Gift Supports UM Liberal Arts Faculty

Growing Ole Miss family inspires Morgans' gift

The home that Kirk and Shelly Morgan purchased in Oxford has kept them connected with campus and friends, renewed their love for the area and provided an excuse to visit. The whole family often meets here to enjoy Rebel sports and all that Ole Miss and Oxford have to offer. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – Kirk and Shelly Morgan of Lexington, South Carolina, say their recent gift to the University of Mississippi’s College of Liberal Arts is, in a sense, simply supporting their family.

“Our Ole Miss family just gets bigger,” said Kirk Morgan, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, who knew no one when he arrived at UM his freshman year. But the relationships he formed on campus and beyond have inspired his desire to give back by establishing the Shelly and Kirk Morgan Fund for Faculty Excellence.

“All of these relationships stem from my graduation from the College of Liberal Arts,” said Morgan, a 1980 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

During his sophomore year, Morgan met his wife, Shelly Stefoniak, a Dallas native who earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1981.

“I have been fortunate enough to realize that Ole Miss is as much an important factor in our entire family’s lives as any other group deserving of support,” he said. “I am hopeful that the College of Liberal Arts can utilize our financial assistance to continue improving the faculty and facilities and encourage other young students to attend.

“I have particularly enjoyed the fact that, like our family, many out-of-state students attend Ole Miss.”

The Shelly and Kirk Morgan Fund for Faculty Excellence supports the recognition of outstanding teaching, scholarship and service by a faculty member within the College of Liberal Arts as deemed appropriate by the dean.

“The Morgans’ generous gift is a testament to how much they care for the quality of instruction at the University of Mississippi as well as their desire to ensure that Ole Miss students continue to receive the very best higher education has to offer,” liberal arts Dean Lee Cohen said. “Their gift will have a significant impact for years to come.”

Besides meeting his wife on campus, Morgan’s ties to Ole Miss include an uncle, John Gainey, a former All-American Rebel baseball player.

“He encouraged me to visit Ole Miss to meet the coach so that I might get an invitation to join the team, which I got,” said Morgan, who also lettered in golf his sophomore year.

Family ties continued as both of the Morgans’ sons, Eddie and Sam, became UM graduates, as well as Eddie’s wife, Alaina McClain-Morgan of Houston, Texas.

And one person in particular is like family to the Morgans, even though she’s not a blood relative. Linda Spargo, coordinator of special projects in the chancellor’s office, became a friend and trusted educational counselor to both Eddie and Sam. Additionally, Spargo remained “on call” for the family when Eddie and Alaina were seriously injured in a car wreck their junior year.

“During Eddie’s convalescence, the support, friendship and practical advice we received from Dr. Linda Spargo was a prime motivation in my realization that Ole Miss was not just a great school but also a family,” Morgan said.

After graduating from Ole Miss, Morgan remained on campus for his first year of law school while his wife finished her senior year and graduated. They transferred to South Carolina, where he finished law school, then worked briefly in Dallas before returning to South Carolina, where Morgan has practiced as a trial lawyer ever since.

He recently served as president of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association among other achievements.

Morgan found great value in his final year as a student in Oxford.

“We made many great friends who remain so today and are a big part of our continued involvement and commitment to Ole Miss,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our support of the College of Liberal Arts for the balance of our lives, to enjoying many new relationships and friends made as a consequence of our gift, and to watching the College of Liberal Arts have an impact on the lives of faculty and students because of this gift.

“It’s a chance for us to return the favor and make a difference in our university. We want to be a part of its future successes.”

Nikki Neely Davis, a UM development director, thanked the Morgans for their gift.

“We appreciate so much their vision in making this type of gift,” she said. “While scholarship endowments are crucial, endowments that provide support for faculty and programs are equally important to supporting the university’s future.

“The Morgans are gracious and generous people whom I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know.”

The Shelly and Kirk Morgan Fund for Faculty Excellence is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contact Davis at nlneely@olemiss.edu or 662-915-6678.

Committed Community Servants Honored at University

'Hickman girls' pay tribute to parents' lives, examples with two scholarships

Known while growing up as the ‘Hickman girls,’ Jenny Hickman Poole (left), Debbie Hickman Little and Lisa Hickman Tollison have created two scholarships at the University of Mississippi to pay tribute to their parents, Dewey and Will Hickman, pictured in the portraits. Photo by Heather Cosby Poole

OXFORD, Miss. – The late Dewey and Will Hickman were known for their committed service to the University of Mississippi and the state’s other universities, the Oxford-Lafayette County community and its economic development, local schools, their church and – most of all – their three daughters.

“Our parents led by example, with the message being to us that demonstrating love and loyalty to each other is an important value,” said daughter Jenny Hickman Poole of Batesville.

Those daughters – known around Oxford as the “Hickman girls” – are expressing that affection and devotion by establishing two scholarships at Ole Miss to pay tribute to their parents. Poole and sisters Debbie Hickman Little and Lisa Hickman Tollison, both of Oxford, have funded the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Law Scholarship Endowment for full-time students in the School of Law who are Mississippi residents and have financial need.

