Each year, University of Mississippi alumnus Jimmy Carr awards scholarships to two members of the Ole Miss Pride of the South despite never playing in the band himself.
“I have always admired the dedication of the band members,” said Carr who earned undergraduate and law degrees from Ole Miss. “In my opinion, of all the students at Ole Miss, they put the most energy into what they are passionate about and they do so without much recognition.”
Many Pride of the South Band members provide their own instruments, have spent years honing the skills they need to serve the university and work many hours in all kinds of weather to be able to perform on game day.
Now in a professional position and an active member of the Oxford community, Carr is glad to give back — to pay it forward to the university that supported him.
“I was fortunate to receive several small scholarships, which combined, allowed me not to have to pay any tuition during my four years of undergraduate studies,” Carr said. “I remain appreciative of the support I received.”
Each year the Jimmy Carr State Farm Scholarship, created with the help of the State Farm Companies Foundation’s Good Neighbor Grant and Matching Gift Program, is awarded to a graduate of Oxford High School (OHS) and Lafayette High School (LHS) by Carr and his wife Amanda, a UM accountancy graduate.
This year’s recipients are OHS graduate James Vinson, who plays the cymbals, and LHS graduate Taylor Bost, who plays the clarinet.
“The fact that I was selected among such a respected group of people means more than anything to me,” Bost said.
Vinson feels honored to be chosen as well: “The scholarship has helped a great deal with expenses that come with going to college, such as buying books for my engineering classes.”
The university’s current goal is to build a $2 million endowment to support band scholarships.
Gifts of all sizes combine to provide band scholarships. Individuals and organizations can make gifts to the University Marching Band Scholarship Fund by sending a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655; or by visiting www.umfoundation.com/makeagift. For more information, contact Ron Wilson, development director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-1755.
By Hannah Pickett