skip to main content
College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

Freedom to Ride

Anonymous Donor Provides SUV to Student-Veterans

Andrew Newby (left), UM assistant director for Veterans and Military Services, and Jamie King, VMS chief of staff, stand with a new Chevrolet Suburban given to the organization by an anonymous donor.

Andrew Newby (left), UM assistant director for Veterans and Military Services, and Jamie King, VMS chief of staff, stand with a new Chevrolet Suburban given to the organization by an anonymous donor.

JULY 8, 2024 BY BILL DABNEY/UM FOUNDATION

Stationed at the George Street House – headquarters of Veterans and Military Services (VMS) on the University of Mississippi campus – is a four-wheel drive, 2024 Chevrolet Suburban High Country, fully loaded and ready for local deployment.

Now, when UM student-veterans need to road-trip, they’ll maneuver in style thanks to the gift from an Ole Miss graduate who simply wanted to show his appreciation to those who’ve served our country.

“We thank God for the great men and women of our armed services,” the donor said. “We owe such a debt of gratitude to those who’ve served all over the world to support and defend the Constitution and provide security to all of us so we can continue to have the freedom to pursue the American dream.”

VMS will use the new SUV to allow student-veterans to travel to conferences together for the first time in the organization’s history. Among other uses, it will provide transportation to doctors’ appointments at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, and make grocery deliveries to student-veterans who don’t have vehicles.

“It is unconscionable to think those who have served or will serve to keep us all safe may not have needed safe transportation,” the donor said. “We hope this gift will help.”

That it will, according to Andrew Newby, VMS assistant director.

“This gift is incredible, and it has made an immediate impact on how veterans can engage others outside of campus,” said Newby, adding that his office almost exclusively works with external entities. “This gift demonstrates the importance of the solutions we look to provide for problems in the veteran space locally, regionally and nationally.”

The donation is associated with the VMS “Welcome Home” Campaign Fund, which was established to provide the public with the opportunity to thank those who put their lives on hold, to offer solutions to tangible needs and to change the college experience for post-traditional students who’ve decided to pivot from military to civilian life.

“Many of these student-veterans gave away their 20s to go and do what this nation asked of them,” Newby said. “They’ve written their blood type on their clothes to go to work every day, and they’ve proudly served everyone in the nation before choosing to attend college.

“This gift has made military-connected students feel seen, and having someone clearly demonstrate their belief in these students changes how they understand their decision to pursue higher education.”

To make a gift to the VMS “Welcome Home” Campaign Fund, send a check, with the fund’s name written on the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or click here. For more information, contact Brett Barefoot, executive director of central development, at bmbarefo@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2711.