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Waddell Gift Honors Father, Names Pavilion Mezzanine

By | Basketball, Donor Support

Former Rebel basketball player Ray Waddell of Dallas, Texas, has made a gift to the University of Mississippi that honors his late father by naming a mezzanine in The Pavilion at Ole Miss, the teams’ state-of-the-art arena. Rayburn Waddell of Madison, Mississippi, passed away in August 2020. “I enjoy giving back to the community and chose to support the Vaught Society in honor of my father because he was a big Rebel fan,” said Waddell, a native of Philadelphia, Mississippi, who grew up attending Ole Miss games with his dad.

In college, watching basketball from the stands was too far away from the action, so Waddell was asked to walk on, joining the team under then-Head Coach Rod Barnes in 2000. “The tough training and practices helped build character, and I formed some lifelong friendships,” said Waddell, founder and CEO of CEC Companies, a specialty contracting and engineering company in the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology space.

Keith Carter, athletic director and vice chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics, expressed his gratitude for Waddell’s gift. “It’s so encouraging to see one of our former players give back to our program, and I greatly admire Ray for wanting his gift to be unrestricted, meaning it can be used to support any of our initiatives that are designed to help our student-athletes succeed in college and beyond,” Carter said.

Waddell himself is an example of a player who found a measure of success. After graduating in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts, he worked for Cellular South and T-Mobile before joining W.G Yates & Sons Construction, where he built a rewarding career as director of business development. Then, with a passion to run his own company, he started CEC Electrical Inc. in 2009. In a few short years, CEC became one of the largest subcontractors in the country with over 800 employees and $200 million in annual revenues. “Success is a subjective term. It means a lot of different things to certain people,” Waddell said. “For me, it’s having a sustainable business that lives by its core values and provides a great working environment for our employees,” said Waddell, adding that he also credits his success to perseverance and a supportive family.

He met his wife, Angelique, on the Oxford campus in 1999. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UM in 2003 and a law degree from Tulane Law School in 2006; the couple was married in 2008. They have three children: Charlie, 9; Madeleine, 7; and Mary Lehmann, 3. Waddell, who now plays golf more than basketball, has a favorite memory from his Rebel days—the time he hit a three-point shot at the buzzer in Rupp Arena (the University of Kentucky’s famed basketball arena).

Another fond memory came only a few years ago. “I had my wife, kids, Mom, Dad and my in-laws in the Grove for a football game day and I was able to take them all over to the Gibbs Letterwinner Walk and show them my name on the M-Club wall,” he remembered. “That was really a cool thing to be able to do with my family and especially with my dad.”

Waddell is a board member of the ACE Mentor Program and president and board member of The Heartland Group Captive Insurance Group; he was named Most Admired CEO in 2018 by the Dallas Business Journal.

The late Rayburn Waddell was a native and longtime resident of Neshoba County, Mississippi. He graduated from Philadelphia High School and East Central Junior College, where he played and excelled in basketball. He then played at East Central Junior College under the late Denver Brackeen. While an Ole Miss Rebel in 1955, Brackeen topped the SEC in scoring, earning second team All-America and unanimous All-SEC honors. Ray Waddell said one of his father’s favorite teammates was Van Chancellor, former UM Head Women’s Basketball coach. “Dad told me he would always pass the ball to Van because he knew Van would pass it back for him to shoot a basket,” Waddell said.

The owner of an auto auction, the senior Waddell also was alderman of Ward 1 from 1989 to 1997 and mayor of Philadelphia from 1997 to 2009. Additionally, he was a member of First Baptist Church of Madison and former member and deacon at First Baptist Church of Philadelphia.

Ray Waddell said he’s looking forward to returning to campus one day to watch basketball from the mezzanine named for his dad.

For more information on supporting Ole Miss Athletics, visit www.givetoathletics.com or contact Denson Hollis at dhollis@olemiss.edu or 662-915-8455.

Cantrell Gift Names Pavilion Entrance

By | Basketball, Donor Support

To say Tricia Cantrell is passionate about Ole Miss Basketball is an understatement at best. The Memphis, Tennessee, native and now Oxford, Mississippi, resident grew up a Rebel fan inspired by her father, Ralph Ross, who played center for Ole Miss in the Old Gym (now Martindale-Cole Student Services Center). Visit her home and she’s quick to show off slats she collected from the gymnasium’s floor when the Rebels moved their venue to C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum, affectionately known as the Tad Pad.

