickie” Scruggs returned to BrookhavenThursday to complete his $500,000 pledge to the Mississippi Schoolof the Arts.

Following an initial $50,000 contribution in October 2000,Scruggs and his wife Diane presented a $450,000 check to theMississippi School of the Arts Foundation Thursday during a briefceremony at Lampton Auditorium.

“It’s a great honor for me to be a part of this,” said Scruggs,a Pascagoula attorney noted for his role in the state’s lawsuitagainst the tobacco industry.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Scruggs lived in Brookhaven until he was 13. Thursday, herecalled some fun times growing up here.

“Brookhaven has always had a very special place in my heart,”Scruggs said. “This campus has always had a very special place inmy heart.”

In recognition of Scruggs’ gift, the Y Hut will be named theHelen Furlow Scruggs Y Hut in honor of his mother, who was astudent at Whitworth College. Scruggs said his mother, now 92, haslived in Pascagoula over 40 years but still has fond memories ofthis community.

“She’s never left Brookhaven. This has always been her heart andsoul,” Scruggs said.

MSA Executive Director Dr. Vicki Bodenhamer said the foundationwas “truly grateful” to Scruggs for his contribution. She said shehas never worked in a community that is more supportive thanBrookhaven, and she was looking forward to the arts school becominga reality.

“You are a major catalyst in making that happen,” Bodenhamertold Scruggs.

Dr. Ronald Love, special assistant for state schools and specialprojects, also praised Scruggs for his contribution.

“If there were more Mississippians like you, we’d be a better,better place,” Love said.

Following the check presentation in Lampton, Scruggs, othervisitors and school officials toured the building that will benamed in his mother’s honor. Scruggs was impressed with Y Hutrenovations and other campus building improvements.

“I’m amazed at all the progress you’ve made since I’ve beenhere,” Scruggs said. “It is remarkable.”

Also present for Thursday’s activities was area celebrity PaulOtt Carruth, host of the “Listen to the Eagle” radio program.

Carruth, who is working with actress Sela Ward on development ofthe estimated $50 million Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Centerand Hall of Fame in Meridian, had a map showing the state’s artsand entertainment “Star Power.” He said the over 30 names ofwriters, actors, singers and other entertainers on the map wereonly about half of Mississippi’s total.

“That’s all I could get on there,” Carruth said. “All of thesekids that come out of here (the arts school) are going to be onthere one day.”

Carruth said the arts center was several years away. He toutedthe potential for “direct contact” between the arts school inBrookhaven that will develop students’ artistic talents and theMeridian arts center that will be a place to recognize andcelebrate their accomplishments.

“That’s what I’m excited about,” Carruth said.