More Than 480 Alumni and Friends Receive Calls of Gratitude
E.J. Jackson, the project center manager for the UM Call Center, helps Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter navigate the system as he begins to make calls, personally thanking donors for their recent contributions.

University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter surprised a number of alumni and friends recently, when he called to personally thank them for their financial support.

Dr. Vitter participated in UM’s fourth annual “Thank You Power Hour” along with academic deans, faculty and staff who volunteered to spend an hour calling more than 480 university supporters to express their appreciation. The event was sponsored by the Office of University Development and the University of Mississippi Foundation.

“This year’s event was a bit of a contest. The chancellor was in the lead for the most calls until he had to step away to attend to other university business,” said Annual Giving Coordinator Angie Avery. “Nevertheless, the Power Hour was a fantastic opportunity for the Ole Miss leadership to personally experience our Call Center environment.”

Cobie Watkins, director of programs and alumni affairs at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, thanked the most donors, followed by Denson Hollis, senior director of development for the College of Liberal Arts, and Brooke Barnes, director of development for the Patterson School of Accountancy. Lionel Maten, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, took home this year’s spirit award, which is given to the most enthusiastic caller.

“Can you imagine former students receiving a call from the chancellor or from their favorite professors to thank them for recent contributions? It really sends a powerful message to our donors,” said Suzanne Thigpen, director of annual giving. “We have such involved and generous alumni and friends, so our message is always one of deep gratitude for this continued support.”

Private giving helps fund student scholarships, faculty needs, academic programs and external educational opportunities.

Typically, the Call Center is staffed by students who are paid to call donors each evening.

“We employ student callers to give alumni and friends the opportunity to hear about their experiences as students at Ole Miss today,” Thigpen said. “The students, in turn, benefit from career advice from alumni who have been passionate about improving experiences for current students and future generations.”

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting any area of the university can contact Thigpen at 662-915-6625, sthigpen@olemiss.edu or by visiting www.umfoundation.com.

Staff Reports