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Ole Miss launches Flagship Society to honor annual donors

The Flagship Society was launched this month by the University of Mississippi as its first campus-wide leadership annual giving program.

As the cost of higher education continues to rise, so does the need for philanthropic support of academic programs and scholarships, and according to a statement from the University, the Flagship Society will recognize existing annual donors while encouraging others to follow suit.

“Through their giving, Flagship Society members will be expressing a strong belief in the power of higher education and the positive impact of private support,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in a recent news release. “Our alumni and friends are known far and wide for their continuous and generous investments in the Ole Miss student experience, our academic environment and outreach efforts.

For the seventh consecutive fiscal year, Ole Miss alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff have committed more than $100 million in private support. A statement from the University described these resources as “much-needed,” as state support covers only 13 percent of the school’s annual budget.

The Flagship Society name pays homage to the University’s flagship status as the oldest and largest public university in Mississippi. The name also represents members of the Ole Miss family who serve as philanthropic leaders in the academic, service and cultural programs, according to Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development.

“We want to honor the Flagship Society members’ generosity by selecting a name that reflects their impact on the university,” Parks said in a recent news release. “Each Flagship Society gift combines with others to produce powerful resources.”

Funds the University receives through annual gifts have the capacity to bolster scholarship support for students, increase funds for recruitment and retention of faculty, increase graduate stipends to support doctoral students, heighten access to research grants whose results help people live healthier lives, increase maintenance funds to keep up the university’s array of facilities and increase support for the cultural arts.

Membership in the Flagship Society is open to any household or individual whose cumulative giving to academics totals $1,000 or more during the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).

Membership in the Flagship Society can be met by an outright gift or by making pledge payments throughout the fiscal year. Levels of membership are bronze, with a gift of $1,000; silver, with a gift of $1,848; gold, with a gift of $2,500 and platinum with a gift of $5,000 or above.

Graduates whose most recent UM degree is from the past five years can join the Flagship Society with an annual gift of $100. Likewise, alumni from the past six to 10 years become members with an annual gift of $500, as university officials understand these graduates are establishing their lives and careers.

Flagship Society members will be recognized in several ways and receive an exclusive Flagship Society car decal and invitations to special events. Donors who join in the Flagship Society’s inaugural year, which runs through June 30, 2019, will be identified as charter members.

To join the Flagship Society, mail a check in support of academics to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or learn more by visiting http://www.umfoundation.com/flagshipsociety.