College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

UM Endowment Builds to Record $736 Million

Eighth straight year alumni, friends provide more than $100 million in gifts

Biology professor Beckie Symula

Biology professor Beckie Symula teaches class on the first day of the fall semester. Private gifts continue building a margin of excellence that provides the best possible instruction to Ole Miss students. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 BY TINA HAHN

The University of Mississippi’s alumni and friends contributed approximately $103 million in private support during FY19, a year that saw the university’s endowment grow to $736 million – the largest in the state at a public university.

For the eighth consecutive year, new gifts aimed at strengthening UM totaled in excess of $100 million, giving the university essential resources to continue providing exceptional experiences for students, faculty, researchers, health care patients and providers, citizens served by outreach efforts, and visitors to its campuses.

Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks praised donors for endowed gifts that have a far-reaching impact.

“The growth of our endowment symbolizes the enduring commitment of alumni and friends to invest in future generations, and we are most grateful for their support,” Sparks said. “This level of private support reflects the trust our alumni and friends place in the University of Mississippi’s ability to prepare the future leaders and innovators.

“Gifts to higher education also have a far-reaching impact on the economic climate of Mississippi and beyond, and the resources ultimately elevate the quality of life for everyone.”

State funds account for only about 12.2 percent of UM’s operating revenues, making private support all the more crucial to the flagship university. More than 19,000 donors made gifts this year to strengthen the university.

“Once again, Ole Miss alumni and friends have proven how deeply committed they are to expanding exceptional educational opportunities,” said Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development. “Our stakeholders provide crucial resources that impact students’ lives, our programs and our outreach across our campuses and the nation.”

The university’s endowment – permanently held funds invested and managed by a committee of alumni, university and foundation leaders – benefited from a 4.8 percent return on investment, said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation.

“Our endowment continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace as significant volatility has returned to the investment markets,” Weakley said. “With our 10-year return at 8.9 percent, we exceed our peer group.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our loyal donors, and believe we are well positioned for the headwinds that may lie ahead in the markets.”

Support for the Oxford academic community totaled $51.8 million. Donors invested in students, faculty and programs, which strengthen the institution’s growing national academic reputation.

The first Ole Miss Giving Day enjoyed success, generating $542,989 in gifts. There were 965 donors, including 242 first-time donors. The online giving initiative featured challenges sponsored by donors, and competition between some schools and deans heated up to benefit Ole Miss.

The Medical Center‘s Campaign for Children’s Hospital enjoyed a fourth successful year as total giving in the campaign grew to more than $74.3 million committed toward its ambitious $100 million goal. This campaign supports the construction and renovation of facilities and the recruitment of 30 to 40 doctors and researchers.

Children’s of Mississippi is the umbrella organization that includes Batson Children’s Hospital and all UMMC pediatric care. The work is 50 percent complete on the new seven-story, 340,000-square-foot tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital that will also house the Children’s Heart Center.

“At the Medical Center, we appreciate our many gifts that truly keep on giving, making possible much of the exemplary care we provide to Mississippians and all those who come to us for healing,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“These gifts allow us to provide the best education for health sciences students, and they greatly help in the construction of new facilities. They fuel our research efforts to come up with better and more proactive ways to improve the health of those we serve.”

Ole Miss athletics received $29.3 million in support during FY19. The Forward Together campaign stands at $182.3 million, nearing its $200 million goal.

“The support provided by the friends and family of Ole Miss athletics this year has been nothing short of remarkable,” Interim Athletics Director Keith Carter said. “Thanks to the generous and selfless contributions made by our donors and supporters, Rebel Nation has persevered and achieved success even in a challenging time.

“We are moving forward and continuing to build this great athletics department and this great university together.”

Gifts to Ole Miss athletics programs continued to ensure that Rebel student-athletes have the resources to succeed on the field and in the classroom. The baseball program put the finishing touches on a $20 million renovation project at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field, including the new Baseball Performance Center that provides an array of amenities for student-athletes in one of the nation’s premier baseball programs.

Meanwhile, the football program recently completed a $1.2 million renovation to the Manning Center Athletic Training Room, the latest in a long line of improvements funded by the Forward Together campaign, which has enhanced facilities for every athletic program on campus.

To make gifts to the university, go to https://give.olemiss.edu for academics, http://www.umc.edu/givenow/ for the UM Medical Center or http://givetoathletics.com/forward-together/ for Ole Miss athletics.