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Ainsworths with Laura Luther and Katie Sims

The Jim and Sarah Ainsworth Leadership Award Fund has been created to provide scholarship assistance to deserving students in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Funded by the Baptist Memorial Healthcare Foundation, recipients of the scholarship

must be in the third or fourth year of the professional pharmacy program and have demonstrated leadership throughout their careers as Ole Miss students.

Inaugural recipients of the Ainsworth Awards — Laura C. Luther of Hattiesburg and Katie Sims of Athens, Ala. — were announced recently during a student assembly for pharmacy students.

Both recipients completed their pre-pharmacy course work at UM and are now in the midst of their professional program. During their six years at Ole Miss, both students have been heavily involved in pharmacy student government and leadership and professional organizations. Both also have been elected by their peers to serve as president of their pharmacy classes and as president of the Pharmacy Student Body.

Last year, Sims entered a business plan competition sponsored by the UM School of Business Administration and took second place. Luther, on the other hand, spent last summer in Africa, working with AIDS patients.

“We are honored to name Katie and Laura the first recipients of the Ainsworth Leadership Award,” said Marvin Wilson, the pharmacy school’s associate dean for student and academic affairs.

Jim and Sarah Ainsworth of Hernando are both UM alumni. He received his undergraduate in pharmacy in 1967 and retired recently as a vice president for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. based in Memphis. Sarah received her undergraduate in chemistry in 1965 and a master’s degree in education in 1966. She recently retired as an associate professor at the Baptist College of Health Sciences.

During the School of Pharmacy’s “Promises to Keep” campaign, which concluded recently, the Ainsworths gave $50,000, which was applied to construction of the School of Pharmacy’s new pharmacy building at UM Medical Center.

“We wanted to support the university because it laid the foundation for outstanding professional and personal careers,” Jim Ainsworth said. To honor the gift, a large conference room in the new building is being named for the Ainsworths.

During the assembly, he told students that, with an Ole Miss pharmacy degree, “You don’t have to take ‘second chair’ to anyone in the country.”

“Jim and Sarah are incredibly generous individuals,” said Barbara G. Wells, dean of pharmacy. “They are making a difference not only to our School of Pharmacy but also the world. Their support for the school — as donors, fundraisers, advisers and constant advocates — has spanned four decades.”

The Jim and Sarah Ainsworth Leadership Award Fund is open to gifts from other individuals or organizations. To contribute, contact Raina McClure at 800-340-9542 or

Barbara Lago


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.