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John Festervand

(OXFORD, Miss.) – John Festervand has joined the University of Mississippi’s Office of Development as the first major gifts officer for the Meek School of Journalism and News Media. He is responsible for securing financial support for the school, which was created in 2009, as well as the College of Liberal Arts.

“We are delighted to have someone with John’s energy and experience on board to seek private gifts and network with our alumni and other potential donors,” said Will Norton, dean of journalism and new media. “John’s enthusiasm for the Meek School and his Ole Miss background will complement the school’s quest to attract funding to provide even greater opportunities and support for our students and faculty.”

Festervand joins UM from Texas Christian University, where he was the assistant director of athletics marketing. During his time as a professional staffer at TCU and as a graduate student at the University of Alabama, he had many opportunities to solicit gifts and build relationships with donors, as well as develop marketing plans, implement promotions, partner with foundations on events and assist with collegiate licensing.

“We are pleased to welcome John to our team,” said Deborah S. Vaughn, senior executive director of development. “We believe he is an excellent choice to lead development activities in this newly created School of Journalism and New Media, which has such a tremendous future ahead. “John’s experiences and education have prepared him for this new position, and he understands the vital role alumni and friends play in helping our students and faculty members realize great potential.”

Festervand spent his childhood years in Oxford, where his father, Troy Festervand, was an associate professor of marketing in the Ole Miss School of Business Administration. He now is the associate dean of graduate and executive education in Middle Tennessee State University’s Jones College of Business.

“First, let me say how excited and thrilled I am to be at Ole Miss,” Festervand said. “Knowing that I have the opportunity to contribute in some way to the development of such an amazing university is truly an honor. There is nothing quite like experiencing the passion that our alumni have when they talk about their love for Ole Miss. I also am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many remarkable people who all have the same goal: making Ole Miss the best it can be.

“There are lots of great universities – and then there is Ole Miss,” said the new development officer. “It’s exactly as our brand says, I get to ‘experience amazing.’”

Festervand holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations with minors in business and speech from Middle Tennessee State University. He earned a master’s degree in sports management and higher education administration from UA. Festervand is joined in Oxford by his wife, Shevaun.  

Alumni and others interested in supporting the School of Journalism and New Media may call John Festervand at 662-915-1757 or email

Tina Hahn


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.