Ole Miss readies for fourth annual Giving Day

Published 5:00 pm Monday, April 3, 2023

Giving Day 2023 at the University of Mississippi, April 4-5, will bring together students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to support academic and outreach programs through an online, social media-driven campaign.

“Our alumni and friends are incredibly generous and engaged in campus life, and I’m excited for how Giving Day provides a vibrant opportunity for all Ole Miss Rebels to match their passions with 27 compelling projects to enhance our student experience, academic programs and community offerings,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said.

“Giving Day is a great and fun way for everyone to take part in our Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss – the most ambitious in UM’s history and the largest ever in Mississippi higher education with a goal of $1.5 billion. We are tremendously grateful for all our committed and generous students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who contribute to our success and transformational impact.”

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The fourth Ole Miss Giving Day, with the theme “The Time is Now!” will launch at 9 a.m. April 4 and last 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes, in honor of the university’s founding year of 1848. The campaign goals include attracting gifts of all sizes for participating schools, colleges and programs, and encouraging even more people to become involved in developments at the university.

The university’s 10 schools and the College of Liberal Arts are open for gifts during Giving Day, as well as the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, the University Libraries, UM Museum and Historic Houses, Department of Student Affairs, Pride of the South Marching Band and more.

Giving Day illustrates the power of the Ole Miss family, said Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development.

“We look forward to everyone responding enthusiastically to this exciting, fun Giving Day campaign,” she said. “The time really is now for the whole community to partner with us to fund scholarships and exceptional experiences for students and support Ole Miss’ efforts to make a difference with some of the pressing issues facing our state and society.”

Leading the Giving Day initiative is Maura Langhart, senior director of annual giving in the Office of University Development.

“Giving Day deepens participants’ relationships to the university through generous private gifts,” she said. “Moreover, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the needs on campus and be involved in an event that brings together Rebels from all over the world.

“Giving Day is a fast-paced, competitive campaign for the Ole Miss family to see how we can make a difference by collaborating, as we share real-time giving results. We’re asking our stakeholders to look at our projects and consider supporting them with gifts.

“Funds raised will support academic, career and outreach programs. Individuals can learn much about our initiatives and needs by visiting the Giving Day website.”

Throughout Giving Day, different challenges and offerings will be in place from donors hoping to inspire others to give back. All challenge gifts will be posted on the Ole Miss Giving Day website, appealing to those who want to see their gift multiplied in value. These challenges fuel the energy and momentum of Giving Day.

As examples of offerings, alumni Ouida and Wayne Drinkwater, of Oxford, will contribute $2,000 once 20 gifts of any size have been made to the University Libraries. Natalie and Kirk von Seelen, of McLean, Virginia, parents of a journalism student, will give $10,000 to the Faculty Support Fund when 10 people make a gift to the School of Journalism and New Media.

Dr. Philip K. Ensley, of Westcliffe, Colorado, will make a $2,500 gift to the James Meredith Legacy Scholarship Endowment when 15 people make a gift of any size to the scholarship.

The university’s nationally recognized Department of Landscaping Services will add donors’ names to a drawing for a seedling from one of the Grove’s famous pecan trees when they make a gift of $500 to any fund. Anyone who makes a gift of $1,000 or more to Rowan Oak will receive a 90-minute private tour of William Faulkner’s historic house, its landscape and its backstories with curator and Faulkner expert Bill Griffith.

In honor of economics professor John Conlon, alumni Mary Allen and Josh DeBold, of Arlington, Virginia, will give $1,000 when 10 people make a gift of any size to the Department of Economics.

There are more challenge gifts and offerings this year than ever before, Langhart said. Even the “Name a Grove Squirrel” initiative is back from 2 to 3 p.m. April 4. For $50 or more, a donor can name a Grove squirrel and receive a certificate.

Those who enjoy social media are encouraged to sign up as Giving Day influencers at https://givingday.olemiss.edu. The university will provide influencers with everything needed to post on the platforms of their choice.

Everyone is encouraged to spread the word with the hashtag #OleMissGivingDay on all social media platforms.

A new feature of Giving Day is the introduction of the “You+2” influencer program that incentivizes donors to make a gift and encourage two others to join them in supporting what they love about Ole Miss. Participants will have a chance to win exclusive Giving Day swag, including a vintage-style “Hotty Toddy” pennant.

Supporters can visit http://www.umfoundation.com/GivingDay to make a tax-deductible gift. Those who give in advance of Giving Day will be listed at the top of the online Donor Wall unless they desire anonymity. Ole Miss Giving Day accepts Venmo, Paypal, ApplePay and all major credit cards.

Anyone who initiates a monthly gift on Giving Day will receive a red-and-gold Lyceum lapel pin.

For more information on Giving Day, contact Maura Langhart at mmwakefi@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2760.