In a message written shortly before he died, Jeremy wrote, “My goal: transform the world from a base metal into the rarefied matter of poesy.” He accomplished his mission in innumerable ways. Jeremy transmuted the crass, harsh elements of life into the haunting splendor of his writing. From the poems in his dissertation, Last Day of Pompeii, to the urgent blossoming in his last, and most memorable written piece, “My Uniform,” his poetry speaks volumes. The world radiated with his energy, kindness, and hope. His poem “The Belarusian,” demonstrates his ability to connect even with a total stranger living in a war-torn country.

Jeremy touched so many people in so many ways. From his days as an unassuming writer, friend, saxophone-playing band member, and the luckiest “3-pointer” on the basketball team at Shelby County High School, in Columbiana, to his undergraduate years when he worked in the Library and the Writing Center at the University of Montevallo; during his doctoral work at the University of Southern Mississippi, his time as a teacher at The Abbey in Pontlevoy, France, and back home at the University of Alabama, Dr. Robert Jeremy Lespi left pieces of himself everywhere he went.

Friends and former students now have the opportunity to keep benefiting one of the things about which Jeremy was most passionate: education. All three universities have memorials established, but the $10,000.00 Jeremy Lespi Scholarship Fund at USM will ensure that some as yet nameless, faceless writer will fulfill his or her own destiny. To honor Jeremy’s memory all you have to do is donate any amount via the donate button found on this site, read his poems, and pass them on to others who value language at its most beautiful. To do so is to begin to understand why the nameplate on his wall read, “Dr. Robert Jeremy Lespi, PhD,” but the people the world over knew him as their friend, Jeremy.