(OXFORD, Miss.) – Their parents attended universities around the South and beyond, but five young members of a Nashville family chose the University of Mississippi for their college home. To recognize the students’ positive educational experiences, the family has joined the Chancellor’s Trust.
Johnson B. “Jack” Wallace, Anne W. Nesbitt and Elena W. Graves – all trustees with their family’s Louise Bullard Wallace Foundation – made a gift to the Chancellor’s Trust, which provides unrestricted funds for the UM chancellor and provost to address the university’s most pressing needs.
Brother and sister Jake and Ansley Wallace and their cousin Dede Nesbitt were looking for a Southeastern Conference school, when Ole Miss came to their attention.
“We had no family connections to the university when we brought them for a campus tour,” said Jack Wallace, senior vice president of Willis North America. “They were interested in Ole Miss for different reasons, but they all came to the same conclusion: Ole Miss was the place they wanted to be.”
On the afternoon that they were waiting in the Lyceum for their first introduction to campus, Wallace said a gentleman walked through the area, stopped to visit the family, talked to the prospective students about the university and gave the group his undivided attention. As it turned out, he was then Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat.
“We were all impressed that first day, and we’ve been impressed ever since,” Wallace said, adding that since Khayat retired, the family has had the opportunity to get to know UM Chancellor Dan Jones over dinner in Nashville. “We have been favorably impressed with the administration, and there is a great group of students on the campus. Ole Miss seems to keep students’ interests at heart.”
Those first three family members were joined by Lili Wallace and Toby Graves, and the group is trying to influence five younger family members who have college choices to make in a few years.
“We are fortunate to have a family foundation that provides support to organizations that touch the lives of our family members,” said Wallace. “We are happy to provide this gift to Ole Miss.”
UM Chancellor Dan Jones said he appreciated the family for supporting the university.
“First of all, we thank family members for entrusting their children and their educational pursuits to us,” the chancellor said. “We also are deeply grateful for this gift to the Chancellor’s Trust, an important fund that allows us to embrace opportunities, respond to needs and support student scholarships and faculty development. This family has demonstrated its confidence in the educational experiences we offer our students as well as the direction the university is moving. We will devote great energies toward upholding this trust.”
Anne Nesbitt – whose daughter, Dede, completed a hospitality management degree in December and now is interning in Washington, D.C. – said she was pleased with many aspects of the university, including the strong emphasis on students participating in internships and the fact that her daughter got to know many of her professors.
“Ole Miss has a small, safe campus but offers all the advantages of a big school, such as excellent academic programs and great cultural and athletics events,” Nesbitt said. “We loved the fact that Dede lived on campus three of her four years. Ole Miss seems like a family. Dede was so happy there, which made her family happy. We also loved the Oxford community and its many offerings.”
The Louise Bullard Wallace Foundation also contributed to the Legacy Fund, which honored Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat upon his retirement by providing resources for scholarships and faculty support. In other support, Elizabeth and Jack Wallace hosted a Freshman Sendoff event for Nashville-area students who were beginning their college pursuits at Ole Miss.
Named for the mother of Wallace, Nesbitt and Graves, the Louise Bullard Wallace Foundation supports educational, religious, scientific and cultural initiatives. Louise Bullard “Dede” Wallace worked tirelessly to improve mental health care in middle Tennessee. The mental health network is located in facilities named in her memory, and the Dede Wallace Society encourages planned giving to support mental health research, treatment and counseling to individuals, regardless of their ability to pay.
For more information on joining the Chancellor’s Trust at Ole Miss, call 800-340-9542 or visit www.umfoundation.com, clicking on “where to give” and then “current initiatives.”