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Friends of OMWC Former Chair Expand Scholarship in Her Honor
Shelly (right) and Ralph Stayer attended the May 10 University of Mississippi graduation of their grandson, Owen Stayer.

Longtime friends of Ole Miss Women’s Council member Mary Susan Gallien Clinton made a $100,000 gift to the University of Mississippi, expanding a scholarship established in her honor.

Shelly and Ralph Stayer admire a plaque honoring their good friend Mary Susan Gallien Clinton at the rose garden on campus. The Stayers recently made a gift to the university to expand a scholarship established in Clinton’s honor.

Recognizing that mentoring young people is vitally important to Clinton and her husband, J.D., Shelly and Ralph Stayer of Naples, Florida, bolstered the Mary Susan Gallien Clinton Council Scholarship Endowment. The couple’s gift, which brings the total endowment to $436,234.61, is also a tribute to the deep affection they have for the Clintons.

“This is a thank-you to Mary Susan. We’ve been friends ever since we moved to Naples, Florida. We got to know her right away and we just love her and J.D.,” said Ralph Stayer, owner of Johnsonville Sausage — now a $1 billion company founded by his father with a small butcher shop in Wisconsin.

“Also, we love the school here,” he continued. “We love what the chancellor’s doing, maintaining our values here and wanted to give to the school, Shelly and I think it’s wonderful and want to be part of it.”

Stayer said he hopes fueling the Clinton Council Scholarship will open doors for generations of students.

“I’ve seen several examples of young ladies and men who are Council Scholars and they’re so incredibly impressive that Shelly and I would like to create more opportunity for students to be part of that program,” Stayer said. “We think America is in good hands with these young people coming up.”

The Clinton Council Scholarship is designed for business or accountancy majors who are chosen on academic ability, leadership potential and financial need. Recipients must be residents of one of the following West Tennessee counties: Haywood, Madison, Shelby or Tipton and maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA to keep the award.

The Clinton Council Scholarship is the first OMWC scholarship endowment to include a paid internship. Recipients will be given an opportunity for paid internships at INSOUTH Bank to gain hands-on experience in the financial world.

In addition to leadership and philanthropy, mentorship is one of the OMWC’s three tenets and it’s what attracted Mary Susan Clinton to the Women’s Council, which offers $40,000 scholarships to recipients, provides leadership development and cultural/travel opportunities and supports study abroad and national and international internships. OMWC scholars have peer, career and life mentors and a new program, Council Connect, matches each student with a council member for emergencies.

Clinton’s passion for student philanthropy can continue thanks to donors like the Stayers who were introduced to Ole Miss by the Clintons. When their grandson, Owen, began to consider schools, they suggested Ole Miss; on May 10, 2024, they attended his graduation from the university.

“I’m so grateful that my good friends Ralph and Shelly recognize the importance of investing in young people, supporting them not only financially but also by walking alongside them to ensure that they reach their full potential,” the OMWC former chair said. “I’m extremely touched by their generosity to the university I love and especially to our Council Scholars.”

The Clintons began mentoring young people years ago by becoming involved in service organizations that offered that option. They were among the founders of the Naples Children and Education Foundation in 2001, which has raised $302 million to provide over 300,000 underserved children with needed services and resources.

As an OMWC member, Clinton shares culinary skills with scholars in her second home in Oxford, Mississippi, as another means of mentoring.  “By creating a space for open conversation and personal growth, I can empower them to navigate challenges and pursue their aspirations with confidence.”

“It was very important to my parents for my sisters and me to be part of their mentoring at a very early age in helping underserved families,” Mary Susan Clinton said.

A Savannah, Tennessee, native, Clinton began her career after college as a stockbroker with Morgan Keegan in Memphis, Tennessee, before founding Gallien Global Vision — an award-winning international wildlife documentary company in 1992.

She serves as chair of the UM Foundation and is on the INSOUTH Bank executive board of directors, which expanded her scholarship with a generous $165,000 gift in 2022. She also has led various organizations, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline (as vice chair) and the 2024 Naples Shelter Mending Broken Hearts with Hope Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Luncheon (as chair). She is the 2027 chair-elect of the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Collier County.

In addition to her philanthropic endeavors, Clinton has dedicated her time over the last nine years to mentoring members of Delta Gamma at Ole Miss as their new membership advisor.

The Clintons have two sons, John Denver Clinton II, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UM’s Patterson School of Accountancy, and Russell Hurst Clinton, who received an economics and computer science degree from Vanderbilt University.

To learn more about supporting the Ole Miss Women’s Council, contact Suzanne Helveston, OMWC program director, at or 662-915-2956, or online here.

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.