The second scholarship is the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Scholarship Endowment designated for full-time students who are community college transfers and Mississippi residents with financial need; first preference will be given to students in the School of Business Administration.

“When we lost our parents, we knew we wanted to do something for these special people who did so much for others,” Poole said. “Their love for Ole Miss was so strong and such an important part of their lives that establishing something at the university in their names seemed appropriate.”

“Our parents left a wonderful legacy of dedication and service, which we want to memorialize with this gift,” Little said.

The designation of the new scholarships models the Hickmans’ paths in higher education. After losing his father at the age of 12, Will Hickman, a native of Monticello, attended Hinds Community College on a basketball scholarship while doing custodial work on campus. Meanwhile, Dewey Hickman graduated as salutatorian of Meadville High School and enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“They educated three daughters, who earned degrees from Ole Miss, and were instrumental in educating their seven grandchildren,” Tollison said. “Although we were blessed, not everyone gets the same opportunity to receive a formal education. Our parents would be very pleased to know these scholarships will aid other young men and women.”

Will Hickman, a senior law partner with Hickman, Goza and Spragins, made far-reaching contributions as part of the leadership on the board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning for 13 years, where he served a term as president. The IHL is the governing body for policy and financial oversight of Mississippi’s eight public universities.

His experience in desegregation and civil rights cases within public schools and with Ole Miss made his service “valuable” on the board of trustees during the Ayers case, a civil rights case that sought to correct inadequate funding for Mississippi’s three historically black universities, Little said. “My dad was an advocate for educational opportunities for everyone.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter praised the daughters for choosing to honor their parents through student scholarships.

“Dewey and Will Hickman were outstanding alumni who will always be part of this university,” Vitter said. “We are extremely grateful to their daughters for this gift of scholarships bearing their names and reflecting their parents’ strongly held belief in extending educational opportunities to others.

“Will Hickman provided transformational leadership and service to the IHL board that will be felt for generations of students attending Mississippi’s eight public universities. Likewise, Dewey Hickman was a source of unwavering support to her husband throughout this meaningful service and also worked tirelessly to strengthen Ole Miss, local schools and other institutions. Their generous spirit could be seen in that they often opened their home for Ole Miss events.”

Hickman also was uniquely poised to influence the community as the board attorney for the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, Oxford School District, Oxford-Lafayette County Hospital and Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association. He was president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and the North Mississippi Industrial Foundation, as well as chairman of the education committee of the Oxford Economic Development Foundation.

Will Hickman served in the U.S. 5th Army, commanded by Mark Clark, in the Italian theater during World War II, fighting all the way to France. Afterward, he enrolled in Millsaps College, where he met the love of his life, fellow student Dewey Cobb. After graduation they married, moved to the Oxford campus and lived in the “Vet Village” while Hickman earned his law degree from Ole Miss.

Dewey Hickman taught school in Abbeville for five years and earned a master’s degree in business administration from UM. They had planned to move back home to south Mississippi but chose to remain in their adopted hometown of Oxford.

Will Hickman served Oxford as mayor pro tempore and as an alderman for two terms. Appreciation for his contributions was recognized in 1986 when he was honored as Oxford’s Citizen of the Year. Hinds Community College named him Alumnus of the Year in 1988. He was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the university in 1996. The Ole Miss School of Law selected him as its 1998 Alumnus of the Year.

“They fell in love with Ole Miss and Oxford,” Little said. “They were the typical Southern couple, stately and courteous. Mom was the serious one, and Dad had an excellent sense of humor. He was a good man to have on your team.

“Dad always gave credit to Mom whenever he was recognized. Mom was the creative, behind-the-scenes person. She had a servant’s heart and wrote notes of encouragement to people all her life. They believed the family unit to be critical, with Dad often saying, ‘If you don’t maintain close family ties, you’ve lost something that will be difficult to regain.'”

Poole said the words that come to mind when describing her parents are “commitment, hard work, determination, giving and family.”

That family also includes their three sons-in-law: Ray Poole, Larry Little and Grady Tollison.

Dewey Hickman was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Oxford. She taught business communication at Ole Miss for a year. She was active in the community and the First Presbyterian Church for many years. Leadership positions included chair of the Easter Seal Campaign, secretary of the Lafayette County Library Board, member of the V.F.W. Auxiliary and the Oxford Army Advisory Committee and president of the Cosmopolitan and Oxford Garden clubs.

“Our parents were heavily involved in all our activities,” Poole said. “They drove us to everything – cheerleading, Girl Scouts and more. They gave so much of their time and resources to the community but they were always present for their daughters.”

Both the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Law Scholarship and the Will A. and Dewey Hickman Memorial Scholarship Endowment are open to accept gifts from individuals and organizations. Send checks to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund(s) noted in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or give online at http://umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information contact William Kneip, development officer for the College of Liberal Arts, at 662-915-2254 or Kneip@olemiss.edu.

