George Bailey’s not the only man who can claim “It’s been a wonderful life!”
Like the fictional lead character in Frank Capra’s popular Christmas movie, C. J. Fayard (ChE 52) has lived to fulfill the dreams he had as a young man growing up in Bay St. Louis.
“I attended and was valedictorian of St Stanislaus College, a college prep for boys dating back to 1854, and was taught by Sacred Heart brothers,” Fayard said. “After I graduated in 1948, I was awarded a minor scholarship to Loyola University in New Orleans.”
After learning Loyola did not have a chemical engineering department, Fayard looked northward.
“I decided to go to Ole Miss to study chemical engineering,” he said. “My decision was based on my older brother’s advice, as he graduated with a C.E. degree.”
Fayard came to Ole Miss in 1948, excelling as a student and earning many honors, including membership in Phi Eta Sigma engineering society and the Arnold Air Society.
“I thought Ole Miss would be my best choice,” Fayard said. “My favorite subjects were heat transfer, which was taught by Frank Anderson, and calculus.”
After being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, Fayard was called to active duty during the Korean conflict. After being indoctrinated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, he was assigned to the 4925th Test Group, a top-secret entity dealing with atomic weapons.
“My major projects included testing the B-2 trailer, which was used to load H-bombs,” Fayard said. “We also conducted escape maneuvers of aircraft carrying atomic weapons.”
Upon completing his two-year tour of duty, Fayard, by then a first lieutenant, retired from the military. He was employed with Copolymer Corp. in Baton Rouge for a year before being hired by Shell Chemical in Norco, Louisiana.
“After two years, I transferred to Shell Chemical in Houston, Texas,” Fayard said. “I was hired in the computer programming department and later went into training. Some courses I taught were ‘Presentation and Communication Skills,’ ‘Creative Problem Solving’ and ‘Time Management.’”
Fayard was later assigned to Gesimar, Lousiana, to lead the startup of an oxygen plant.
After 33 years with Shell, Fayard retired but he didn’t stop working.
“I formed CJF Seminars,” he said. “I designed many techniques taught by Dr. Anderson into my seminars. I had great respect for him and he was a great influence on my success. I had workshops in all the courses previously mentioned, plus new ones. I traveled all over and was even invited to teach on a 12-day cruise.”
After enountering some health issues, Fayard retired from teaching. He and Shirley, his wife of 52 years, enjoy spending time with their four married children and 12 grandchildren.
“Without question, my years at Ole Miss were some of the best years of my life,” Fayard said. “It’s been quite a ride.”