Cantrell, a 1977 UM School of Education graduate, rarely missed a home game in either of those venues and now she’s a fixture in courtside seats at the Rebels’ new home court: the vibrant, state-of-the-art Pavilion at the University of Mississippi. Having her name attached to the Pavilion seems a fitting way to “recognize what Ole Miss Basketball has meant to her life,” said husband Tim Cantrell, a 1979 graduate of the UM School of Business Administration with a degree in accounting and recently retired CFO of Tenax Aerospace. The couple’s $500,000 gift to the university has named the venue’s northwest entrance.

“We are so grateful to Tim and Tricia for their generous gift to Ole Miss Athletics. Their investment into our program will directly benefit our student-athletes who are always our first priority,” said Keith Carter, athletic director and vice chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics. “I got to know the Cantrells when I played basketball for Ole Miss, and we have since become friends. They are some of our most ardent fans, especially Tricia who has really invested so much of herself into our players’ lives through the years.”

After they graduate, some never look back. Others, however, seek Cantrell’s advice. She offers them encouragement and affirmation, even admonishment when needed. She talks to them about life skills: the importance of getting a good education, saving money, staying out of debt, putting off self-gratification — the stuff of adulting they didn’t learn in a classroom or on the basketball court. “I just want those kids to feel loved and acknowledged,” she said. “I want them in church.  I want them in class. Some listen better than others.”

Almost as much as the friendship she offers, the players appreciate the photos she takes. She tries to get at least one good shot of each athlete in action. One player who had enjoyed only minimal court time especially admired the picture she took. “He got in at the end of the exhibition game that season, and I zoomed in on him and captured that moment,” Cantrell said. “And he was just flabbergasted because he had never played in a real game at that point.”

Ole Miss Basketball has given Cantrell many memories to treasure. Like the time she and her dad sat behind a young Archie Manning at an Ole Miss-LSU game watching Pete Maravich. Or topping the hill on Hwy. 6 into Oxford that revealed her first-ever glance of the Tad Pad roof when it was under construction. Or flying with the team to away games and tournaments. Or seeing Johnny Neuman and Shaquille O’Neal shoot hoops as student-athletes. Or taking pictures of players with Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman, who is a fan and sometimes sits next to her in the Pavilion. “It’s funny watching other teams who don’t know he’s going to be there,” she said. “A lot of times, the ball will come out of bounds right at us and the ref or opposing player will come off the court. They’ll see Morgan and then kind of lose their concentration momentarily.”

In addition to these memories, Cantrell credits Ole Miss for giving her much more. “First of all, if it weren’t for Ole Miss, I wouldn’t be alive because if my dad had not come here, he would’ve never met my mother. Also, I would not have met Tim.” Married now 43 years, the couple has two adult sons, Brett and Jordan, both UM graduates, and five grandchildren who will be ages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in March.

Cantrell said she hopes their gift will help sustain the Ole Miss men’s and women’s basketball programs during tenuous economic times. “Tim and I are blessed to be able to make this gift; it was actually more than we thought we were going to give,” she said. “But it’s what we decided to do because we worry about the school right now, not just athletics but also academics. We are wise enough to realize all the financial implications of what this pandemic is doing to all schools. Very few of them are exempt from the impact.”

For more information on supporting Ole Miss Athletics, visit www.givetoathletics.com or contact Denson Hollis at dhollis@olemiss.edu or 662-915-8455.

UM Pharmacy Grad’s Gift Supports Student-Athletes via Vaught Society

By | Donor Support

Chris Bonner’s gift to the University of Mississippi is a testament to his admiration for the late legendary head football coach Johnny Vaught. Bonner, a pharmacist in Columbus, Mississippi, gave $125,000 to the Vaught Society, the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s (OMAF) fundraising level that provides financial assistance to student-athletes in the form of scholarships, academic guidance and wellness support. “The name itself just brings chills,” said Bonner, a 1992 UM pharmacy graduate. “I grew up reading stories about Coach Vaught. He was a winner. At that time in Mississippi, we didn’t have much to latch onto, but Vaught was someone you could brag about. He was an equal to Bear Bryant; he just retired a decade earlier and, in my mind and heart, a decade too soon.”