Holloway Gift to Athletics Kicks Off Gate-Naming Initiative

Latest contribution goes toward Forward Together capital campaign

J.L. and Diane Holloway have committed $1 million to the university’s Forward Together campaign will help strengthen programs and fund facilities and equipment. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Fans entering the south entrance of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at the University of Mississippi may have noticed new signage, displaying the names of Diane and J.L. Holloway and serving as a lasting tribute to the Ridgeland couple’s recent gift in support of Ole Miss athletics.

The Holloways’ $1 million gift to the university’s Forward Together campaign will help strengthen programs and fund facilities and equipment.

“This gracious gift will ultimately make significant improvements for the benefit of our student- athletes,” said Ross Bjork, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics. “The Holloways have a real desire to see not just our program achieve success but also our individual student-athletes, both on and off the field. We are extremely grateful for their generosity.”

The Holloway gift kicks off the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s drive to honor donors with naming opportunities for each of the entrance gates at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the Pavilion at Ole Miss, the Rebels’ basketball arena.

“The Gate Naming Initiative is the first of its kind and will play an integral role in completing the $200 million Forward Together campaign,” said Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “With $173 million raised toward a multitude of capital projects, the final phase of the campaign will see the opening of an indoor tennis facility this December and completed renovations at Oxford-University Stadium in early spring.”

Gate naming opportunities start at $250,000 and are payable over five years.

J.L. Holloway is founder and CEO of Tenax Aerospace in Madison, a company that leases aircraft to the U.S. government, including one used by FBI Director Christopher Wray for executive travel and other aircraft used by the Department of Defense for geographic mapping.

While much of Holloway’s work is classified and cannot be discussed, he’s always eager to talk about Ole Miss.

“Our teams are not doing exactly what we would like for them to do these days,” he said. “There’ve been a few problems along the way, so we just thought this was an opportune time to be a giver in maybe an inopportune situation. We want our teams to know we are supporting them.

“You know most of us don’t need much support when everything is going perfect for us; we need that support when we feel like we’re not at the top of our game.”

The Holloways’ gift to name a gate is the most recent in a two-decade history of giving to the university, totaling nearly $2 million.

“J.L. has the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever known,” said Diane Holloway, who earned a degree in education from Ole Miss in 1985 and is the daughter of Jackie Triplett and the late Dr. R. Faser Triplett of Jackson, longtime dedicated UM supporters. “And not just in giving financially but giving of his thought, giving of his time and truly caring about what’s happening in people’s lives from very, very young people to old people. He does have a passion for helping young people.

“In the business sense, I think God has given J.L. an unusual gift for seeing things differently, building great teams and building businesses, and J.L. has been faithful to follow that. I feel that God has given us tremendous success because he knows that J.L. is a faithful giver and has believed forever that to whom much is given, much is expected. He lives that life, and I admire that a lot.”

As a young man, Holloway served a six-month stint in the U.S. Army before taking his first job: selling sewing machines and vacuum cleaners. At 24, he started a small construction rental business that he built into a multistate organization and ultimately sold about six years later.

Then, employing six people, he began HAM Marine, which became the foundation of Friede Goldman International with Holloway serving as its CEO. The company, a leading international provider of offshore drilling services, was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and had 8,000 employees and operations in eight countries when Holloway retired to be able to play more tennis.

“That lasted about three weeks and Diane told me to go find something to do!” Holloway said, laughing.

Twelve years later, Tenax Aerospace is thriving – good for the Holloways and good for Ole Miss. Tenax also operates companies and invests in land development, real estate, construction, general equipment sales and leasing, and health care software, as well as construction and retrofit drilling and production vessels.

Among his many honors, Holloway was named to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 1999, and he received the Mississippi Governor’s Citizen of the Year award in 2009. The J.L. Holloway Business & Technology Center at Mississippi College was named in his honor in 2007.

“In America, most of us describe success as how well we’ve done financially in life, and certainly that’s a metric that we use, but to me it’s a lot about how you’ve been toward your fellow man and how you’ve been toward those organizations that do so much for people,” he said. “To me, that’s been a success point for Diane and me both.

“We’re both givers and we’re both people who want to help other people. So it brings a real joy and satisfaction to us to be able to provide things for others through the resources with which we’ve been blessed.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed his appreciation for the university’s loyal donors.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Holloways for this wonderful gift as well as their longtime commitment to generously supporting Ole Miss,” he said. “I continue to be inspired by how dedicated and supportive our alumni and friends are to UM; they are a significant reason for our sustained growth and success.

“Our university is truly fortunate to have individuals such as J.L. and Diane, who are so strongly committed and passionate about helping others.”

For more information about the Gate Naming Initiative, contact Keith Carter at jkcarter@olemiss.edu, call 662-915-7159 or visit http://givetoathletics.com/gates.

Morris Stocks Named First Holder of Jones Chair

School of Accountancy selects former dean, provost for faculty position honoring alumnus

Morris Stocks, former UM provost and accountancy dean, has been named the inaugural holder of the Don Jones Chair of Accountancy. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy has named Morris H. Stocks as the inaugural holder of the Don Jones Chair of Accountancy.

Stocks, who returned to the school’s faculty in January 2017, had served in high-level administrative roles at the university for the past 15 years. As provost, executive vice chancellor and interim chancellor, Stocks provided vision and leadership related to many academic honors and advancements at the university.

