Stipends for Student Veterans

Gift will benefit graduate-level students in the College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi alumna Kathryn Black (center) visits with William Kneip (left), UM special assistant to the chancellor for executive affairs, and Denson Hollis, executive director of development for principal gifts. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent gift from University of Mississippi alumna Kathryn Brewer Black will benefit student veterans pursuing graduate degrees through the College of Liberal Arts.

The gift establishes the David J. Brewer College of Liberal Arts Graduate Student Stipend Endowment, named in honor of her father, who served in World War II.

“Daddy joined the Navy with a squadron of seaplanes out of Coral Gables, Florida, that flew up and down the Atlantic coast looking for U-boats, German submarines,” recalled Black, a 1962 Ole Miss graduate. “Lying on the floor with binoculars, he could easily see them in that clear water and then radio in. A torpedo boat could then head out and, hopefully, try to get the submarine.”

Black, a native of Greenwood who lives in Oxford, said she designated the scholarship for the university’s student veterans because of her father’s service and as a testament to his love for Ole Miss, where he met and ultimately married her mother.

“Because of him, I’ve always been very interested in the second war, and of course we’ve got lots of veterans on campus from our other wars,” said Black, who serves on the College of Liberal Arts alumni board. “I wanted to help out the veterans who are in school here at Ole Miss.”

The endowment will provide support for graduate student stipends – remuneration that helps offset tuition costs.

These stipends are among the pressing needs of the College of Liberal Arts, Dean Lee Cohen said.

“We are so grateful for Kathryn’s generous gift, which serves two very important purposes,” he said. “First, it helps us enhance our ability to attract and retain outstanding doctoral students, which is crucial to our R1 status.

“Second, as one of our country’s top military-friendly universities, this will help us recruit veterans who wish to further their education. Gifts like this have a tremendous impact on our ability to support our students while they are actively engaged in their studies.”

Black is also a founding member of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy. A previous gift from Black established the Kathryn H. and David J. Brewer Council Scholarship Endowment in honor of her parents.

“My mother and father both were students at the university in the ’30s, and they each could have used, shall we say, financial aid,” Black said. “At the time, financial assistance was not available and neither of my parents graduated for that reason. So I have made a bequest that will endow a scholarship for the Women’s Council.”

Black’s decades of giving to the university, benefiting many different programs and projects, total more than $500,000 in support.

Denson Hollis, executive director of development for principal gifts, expressed his gratitude for Black’s long-term support of the university, noting that their 10-year friendship goes beyond university business. The two meet regularly and find themselves discussing their childhoods in the Mississippi Delta, parenthood, current affairs, the university’s impact on their lives and much more.

“My relationship with Kathryn is one of my most cherished at Ole Miss,” he said. “Kathryn is the epitome of the perfect donor in that she supports all areas of the university and fully trusts the leadership to use her resources wisely.

“In addition to the College of Liberal Arts and OMWC, she supports athletics, the band, the Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Chi Omega, the University Museum and Historic Houses and much more. I am most grateful to Kathryn for her incredible generosity to Ole Miss and for her friendship with me.”

The David J. Brewer College of Liberal Arts Graduate Student Stipend Endowment is open to support from organizations and individuals. Gifts can be made by sending 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 online at

For more information about supporting the College of Liberal Arts, contact Hollis at or 662-915-5092.