Bonner hopes his gift will help Ole Miss Athletics be the best it can be. “I don’t think we should worry where we fit in the perceived pecking order of athletics departments,” he said. “We may not have the successes or failures of other schools. But if we maximize what we can do, what Ole Miss can be … if we do all we can, then I can be happy with the results no matter what.”

Jordie Kindervater, OMAF director of development for major gifts, expressed his gratitude for Bonner’s generosity. “Chris was a pleasure to connect with. His depth of knowledge and respect for the history of Ole Miss Athletics immediately exposed his passion and desire to make a significant impact on our collective path to championship-level success,” Kindervater said. “We are excited to welcome him and his sons into the Vaught Society as immediate difference-makers.”

Bonner’s passion for Ole Miss sports stemmed from his parents, even before his college days. Though he is the one true rebel in the family — his parents and twin sons, Will and Bryant, attended other universities — all are consistent fixtures at Ole Miss football, basketball and baseball games. His dad, Jimmy Bonner, a contemporary of Archie Manning, was born near Drew, Mississippi, hometown of the renowned Ole Miss quarterback. The son of a sharecropper living on meager means, he rarely had the opportunity to watch sports. “The first game my dad ever watched on TV was Archie’s famous 33-32 shootout loss to Alabama in 1969,” Bonner said. “From that point on, he was hooked on Ole Miss football. He later earned three degrees from Mississippi State University, but his passion for the Rebels passed on to me, and now to my sons.”

After college, Bonner worked for Kroger Pharmacy in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for a year before transferring to Columbus to manage the Kroger pharmacy there. In 2001, he became manager of Winn Dixie Pharmacy in Columbus, which was sold to Southern Family Markets. In 2012, the company sold its pharmacy division, and Bonner sensed the timing was right to go independent. “I opened Chris’ Pharmacy on Sept 17, 2012, and professionally, it was the best decision of my life,” he said. “Initially, I only wanted one store. But owning more became more and more appealing. I opened my second location, Chris’ Pharmacy and Sons Too, earlier this year.” The name reflects the relationship he has with his twins. “My sons and I are very close,” Bonner said. “When they finish school at Samford University, I hope to open many more stores for them, and I hope they take it further than I ever could. I see my company as generational wealth if they are managed properly.”

The Commercial Dispatch named Bonner pharmacist of the year for the Golden Triangle three of the past four years. His business has also had honors: being named the best pharmacy in the Golden Triangle for the past six years by the Commercial Dispatch and best pharmacy in Northeast Mississippi and Western Alabama by WCBI TV the past two years. When he’s not running a store, he’s running a road or trail, having completed several half marathons and two full marathons. He’s also a southern history buff who collects pharmaceutical artifacts and antique bottles dating from 1860 to 1900. Additionally, he searches for Civil War relics and dredges for gold. On a trip to England, he found a bronze spearpoint that was dated 1500 BC by the Museum of London. But none of his hobbies take priority over Ole Miss Athletics. “What I would like most for Ole Miss is for it to be a source of pride for the people who care about our university and student-athletes.”

For more information on supporting Ole Miss Athletics, visit https://givetoathletics.com or contact Denson Hollis at 662-915-8455 or dhollis@olemiss.edu.

Ward Family Supports Son with Gift to Ole Miss Athletics

By | Donor Support

Brian Ward knows what college athletes want. “Having been a player in the Southeastern Conference, I know you want the top facilities, the top support system and everything first-class, down to the workout clothes you wear,” said Ward of Mobile, Alabama. “Those things get the best recruits and they require donations to compete within the conference.”

Despite his history as an offensive lineman for Louisiana State University, Ward and his wife, Jennifer, hope their gift to the Vaught Society will help University of Mississippi football players enjoy successful collegiate careers. Vaught Society funds are critical in elevating Ole Miss Athletics to nationally competitive levels by providing the resources for world-class facilities, coaches and scholarship support. “Our son, Brady, signed to play football for the Rebels and we felt this gift was a good way to support him and the program,” said Ward, founder and CEO of DocRx — a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of health care products and services for hospitals, pharmacies and physicians. “We have always supported our kids, what they wanted to do and the programs they were involved in,” said Jennifer Ward, who serves as DocRx president. The Wards’ daughter, Caroline, manages a women’s boutique, The Mix, in Mobile.

