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Planned Gift Helps Students Seeking Law Degrees
A UM law graduate's $100,000 gift establishes an endowment in his name and provides support to the Ole Miss Law School dean's fund.

A gift to the University of Mississippi that the late James Nathaniel Stearns included in his estate plans will benefit Ole Miss students seeking law degrees.

Half of the 1969 UM law graduate’s $100,000 gift establishes the James Nathaniel Stearns, Jr. Law Scholarship Endowment while the remainder supports the School of Law Dean’s Fund, an unrestricted account benefiting the school at the dean’s discretion.

The purpose of the endowment is to honor in perpetuity the life and legacy of Maj. James Nathaniel Stearns, Jr. At the time of his death in November 2022, the donor was retired from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate Corps.

Stearns of Melbourne, Florida, earned a juris doctor degree from the Ole Miss Law School in 1969. His gift was made in the form of a bequest, having been a planned gift.

“We are extremely grateful for the visionary support of alumni like Maj. Stearns,” said Law Dean Frederick G. Slabach. “His provision of a scholarship will financially support students who might not otherwise be able to obtain a law degree. Additionally, we greatly appreciate his discretionary gift, which enables us to provide support to law school programs and areas that need it most.”

Recipients of the Stearn Scholarship will be full-time law students in good academic standing.

“Private gifts to the Ole Miss Law School are crucial to its ongoing mission to train up the lawyers of tomorrow,” said Suzette Matthews, executive director for development with the law school. “A planned gift such as this establishes an honorable legacy, affirming the donor’s desire to continue to support the school after his lifetime.”

The James Nathaniel Stearns, Jr. Law Scholarship Endowment is open to support from businesses and individuals. Gifts can be made by sending a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or by giving online at

To support the School of Law, contact Suzette Matthews at or 662-915-1122. For information on including the university in estate planning, contact Marc Littlecott at or 662-915-1584.

By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation


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.