Sanfords give to others, honor MSU classmates

Sanfords give to others, honor MSU classmates

Bobby and Regina Sanford

In 2008, Bobby and Regina Sanford established the Bobby and Regina Sanford Endowed Scholarships in Engineering and Education in loving memory of their two dear friends and former MSU classmates. Fifteen years later, these scholarships continue to support engineering and education students in achieving their academic aspirations. 

The couple met in the 1980s when Bobby worked for the Haliburton Oil Company and Regina was completing her master’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. When Bobby decided to enroll at Mississippi State University to pursue a degree in petroleum engineering, he convinced Regina to enroll in the College of Education to pursue a doctorate degree as well.  

Their time at MSU fostered a lifelong affection for the Bulldog family, where they forged enduring friendships and cherished memories. Among their closest companions were David T. Hannabass and Jerry M. Myrick, fellow petroleum engineering majors whose influence left lasting impressions on the Sanfords. The four formed a tight-knit bond during their student years, which endured after their time at the university. 

Bobby graduated in 1990 and embarked on a successful career as a petroleum engineer with Chevron USA, serving in various locations worldwide until his retirement. Regina completed her doctorate in secondary education in 1991 and pursued a diverse career as a teacher, administrator and supervisor across multiple states. She also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and the University of Southern Mississippi before retiring in 2019 as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for St. Tammany Parish Schools in Louisiana. Regina's career achievements were recognized by the College of Education, naming her the 2009 Alumni Fellow and the 2022 Alumna of the Year. 

Throughout their careers, Bobby and Regina maintained strong ties to MSU as active alumni members and committed supporters across various university initiatives. They recognized the pivotal role scholarships play in students' educational journeys and chose to endow scholarships in memory of their dear friends, who shared their love for MSU. 

The Bobby and Regina Sanford Endowed Scholarship in Education honors Hannabass, who worked as an independent contractor in the Golden Triangle area until a tragic automobile accident claimed his life in 2001. Similarly, the Bobby and Regina Sanford Endowed Scholarship in Engineering pays tribute to Myrick, who was employed with the Oklahoma-based Schlumberger Ltd. oil field services company and passed away in 2004 after battling cancer. 

"David and Jerry were integral parts of our MSU experience and cherished friends. We wanted to honor their memory in a meaningful way," said Regina.  

The scholarships serve a dual purpose of honoring the lives of two special alumni and embodying the Sanfords' commitment to serving others. "For us, these scholarships are a means to support students in achieving their academic aspirations. We also hope that recipients will pay it forward by assisting future MSU students," said Bobby. 

Since their establishment, the endowments have supported more than 20 students in their educational pursuits at MSU. Two recent recipients shared their gratitude for the scholarships' impact. Elizabeth Cain, the recipient of the Sanfords’ scholarship in the College of Education, credits the Sanfords’ help with allowing her to focus on what matters. 

“I am grateful for generous people like Mr. Bobby and Mrs. Regina who care about helping students at Mississippi State University achieve their academic goals through scholarships. As a college student, it can be stressful to pay bills while also taking classes, but because of this scholarship, I can focus on my academics and enjoy my time here at Mississippi State by getting involved on campus and in the community,” she said. 

Jaxon Talbert, recipient of the Sanfords’ scholarship in the Bagley College of Engineering, feels inspired by their help.“This scholarship has allowed me to pursue my passions and a career in computer science. I am grateful for the support from Bobby and Regina Sanford and I hope to one day support a scholarship like they have,” he said. 

The Sanfords, now residing in Aberdeen, remain actively involved with MSU, participating in campus events and supporting Bulldog athletics and academics. Although their friends' lives were cut short, the Sanfords cherish the memories shared with them and are proud to honor Hannabass and Myrick's legacies. The couple firmly believe in the importance of giving back and exemplify the true spirit of the Bulldog family through their generous contributions.