Jordie Kindervater, director of development/major gifts, expressed gratitude for the Wards’ gift on behalf of Ole Miss. “Brian and Jennifer understand the philanthropic commitment it takes to position a college athletics program for sustained excellence at the highest level. Their investment will go a long way toward accelerating this process at Ole Miss,” Kindervater said. “We are proud to welcome them to campus as active, game-changing members of our Vaught Society.”

Brian Ward’s father played football for Livingston University, Jennifer Ward’s great-grandfather played for the first Mississippi State University football team, her brother was the backup quarterback at the University of Southern Mississippi behind Brett Favre, and Caroline recruited football players for the University of South Alabama. Brian Ward was a Tiger, and now his son is a Rebel. “It will take a little getting used to,” Ward said, acknowledging the irony that he and his teammates fought to beat Ole Miss on the gridiron. “We loved our time in Baton Rouge, but his choice is Ole Miss – and we are happy and proud of him. “We have a ton of passion for Saturdays. We look forward to weekends in the Grove and being in the stands at the Vaught. Those are not luxuries you get as a player. Usually you fly in on Friday and out after the game. You don’t get to experience the towns in the conference.”

The Wards also want to see the Rebels become a powerhouse team for their son’s sake, and they understand that private gifts can help make that happen. “What I saw in Oxford was no different than what I saw when we visited Clemson and other Top-5 schools. A lot of fans want to win at that level but you have to give donations to match the facilities of teams that recruit and compete at that level,” Ward said. “There is no doubt the city of Oxford, the campus of Ole Miss and the current staff can compete on a Top-5 level. History has shown it can happen.

In 2010, Ward was recognized as one of Mobile’s “Top 40 under 40” executives for his professional excellence, community service and leadership. In addition to serving on the board of directors of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, he also is a member of the Senior Bowl in Mobile and the Mobile Alabama Touchdown Club, and has served on numerous area youth football and baseball boards. Prior to founding Doc Rx in 2008, Ward worked in pharmaceuticals for companies like AstraZeneca and Innovex as regional manager of their hospital divisions. For the past 21 years, he has been instrumental in conceptualizing and developing more than seven health care companies. “Jenn and I have dedicated our lives to helping patients through our health care companies and trying to do a service for the medical community,” Ward said. “We own a lab so most of our 2020 year has been testing for Covid-19 and supporting hospitals and clinics throughout Mississippi and Alabama. It has been a busy year for us.”

Though the two met at LSU, Ward says, “We were extremely impressed with Oxford, the campus and the people. And we are excited to be a part of the Ole Miss family.”

For more information on supporting Ole Miss Athletics, visit http://givetoathletics.com or contact Fowler Staines, CEO and chief financial officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, at 662-915-1143 or fowler@olemiss.edu.

Payne’s Gift Will Name Pavilion’s Hill Drive Entrance

By | Donor Support, Forward Together

Abb Payne’s University of Mississippi roots go way back. In fact, his grandfather played football for Ole Miss in the late ’20s, worked with the campus grounds crew to pay tuition and even planted many of the trees in the historic Grove. Now, just as those mighty oaks have grown from saplings to stanchions of strength, Payne of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, hopes his gift to Ole Miss Athletics will help its programs grow into national powerhouses. “We also hope it solidifies our appreciation to the Ole Miss family as a whole. Several generations of Paynes have attended Ole Miss, and we all reconnect around our love of the university and the great memories we have,” said Payne, a member of the UM Foundation and Ole Miss Alumni boards. “Athletics plays such a crucial role in the love you have for a school and provides a great reason to stay engaged over decades. Ole Miss Athletics does that for our family.”

For his generosity, the Payne name will adorn the Hill Drive entrance of the Pavilion at Ole Miss, UM’s premier basketball arena. But to Payne, the honor goes beyond sports. “Of course, the Pavilion is state of the art and should be a wonderful facility for the university for decades in sports as well as for so many other events, like commencements or concerts, so it was a great fit for us because we’re Ole Miss fans in all respects,” he said.

