As new director of annual giving for the University of Mississippi, alumna Maura Wakefield Langhart hopes to strengthen the Office of Development’s connection with donors while also working to increase crucial private support.
“In the short term, my goal is to modernize our annual giving efforts by increasing our presence online and making it easier for our donors to give,” said Langhart, a 2014 graduate of the UM School of Applied Sciences from which she received an undergraduate degree in exercise science.
“In the long term, I want to encourage our donors to give sustainably — that is, give modest amounts every month for several years. This allows donors to maximize their impact on the university because it creates a stable stream of long-term funding that our units can rely on receiving,” said Langhart, adding that annual giving also enables Ole Miss to connect more meaningfully with its donors as the university gains insight into their unique affinities.
At a time when state support helps offset only 12.4 percent of university expenses, private giving can make up the difference — providing support for student scholarships, faculty programs, academic facilities and other operational expenses within the university’s schools, colleges and departments.
“Private giving is important for so many reasons,” Langhart said. “Firstly and most importantly, it makes an immediate and lasting impact in the lives of our students and in the value of their degrees.
“Private gifts are also a metric that national ranking committees consider when they examine our university. When more alumni give, we attract more grants and major gifts. Even small gifts lead to a transformative impact.”
After graduating, Langhart, who grew up near Washington, D.C., remained at Ole Miss as a graduate assistant in the Office of Development while earning a master’s degree in business administration in 2015.
She then accepted a full-time position as assistant director of Annual Giving with the UM Office of Development. In 2016, she joined the staff of Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a national fundraising and donor-engagement company, where she worked as director of Client Services for two years before returning to the Office of Development in her current position.
Vice Chancellor for Development Charlotte Parks said Langhart will be of great value to her staff and to the university as a whole.
"We are excited to welcome Maura onboard," she said. “She is already proving to be a great asset in helping to establish a steady, consistent stream of private support that we can count on. Given her prior experience combined with her knowledge of the university, we have great expectations for the coming year."
In college, Langhart was active in Phi Mu sorority. She also met her husband, Alex, at Ole Miss. The couple married in 2017 and now live in Oxford.
“I’m happy to be working for a university that has given me so much,” Langhart said. “Even on our worst days I would rather be an Ole Miss Rebel than anything else!”
To make gifts to the university, go to https://give.olemiss.edu/ for academics, https://www.umc.edu/givenow/ for the UM Medical Center or http://givetoathletics.com/forward-together/ for Ole Miss Athletics.
By Bill Dabney