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In a historic moment, the Ole Miss Women's Council for Philanthropy was formed on Valentine's Day.

Ole Miss announces the creation of a new type of endowment fund aimed at developing the next generation of leaders for America.

The Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy scholarship program is accepting support from individuals, corporations, and foundations to create scholarships for high school seniors who have shown leadership abilities, as well as caring spirits and willingness to help others.

Beginning in 2001, six students-three men and three women-will be awarded Women’s Council Scholarships of $5,000 per year to attend Ole Miss. Throughout their college careers, the students will be assigned mentors from the Ole Miss family who will guide them in developing career paths and networking with alumni and other professionals. The students also will meet monthly for small group discussions and attend seminars sponsored by the University’s Lott Leadership Institute.

Ellen Rolfes, advancement associate for the University, said what makes this program unique are its aspects of leadership, scholarship, and mentorship. In addition, she said, the students will be required to pledge a modest amount of support to the Women’s Council endowment fund for five years after graduation, which teaches the scholars the powerful act of giving. "By creating a collective voice of women and men committed to an innovative scholarship program, we will not only educate, but mentor future national leaders," Rolfes said.
There are a number of ways to contribute to the Women’s Council scholarship program. The goal of the council is to develop endowments of $100,000 each. Donations will be accepted until a fund reaches this level. At that time, the council will name it in honor of a woman who personifies the spirit of both leadership and giving.

Another avenue of support is a gift of $100,000, which will allow the donor to name the scholarship after a woman in his or her life. Family and friends of the late Sarah Meisenheimer of Niceville, Florida, recently created a Women’s Council Scholarship in her name-the first endowment for the Women’s Council’s fund. The Meisenheimer endowment was soon followed by an additional $50,000 pledge from Women’s Council Chair Edith Kelly-Green of Memphis. The vice president of purchase and supply for FedEx elevated a previously named scholarship in honor of her mentor and grandmother, Christine Hickonbottom, to an endowed council level scholarship. The Christine Hickonbottom Council Scholarship will provide scholarships for deserving female minority accountancy majors.

An additional way to give to the scholarship fund is through estate planning with The University of Mississippi Foundation. For more information on the Women’s Council for Philanthropy Scholarship Endowment Program, contact The University of Mississippi Foundation at (662) 915-5944 or (800) 340-9542.


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.