OXFORD, Miss. – When businessman John D. Glass talks about his father – a hard-working business owner of a printing company and publisher of a newspaper – the love and respect can be heard each time he recalls a memory.
A longtime benefactor of the University of Mississippi, Glass has established two new endowments, including a named faculty chair to pay tribute to his father’s life. The William Quintard Glass Chair of Journalism in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is a nod to his father’s long career at the helm of Glass Printing Co. and The Newbern Tennessean newspaper in Dyer County.
John Glass of Memphis, Tennessee, has committed a planned gift of $2 million to establish the faculty chair and to create the John D. Glass Endowment for Business Excellence in support of the university’s School of Business Administration. Previously, Glass funded a faculty support endowment in his name and a speaker series in his father’s name, both for the business school.
“I have always loved my father and the University of Mississippi,” Glass said. “I could not think of a better way to remember both. Think about it – his name will be linked forever to Ole Miss. I am proud to make this gift. I remember when Pop and I were hugging each other for the last time, he whispered into my ear, ‘Son, I love you, and have you said your prayers?’ These are the words I hold dear.
“My Pop only had a fifth-grade education. His father died when he was young, leading him to quit school and work to help support his family. Even with this background, he was a great believer in college and always encouraged me to give my best efforts. As a result, I have earned undergraduate, master’s and law degrees, all because of him.”
While $500,000 of his new planned gift is directed to the business school, where Glass earned his undergraduate degree, the remaining $1.5 million secures a named chair-level faculty position in the journalism school. Building faculty support continues as a top priority for UM, which boasts the largest student enrollment among Mississippi’s public universities and needs to add around 215 faculty members over the next three years, Ole Miss leaders have said.
Named faculty positions offer prestige and salary supplements needed to recruit top faculty members.
Will Norton, dean of the journalism school – an academic unit experiencing rapid growth with undergraduate enrollment soaring 26.6 percent, from 1,044 students in fall 2014 to 1,322 this year – expressed appreciation for Glass’ decision to fund and name a faculty chair for his father.
“It means a great deal to the Meek School and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics when an accomplished professional makes a significant donation to pay tribute to a longtime journalist,” Norton said.
“John Glass is not only honoring his father, but he is also helping assure that future students benefit from outstanding professional instruction. We are deeply grateful for this tremendous gift and feel that Mr. Glass’ father would be proud to have his name permanently linked with the preparation of future journalists.”
Glass hopes the holder of the William Quintard Glass Chair of Journalism can mentor UM students, as his father mentored him. After an almost-50-year career in the trust area of banking with Union Planters, First Tennessee and Morgan Keegan, Glass and a business partner formed Sentry LLC, a private wealth management firm in Memphis.
“Because of Pop’s guidance, I chose to pursue a banking career from 1960 to 2009 in the trust department,” he explained. “He told me this area was the best way to learn how to make and manage money; that turned out to be very good advice.”
Ken Cyree, dean of UM’s School of Business Administration, saluted Glass for sharing his resources.
“John Glass continues to enjoy an incredible career and stands as an excellent role model in ‘giving back,'” Cyree said. “He doesn’t take his successes lightly, maintaining a strong belief in ‘paying it forward’ to express his dedication to a father, who passed on valuable life lessons, and to his alma mater, which prepared him for his career.
“The impact of Mr. Glass’ investments in the business school will be far-reaching, helping to assure students are taught to be business leaders and visionaries.”
Glass grew up in Newbern, Tennessee, and joined the Ole Miss student body, where he says he learned, in addition to academic study, “to get along with people and how to conduct myself in public.”
“When I arrived on campus, I felt as though I was ‘home.’ If you love home, you always come back,” said Glass, who also has a home in Oxford and attends athletics and other events. “I’m thankful for everything – every opportunity – that I was given. I want to bless Ole Miss for what it’s done for me.”
When giving credit to Ole Miss and his father, Glass also makes a point of thanking God.
“My Heavenly Father has blessed me more than I could ever imagine. He has been more than abundantly good to me. Everything I have comes from Him for reasons known only to Him. I want to give back to Him what He has graciously given me. It is much better to serve than to be served.”
Glass hopes his gifts provide educational opportunities that students embrace. When asked what he would tell today’s college students, he said, “Make good grades and persevere – never think about quitting. College is a real opportunity; try diligently and stay with it.”
Glass said his father encouraged him to do the same by using a unique illustration: “When I graduated from Ole Miss, Pop took me into the kitchen and turned on the water. He said, ‘This is you in college.’ Next he turned off the water. ‘This is you out of college; get a job and get off my payroll.’ As you can see, both the University of Mississippi and my Pop have blessed me over and over again. I am giving back to them because they graciously gave to me.”
Glass’ planned gift gives him membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university opened its doors. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts. For more information, call the UM Foundation at 800-340-9542 or 662-915-5944, or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/planning.