After taking his last exam in 2016 at the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy, Greg Mitchell stopped by the dean’s office to find out how to give back to a program that transformed his life.
Now just four years later, the young alumnus has established the Greg Mitchell Community College Accountancy Scholarship Fund to benefit students transferring to Ole Miss and majoring in accountancy.
“I knew then that I wanted to pay forward my experiences somehow, so I went to Dean (Mark) Wilder to ask what I could do,” said Mitchell, a native of Newton, Mississippi. “I knew I’d do it one day, but I had no clue that it would happen so quickly.”
The Patterson School of Accountancy’s programs have been ranked among the top 20 in the nation in the Public Accounting Report each year since 2008. Wilder attributes the impact faculty members make in the lives of students as one reason for that success.
“In my view, the characteristic that most distinguishes the Patterson School from other highly ranked accounting programs is the emphasis our faculty place on mentoring, guiding, and helping students,” said Wilder. “Nothing is more rewarding for our faculty than seeing students like Greg grow, develop, and have successful and fulfilling careers.
“We are very proud of Greg and all of his accomplishments at such a young age,” Wilder continued. “He sets a wonderful example for other students to follow and we are grateful for his loyalty and generosity. I look forward to seeing the Greg Mitchell Scholarship help many future generations of community college transfer students attend Ole Miss and the Patterson School.”
After graduation, Mitchell worked in his hometown for a couple of years before joining Emergent Cold in Dallas, Texas, which acquired and integrated similar companies in the global logistics industry. The business was sold to a competitor in 2020.
“My main reason for establishing the scholarship is to give students in a similar situation as me the same opportunity I had,” Mitchell said. “I was fortunate to transfer from East Central Community College to Ole Miss and have been blessed.
“The accountancy school felt like a small environment; there was a closeness and openness to it. I never felt intimidated by any of the instructors, professors or even the dean. They were all inviting and very supportive.”
Jason McCormick, director of development for the School of Accountancy, met Mitchell at Community College Apex Leadership Summit sponsored by the university’s Office of Admissions in 2014 and recruited him to Ole Miss.
“Greg has always been an extremely hard working, selfless guy,” McCormick said. “I am very proud of his accomplishments, and it’s great that he’s been able to fulfill his desire to give back so soon.”
Through leadership opportunities gained from attending that conference, Mitchell received scholarships, including the Luckyday Community College Transfer Scholarship, which helped solidify his decision to attend the university.
“Ole Miss obviously prepared me academically and the accountancy school’s high rank and reputation put me ahead of my peers. However, my involvement in social and leadership clubs really expanded my networks and helped me break out of my shell,” Mitchell said.
“I hope the recipients will take advantage of all the opportunities the accountancy school offers and land a career as rewarding as mine, which could enable them to give back as well.”
In the most recent results, the Patterson School of Accountancy is ranked second nationally and first in the Southeastern Conference in number of recipients who earned the Elijah Watt Sells Award, which is the most prestigious certified public accountant exam in the world.
Thirteen students from SEC universities received the award, with six coming from Ole Miss and seven from the other 13 SEC institutions combined.
The Greg Mitchell Community College Accountancy Scholarship Fund is open to support from businesses and individuals. Gifts can be made by sending a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or by giving online at https://give.olemiss.edu.
For more information about supporting the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Jason McCormick, development officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-1757.
By Mary Stanton Knight