“I am extremely humbled to be named the first recipient of the Don Jones Chair of Accountancy and especially heartened by the designation because I knew Don personally and considered him a great friend and colleague,” Stocks said. “This chair is a tribute to his outstanding career and significant contributions to the profession of accounting. I’m greatly honored to hold a position that represents his legacy.”

Under Stocks’ leadership as UM’s chief academic officer, overall student enrollment grew by more than 40 percent and minority student enrollment soared by more than 60 percent. Student success measures also improved, with freshman retention and six-year graduation rates each increasing by roughly 7 percent.

Besides his many accomplishments as a higher education administrator, Stocks is – first and foremost – a talented teacher, having won the coveted Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award in 1998 as a faculty member of the Patterson School of Accountancy.

“Morris Stocks has enjoyed an exceptional career at Ole Miss and we are fortunate to have him on our faculty,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “Morris is an outstanding teacher and mentor and he has provided great leadership for the university and Patterson School.

“His significant academic accomplishments and achievements during his tenure at Ole Miss stand as an example to which we should all aspire.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Brockman Foundation and for honoring Don in a way that will help Ole Miss faculty and students. Don enjoyed a wonderful career and was one of our greatest supporters. We are honored to have him as an alumnus and to have the Don Jones name forever associated with the Patterson School.”

Before assuming responsibilities as provost, Stocks served UM as senior vice chancellor for planning and operations and as dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy. Under his leadership, the school was ranked for the first time as one of the country’s top 25 accounting programs by the journal Public Accounting Report, a status it has retained since.

The school’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are No. 8 in this year’s rankings.

Stocks received an undergraduate degree in accounting from Trevecca Nazarene University, a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He is a certified public accountant in Mississippi. He and his wife, Cindy, have four adult children.

In 2016, the Brockman Foundation, a charitable trust for which the late Don Jones served as financial adviser for over 20 years, established the chair in his name with a $2 million gift to UM. The endowment supports salary supplements, research and creative activity in an effort to attract and retain outstanding faculty.

“Through Don’s work, finding investment opportunities and following through with them, the Brockman Foundation was able to build to the extent to where it can now make some substantial gifts,” said Evatt Tamine, the foundation’s director. “We are able to do the work we do, to a large extent, because of the work Don did over the years. So it seemed appropriate to do something that honored him.”

The chair was announced less than two months before Jones died suddenly at his Oxford home.

Melissa Jones, a 1968 graduate of the School of Business Administration, said her husband told her that he hoped the gift would keep the Patterson School at the forefront of nationally renowned accountancy schools and give students the opportunity to excel.

“This was a very humbling experience and both of us were very grateful for the recognition,” she said. “Don felt strongly about the School of Accountancy and would tell anyone who would listen how important it was to him.

“Now, to have Morris named as chair would mean so much to Don, who greatly admired Morris and his work on behalf of Ole Miss and especially on behalf of the School of Accountancy.”

At Ole Miss, Jones was active in many aspects of campus life. After graduating cum laude in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and in 1967 with a master’s degree in accountancy, Jones joined Arthur Andersen & Co. in Houston, Texas, as an auditor. He also served a two-year stint in the U.S. Army.

Jones joined Brown & Root Inc. in Houston from 1976 to 1981, then moved to Universal Computer Systems Inc. in Houston, where he was the chief financial officer until 1995. He then became chief executive officer of Pilot Management Ltd. in Bermuda, serving there until 2008.

The Donald D. Jones Chair of Accountancy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information on ways to support the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Brooke Barnes, director of development, at brooke@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1993.

Honor Celebrates Legacy of ‘Doc’ Hollingsworth

Ole Miss Women's Council selects 2018 Legacy Award winner

Dr. Gerald M. ‘Doc’ Hollingsworth will receive the 2018 Legacy Award from the Ole Miss Women’s Council. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – Dr. Gerald M. “Doc” Hollingsworth, a Mississippi native and University of Mississippi alumnus, has devoted a lifetime to taking care of his patients, monitoring the health of high school athletes, championing competition for intellectually challenged youth and providing major resources for his alma mater’s athletic programs.

For these reasons and more, he will receive the 2018 Legacy Award from the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.

The prestigious award recognizes those who have a lifework of mentoring, leadership, scholarship and/or philanthropy – characteristics promoted and encouraged by the OMWC. All these are descriptive of Hollingsworth, who lives in Niceville, Florida. The physician and businessman has mentored many young people and attributes his own successful medical career to mentors in his life.

“Dr. Earl Fyke of Centerville, Mississippi, asked me to go on house calls with him and then shadow him at the hospital,” Hollingsworth said. “He was trying to encourage my interest in medicine.

“He actually demanded that I attend the University of Mississippi. I was already on the campus of another Mississippi university, and Dr. Fyke came and got me.”

Fyke provided the resources and necessities for Hollingsworth to attend Ole Miss and succeed.

