The University of Mississippi launched the largest comprehensive campaign in Mississippi history on Nov. 12, 2021, to raise $1.5 billion in private support and increase the flagship university’s endowment to $1 billion to strengthen it for generations to come.
University officials introduced Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss to alumni and friends in the Johnson Commons ballroom.
Already, $1 billion has been secured toward this $1.5 billion goal during the silent phase of the campaign, and at the close of the fiscal year, June 30, the combined university endowment reached $859 million. The campaign ends June 30, 2025.
“A campaign of this magnitude is ambitious, but then we are Ole Miss and do not shy away from lofty goals,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “Gifts to this campaign will help us keep doing what we do best –offering education, experiences and opportunities so that our students can pursue their passions and reach their fullest potential in order to build legacies of fulfilling lives and successful careers.”
Now & Ever is securing philanthropic support to advance and grow a number of areas and efforts across the university from student scholarships and faculty research to campus facilities and athletics. Campaign goals are focused on how the university builds leaders, empowers academic excellence, fuels research and innovation and creates economic opportunity.
For example, the university will apply its proven freshman-to-sophomore retention initiative to all undergraduate years, moving students from all backgrounds to timely graduations. More scholarships will be established to increase access to higher education and to recruit high-performing students.
Learning experiences for its almost 22,000 students will be expanded, such as increasing existing capacities for undergraduates to pursue research and developing more multidisciplinary academic and research centers.
“Our Student Success Center will pull together all the programs and expertise we have built and apply it across all classes,” Boyce said. “Our remarkable 88.2% freshman-to-sophomore retention rate will carry through students’ time here.”
Through the Now & Ever campaign, the university will also secure more endowed faculty chairs and professorships to recruit and retain world-class professors. As a leader in engineering and the applied sciences, Ole Miss will address crucial national, state and local needs to grow a science, technology, engineering and mathematics-educated workforce and citizenry.
In order to fuel research and innovation, the campaign will enhance how the university applies scholarly work to develop practical solutions and improve lives. This will be accomplished through existing expertise resident in the Center for Diagnostics, Design, Devices and Biomechanics; Center for Insurance Transformation; Center for Air and Space Law; and the National Center for Natural Products Research – to name a few examples among many.
Additionally, Now & Ever will spur economic opportunity by bringing students across disciplines together to solve real-life problems, create products and seed new businesses. Ultra-modern technology designed to meet tomorrow’s needs will accelerate the transfer of research and innovation to commercialization, growing prosperity through investment, job creation, partnerships and economic opportunities.
“When this campaign is completed, the University of Mississippi will look different, and I don’t just mean different because of the new incredible buildings and learning spaces, such as the Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation, a new home for the nationally recognized Patterson School of Accountancy and the expanded Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center and other athletics facilities,” Boyce said.
The chancellor said that after the campaign, there will be “increased research with valuable application to our health and well-being. And, you will see graduates able to stay in Mississippi with exciting jobs and a more vibrant economy.”
Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development, called Now & Ever: The Campaign at Ole Miss a “monumental undertaking that is achievable because of generous alumni and friends, who recognize their investments will define the university’s future.”
“Ole Miss’ first responsibility is to Mississippi as its flagship institution, but its influence spans far beyond the borders of this magnificent state,” Parks said. “We are committed to securing crucial resources to elevate the lives of our students, families, other citizens and the world.”
Leading the campaign in the first year are co-chairs retired Major Gen. Leon Collins and Debra Collins, of Madison, and Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, of Memphis, Tennessee. The four are supported by a 44-member Campaign Steering Committee of alumni and friends.
“We urge everyone to come forward now and invest in the future of our beloved university – one bursting with tremendous potential,” Sean Tuohy said.
“Funding is crucial for embracing opportunities, and the vision of this campaign is one that everyone in the Ole Miss family can support. It gives us a clear path to serve Ole Miss and provide the best for future students, as well as a way of expressing gratitude for all the university has given us.
Fundraising priorities have been set by the Oxford campus academic units as well as the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Ole Miss Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The university’s endowment offers both financial stability and increased opportunities to students, faculty, researchers, health care professionals and staff, Parks said.
The last two comprehensive campaigns saw the Commitment to Excellence campaign wrap up in 2000 after raising $529.9 million, and the MomentUM campaign ran from 2007 to 2009 and secured $241 million in private gifts.
“On another level beyond classrooms and campus, we are excited for how this campaign will serve as a unifying force for all Rebels to come together and strengthen our beloved university,” Boyce said. “It will cultivate new generations of diverse givers and inspire increased numbers of alumni and friends to become engaged in how we offer vibrant opportunities that create lifelong connections and transformational opportunities.”
More information and online giving can be found at https://nowandever.olemiss.edu.
By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development