A 1998 graduate of the School of Business Administration, Payne is president and CEO of The Payne Companies, employing thousands nationwide in various entities including home health, private duty, infusion pharmacies, assisted living facilities, hotels, apartments and industrial corporate real estate. From 2003-2018, he was president and CEO of Camellia Home Health and Hospice of Hattiesburg for which he was instrumental in expanding the company through a number of mergers and acquisitions and ultimately overseeing its sale to Encompass Health — the nation’s fourth largest healthcare company. Additionally he is the founder of InfusionPlus, a company that administers highly complex intravenous therapies across Mississippi and was ranked by Inc. Magazine as the ninth fastest growing healthcare company in the nation.

Payne and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter are contemporaries, having attended Ole Miss together. While Payne said he appreciates Carter’s “great momentum,” Carter expressed gratitude for Payne’s support. “For generations, the Paynes have been prominent on this campus. I’m proud to see that the Payne name now has a permanent home here,” Carter said. “We greatly appreciate Abb’s longtime support of our programs and we look forward to the achievements his gift will help us win.”

Payne holds master’s and juris doctorate degrees from Florida State University and is an attorney, real estate developer, property manager, and forester.

“As an established and highly respected leader, Abb understands what it takes to build sustained success at the highest level,” said Jordie Kindervater, director of development/major gifts. “His investment will play a pivotal role in shaping and enhancing our competitive excellence across the board for Ole Miss student-athletes.”

In his spare time, Payne enjoys spending time with his wife, Jennifer, and children Ford, 9, Arden, 6, and Duke, 2.

Five years ago, he and his dad began a mission to see a game in every SEC football stadium. “Ole Miss has really been our conduit to accomplish most of that, and it’s been a great way for us to share that together,” Payne said. “We’ve got one stadium to go.”

For more information on supporting Ole Miss Athletics, visit www.givetoathletics.com or contact Fowler Staines, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, at 662-915-1143 or fowler@olemiss.edu.

Lee Family’s gift will benefit Ole Miss student athletes

By | Donor Support, Forward Together

Dr. Spencer Lee and his extended family have come and gone from the University of Mississippi over four generations, but the Lee name will soon be a permanent fixture on the Oxford campus. Lee, a retired dentist from Pickwick Lake, Tennessee, and his wife, Rebecca, recently made a $250,000 gift to the Forward Together campaign for Ole Miss Athletics, which bolsters facilities and programs for student-athletes. In recognition, the Lee name will be added to the Gate 9 entrance of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

“All our parents were graduates of Ole Miss; thus we have always been Rebel fans and have enjoyed many fall days in the Grove with family and friends before and after ballgames,” said Lee, who attended UM’s pre-dental program until 1965; he completed his degree in 1969 at the University of Tennessee. “We’ve also had four children graduate from Ole Miss along with several of their spouses,” he continued, adding their grandson — also named Spencer Lee — is a senior in the UM School of Engineering. “Needless to say, we all enjoy Ole Miss athletics and our gift represents our support for Rebel sports.”

Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter expressed gratitude to the Lee family whose name is as much a part of the University of Mississippi as the gate on which it will reside. “Gifts like these are inspiring to others who may be considering whether the timing is right to give back to Ole Miss. Other potential donors will see Dr. Lee leading the way toward increased support and hopefully feel that they want to contribute too,” Carter said. “We are extremely grateful for the Lees’ support and their desire to see our student-athletes succeed in their particular sports, in the classroom and in life beyond college.”

Lee retired in 2015 after 46 years of practicing dentistry in Corinth, Mississippi. During his career, he was active in leading many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, serving in 1999 as president of the Mississippi Dental Association and the University of Tennessee Dental Alumni Association and Board of Trustees. He is a past president of the First District Dental Society and Corinth Dental Society. He was secretary of the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners and active in the American Association of Dental Examiners and Southeast Regional Association of Dental Deans and Examiners. A member of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and Fellow of the American College of Dentistry, Lee attended every state meeting of the Mississippi Dental Association from 1969 to 2005 as well as numerous other association meetings, conventions and continuing education programs. He also has written several articles for the Mississippi Dental Association Journal.

Rebecca Ramer Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in library science from Ole Miss in 1972 and 1975 respectively. She retired after 40 years as a librarian and teacher with the Corinth School System.

