Health care executive Frank Lenior of Jackson, Mississippi, wasn’t able to benefit from an internship when he was a University of Mississippi student in the early 1990s, and that’s the driving force behind his gift to help students gain these enriching experiences.
His $50,000 gift established the Frank M. Lenior Internship Support Fund to provide Ole Miss School of Business Administration students with resources for internships. Funds may be used to provide scholarships or reimbursement of expenses.
“I did not have an internship experience while an undergrad at Ole Miss, and that’s the impetus for this gift,” said Lenior, who is the chief human resources officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). “I came from a single-parent household, so it was out of my realm of possibility, at that time, to travel for or find alternate housing for an internship.
“I could see why it was a great opportunity – even as a young adult – but I also knew it was not an option for me. What is an option now is that I bless the lives of others, giving them the opportunity we all understand and appreciate as beneficial.”
Ken Cyree, dean of the business school, said Lenior’s gift will impact many students as they ready for life after graduation.
“Internships play such a crucial role in career preparation, and so many of our students do need assistance to take advantage of them,” he said. “We are grateful for Frank Lenior’s generosity and vision in creating this fund that will give our students the opportunity to put the knowledge they’ve acquired into practice and to gain a first-hand view of a potential career field.
“We also appreciate Frank’s alumni leadership in his service on our Business Advisory Board,” the dean said.
Lenior described his service on the Business Advisory Board as an opportunity to continue “giving back to the university I love and from which I received so much. It’s God first, family second and Ole Miss third – I’ve got my priorities in order and any success in my life is due in part to the blessings I’ve received from this institution.”
The alumnus grew up in the community of Egypt, Mississippi, about an hour’s drive from Ole Miss, surrounded by extended family and friends.
“I chose Ole Miss for my college home after attending the Black Achievement and Leadership Conferences during both my junior and senior years of high school. I fell in love with the university then,” said the alumnus, who earned a degree in managerial finance in 1993.
“My undergrad experience was great. I especially have fond memories of (the now late) Dr. Charles Walker in the School of Business Administration. He was one of my favorite professors. He was real and down-to-earth.”
Following graduation, Lenior began working for an Ole Miss alumnus opening casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana before transitioning to health care and working for Vanderbilt University Medical Center in human resources. His next position was with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, followed by Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, where for eight years he served as regional vice president of human resources.
Lenior came home to Mississippi to lead the human resources efforts, among other operational considerations, at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson. He served in that position for eight years before his recent move to UMMC.
“I enjoy human resources because I am fascinated by the human experience. I love watching people ‘go,’ considering what motivates people. It’s a ‘win’ for me when I can positively influence the lives of our faculty, Medical Center team and ultimately our patients,” he said.
Lenior has a wish for the long-term impact of his gift for student internships.
“What would fill my heart with joy is if when I retire, I’m replaced by an Ole Miss graduate, who had an internship, supported in part by my gift. I would love for this assistance to continue for years to come.”
To make a gift to the Frank M. Lenior Internship Support Fund, send a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or online here.
To learn how to support the School of Business Administration, contact Angela Brown, senior director of development, at email@example.com or 662-915-3181.
By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development