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UM engineering alumnus Michael McRee demonstrates belief in education as an instrument for improving quality of life.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi engineering alumnus has donated $100,000 to his alma mater to be divided between an endowment and two Ole Miss First Scholarships. by Edwin Smith

Michael T. "Mike" McRee of Jackson has pledged $50,000 to be paid over four years to support the scholarship fund bearing his name; he has designated another $50,000 for the Don and Mary Ann Fruge’ Endowment.

McRee is a director of EARNEST Partners, an investment management firm in Atlanta. He is also chairman of Investek Timber Management of Jackson and a director of Cimarron Mortgage Company.

"Though I have participated in a number of other fund drives at Ole Miss, the current contribution arose out of a long friendship with Don and Mary Ann," McRee said. "The underlying motivation is simply the pride we all take in the incredible progress of the past 10 years under Chancellor Robert Khayat’s leadership. I feel like we are truly becoming a great American university."

Expressing his appreciation, Khayat said, "Mike McRee is one of our most loved and respected graduates. His gift is one more demonstration of his long-standing generosity and support of the university and its many future students."

Don Fruge’, retiring president of the University Foundation, said, "For over 20 years, Mike has chaired the Joint Committee on University Investments charged with managing the combined endowments of the university, the Medical Center and the UM Foundation.

"In his quiet, professional way Mike has led the endowment growth from meager beginnings to now over $400 million. Additionally, Mike has been a true personal friend and Mary Ann and I are humbled and grateful for his generous gift to the surprise endowment in our honor."

The Michael T. McRee Ole Miss First Scholars Award provides two recipients with $4,500 per year for four years of study. The scholar must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average as a full-time student, in addition to meeting other requirements, including participation in a mentoring program.

"Michael McRee believes in education as an instrument for improving the quality of one’s life, so it’s fitting that two Ole Miss First Scholarships bear his name and be awarded to future leaders in Mississippi," said Sandra Guest, vice president of the University Foundation.

McRee graduated from the Ole Miss engineering school in 1966 and completed a MBA at George Washington University in 1970. He is chairman of the Joint Committee on University Investments and a past member of the Board of the University Foundation.

His career has included positions of leadership in Mississippi Power & Light Co., U.S. Army Signal Corps, Lamar Life Insurance Corp., and Bank of the South. Some of McRee’s community involvements are Millsaps College, the Greater Development of Jackson, the Jackson YMCA and the Mississippi Craftsman’s Guild.

McRee has three adult daughters.

For more information about giving programs at the University of Mississippi, visit

To learn more about Ole Miss First Scholarships, see



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.