Passionate Engineer Seely Remembered

Family establishes endowment for chemical engineering scholarships

Seely Family. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Seely Family. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Buzzie Seely perfected a great number of skills, from navigating for the Air Force to refinishing furniture for a family business. But when it came to his beloved profession, his wife, Gail, offers her opinion: “God makes engineers.”

The Seely family has provided $140,000 to create the Warren B. “Buzzie” Seely Memorial Endowment, funding chemical engineering scholarships at UM.

“This gift is from the whole family,” Gail explained. “It is our children’s endowment for their daddy.”The Seelys also established the Catherine Ann Seely Memorial Scholarship in 1984 in remembrance of their daughter, Cathy.Upon earning his chemical engineering degree from UM in 1955, Buzzie Seely was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Though he was an accomplished navigator and electronic countermeasures officer, Buzzie Seely was anxious to become a chemical engineer.

He enjoyed a long, distinguished career with International Paper and then Rohm and Haas Chemical Co., where he worked for 47 years.

“Buzzie always wanted to be a chemical engineer,” Gail Seely said. “If something broke, no matter what it was, he would hang on to it and tear it apart to see why it didn’t work, and fix it if he could.”

“Buzzie Seely set an outstanding example for students who wish to follow in his footsteps,” said Alex Cheng, UM engineering dean. “That example is continued through this endowment, which will help future chemical engineers complete their educations.”

Gail and Buzzie met as students at UM. Their children, Buddy, Karen and Christi, received degrees from Ole Miss, as have their three grandchildren.

“We’re a big Ole Miss family,” Gail Seely said. “There are a lot of wonderful memories here.”

To make a gift to the UM engineering school, contact Kevin Gardner at 662-915-7601 or