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Mayford Daniel Williams Endowed Scholarship established in honor of 1954 CFWE alumnus

By May 24, 2024No Comments
Mayford Williams and classmates pose for a photo at forestry summer camp in 1952.

Mayford D. Williams (center) and classmates at Auburn University forestry summer camp in Little River State Forest circa 1952.

A new scholarship to benefit forestry undergraduates was established in the Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment (CFWE). The Mayford Daniel Williams Endowed Scholarship, a planned gift in honor of 1954 forestry graduate Mayford Daniel Williams, will support CFWE undergraduates who share Williams’ love for forestry.

Mayford Daniel Williams Headshot

Mayford Daniel Williams

Mayford Williams was born and raised in Lenoir City, Tennessee. After graduating high school in 1941, he answered his country’s call by enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II. He was stationed aboard the USS Biloxi, a battle-hardened cruiser that saw significant action in the Pacific Theater including the landing at Iwo Jima.

After returning home from the war, he married his wife, Inez, in 1947 and established their home in Lenoir City. Three years later, he enrolled at Auburn University, choosing to study forestry in what was then the Department of Forestry in the School of Agriculture. He was the first member of his family to attend college. After a successful academic career, he graduated from Auburn with a Bachelor of Science in 1954.

Williams’ education provided the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in managing natural resources. Post-graduation, Williams spent 16 months working at one of Auburn’s Experiment Forests. Upon returning home to Tennessee, he worked in both state service and private industry with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and Willamette Corporation (subsequently bought by Weyerhaeuser Corporation) managing timberland. In 1980, he and Inez moved to Alabama where Williams established his own forestry consulting business in Cullman.

After a 35-year career in forestry, he retired and moved to Birmingham, Alabama. Several years later, he moved to Memphis to be near his daughter, Beverly Danley. Williams passed away in 2016, leaving a legacy of hard work, determination and resilience.

Continuing his legacy is important to Danley and her family.

“My father loved Auburn University and felt a special connection to it throughout his life,” Danley said. “This scholarship, which my husband and I have established in his memory from an estate bequest, will continue my father’s legacy of support and love for Auburn in perpetuity.”

Mayford Daniel Williams with his daughter, Beverly Danley.

Mayford Daniel Williams with his daughter, Beverly Danley.

Danley is an Auburn alumna in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) where she began the academic preparation for her career as a cardiologist. She has since retired and established another scholarship in COSAM, the Dr. Beverly and Col. James W. Danley Endowed Scholarship. Further, Danley has also donated to other COSAM initiatives and served on the COSAM Advisory Board, giving back to her alma mater.

According to Williams’ family, he had a passion and love for the outdoors. Some of his hobbies included fishing, hunting, watching Southeastern Conference football (especially Auburn football) and cultivating roses. Williams loved Auburn so much that a descendant of the original Auburn Oaks was planted in his memory in Samford Park near the iconic Samford Hall.

Passing down the same opportunity for education is important to Williams’ family.

“As the first in his family to attend college, he felt strongly that his Auburn education changed his life,” Danley said. “It would have been his wish for an Auburn education to be as impactful in the scholarship recipient’s life as it was in his own.”

In keeping with that wish, the Mayford Daniel Williams Endowed Scholarship will continue to provide a life-changing opportunity for an Auburn student, just as it was for Williams.’

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