OXFORD, Miss. – As an insurance General Agent, Steve Collins knows just how important planning for the future can be. That’s why he’s committed to helping the Risk Management and Insurance Program (RMI) at the University of Mississippi plan for its future by making a gift of a $200,000 in the form of a life insurance policy.

Collins, who earned an MBA from Ole Miss in 1981 and owns Collins Financial Network in Jackson, feels it’s especially important for those who work in the insurance industry to give back to Ole Miss through insurance policies.

“We need to fund our insurance curriculum with insurance products,” Collins said. “It’s how we can perpetuate and enhance our success nationally. If every insurance grad left a gift of life insurance then we could significantly and permanently impact the Ole Miss program. It’s something I think every board member and graduate should do.”

Collins’ gift will benefit the Jack W. and Gwenette P. Robertson Chair of Insurance within the university’s RMI program. The Robertson Chair is held by Larry Cox, who joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1995. Since that time the number of Insurance and Risk Management majors at Ole Miss has quadrupled and the program has emerged as perhaps the fastest growing in the nation.

 “This generous gift reflects the dedication and commitment of Steve Collins to the Risk Management and Insurance program and to the University of Mississippi,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the business school. “We are profoundly grateful for his support of our faculty. When I talked with Steve, he commented on the tremendous impact that Dr. Phil Malone had on him when he was a student and how this impact continues to this day.  It is through his generosity that we can continue our successes and build a legacy of outstanding educational opportunities for our students through such inspiring faculty as Dr. Malone and others.”

In addition to his financial support, Collins serves on the Insurance Advisory Board and recently completed a term as the board’s president. Though Collins is a native of Kingsville, Tex., and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri, he considers Mississippi his home state.  

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Ole Miss and Mississippi for helping me with my success. That’s what motivated me to do this. I have made it my mission to give back and to get others to do the same,” he said.

 Collins’ gift is part of the university’s MomentUM campaign, a four-year initiative to raise $200 million. Funds raised through the campaign, which ends in December 2008, will support scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, a basketball practice facility, residential colleges and a new law school on the Oxford campus. Also in the plans are a cancer center at the UM Medical Center and a new building to house the School of Pharmacy, both in Jackson.

For more information on making a gift to the University of Mississippi, visit http://www.umf.olemiss.edu/makeagift

By Sonia Thompson