First Ole Miss Giving Day Coming April 11-12

Online, social media campaign seeks engagement

Private giving provides the necessary margin to ensure that students have exceptional opportunities as they pursue a world-class education at the University of Mississippi. The inaugural Ole Miss Giving Day, set for April 11-12, is an online, social media-driven campaign to encourage all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to support higher education. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi invites all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to support higher education April 11-12 – strengthening the university through an online, social media-driven giving campaign.

The inaugural Ole Miss Giving Day will launch at 9 a.m. April 11 and last 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes, in honor of the university’s founding year of 1848. The campaign goals include attracting gifts of all sizes for any of 26 participating schools, colleges and programs, and encouraging even more people to become engaged in exciting developments at the university.

Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said he anticipates Giving Day to emphasize the potential that can be reached when the Ole Miss community works together to strengthen opportunities.

“Private giving helps ensure that our students have exceptional opportunities as they pursue a world-class education that will lead to promising careers, innovative research and significant successes and achievements,” Sparks said. “We have much to celebrate in our university community and we hope enthusiasm for Giving Day sweeps Rebel Nation as we celebrate the impact of philanthropy.”

Leading this initiative is Maura Langhart, director of annual giving in the Office of University Development.

“Giving Day is an exciting way for the Ole Miss family to see how we can make a difference together, as we share real-time results of this campaign,” Langhart said. “We’re asking our stakeholders to come together, celebrate our beloved university and help ensure its vibrant future.

“It’s a chance to rally around the university you love and match your passions and interests with the many needs on campus. Funds raised will support academic, career, athletics and outreach programs to transform individual lives, communities and the world. Individual can learn much about our initiatives and needs by visiting the Giving Day website.”

University Development tested online giving in fall 2014, when the crowdfunding platform Ignite Ole Miss was launched. Ignite projects capture a wide audience through emails and social networks and also offer very specific projects that need support.

Since its inception, 6,685 gifts have been secured for initiatives from scholarships to service projects.

“Success with crowdfunding indicates that the Ole Miss family enjoys user-friendly giving options,” Langhart said. “The element of camaraderie is also appealing; it’s very satisfying to pull together and build resources for a shared mission.”

Throughout Giving Day, different challenges will be in place from donors hoping to inspire others to give back. For example, Shirley Trail Lanier of Murray, Kentucky – friend of Ole Miss and aunt of graduate student Kirsten Faulkner – has issued three challenges, each to match combined gifts of $500 in different areas.

All challenge gifts will be posted on the Ole Miss Giving Day website, appealing to those who want to see their gift multiplied in value.

“We will build on this first Giving Day with plans for it to become an annual event,” said Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development. “The university enjoys a loyal base of alumni and friends who are extremely generous, and we are deeply grateful. We hope to see a strong positive response to this new initiative.

“In the current climate, private support for Ole Miss is critical, with only approximately 12.4 percent of our operating revenues coming from state funds. The university has bold initiatives we want to accomplish, but it will take the whole community to partner with us to fund resources for scholarships, faculty support, technology, facilities and service opportunities.”

Not only do gifts to the university transform the lives of students, but a new study also illustrates the effect on Mississippi’s economy. The annual economic impact of Ole Miss totals $2.9 billion and enables 43,121 jobs across the state, which means that one of every 37 jobs is supported by the activities of the university and its students.

The report also reveals a return of $4.40 in state tax revenue and public sector savings for every dollar in state funds that supports the university.

Beginning April 4, supporters can visit to make a tax-deductible gift to Ole Miss. Pre-event gifts will be the first names on the donor wall, unless donors desire anonymity.

In addition, everyone is encouraged to spread the word with the hashtag #OleMissGivingDay on all social media platforms. Those who enjoy social media are encouraged to sign up as Giving Day ambassadors at The university will provide ambassadors with everything needed to post on the platform of their choice.

For more information on Giving Day, contact Maura Langhart at or 662-915-2760.