“The other mentor in my life was Dr. Arthur Guyton – author of the world’s most widely used medical textbooks – who steered me to Harvard University for medical school after I finished Ole Miss,” Hollingsworth said. “Dr. Guyton and Dr. Fyke were the two most influential people in my life, as well as my mother, Irma Blakeney Hollingsworth, who gave me unconditional love and support and made me believe I could achieve my dreams.”

The OMWC will recognize Hollingsworth for being influential in the lives of many others.

“The far-reaching impact of Dr. Hollingsworth’s service and philanthropy will be felt for generations to come,” said Mary Donnelly Haskell of Oxford, OMWC chair. “He devoted almost 35 years to serving as the team doctor for Choctawhatchee, Ft. Walton Beach and Niceville high schools. He helped found the All-Sports Foundation of Northwest Florida and helped establish the first chapter of Special Olympics in Florida.

“‘Doc’ Hollingsworth, as he is affectionately called, also has generously provided private gifts to ensure that Ole Miss athletics programs have the resources to provide student-athletes with outstanding opportunities and facilities, as well as enhance experiences for Rebel fans.”

Hollingsworth said he believes in athletic competition on all levels for its many benefits.

“It develops the mind, body and personal confidence, giving athletes a sense of accomplishment. It expands participants’ horizons, helps them meet people and make friends – competition adds spice to life! In the awards given by the All-Sports Foundation of Northwest Florida, we have recognized high school, college and pro competitors, such as Danny Wuerffel, a Heisman Trophy winner.

“I also absolutely loved the idea of Special Olympics when I first heard of the organization,” he continued. “And when Charlie McFarland and I brought the competition to Florida, seeing the beaming faces of those young people was so moving. The participants competed for the joy of competition and that should be the primary goal of sports; it’s not just about winning.”

The April 14 Legacy Award sponsor reception and dinner will be in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, where the field is named for Hollingsworth. C Spire, the nation’s largest privately held wireless provider, is again the presenting sponsor for the event. Other sponsors will be announced soon.

Before he retired, Hollingsworth saw much success not only with his medical practice but also with automobile dealerships and a real estate company.

After completing a surgical residency at Duval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, he was a U.S. Navy flight surgeon from 1957 to 1959. The physician began his private surgical practice in Ft. Walton, Florida, in 1960. In 1968, he served as a volunteer physician with Project Hope in Da Nang, Vietnam, treating civilian battle casualties.

For many years, Hollingsworth also was a medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Legacy Award joins a list of other honors bestowed on Hollingsworth. The Ole Miss chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame honored him with the Amateur Football Award for contributions to the collegiate athletic world. The All-Sports Association of Northwest Florida honored him with its Community Service Award, and he was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 2015, the longtime donor committed $25 million – the largest gift in the history of Ole Miss athletics – to support the Forward Together campaign and create the Gerald M. Hollingsworth, M.D., Athletic Scholarship Endowment.

“I love the school so much,” he explained. “Ole Miss took a shy, awkward young fellow and turned him into someone with enough confidence to achieve the things I have achieved. I will never forget what Ole Miss has given for me, the educational foundation and the outstanding experiences.”

Hollingsworth named some of the “wonderful friends” he made through Ole Miss, including Charlie Conerly, John Vaught, Cob Jarvis, Jake Gibbs, Olivia and Archie Manning and family, Jim Weatherly, Robert Khayat, Warner Alford, Shirley and Eddie Crawford, Billy Mustin, Wobble Davidson, Pete Boone, Langston Rogers, John Cain and “so many, many other Ole Miss people whom I dearly love.”

The OMWC was established in 2000 by a group of female leaders and philanthropists. The council awards scholarships to both young women and men based on their academic performance, desire to give back to society and successful interview process. Council members are committed to nurturing the development of the students through mentoring, leadership development, cultural experiences and travel opportunities.

In its 17th year, the OMWC scholarship endowment stands at more than $13.1 million. The $32,000 named scholarships are awarded each year and have grown to be among the largest on campus. Thus far, 119 OMWC scholars, including 26 current students, have benefited from the program.

“This year we are so excited to award the OMWC Legacy Award to Dr. Hollingsworth, who has been a deeply committed philanthropic supporter of Ole Miss as well as a huge advocate of high school athletes on the Florida Panhandle,” said Roane Grantham of Oxford, the OMWC member chairing the Legacy Award event. “Because Hollingsworth Field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium bears his name, we will host this celebratory event in the South End Zone Club with an exclusive sponsor event just prior in the Field Club.”

Sponsorships, preferred tables and individual tickets are available for this traditionally sold-out event. For information concerning sponsorships ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, award dinner tickets or Rose Society membership, contact Nora Capwell with the OMWC at 662-915-2384 or ncapwell@olemiss.edu. Information on the Women’s Council can be found at http://www.omwc.olemiss.edu.

Harvest Supper Raises More than $120,000 to Support Museum

Proceeds will help fund exhibits and programming

More than 500 guests enjoy dinner and atmosphere at the University Museum’s annual Harvest Supper on the grounds of Rowan Oak. Photo by Christina Steube/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum’s sixth annual Harvest Supper raised more than $120,000 earlier this month for museum exhibits and programming.

