(OXFORD, MS) – A $4 million gift from the Luckyday Foundation for the University of Mississippi’s second residential college further extends the commitment of late Ole Miss alumnus Frank Rogers Day to ensure educational opportunities for Mississippians.
To honor the Luckyday Foundation’s commitment, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) today approved the name “Luckyday Residential College” for the new building. Construction already has begun and is scheduled to be completed in August 2010.
“Frank Day had a noble vision about investing in young people and their education,” said Holmes S. Adams, chairman of the Luckyday Foundation Board of Managers. “The foundation strongly believes that Luckyday Scholars at Ole Miss will benefit significantly from living together in a smaller community near the Grove. We want to do whatever is necessary to achieve our ultimate goal of academic success and a college diploma for each of our scholarship recipients.”
UM Chancellor Dan Jones responded, saying, “The phenomenal impact of the Luckyday Foundation on our university has been evident for years through scholarship opportunities provided to students who’ve gone on to make amazing contributions to the state and beyond. We are profoundly grateful to the Luckyday Foundation for its past support and for this generous gift to further transform student life at the University of Mississippi. We are honored that one of our residential colleges will bear the Luckyday name.”
Although the university will continue to seek other private funding for the residential colleges, Larry Sparks, UM vice chancellor for administration and finance, said the Luckyday Foundation gift is especially significant not only because of its face value but also because it will save borrowing costs and years of interest expense.
This month the University of Mississippi opened the doors of its first residential college – and the first in the state. Luckyday Scholars are among the inaugural 450 undergraduate residents, and the second residential college will focus primarily on Luckyday Scholars.
The goal of the residential colleges is to create a living environment that nurtures and broadens the scope of learning. A faculty fellow will live in and lead each college, and other UM faculty members will be involved with students on an informal basis. Each residence will feature its own library, dining hall, computer center and fitness center.
The residential college concept was first developed in the Middle Ages at Oxford and Cambridge in England. Harvard and Yale adopted the model in the United States in the 1930s, and other American universities followed. Over the past decade, many colleges and universities have begun to move again to residential colleges in order to improve retention rates and broaden learning experiences.
UM Luckyday Director Patrick Perry described the anticipated impact of the new college: “Luckyday is considered a highly successful academic training program at Ole Miss with an annual retention rate of more than 90 percent, and we believe the addition of the residential college will strengthen the program even more.”
In 2001, the Luckyday Foundation began providing annual Luckyday Scholarships, and the initiative has since developed into one of UM’s largest scholarship programs. Over the past eight years, Luckyday has awarded more than $22 million to more than 1,900 students from Mississippi. Luckyday Scholars may be awarded up to $28,000 for four years of undergraduate study to bridge the gap between individual student needs and assistance from other scholarships and grants.
Carol Ann Yates of Ripley, an Ole Miss senior accounting major, is a Luckyday Scholar, as was her sister, Mary Raye Yates, who graduated in 2008 with a nursing degree.
“Receiving the Luckyday Scholarship has meant everything to my family and me,” said Carol Ann Yates. “We don’t have a big income, so we would have taken out large loans for both my sister and me to attend college. The scholarships have taken so much pressure off my family.
“Mr. Day’s story shows us that wherever we come from, we can become whatever we want as long as we apply ourselves and give our all. I love Mississippi and plan to do as Mr. Day and stay here,” Yates said.
Alex McCarty of Byhalia, a senior mechanical engineering student and the youngest of six children, agreed, saying, “Without a financial burden, I have been able to direct my energy and focus to my studies. The Luckyday Success Program for incoming freshmen also helped me develop discipline and study methods when I first started to college.”
The Luckyday Foundation has extended its support to fund other scholarships for UM students in varying amounts, including scholarships for community college transfers majoring in education, communicative disorders and social work and for National Merit Finalists. The foundation also funds scholarships at other Mississippi institutions.
“Luckyday has enabled a great number of young people to gain high-quality educational experiences, and the vast majority of the scholarship recipients remain in the state,” said Larry Ridgeway, UM vice chancellor for student affairs. “This greatly benefits Mississippi because these graduates become solid citizens, making important contributions to our communities.”
In addition to scholarship support, the Luckyday Foundation joined with the Mississippi Banker’s Association in late 2000 to create the Chair of Banking in the UM School of Business Administration. Ken Cyree, dean of the business school, holds the chair.
Support from Luckyday complements many other opportunities provided by Frank Day, who was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Trustmark National Bank for many years before he died in 1999. Among his many gifts to UM, Day created the Christine and Clarence Day Scholarship, the largest undergraduate business scholarship in the state, to honor his parents who lived in Aberdeen.
For more information about contributing to the residential college program and other initiatives at the University of Mississippi, go to www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.