Skip to main content

Richardson Memorial Scholarship Endowed to Benefit Aviation Students

CLEVELAND, Miss. — Delta State University Commercial Aviation students will be able to apply for a new scholarship endowed in the name of a former student who passed away before he was able to finish his degree.

Winston Steve Richardson – known to family as “Stevie” – was an outstanding Delta State University student in the Aviation program in 1985 and was engaged to be married. He was doing well in the program and looking forward to a rewarding career in aviation until he was fatally struck by a car. The scholarship has been endowed by his friend and former roommate, Perrin Caldwell of Batesville.

Caldwell said, “I moved down to Cleveland the day before orientation for school at Delta State. On that morning, Cotton Belt Aviation out of Greenwood, who was providing the airplanes for the startup aviation program, had them on display in front of the Union on the Quadrangle. Steve and I met while looking at the airplanes and discovered that we were both arriving at DSU for the aviation program.”

Caldwell was looking for a roommate, and Steve needed a place to live. Caldwell said, “With that, we became roommates and friends. We enjoyed working together on flight training and sharing the love of aviation. Steve was full of life and enjoyed his fellow students and friends and was fun to be around during the time I was at Delta State with him. He was my first friend I met at DSU, and his friendship meant a lot to me.”

The strong relationship between Caldwell and Richardson created a memory that will endure by helping others who will begin new relationships at Delta State University. The Winston Steve Richardson Memorial Scholarship will enable DSU Commercial Aviation students to obtain an education that they may not have had access to otherwise.

Richardson’s mother, Ann Cox Chiles, recently reminisced by sharing many of her fond memories of Steve. Among the many favorites shared, she recalled his love for flying.

She said, “He loved flying from a little boy on. Once he looked up and said, ‘that plane is going run over the moon.’ I can’t remember when he didn’t love flying. His father was a pilot and we flew a lot when he was little and while growing up. We moved to Southaven for his Dad to go to dental school. You know Southaven is close to the Memphis airport and he would love to watch those planes fly over the house. He just loved flying from always.”

She went on to say, “He wasn’t a wonderful student in high school, ‘gradewise’, I mean, but when he started learning about flying, he liked school then and was an “A” student. He absolutely loved Delta State when there. Stevie, we called him, deeply loved the program at DSU. He had found his thing.”

Chiles was deeply moved when Steve’s friend recently contacted her to start a scholarship in his memory. Chiles, the Scholarship Chairman for the Garden Club in Mississippi, said, “I know how much they [scholarships] help and how happy the students were when they got one. Stevie would appreciate it,” she said.

The Delta State University Commercial Aviation department greatly appreciates Perrin Caldwell for establishing this scholarship. It is through thoughtful gifts like these from our patrons that allow us to serve our many deserving students on the journey to their dream career.

“To continue the memory of a college buddy taken from us nearly 40 years ago speaks positively about Perrin Caldwell and the value of friendships made at Delta State, a one of a kind character-molding university,” said Richardson’s father, Dr. Esaias Richardson.

For more information about supporting our Aviation Campaign, please contact Lori Spencer at 662-846-4794.



Written by John Spencer