The catered event, on the grounds of William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, attracted some 550 guests, all of whom bought tickets in support of the museum.

“This event provides money to the museum for exhibitions, lectures and more education for children,” said Gayle Henry, a Friends of the Museum board member. “It allows the university to reach more people and have the best exhibits.”

Besides ticket sales, money was also raised through a silent auction and a live auction featuring pieces by Mississippi artists. The live auction included a sculpture by Tom Corbin, who has previously exhibited at the museum.

“Harvest Supper is an exceptional fundraising event that brings together museum and Rowan Oak stakeholders and supporters from across the region and the country,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “The entire spirit of the evening is one of such positive goodwill for us that it sustains our energy and passion for our work, at the same time that it raises critically needed support.

“We are deeply grateful to the Friends of the Museum and the attendees for their hard work and generous participation on our behalf.”

The Harvest Supper began in 2011 with the idea that the museum needed a way to increase funding to grow. The small gathering of around 100 people has grown into a major event.

“Nearly impossible to imagine that in six short years, a dinner for a few people interested in helping fun museum projects has grown into the gala I experienced for the first time last night,” said Debbie Nelson, the museum’s membership, events and communications coordinator. “I am impressed by the volunteers and staffing behind the scenes as well as night of event.

“The combination of generous benefactors, ambiance of Rowan Oak, musical entertainers and cuisine that rivals any outdoor banquet makes Harvest Supper a ‘must-experience” evening in Oxford each year.”

This year’s event had more than 100 sponsors, including presenting sponsors Diane and Dickie Scruggs and the Madison Charitable Foundation; platinum level sponsors Darrell Crawford, Kent and David Magee, Elizabeth and Will Galtney and The Self Foundation; and gold level sponsors Marty and John Dunbar, Marla and Lowry Lomax, Friends of Dorothy and Tom Howorth, Elizabeth and Jeff Lusk, Hardy Reed, Saint Leo, Howorth & Associates Architects, Rose and Hubert Spears, Mary M. Thompson, Carol and Bill Windham and Ken Wooten and Margaret Wylde.

A full list of sponsors can be found here.

For more information about the museum, its exhibits and events, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Embry Legacy Continues with Latest Scholar

Wilson receives 2017 award created in UM football player's memory

UM freshman Lori Wilson is the 2017 Joey Embry Scholar. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – In receiving this year’s Joey Embry Scholarship, University of Mississippi freshman Lori Wilson carries on the legacy – and in many ways, the spirit – of the student-athlete who died tragically in 1998, just months before he was expected to be a major contributor on the Rebel offensive line.

According to Bobby Killion, Embry’s teammate, “Joey touched the lives of so many people while having an influence on those who came in contact with him.”

The same can be said of Wilson. The Water Valley native has always worked hard to make life better for those around her. For example, when she realized her high school was struggling to overcome negativity, she organized and led a booster committee, encouraging her fellow seniors and some juniors to serve as mentors for younger students.

“I was like, ‘Maybe we can do something to fix things,” Wilson recalls. “I said, ‘Let’s put fun back into school and show these kids that you don’t have to sell drugs or be that type of person’ because a lot of the younger kids were heading toward the wrong path.

“So I thought it would be a good idea to get the seniors – the ones on the honor roll and those that participated in all the clubs – to come together and show the younger students that it starts with us; we can change things. And it turned out so great.”

Wilson also was involved in the music, art, family consumer science and Beta clubs. She served on the student council and supported the athletics teams as a cheerleader. In her free time, she volunteered at the local nursing home.

“I got to talk to a lot of the people there,” she said. “You learn a lot from them. They have so much to tell. I always connected with them.”

At Ole Miss, Wilson is majoring in exercise science because it will be a good foundation for the nursing degree she hopes to attain on her way to becoming a doctor, a logical career path for someone like Wilson whose desire has always been to help others.

But one step at a time, said Wilson, who also received a Luckyday scholarship and was selected for the university’s FASTrack program, which provides freshmen an enhanced learning environment.

Just weeks into her freshman year, Wilson is already finding ways to make a difference. She’s active in two networking organizations and the student organization E.S.T.E.E.M., or Educated, Successful, Talented, Evolving, Empowered, and Motivated, a club for minorities that works to boost women’s confidence.

She gets her motivation from her role model.

“I never see my mom cry,” Wilson said. “She’s a very determined person. I always have aspired to be like my mom, strong-willed. And she always fixes things.”

They have that in common.

“All the things I went through and all the things I saw in my community and in my school just made me want to be the fixer,” Wilson said. “I realize I can’t fix everything, but I definitely try. I’m a perfectionist and try my best to help in any way I can.”

Gwen Embry, Joey Embry’s mother, said she and her husband, Bill, are pleased that the scholarship was awarded to someone who obviously shares their son’s spirit.

“Joey gave everything for there to be this scholarship, and we want to make sure it’s used to the best of its ability – that the students will devote their time and efforts to school and keep their priorities in the right direction,” she said.

Wilson said she’s honored to receive the scholarship and understands its gravity.

