Major gift to benefit efforts of Magee Center

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The alcohol and drug education programs at the University of Mississippi received a boost last week. The Triplett Foundation awarded $750,000 to the William Magee Center for Wellness Education Endowment, which will expedite those programs.  

The money will help with the hiring of a health-education specialist; fund the planning of a national symposium at Ole Miss and cover expenses associated with the startup of the center. 

“We believe there are a lot of students affected by substance abuse, whether that is personal use or suffering with family members’ or friends’ addictions,” said Chip Triplett of the Dr. and Mrs. Faser Triplett Foundation. “We must help them and their families obtain current information on the effects and consequences of alcohol and drug abuse.” 

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The Magee Center, which is expected to open this year, is a tribute to former Ole Miss student William Magee who lost his life due to an overdose in 2013. Magee was also an alumnus of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. The center is part of the new South Campus Recreation Facility and Transportation Hub that is being constructed on Chucky Mullins Drive and located between Highway 6 and Old Taylor Road.

Magee was the son of Kent and David Magee. 

The hiring of a certified health-education specialist will help reach students and will oversee two graduate assistants. The three-staff team will work in conjunction with the wellness staff and be responsible for managing the center’s alcohol and other drug (AOD) prevention, intervention and outreach. The team will also help facilitate RebelADE, a program for students have been sanctioned because of a substance abuse violation. It will also manage a student organization of wellness ambassadors trained to help peers understand issues related to AOD, physical and sexual health, nutrition and more. 

“We know the Magee Center will reach young students at Ole Miss and guide them in a positive direction so they’ll become the best young adults they can be,” Triplett said. 

A bi-annual symposium will be designed to allow colleges and universities across the nation to exchange ideas regarding substance use, prevention, intervention and recovery. Another portion of the gift will be used to buy education materials, programming and technology for the center.

“Our efforts to educate students about the risks of alcohol and other drugs are always a top priority as wellness education is never ending and is deeply rooted in student success,” Ole Miss’ vice chancellor of student affairs Brandi Hephner LaBanc said. 

The son Chip and his sister Diane Holloway along with Suzy Fuller, Liz Walker and Lou Ann Woidtke manage the foundation, named for the late Jackie and Faser Triplett of Jackson. Last year the Triplett siblings directed a $1 million gift to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to support the expansion of Children’s Hospital.