Ole Miss fundraising jumps to near-record level

By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – A near-record year in fundraising for the University of Mississippi will largely strengthen academic programs and the people that make them work.
Ole Miss officials announced Monday that the university raised $122.6 million in private support during Fiscal Year 2012, which ended June 30. The total was a 40 percent increase over FY2011′s gifts and less than $1 million shy of 2002′s record of $123.2 million.
“This is an extraordinary demonstration of the generosity and commitment of Ole Miss alumni and friends,” Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones said. “These gifts are essential to delivering on our promise to Mississippi of national leadership in higher education and service programs that advance our state.”
Jones said the majority of funds will go toward enhancing opportunities for students and faculty members.
“The strength of any university is its people – its faculty and students, especially,” he said. “We’re working hard to build our endowment for both faculty support and scholarships.”
Jones said he was particularly gratified by the increasing numbers of donors, including some who passed up opportunities for more lucrative careers to be teachers or other helping professions.
Among programs honored for national leadership in 2012 are the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Patterson School of Accountancy, the School of Business Administration, the School of Law, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the School of Pharmacy and, within the College of Liberal Arts, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, the forensic chemistry program and the Army ROTC department.
“Our supporters are seeing solid evidence of a tremendous return on their investments in Ole Miss,” said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the University of Mississippi Foundation. “Whether it is our No. 1 ranking by Forbes in the five-state mid-South region or our top 10 ranking in the United States for our School of Accountancy, the investments by our donors are paying huge dividends.”
Giving is spurred during a booming economy not only by the general prosperity but by tax advantages for donating appreciated assets such as stocks and real estate. When many assets have depreciated, however, such benefits are less common.
“A tough economy makes this support especially noteworthy,” Jones said.
errol.castens@journalinc.com