“Just to know that I got the scholarship, I feel very heartened by it,” she said. “I’m honored to carry on Joey Embry’s legacy. I always try to do my best here at Ole Miss.”

Since the Embrys have lived in Calhoun and Yalobusha counties, they offer the scholarship in each geographical area. Students interested in applying for the scholarship should speak with their high school guidance counselor.

Individuals and organizations can contribute to the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship Fund through the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS; phone 800-340-9542; or online at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

Davenport Gift to Support University’s ‘Seat of Knowledge’

UM alumnus designates J.D. Williams Library in estate plans

UM alumnus Bill Davenport has designated the J.D. Williams Library as recipient of his planned gift because of the library’s central role on campus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi was once known as the campus where everybody speaks. Even today, despite smart phones and ear buds, Ole Miss retains its reputation as a place where professors know students by name and strangers are just friends who haven’t yet become acquainted.

That personable atmosphere goes a long way. In fact, for at least one alumnus, it was the catalyst that inspired a $200,000 gift to the J.D. Williams Library.

A personal letter set Bill Davenport, associate dean of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas School of Dentistry, on a path to making a legacy gift.

“A number of factors went into this decision,” said Davenport, a Corinth native. “First and foremost, I loved Ole Miss. It opened up a whole new vista to a small-town country boy. I loved the school and the students, and the majority of the professors were truly motivating and inspiring. I always wanted to give something back.

“As everyone says, you can’t really describe your attachment to Ole Miss after going to school there.”

Davenport, who’s active in the Ole Miss Alumni Association and has made other contributions to the university, said he began to consider a major gift after he received a letter from the late Charles Noyes, then chair of English, when the Friends of the Library philanthropy was being organized.

“The library is the cornerstone of the university and is truly the most visible icon for education and life-long learning,” Davenport said. “The personal letter was what convinced me as it included comments regarding my time in his sophomore literature course.

“I was hooked. I never figured out how Dr. Noyes even remembered me.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed gratitude for Davenport’s planned gift.

“The J.D. Williams Library is a hub of excellence for our university,” Vitter said. “It enables the superb quality of education that our students receive. As one of our most highly-valued resources, it can have a tremendous transformative effect on turning students into scholars and scholars into informed citizens who will make an impact on our world. ”

William Davenport

In high school, Davenport thought he wanted to become an electrical engineer until he took chemistry under an engaging teacher. He entered Ole Miss as a chemistry major but changed his focus once again after taking a required biology elective taught by the late Georgia St. Amand, whom he says was extremely inspiring.

“After that course, chemistry lost its luster to me, so I switched to biology,” Davenport remembers. “As a biology major, I encountered her husband, Dr. Wilbrod St. Amand, also in the biology department, who became a great mentor and friend to this day.”

Even then, UM’s personable atmosphere influenced Davenport’s life: His relationship with the St. Amands, as well as having the opportunity to be a teacher’s assistant in the biology labs, guided his decision to become an educator.

Davenport graduated from Ole Miss with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology in 1969 and 1971, respectively. He taught biology at Arkansas State University for a year before enrolling at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he earned a doctorate in 1976.

While completing his doctorate remotely, Davenport joined the UM Medical Center faculty and taught the first seven dental school classes from 1975 to 1982 before transferring to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry in New Orleans, where he taught for the next 20 years.

“Serendipitously, in 2002, the opportunity came to come to UNLV in Las Vegas and help start the new dental school,” he said. “Salaries were very good, benefits even better. Thinking I would work a few years in Vegas and move on, but I blinked and here I am 16 years later.”

Davenport said he designated his planned gift for the library because he believes it is the center of knowledge, initially for the entering student and secondarily for the lifelong learner.

“The library is the seat of intellectualism,” he said. “I hope that my gift will provide the library with funds to contribute to the ever-changing technology and methodology that will attract and benefit the students that will be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Private gifts provide critical support to the library, more than ever as public institutions constantly struggle with budget issues, said Cecilia Botero, library dean. Gifts such as Davenport’s help the library cover costs associated with digital and paper subscriptions and increasing numbers of journals used as resources by students on a myriad of different career paths.

“I am so grateful that Dr. Davenport chose to support the library with his generous gift. It will help sustain our services in countless ways,” Botero said.

Though distance has kept Davenport from returning to campus, he fondly remembers his days at Ole Miss.

“I was there in Archie’s heyday. What could be more exciting than that!” Davenport exclaimed, adding that being in the Grove during football season was a special time as was participating in the Army ROTC band, being active in his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, eating at Grundy’s and Mistilis, and bowling at Kiamie’s.

For information on designating a deferred gift to Ole Miss, contact Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu. To support the J.D. Williams Library, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

Overstreet Gift to Help Low-Income Students Attend UM

Estate gift supports Ole Miss Opportunity program

UM Foundation President and CEO Wendell Weakley (center) presents Mike Overstreet (left) and Larry Overstreet with a plaque, recognizing their mother’s generous estate gift to the Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship program. UM Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – An estate gift provided by the late Katie Mae Overstreet, of Oxford, will help give lower-income Mississippians an opportunity to attend the University of Mississippi.