When they’re not watching Rebels play, the Lees enjoy traveling and spending time on their boat at Pickwick Lake.

The Lees’ gift is part of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s drive to honor donors with naming opportunities for each entrance gate at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. “The gate naming initiative will play an integral role in completing the $200 million Forward Together campaign,” said Fowler Staines, chief executive officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “With $185 million raised toward a multitude of capital projects, the final phase of the campaign saw the opening of the William F. Galtney Indoor Tennis Center and completed renovations to the Tosh Family Short Course and Oxford-University Stadium.”

Naming opportunities remain available in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the grand gates at the north, east and west entrances as well as a limited number of individual gates.

For more information about the Forward Together campaign or the gate naming initiative, visit http://givetoathletics.com or contact Fowler Staines, chief executive officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, at 662-915-1143 or fowler@olemiss.edu.

Moores’ Gift Renews Commitment to Ole Miss Athletics

By | Donor Support

Guy and Lucy Moore of Pascagoula, Mississippi, believe their financial commitment to Ole Miss Athletics will help the Rebels compete in the Southeastern Conference and ultimately at the national level. The Moores, who are members of the Vaught Society — an honorary designation for those who make annual gifts to Athletics of at least $5,000 or more — renewed their commitment to the Forward Together campaign in support of Ole Miss Athletics with a $125,000 gift. “It’s important for our teams to be competitive and to do so, especially in the SEC, requires commitment, including financial support, to provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities to go along with the dedication and talent of the student athletes, coaches and staff,” said Guy Moore, a 1972 University of Mississippi accountancy graduate. “Gifts to the Forward Together campaign through membership in the Vaught Society are one way to show that commitment and support, and we are pleased to continue our involvement.”

The $200 million Forward Together campaign is the largest and most ambitious fundraising initiative in Ole Miss Athletics history. Today’s total of $186 million is the result of philanthropic giving and donations related to priority seating. Over 400 commitments from Vaught Society members are directed toward the Forward Together campaign. “The university has a rich history of exciting and successful athletic programs,” said Moore, a member of the UM Foundation board of directors. “We believe that athletics programs are an integral part of the experience of students, alumni and friends, and are important in binding us together in our connection with Ole Miss.”

Thanks to financial commitments made by Vaught Society members like the Moores, multiple projects have either been completed or are underway, including the Pavilion at Ole Miss, Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium , Gillom Athletics Performance Center, Ole Miss Track and Field Complex, football practice fields, Ole Miss Golf Course, William F. Galtney Indoor Tennis Center and the Baseball Performance Center. “Ole Miss has amazing venues for its sports teams, and they are never more amazing and wonderful than when they are filled with fans wearing red and blue,” Lucy Moore said.

Athletics Director Keith Carter shared his gratitude for the Moores’ gift. “Ongoing commitments from loyal Rebel fans like Guy and Lucy are really the fuel that sustains both our programs and propels our student-athletes toward excellence in their sports and in the classroom,” Carter said.

The Moores also have a history of support for academics at the university. Most recently, the couple established an endowment that provides tuition support for students transferring from community college into the Patterson School of Accountancy. Additionally, the Moores have included the university in their estate plans, naming UM a beneficiary of two trusts that will support all of their existing endowments. “In appreciation of how I was able to attend a community college and transfer to Ole Miss, which made it financially viable for me to attend and graduate from the university, we want to help students in similar circumstances,” Moore said. “We hope that the endowed scholarship will contribute to those students graduating from the Patterson School of Accountancy and going on to successful careers in whatever form they may choose.”

Moore retired from Deloitte LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP in 2012 after 40 years, including 30 as an active partner. He worked in numerous Deloitte locations, including New Orleans, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia; Boca Raton, Florida; and the company’s national headquarters in Connecticut. “We are deeply grateful to Guy and Lucy Moore for their longtime interest in and support of the Patterson School,” said Dean Mark Wilder. “Guy has enjoyed an exceptional career and we are proud to have him as an alumnus and also as a member of the Patterson School Hall of Fame. Many students transferring from community colleges face financial challenges. The Moores’ gift will be especially beneficial to these students and will enable them to receive an accountancy education that will serve them well throughout their lives. Guy and Lucy are wonderful friends of the Ole Miss Accountancy School and we appreciate them very much.”

