Phoenix Cannabis Production Scholarship

Dr. R. Lawrence Hatchett’s connection to SIU goes back to his childhood. He was raised in the historically black coal mining town of Colp, Illinois. He went on to attend University School in Carbondale, Illinois, kindergarten through fourth grade, which was located in Pulliam Hall. It wasn’t easy for a child growing up during a time of racial division, but SIU made him feel right at home. “Walking through the SIU campus on my way to class in third grade was like a dream world,” Dr. Hatchett says. “There was a feeling of utopia, and I never felt so accepted, so loved and appreciated, and it meant everything to me, and it still does even to this day.”

Dr. Hatchett later attended Marquette University on a full basketball scholarship, beginning one year after the team won the 1977 national championship. He completed his medical school education at the University of Chicago, and then went on to complete his internship and residency training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He eventually finished his fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital through Harvard Medical School. After completing his training, Dr. Hatchett opened a practice in Tallahassee, Florida. It was at that time that he became a national and international speaker for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. In 1995, while living in Tallahassee, he founded an endowment fund in conjunction with the Tallahassee Community College Foundation, awarding scholarships to at-risk junior high and high school students. It also provided scholarship opportunities to students hoping to attend Florida State University.

In 2003, Dr. Hatchett, a well-known urologist, became the owner of a very successful medical practice, Southern Illinois Urology in Marion, Illinois. Now, Dr. Hatchett has decided to bring his philanthropic support back to the place where it all started – Southern Illinois University. “It was this campus, this university and my childhood experience that changed my life at a very critical time. I was a truly scared black child with low self-esteem in a very confusing world,” he says. “The kindness of the teachers and students led me to come to realize that I was going to be just fine and everything was going to be OK. I want this university and the caring people in the College of Agricultural Sciences to offer this same tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of talented young people by adding to the well-needed diversity in the cannabis industry.”

Dr. Hatchett is the proud father of his son, Phoenix Hatchett, and they live in Marion. Dr. Hatchett has told Phoenix to not only carry the mantle forward, but greatly improve upon this philanthropy with the goal of improving the lives of others, not just because it is his father’s dream, but because it is the right thing to do.

  • The Phoenix Cannabis Production scholarship will be given to a student in the Intensive Controlled-Environment Plant and Production Certificate program.
  • Applicants must submit an essay discussing the impact of the cannabis industry and the scholarship on their future.

Dr. R. Lawrence Hatchett
Area of Interest
College of Agricultural, Life & Physical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Office of Vice Chancellor for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion