Real-life ‘Blind Side’ Mom to be Honored by Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy

OXFORD, Miss. – Leigh Anne Tuohy, the real-life mom who inspired the Oscar-winning performance by Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side,” will be at the University of Mississippi April 17 to accept the inaugural Legacy Award from the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy. Tuohy_LeighAnne

The Legacy Award, which recognizes the contributions of a person who epitomizes one or more of the council’s goals of philanthropy, leadership and mentorship, was established this year in celebration of the OMWC’s 10th anniversary.

Tuohy, a 1982 Ole Miss graduate, will be honored at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Overby Center Auditorium, which will include a question-and-answer session, and at a $100-per-plate brunch at 11:30 a.m. at The Inn at Ole Miss. Both events are sponsored by Cellular South, and proceeds from the brunch benefit the Women’s Council.

Admission to the 10 a.m. event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets to both events are available online at (just click on the “tickets” graphic on the left) or by calling 662-915-1586. (Free transportation from The Inn at Ole Miss to the 1 p.m. Grove Bowl spring game will be provided for brunch participants.)

Tuohy’s story of rescuing homeless teenager Michael Oher – who has become a star NFL offensive tackle with the Baltimore Ravens- has touched the hearts of people across the country. Tuohy and her husband, Sean Tuohy, a successful Memphis businessman and a 1985 Ole Miss graduate, eventually became Michael’s legal guardians.

“I can’t think of a better example of the power of one person to transform another person’s life than Leigh Anne Tuohy,” said Mary Sharp Rayner, chair of the Women’s Council. “We are thrilled to be able to launch our award by recognizing such an extraordinary woman.”

Chancellor Dan Jones, who will present the award, said Tuohy and her family prove that remarkable things happen when people step out of their comfort zones and get involved.

“We are proud of the example that Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family have provided to all Americans about giving back to others, and we appreciate the Ole Miss Women’s Council’s recognition of such an exceptional Ole Miss family,” Jones said.

Leigh Anne Tuohy attended high school at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis and studied interior design at UM, where she met her husband. Besides Michael, the Tuohys are the parents of a daughter, Collins, and a son, Sean Jr. Michael. Collins attended Ole Miss, where Michael was a consensus All-American in football and Collins earned a bachelor’s degree in 2009. Sean Jr. is a sophomore at Briarcrest.

The OMWC, established in 2000, is the force behind an innovative scholarship program that focuses not only on raising funds but also on pairing recipients with mentors who help them achieve success at the university and in life. Scholarship recipients – who include both young women and men – pledge to “give back” through community service.

Since its founding, the OMWC has built a $7.3 million endowment that supports 60 scholarships. New scholarships are recognized in a special garden on campus with the ceremonial planting of a rosebush. The rosebushes represent scholarship recipients, who also require nurturing to achieve their full potential, according to the OMWC’s philosophy.

Anyone interested in helping students and honoring a special woman may establish a scholarship. A contribution of $110,000 from an individual or $125,000 from a corporation or foundation can be paid in a lump sum or annually over five to 10 years. Contributions at any level are appreciated and will be used to further the council’s mission of leadership, scholarship and mentorship.

For more information about creating a scholarship or about the Ole Miss Women’s Council, contact the University of Mississippi Foundation at 800-340-9542 or visit