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UM Alumnus Invests in Biomedical Engineering Program

By Alyssa Garza

University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi Foundation CEO Wendell Weakley (left) greets James Stewart, an Ole Miss engineering alumnus whose recent gift will help support a state-of-the-art Department of Biomedical Engineering at the university. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

James Stewart’s gift of $100,000 to the University of Mississippi will establish the James C. Stewart Biomedical Engineering Program Support Fund in the first and only department of its kind in the state.

Stewart, of Houston, Texas, who earned an Ole Miss degree in electrical engineering in 1984, seeks to enable the Department of Biomedical Engineering to help create jobs and expand business opportunities in Mississippi and beyond.

“My degree allowed me to be a very successful businessperson,” Stewart said. “I want to give back to the engineering school because they’ve started an innovative program, and I’ve always been interested in leading-edge medical technology.”

The biomedical engineering program combines the design and problem-solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to advance health care treatment.

“The generous gift to biomedical engineering from Mr. Stewart will help expose students to the broad biomedical field through opportunities such as traveling to national conferences, organizing speaker workshops and providing additional funding to promote undergraduate research,” said Dwight Waddell, chair of the department. “Gifts like this allow the department and faculty to fill out the educational experience and create well-rounded young engineers.”

Students in the department are prepared for the integrative world of bioengineering, where technology and medicine meet. Students choose an emphasis of study in biomolecular engineering, biodevices or bioinformatics.

“I think the University of Mississippi has a leading-edge biomedical program that attracts top students, so I want to help provide all the things that are needed to be able to sustain a first-class, top-tier biomedical program,” Stewart said.

Stewart began his career with Schlumberger Ltd., where he held leadership positions across the globe. He went on to serve as vice president of integrated drilling services for Weatherford International PLC, based in London and Dubai, and served as president and CEO of a privately held international drilling company.

He advises private equity investors on upstream oil and gas investments and is a director of NexTier Oilfield Solutions, which he co-founded in 2011, formerly serving as chair and CEO from 2011 to 2019.

The James C. Stewart Biomedical Engineering Program Support Fund is open to support from organizations and individuals. Gifts can be made by sending a check, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or by giving online at https://give.olemiss.edu.

For information on supporting the School of Engineering, contact Greg Carter, development officer, at gjcarter@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1849.

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