University of Mississippi Announces Launch of Stamps Impact Prize
SEPTEMBER 18, 2023 BY BILL DABNEY & KATIE MORRISON/UM FOUNDATION
A $100,000 renewable gift to the University of Mississippi from E. Roe Stamps and his family will establish a competitive award for undergraduate students seeking support for enterprising academic projects outside the classroom.
The first program of its kind funded by the Stamps family, the Stamps Impact Prize, with matching investment from UM, was announced by Chancellor Glenn Boyce on Friday, Sept. 15. Dr. Ken Sufka, distinguished professor of psychology and pharmacology and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will lead the program.
In 2012, significant gifts from Stamps established the Stamps Scholars Program at UM. The highly competitive Stamps Scholarship is unique among UM scholarships as it features a generous enrichment fund for exceptional educational pursuits, including travel, research, internships and academic conferences.
Now, any UM undergraduate student is eligible to apply for funds to support outstanding educational opportunities through the Stamps Impact Prize.
“We are incredibly grateful to Roe Stamps, his late wife Penny, and their daughter Annie for working side by side with us over the last decade. We appreciate how they have demonstrated their trust in Ole Miss by partnering with us again, this time to pilot the Stamps Impact Prize,” said Chancellor Boyce.
“The University of Mississippi will be the first in the nation to launch this program for undergraduate students, which will inspire them to pursue academic passions outside of the classroom and help them advance areas of interest while building the leadership skills needed to be successful.”
The Prize is intended to enhance undergraduate academic experiences.
“Ole Miss has demonstrated a strong, personal commitment to its students, and we are pleased to partner again to create opportunities that, unfortunately, are often so rare,” Roe Stamps said. “Our goal is to inspire undergraduate students to pursue their academic passions outside of the classroom and to aim high.”
The Stamps Impact Prize is open to undergraduates on all UM campuses. The application portal with specific details will open by Oct. 1 and be announced to students and faculty via myOleMiss. Applications will be accepted through Nov. 1 and require close consultation with faculty mentors before submission. The inaugural prize recipients will be announced Nov. 17. Coupled with UM matching funds, $200,000 will be available annually to support chosen work.
Recipients will have proposed fall, spring, or summer timelines for their projects, which may include research, community service, technology development, travel (outside of the study-abroad or Study USA programs) or other experiential learning components. While there is no set limit on the amount students may request, the budget for a typical prize is projected to be $5,000.
Competitive applications will propose activities in which the student can make a substantial independent contribution. The proposed activities should result in, or contribute to, a significant finished product for the student — for example: a publishable manuscript, artistic or scholarly work, exhibition, performance, or other tangible way to share their discovery and achievement.
UM Provost Noel Wilkin said the Prize creates vital partnership opportunities for students and faculty.
“Students and alumni often report working alongside faculty and other experts in their disciplines to be some of their most rewarding collegiate experiences. Mentored research and experiences in their chosen fields are crucial to students’ development and help hone the analytical and critical thinking skills required to successfully prepare for the next stages of their career paths,” Wilkin said. “It is also imperative that we reinforce the enduring joy of inquiry. Initiatives like the Stamps Impact Prize are essential to the intellectual health of the university.”
Sufka agreed, saying the Stamps Impact Prize brings added value by broadening opportunities for faculty to offer meaningful support to student-initiated research and creative achievement projects.
“We have talented undergraduate students looking to our exceptional faculty for remarkable experiences – research and creative endeavors – outside of the classroom,” the distinguished professor said. “The Stamps Impact Prize is a perfect fit for this need and will significantly change what the Ole Miss experience can and will be for these gifted students.
“This, in turn, will better position Ole Miss graduates to be much more competitive and successful as they move into careers or pursue advanced degrees in graduate and professional programs,” Sufka continued. “I have immense gratitude for the trust that the Stamps have put in the University of Mississippi and its faculty to develop and launch this program.
“More importantly, I am deeply moved by their generosity in supporting our exceptional undergraduate students in these uniquely enriching experiences that will certainly impact their lives.”
The Stamps family’s lifetime giving at Ole Miss is more than $2.6 million, supporting the Stamps Scholars Program and the new Stamps Impact Prize.
Roe and Penny Stamps began the Stamps Scholars Program at their alma maters of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Seeing the immense impact, the insightful philanthropists grew their scholarship programs for thousands of students across the nation and in the U.K. but had no previous affiliation with Ole Miss.
The network of 3,244 students and alumni is an ongoing partnership between the Stamps Scholars program and 36 visionary colleges and universities to enable extraordinary educational experiences. One of the most prestigious awards for high school seniors, the Stamps Scholarship typically provides a student’s full cost of attendance plus additional funding for enrichment experiences.
The UM Stamps Scholarship continues to be the most comprehensive, full scholarship package for UM students. Each scholarship covers the total cost of attendance, along with a $12,000 enrichment fund for unique educational pursuits, including travel, research, internships and academic conferences. The Stamps Scholarships at Ole Miss are among the Chancellor’s Scholarship Program of elite awards, which also includes UM’s longtime top academic awards of Newman and Carrier scholarships.
The 2023-24 class of freshman Stamps Scholars rounds the total number at Ole Miss to 60, making UM the third-largest program in the nation.
To learn more about Stamps Scholars, visit https://www.stampsscholars.org/. For information on supporting programs at UM, contact Katie Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-2135. To make a gift to the university’s ongoing Now & Ever Campaign, click here or visit https://nowandever.olemiss.edu.