For Tom and Louise Gresham, an investment in Delta State University is an investment in the Mississippi Delta; it’s this philosophy that led the couple to establish an endowed scholarship at DSU.
Recently, the Greshams provided a major boost to their scholarship fund with the addition of a groundbreaking $301,000 gift. Named in their honor, the endowment was established to assist Mississippi students in DSU’s College of Business and Aviation that display financial need.
A well-established businessman as the longtime president of Double Quick, Inc. and member of Gresham Petroleum Company, Tom and his wife both feel strongly about the importance of education.
“Delta State is absolutely vital to the Delta,” said Tom. “When I think about the great people we had on our team at Double Quick and those we have on our team at Gresham Petroleum, so many of them are from the Delta and received their college degree from Delta State. They were such an integral part of the success of Double Quick and our other companies.”
Louise echoed her husband’s sentiments.
“We know that Delta State provides a good quality education, and we want to help people get their college degree from Delta State and stay here in the Delta,” she said.
Delta State President William N. LaForge said the Greshams’ continued support will have positive, long-term effects for DSU students and, in turn, the community at large.
“Delta State is so fortunate to have the generous financial support of the Greshams,” he said. “We are very appreciative to Louise and Tom for believing in the university and for embracing our students’ success with their scholarship dollars. Their gift of education and investment in our students will have a terrific, positive impact for years to come.”
The youngest of four children, Tom is a Delta native and graduate of Indianola Academy. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas — where he met and married his wife, the former Louise Houseman, a graduate of the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Education.
As the longtime president of Double Quick, Inc., Tom oversaw the convenience store chain’s growth from humble beginnings in 1984 to 60 locations and roughly 1,200 employees today.
Both Gresham Petroleum and Double Quick have long histories of supporting DSU students through internships and hiring Delta State graduates.
In 2014, the principal owners of the companies joined together to establish the Gresham-McPherson Endowed Scholarships for a total of $225,000 which was, at that time, the largest unrestricted scholarship gift in the history of DSU’s College of Business.
In addition to the Thomas and Louise Endowed Scholarship, other contributors included the Walton & Laura Gresham Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Bill & Draughon McPherson Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“Double Quick operates stores throughout the Delta and this was one way we felt that we could positively impact the community,” Tom said.
Although the Greshams and McPhersons sold the assets of Double Quick in April of 2020, Tom continues to be active in his business activities and civic responsibilities.
He and his wife also remain committed to giving back to the region that has meant so much to their family.
“We should always give back to our community and giving back to Delta State helps the entire Delta.”
Delta State University is a four-year public institution whose nearly 3,000 students come from most U.S. states and more than 50 countries.
The university offers numerous unique programs, including the Delta Music Institute entertainment industry program, and is the only university in Mississippi to offer undergraduate and graduate aviation programs.
Situated in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, which is recognized as the birthplace of American music, Delta State has become the center of music and culture for the state and the region.
The university is also the academic center for the blues, offering an online blues studies curriculum that leads to a certificate for advanced study of blues music. In addition, Delta State offers top-notch academic programs in business, arts, sciences, nursing, and education, among other areas.