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Baker’s $1M Gift Endows Professorship at UMMC
Dea Dea Adams Baker has donated $1 million to the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, in honor of her father, Fred Rodgers Adams, Jr., and mother, Dorothy “Dot” Adams.

Fred Rodgers Adams, Jr., his siblings and most of his cousins developed dementia in their later years. The family connection wasn’t lost on his daughter.

“Many of them died from it as the official cause of death,” said Dea Dea Adams Baker of Jackson, Mississippi. “This got our attention years ago as it became apparent dementia was appearing more and more in my older relatives.”

Being familiar with the Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center through its fundraising campaigns made the need for support very real, and Baker wanted to get involved.

Three years after Adams’ death, at 88, Baker has donated $1 million to The MIND Center, in honor of her father and mother, Dorothy “Dot” Adams, who died in 1993, and her aunts and uncles, who died of dementia.

Baker earmarked her gift for an endowed professorship because “we cannot afford to lose the contributions of these professors whose intelligence and experience have been instrumental in our research and credibility.”

The Dea Dea Adams Baker MIND Center Professorship will help recruit, acknowledge and retain the best researchers, and provide a consistent source of funding to support faculty members’ research.

“Dr. Michael Griswold, professor of biostatistics and data science, and director of The MIND Center’s science, evidence and technology core, recipient of the professorship, is among the best in his field and has significantly impacted all research at The MIND Center,” said Dr. Thomas Mosley, Robbie and Dudley Hughes MIND Center Chair and director, The MIND Center. “Dr. Griswold’s work at The MIND Center has elevated all that we do. He is well-deserving of this honor.”

Griswold said he hopes The MIND Center’s research will be seen as an enduring tribute to Baker and her family.

“It’s really quite an honor, which I can only attribute to the excellence and commitment of the whole MIND Center team that I’m blessed to work with. To borrow a line Mr. Adams is reported to have treasured, ‘Seems the harder we work, the luckier we get.’ We’re very lucky to receive this generous gift, and it will definitely help The MIND Center work to expand our Alzheimer’s and dementia research programs.”

To support the University of Mississippi Medical Center, visit or contact Meredith Aldridge, executive director of development, at 601-815-7469 or

UMMC Staff Reports


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.