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Harriet and Warren Stephens Honor UM Artist-in-Residence Bruce Levingston with Gift
Bruce Levingston (left), the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence and holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, was recently honored with a generous gift by Harriet (center) and Warren Stephens (right) of Little Rock, Arkansas. The gift will support the arts and humanities at Ole Miss.

A generous gift from Warren and Harriet Stephens through the Warren A. Stephens Trust of Little Rock, Arkansas, honors Bruce Levingston, the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence and holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi.

The holder of the Fant Chair brings leading figures in the arts and humanities to the university to encourage broad appreciation for the importance of creativity and imagination to all fields and to promote deeply informed critical thinking among the students and citizens of the UM community.

The Stephenses are among the nation’s leading supporters of the arts. The couple, who recently led the redesign of the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock, said they made the $50,000 gift to UM because of the positive impact the arts and humanities have on all segments of society.

“The arts and humanities enrich our lives and thinking. We see that enrichment firsthand in Little Rock, where the arts help unite us, reveal commonalities, celebrate our differences and shape new experiences,” said Warren Stephens, chair, president and CEO of Stephens Inc., a privately held investment bank.

Harriet Stephens added that the couple’s gift honors their friendship with Levingston, his many achievements and his passion for sharing his knowledge with students in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at Ole Miss.

Levingston is an internationally renowned concert pianist and recording artist.

“Bruce performed at the museum’s grand opening gala and put together a program for that evening that was really special. His support and generosity meant a great deal to us,” she said.

When trying to determine how their appreciation and support of Levingston could have the most impact, the Stephenses got some advice from their friend, Archie Manning, the legendary Ole Miss alumnus and football star.

“Archie was so kind by helping to direct our gift in Bruce’s honor to the most appropriate home, the Lester Glenn Fant Chair-Chancellor Honors College Artist-in-Residence Support Endowment,” said Warren Stephens.

Levingston said he is equally “honored and touched” by the Stephenses’ gift.

“Their visionary leadership in philanthropy for arts and education is inspiring, and their thoughtful donation will enable the university to continue to bring outstanding creative figures to campus,” the artist said.

Over the past decade, Levingston has brought several acclaimed individuals to Ole Miss and on Oct. 25 he will host Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley and prominent civil rights author Ethel Morgan Smith for a free community program at Nutt Auditorium on campus. The authors’ visit is sponsored by the Lester Glenn Fant Chair Support Fund.

UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce expressed appreciation for the Stephenses’ financial support.

“We are incredibly grateful to Harriet and Warren for their thoughtful gift which will boost our endeavors in the arts, creativity and culture on campus,” Boyce said. “A gift to the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence Support Endowment is truly a gift to our entire community.

“We are fortunate to have people like the Stephenses and Bruce Levingston who advance our efforts in the arts and play a significant role in helping our university achieve the highest levels of excellence.”

This fall, Levingston will release his 10th solo album, “Without Words,” and will perform the national anthem at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the Ole Miss-Arkansas football game on Oct. 7.

Individuals and organizations can support the arts and humanities at Ole Miss by making a gift to the Lester Glenn Fant Chair Endowment by sending a check that designates this endowment in the memo line to: The University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online here.

For more information on supporting the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence Support Fund and/or the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, contact Brady Bramlett, director of development, at or 662-915-3081.

By Jonathan Scott/UM Development


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.