skip to main content

College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Development Efforts under new Leadership

Denson Hollis is leading efforts to attract private funds for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi as its new associate director of development. Gifts for liberal arts also are being sought by John Festervand, another associate director of development.

“We are very pleased to have these two dedicated and energetic development professionals working with our alumni and friends to build relationships and encourage contributions to the College of Liberal Arts,” said Glenn Hopkins, deans of liberal arts. “The College will continually be strengthened when our alumni and friends are involved, and we look forward to Denson and John enhancing our efforts to foster these important bonds and support.”

Hollis, who joined the Office of University Development in 2009, has successfully secured financial support for Ole Miss First and Ole Miss Women’s Council scholarship programs. These initiatives were implemented to address the critical need for scholarships for deserving students while also providing mentorship and fostering leadership.

“The College of Liberal Arts has a wide base of generous alumni and friends, who are deeply involved in the life of the University of Mississippi,” Hollis said. “It is an honor to work with these devoted supporters to provide a margin of excellence and build on our academic reputation. Private support is critical to the College of Liberal Arts with shrinking state funding for higher education. I look forward to matching the interests of alumni and friends with needs on campus.”

Hollis, a Clarksdale native, received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UM in 2001 and his master’s degree in sports management from Georgia Southern University in 2004.

Prior to returning to UM, Hollis was employed with Third Party Solutions in Nashville, Tenn., where he served as pharmacy development coordinator with primary responsibilities of marketing workers compensation programs with Wal-Mart pharmacies throughout a six-state region. Other prior positions include sales and marketing experience with Oncology Therapeutics Network and Yellow Book USA, both also based in Nashville.

Festervand is the major gifts officer for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and also focuses on building private support for liberal arts. He joined UM in 2010.

“The College of Liberal Arts has a strong tradition of producing outstanding graduates, who enjoy such amazing careers and lives,” Festervand said. “It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with this alumni group as well as with the many friends who support liberal arts education at Ole Miss. Our stakeholders provide exceptional support, and I hope to work to encourage even more involvement.”

Festervand previously served on the staff of Texas Christian University, where he was the assistant director of athletics marketing. During his time at TCU and as a graduate student at the University of Alabama, he had many opportunities to solicit gifts and build relationships with donors, as well as develop marketing plans, implement promotions, partner with foundations on events and assist with collegiate licensing.

He spent his childhood years in Oxford, where his father, Troy Festervand, was an associate professor of marketing in the School of Business Administration.

Festervand holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations with minors in business and speech from Middle Tennessee State University. He earned a master’s degree in sports management and higher education administration from the University of Alabama.

Alumni and others interested in supporting the College of Liberal Arts may contact Denson Hollis at 662-915-5092, email