Gift Helps University Attract Strong Doctoral Candidates

Contribution from alumnus honors former dean, assists graduate students

Dr. Elizabeth Brunt (left) and Dr. L. Michael Brunt, of St. Louis, have made a gift to create the H. Dale Abadie Ph.D. Graduate Student Stipend Endowment in the Department of History. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Dr. L. Michael Brunt would like to see the University of Mississippi equipped to attract the best doctoral candidates in the Southeast and across the nation who will go on to influence students through their teaching careers.

The Pruett Professor of Surgery and section chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Brunt has given $80,000 to create the H. Dale Abadie Ph.D. Graduate Student Stipend Endowment to honor his former professor and to provide annual graduate stipends for students in the Department of History.

Brunt said he appreciates the professors and mentors who have shaped his own career and is grateful for the opportunity to teach some of the “brightest, most highly motivated young people in the world” at Washington University.

“That’s really what keeps me going from day to day and year to year,” he said. “You can impact many more people when you’re involved in education and training than you can one on one as an individual physician. This is extra-special work because you get to prepare future generations.”

The 1976 Ole Miss graduate, who earned a bachelor’s in biology, enjoyed Abadie-led classes during his undergraduate years.

“Dr. Abadie was an inspirational teacher and role model and probably had the most influence on me of any faculty member at Ole Miss,” Brunt said. “As a freshman, I took his European history class, and his unique teaching style was incredibly engaging, as he related stories of individuals who helped direct the course of history.

“As a senior, I did an independent study project with Dr. Abadie, where our small group learned about some of the challenges of the Reformation Period.

“What I would love to see more than anything is for this endowment to be the start of many more that donors create to help make Ole Miss more competitive for the best graduate student candidates in the country.”

Abadie is dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and professor emeritus of history.

Dale Abadie, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and professor emeritus of history, is cited as ‘an inspirational teacher and role model’ by Dr. Michael Brunt, who earned a degree in biology from the university. Brunt has created an endowed graduate student stipend fund in Abadie’s honor. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“I am profoundly honored and deeply humbled to learn of the history graduate student stipend endowment in my name created by Dr. Michael Brunt,” Abadie said. “His generosity is especially valuable at a time when state support for higher education is declining nationally and departments such as history are hard pressed to compete for outstanding graduate students, our historians of the future.”

Brunt originally created the H. Dale Abadie Summer Research Award Fund in 2016, which became the Abadie Graduate Student Stipend Fund in 2017.

Besides the history classes, Brunt recalled the impact of other meaningful classes, including those focused on William Shakespeare, William Faulkner and art history.

“I received a solid, broad-based liberal arts education that has carried me well in my professional career and in life,” he said. “I was a Carrier Scholar and being part of the Carrier group and the honors program right off the bat provided some educational experiences that enabled me to be competitive in applying to John Hopkins for medical school.”

A Kosciusko native who was a member of Delta Psi fraternity and the Pride of the South marching band for four years – two of those serving as drum major – Brunt returns to campus every couple of years.

“Every time I come back to Ole Miss, there’s a flood of memories of things that I did there,” he said. “Ole Miss is the kind of place that engenders an incredibly deep-seated affection in your heart forever about the time you spent there.”

Brunt is a past president of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and the Central Surgical Association and is immediate past president of the Fellowship Council that oversees Advanced GI Surgical Fellowship training.

He has served as team surgeon for the 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues hockey team for the last 28 years and a significant part of his practice involves treating collegiate and professional athletes with sports-related groin injuries from across the U.S. and Canada. He is annually listed in the Best Doctors in America and Guide to America’s Top Surgeons.

Individuals and organizations can make a gift to the H. Dale Abadie Ph.D. Graduate Student Stipend Endowment by mailing a check, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or by giving here.

To learn about creating a similar fund, contact Delia Childers, associate director of development, at or 662-915-3086.