Alumni and friends of the University of Mississippi stepped up once again in fiscal year 2023, with gifts totaling $155.1 million, the second-highest fundraising year on record.
The Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss has reached $1.38 billion of its $1.5 billion goal, the largest-ever fundraising initiative for higher education in Mississippi.
During the past fiscal year, which closed June 30, the number of gifts to Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Ole Miss athletics came to 88,755, and the number of donors totaled 24,644, with 5,042 of those being new donors.
“We’re experiencing tremendous momentum at the University of Mississippi, and this generous level of private support from our devoted alumni and friends plays a leading role in our transformational impact,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “It makes it possible to welcome our largest freshman class in history, support faculty research and innovation, prepare health care professionals and champion student-athletes.
“I’m excited to see all the ways these significant funds will help build leaders, empower student success and create opportunities.”
The UM Foundation, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding this year, manages 1,666 endowments, with 70 new ones added this year. The endowment stands at approximately $840 million with endowed funds held permanently.
With 11% alumni participation, private giving to Ole Miss fueled meaningful progress across all areas of campus with noteworthy gifts. Among them were:
— Jean Reed Adams, of Clinton, made a $10 million gift to the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Center at the Medical Center to expand the legacy of her husband, the late Fred Rodgers Adams Jr. The gift will boost UMMC’s research mission by supporting the study and treatment of patients with memory loss and cognitive impairment.
— A $5 million gift from Christie and George R. Walker III, of Jackson, created two endowed faculty chairs in finance and real estate for the School of Business Administration. The Walkers had several influential professors during their time as undergraduates.
— A $4 million gift from the estate of Francis D. Cerniglia, of Cordova, Tennessee, is bolstering the School of Pharmacy and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
— A $4 million contribution from the Dr. and Mrs. R. Faser Triplett Foundation is the lead gift for a new alumni center, which will be built on the footprint of the current Triplett Alumni Center.
— The Mary Sharp and Jim Rayner family, of Oxford, gave $2 million to the university, with $1.5 million designated to the CHAMPIONS. NOW. campaign for facility improvements within Ole Miss athletics; the remaining $500,000 supports academics.
— A $1 million gift from Suzan B. Thames, of Ridgeland, is supporting the renovation of the Children’s of Mississippi Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The gift is in honor of Dr. Jeanette Pullen, the Medical Center’s first pediatric hematologist-oncologist physician, and will create the Dr. D. Jeanette Pullen Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders Research Laboratory and Office within the center. Thames and her husband, Tommy, are also helping strengthen the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Center with an additional $500,000 gift.
— After helping make the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi a reality, Priscilla and David O’Donnell, of Ridgeland, were inspired to give again, this time with a $1.5 million gift that supports the renovation of the cardiac step-down and medical-surgical floor in the Blair E. Batson Tower.
— Susie and Lampkin Butts, of Laurel, made a $1.5 million gift, with part of it providing resources for the Butts Scholar of Management in the business school. The other parts of the couple’s gift are directed to the construction of a new Triplett Alumni Center and to Ole Miss athletics.
A highlight of the fiscal year was the annual Giving Day, reflecting the enthusiasm of alumni and friends as it set a one-time giving record with $6.83 million coming from 2,399 gifts.
“The momentum of Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss continues to grow, and we are most thankful,” said Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development. “As the fall semester opens and alumni and friends visit campus, they will see our excited students and dedicated faculty and want to take part in answering today’s challenges.
“Donors are giving to build leaders and strengthen the future, and we are extremely grateful for their vision and generosity.”
Jean Reed Adams, of Clinton, made a $10 million gift to the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Center at the Medical Center to expand the legacy of her husband, the late Fred Rodgers Adams Jr. The gift will boost UMMC’s research mission by supporting the study and treatment of patients with memory loss and cognitive impairment.