When Karen and Bruce Moore of Nashville talked with University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones and Dean of Business Ken Cyree to determine where their investments would have the greatest impact, the answer was straightforward: faculty support.
The Moores took that to heart and committed $1 million to endow a named faculty position, the Bruce Moore Scholar in Finance in the Ole Miss School of Business Administration. The new endowment will provide salary supplements as well as research and creative activity support.
"Like many non-profit institutions, faculty members at Ole Miss are called to be educators and have a passion for molding young adults into individuals who will positively impact society," said Bruce Moore, who is president of operations and service lines group for the Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services.
"Many of our educators and administrators would receive higher compensation in the private sector or at other educational institutions but love Ole Miss like we do. Our dedicated and passionate teachers continue to make a difference in the lives of students. This gift is meant to build on this long-standing tradition of Ole Miss. There is no better testimony to our university than a graduate who becomes another lifelong Ole Miss ambassador," he said.
UM launched the Barnard Initiative to build faculty support, recognizing appropriate resources must be available to recruit and retain outstanding teachers.
"In order to sustain excellence in our programs, we must have the right leaders in place," said Moore. "When I was a student, there were many professors who challenged me to think creatively and beyond what was found in the textbook-to contemplate how everything fits together and why CEOs make the decisions that they do. Many also took time after class to explain why they took a certain position on a topic or my answers to questions, and this quality of teaching and personal attention made such a big difference in my education.
"Karen and I have been blessed to have great parents, families and other mentors who have emphasized how important it is to invest in individuals and organizations that have impacted our lives and continue to positively impact others," Moore continued. "The way you invest your time and resources is a reflection of who you are. We want to support educational opportunities."
UM Chancellor Dan Jones praised the Moores for their contributions.
"Bruce and Karen Moore are outstanding alumni," he said. "We are deeply grateful for this exceptional faculty support and also for their many other investments in Ole Miss. They assist with numerous university events hosted in Nashville and are passionate about helping students and recruiting young people to our university. Bruce and Karen are talented, thoughtful leaders who always have the best interests and the future of this university uppermost in their hearts and minds."
Moore, a native of Laurel, Miss., earned an undergraduate degree in managerial finance from the business school, while Karen Bell Moore, a native of Springfield, Tenn., received an undergraduate in applied science. Both have given many hours of their time to Ole Miss, including Bruce serving on the UM Foundation Board of Directors and Karen participating in the Ole Miss Women's Council for Philanthropy. Bruce also funded a Women's Council scholarship endowment in Karen's honor.
"To me college should be more than an educational experience," said Bruce Moore. "It should be challenging both academically and socially. It should teach you respect for other people and their differences. Karen and I observe a lot of young people who come to our university and feel they are better for having the opportunities offered at Ole Miss. This university produces well-rounded students who are effective communicators."
Cyree, dean of business, expressed his appreciation for the Moores' gift.
"We are excited and grateful for this endowed faculty position, which provides great leverage to affect hundreds of students each year through interaction with a distinguished professor. The Moore Scholar will have a profound impact on our teaching and scholarship and will help raise the profile of the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration. We are thankful for the Moores' commitment to the school and their partnership to help create a brighter future for our graduates," he said.
When Karen Moore and the couple's son Mitchell attended UM orientation earlier this summer, another parent asked if she is in "sales," due to her enthusiasm about the university.
"I told her it is really easy to sell Ole Miss," she said. "It's a beautiful, friendly campus and everyone loves the Grove. However, Ole Miss is like a cake. The Grove is the icing, but then when you cut into it, you find that it is so much more. There are many schools and programs at the university that are absolutely soaring in national recognition. Young people are looking at state universities for great bargains in higher education. With Ole Miss' strong academic programs, beautiful campus, great size, inclusive community and vibrant town, it just cannot be beat."
The Moores, who met as students on the Oxford campus, are the parents of two Ole Miss graduates: Tyler Moore of Nashville, who has joined Ernst & Young, and Margaret Anne Moore of Washington, D.C. Their younger son, Mitchell Moore, is a freshman this fall.