Overstreet’s gift was designated by her sons, Mike and Larry Overstreet, both of Oxford, to support the Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides financial aid for tuition, housing and meals. Recipients must be residents of Mississippi, incoming freshmen, enrolled full-time, with a family adjusted gross income of $30,000 or below and a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher.

“We are especially grateful for this gift to the Ole Miss Opportunity program – what a wonderful way to honor Katie Mae Overstreet’s legacy of generosity and commitment to helping others,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“The OMO program was the first of its kind in Mississippi, and the Overstreet gift will have an integral impact on our ability to extend a quality education to the broadest range of deserving students, regardless of circumstance, embodying the OMO program motto, ‘From here, it’s possible.'”

“Mother and daddy believed in what education could do for kids in our state,” said Mike Overstreet, a 1970 graduate of the UM School of Business Administration. “They wanted us to get an education, and I know they would approve of this gift.”

Larry Overstreet, a 1974 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts, agreed: “Mother would be proud to know that her gift is helping kids have an opportunity to get an education that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get because of a lack of funds.”

Since its inception in 2010, 931 students have benefited from Ole Miss Opportunity scholarships. The program is expected to assist some 150 more students this fall, said Laura Diven-Brown, director of financial aid.

The Overstreet brothers said their parents’ philosophy of giving is based on their upbringing.

“They came from middle-income households,” Mike Overstreet said. “Dad was one of 11 children. Mother was an only child. I think just seeing needs out there and realizing how hard people had it caused them to be generous in helping others who are less fortunate than they were.”

“They just learned the value of a dollar and not to waste it,” Larry Overstreet added.

The Overstreets’ parents met on the Square in Oxford; then-Katie Mae Wallace was a secretary at a law office and Edgar Overstreet drove a cab. Edgar Overstreet later joined the Ole Miss campus police force and worked his way up the ranks to chief.

After 16 years on the force, he began to invest in real estate and long-term health care facilities in the Oxford area. Through these investments, the Overstreets accumulated the wealth that they’re now paying forward.

“They cared about people and wanted to give back, and this is a way they can give back after they’re gone,” Mike Overstreet said. “This will honor my mother, and it will be used for a good cause.”

The planned gift awards the estate of Katie Mae Wallace Overstreet membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts.

“We are very appreciative to the Overstreets for their generosity, which will play an important role in strengthening Ole Miss Opportunity’s mission to make college affordable for everyone,” said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “It is gratifying that this gift will honor Mike and Larry’s mother while also creating a lasting legacy to help others realize their goals.”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Katie Mae Overstreet Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship Endowment by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ or contacting Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu.

Endowment Pays Tribute to Entrepreneur

Scholarship highlights new major for Ole Miss students

The family of Robert Julian Allen III has established a scholarship endowment in his memory to benefit students in the UM School of Business Administration. Photo courtesy Julian Allen family

OXFORD, Miss. – Gifts to a new scholarship endowment in the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration will honor the life of the late Robert Julian Allen III, a successful entrepreneur who had a strong interest in giving young people opportunities to manage or own a business.

The Robert Julian Allen III Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established with an initial gift from Allen’s wife, Kathy Allen of Oxford.

“Julian loved Ole Miss and he loved business,” Kathy Allen said. “Equally, he loved seeing young people succeed in growing an idea into a strong, healthy enterprise that benefits others.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to honor his memory and extend his legacy than by helping to set future entrepreneurs on a path to success.”

Friends and other family members also have memorialized Allen with gifts to build the endowment in his name. Earnings from the endowment will be used to support Mississippi students in the School of Business Administration majoring in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Beginning next fall (2017), the business school will offer innovation and entrepreneurship as a major to our students,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the business school. “The endowment in Mr. Allen’s memory is the first scholarship to be established that will support students in this new degree program. This is a special gift.”

Allen was born in Greenwood and lived most of his life in Indianola. He attended Ole Miss, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1970.

After graduation, Allen joined Constructors Inc., of Fayetteville, Tennessee, where he rose to become president of the company before founding his own general construction company, Allen Corp., in 1976.

In 1980, Allen co-founded Delta Pride Catfish and served on the board as vice president of Delta Western Feed for many years. He was active in the growth of the catfish industry in the Mississippi Delta, having served two terms as president and two terms as chair of Catfish Farmers of America.

He also was founder and partner in R.J. Allen and Associates Inc., where his development and construction projects expanded across Mississippi and into Tennessee, Florida and Texas. He enjoyed starting companies in a broad range of fields including fitness centers, land mitigation banking, property management and senior housing.

“As a real estate developer and contractor, Julian had a great vision for seeing opportunities that would improve properties, grow businesses, enhance communities and generally make life better for people,” said David Blackburn, Allen’s son-in-law and business partner. “Julian was also always so passionate about helping young people get started in business, and I am just one of the many examples of this.

“Julian gave all of us confidence to believe in ourselves because he believed in us. I know that he would be pleased that a scholarship in his name is helping future entrepreneurs at Ole Miss.”

The Robert Julian Allen III Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ or contact Brett Barefoot at 662-915-2711 or bmbarefo@olemiss.edu.