OXFORD, Miss. – Val Cuthbert recently found himself posing the question: “How do you leave something behind to make the world better than you found it?” He and his wife, Beth, have answered that question by creating a family trust endowment to benefit the University of Mississippi.
The majority of their new endowment, which carries a significant value, is designated for the Ole Miss Men’s Tennis program, and other portions will create undergraduate scholarships in the schools of Business Administration and Pharmacy and will provide support to the Pride of the South Band.
“There has been astounding progress at Ole Miss over the years,” Val Cuthbert said. “The university has done an excellent job using private gifts and other resources. We are very proud of what we see happening, and we want to do our part to see that it continues.”
Men’s Head Coach Billy Chadwick expressed his appreciation for the gift and the Cuthberts’ interest and support.
“Val and Beth moved to Oxford and immediately became members of the Ole Miss Tennis family. Not only are the Cuthberts our most loyal fans, they know our players by name and have become friends with their parents, many of whom are from other countries. Their endowment will ensure that the excellent tradition of the Ole Miss Tennis program continues. We deeply appreciate the love and support the Cuthberts give Ole Miss Tennis and consider them part of our team,” Chadwick said.
Val Cuthbert said he and his wife have played a great deal of tennis themselves over the years and love the game.
“We attend as many Ole Miss tennis matches as we can each year,” said Val Cuthbert, who also supports other UM sports and campus events.
Beth Cuthbert said, “The Ole Miss tennis players are such great young people. They thank fans for supporting them at their matches, which I think is unique.”
Before they retired to Oxford, the Cuthberts lived in Memphis and Atlanta during Val Cuthbert’s 34-year career in management with the McKesson Corp., a health-care services company. During their time in Atlanta, the Cuthberts joined with a few other Ole Miss alumni to found the Atlanta alumni club, which has grown into a large organization.
Tim Walsh, executive director of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, said alumni involvement like the Cuthberts exhibit strengthens the university.
“Beth and Val Cuthbert have been great supporters of Ole Miss for years,” he said. “I always see them at university events, whether it be related to academics, athletics or one of our cultural areas, such as the Ford Center. In addition, wherever the Cuthberts have lived, they have been involved with alumni activities and with their alma mater. We deeply appreciate their contributions and devotion.”
Val Cuthbert and one of the couple’s daughters, Betsy Cuthbert of Nashville, earned their degrees from the Ole Miss business school, and their younger daughter, Evelyn Cuthbert-Baird of Nashville, received a pharmacy degree. Beth Cuthbert also attended Ole Miss.
“We greatly appreciate the gift that will benefit our students and the School of Business Administration by allowing us to attract high-quality individuals through the Cuthberts’ generosity,” said Ken Cyree, dean of business administration. “It is through the charity of friends of the school like Val and Beth Cuthbert that we are able to continue to provide an excellent education to deserving young men and women. I am grateful for their gift and commitment to Ole Miss.”
Dean of Pharmacy Barbara Wells echoed that praise for the couple’s gift.
“We appreciate so much the generous support of Val and Beth Cuthbert,” she said. “One of the greatest needs within the School of Pharmacy is to increase scholarship support for our students. The Cuthberts’ selfless contribution will help us recruit highly capable students and support them in a way that fosters greater learning and ultimately higher competence in the care of patients.”
In addition to tennis and academics, the Cuthberts expressed appreciation for the Pride of the South Band by designating a portion of their gift for its support, and in the past they have purchased some band uniforms.
“I don’t know anything about playing musical instruments,” Val Cuthbert said, “but I know the band provides a great deal of energy and entertainment for the campus atmosphere.”
A native of Lake Village, Ark., Val Cuthbert chose the university as his college home because his mother and other relatives had attended. He did not know a single person when he arrived.
“My years at Ole Miss were truly a time for me to grow up,” he said. “Ole Miss was an exceptional world to be living in at that time, and it still is.”
A native of Rome, Miss., Beth Cuthbert also was influenced by family members in deciding to pursue an education at Ole Miss and now is enjoying life in the university town.
“There is always something to do here, from athletics events and concerts to shopping and great restaurants. Val and I have stayed connected to old friends and have enjoyed making new ones,” she said. “It’s great to be this close to Ole Miss, and it’s very important to us to give back. This trust allows us to ensure that our daughters are secure and to provide opportunities for future students.”
For more information about contributing to scholarship programs and other initiatives at the University of Mississippi, go to www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.