A University of Mississippi fundraising campaign will provide crucial funding for the work of the William Magee Center for Wellness Education.
Launched during the season of giving to honor a beloved alumnus who has dedicated his life to young people, the Ignite Ole Miss campaign has raised more than $125,000 to establish the Dick and Alice O’Ferrall-Alpine Camp Outdoor Recreation Suite at the new South Campus Recreation Center.
Many of the more than 150 donors to the campaign have known the O’Ferralls since attending – or sending their own children to – the Alpine Camp for Boys in Mentone, Alabama. Dick O’Ferrall founded the camp shortly after graduating from Ole Miss in 1957. He and his wife, Alice, served as the directors for 60 years and still live on Lookout Mountain near the camp.
Funds raised to name the Dick and Alice O’Ferrall-Alpine Camp Outdoor Recreation Suite at the South Campus Recreation Center will provide outdoor activities for underserved high school students and support Magee Center programming in addition to serving UM students, faculty and staff.
O’Ferrall’s daughter, Carter Breazeale, who now serves as Alpine Camp director with her husband, Glenn Breazeale, said the campaign to honor her parents at her alma mater will bring her family’s life work to even more young people.
“I truly appreciate how the university recognizes the importance of what an outdoor experience can give people; the impact the outdoors can have is really something intangible,” Breazeale said. “I think people now see that it’s a critical piece to the education experience, and I’m so thankful for the work being done at Ole Miss.”
O’Ferrall mentored thousands of Alpine campers, who know him as “Mr. O.” One of those young men was William Magee, for whom the Magee Center for Wellness Education is named. An honors student who lettered in track and field for Ole Miss and graduated in 2012, Magee died a year later of an accidental drug overdose, losing a battle with addiction.
“William hoped to help others one day by sharing his battle against drug addiction and substance misuse,” said Magee’s father, David, who is the director of institute advancement in the Office of University Development at Ole Miss. “After he passed away, our family committed to helping other young people in his honor. From that commitment, the Magee Center was born.”
Thanks to hundreds of generous donors who joined the Magees, the university opened the William Magee Center for Wellness Education in 2019 with the goal of changing, improving and even saving lives through alcohol and other drugs (AOD) education and support. The Magee Center is housed in the state-of-the-art South Campus Recreation Center as part of its emphasis on total wellness.
Vice Chancellor of University Development Charlotte Parks said the success of the campaign honoring the O’Ferralls and supporting the Magee Center demonstrated the impact one family’s work can have on thousands of young people.
“Obviously, the participation of so many generous donors exemplifies how important Dick and Alice O’Ferrall have been to so many families over the years,” Parks said. “The O’Ferralls and the Magee family all set out to help others, and we’re so grateful that the University of Mississippi could be a part of that legacy.”
The O’Ferrall campaign ends soon. To make a gift, please visit ignite.olemiss.edu/oferrall.
The William Magee Center for Wellness Education is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations by mailing a check with the center’s name in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online at https://give.olemiss.edu.
For more information, contact Brett Barefoot, senior director of development, Parent and Family Leadership, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-2711.
By Angela Atkins