Guy Moore was named to the Patterson School of Accountancy Hall of Fame in 2013. While at Ole Miss, he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa honor society and the Beta Alpha Psi accountancy fraternity.

For more information about the Forward Together campaign, visit http://givetoathletics.com or contact Matt Mossberg, chief development officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, at mossberg@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7167.

To make a gift to the Patterson School of Accountancy, visit https://give.olemiss.edu or contact Jason McCormick, director of development, at jason@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1757.

Ririe Family’s Gift to Benefit Forward Together Campaign

By | Donor Support

A St. Louis, Missouri, couple’s gift to Ole Miss Athletics will benefit student-athletes while also honoring their sons, who are University of Mississippi alumni. Scott and Shelley Ririe made a $250,000 gift to the Forward Together campaign for Ole Miss Athletics, which bolsters facilities and programs for student-athletes. In recognition, Gate 7 entrance of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be named the Ririe Family Gate. “We love athletics and we especially love college football,” Scott Ririe said. “After our first son enrolled at Ole Miss in 2007, we fell in love with the Grove and all of the traditions. We donated to the athletics program to help perpetuate those positive traditions at Ole Miss.”

The Riries said they also hope their gift will enable the university to continue developing the brightest and best student-athletes possible. “You have to have first-rate equipment and facilities to attract high-level talent in a very competitive Division 1 atmosphere,” said Scott Ririe, who was introduced to Ole Miss in 2005 when he visited the Oxford campus with his son, Mike – then a junior in high school. The two enjoyed a campus tour, a Rebel football game and festivities in the university’s historic Grove. “We never visited another school after that day,” said Ririe, founder and co-president of Control Technology and Solutions (CTS), an energy service company based in St. Louis.

Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter expressed gratitude to the Ririe family. “We love families like the Riries, whose love for Ole Miss Athletics grew from their sons’ passion for and loyalty to their alma mater,” Carter said. “We are so grateful to Scott and Shelley, especially during these uncertain times, and hope their gift will inspire others to similarly support our students and programs.”

Mike Ririe graduated from Ole Miss in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is a commercial real estate agent in Chicago, Illinois. His brother, James, is a 2020 graduate of the School of Business Administration. Inspired by the Ririe brothers’ love for their alma mater, Scott and Shelley made a $300,000 gift in 2018 to establish the Ririe Family Scholarship Endowment, which awards $6,000 a year for up to eight semesters to two St. Louis freshmen in the School of Business Administration.

Scott Ririe graduated from Cornell College in 1979 and Shelley is a 1981 graduate of the University of Iowa. Yet they now proudly support Ole Miss. “Our family has become attached to Ole Miss through our boys and their love and loyalty to the university,” Shelley Ririe said. The couple also has two other children: Andy, a paramedic studying to become a physician’s assistant, and Elise, who graduated from the University of Dayton (Ohio) and is a pharmaceutical sales representative living in Cleveland, Ohio.

Scott Ririe began his career working in sales for Honeywell International Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa. He became service sales manager in 1984 and moved to St. Louis, where he was soon promoted again to district general manager. In 2000, he and a business partner founded CTS, which has grown to become the CTS Group, operating in nine states with over 124 employees and revenue of more than $100 million a year. He serves on the executive committee as treasurer for National Association of Energy Services Companies Board of Directors and the board of Midwest Easter Seals Association. He also has served on the advisory boards for General Motors and, along with his wife, Ranger Bass Boats. His high school sweetheart and wife of 36 years, Shelley Ririe began her career with Revlon Inc., marketing cosmetics to retailers. She then joined Ormco, an orthodontic supplier. Today, she owns Branson West Marine and Powersports.

The Riries’ most recent gift is part of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s drive to honor donors with naming opportunities for each entrance gate at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. “The gate naming initiative will play an integral role in completing the $200 million Forward Together campaign,” said Fowler Staines, chief executive officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “With $186 million raised toward a multitude of capital projects, the final phase of the campaign saw the opening of the William F. Galtney Indoor Tennis Center and completed renovations to the Tosh Family Short Course and Oxford-University Stadium.”

Naming opportunities remain available in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the grand gates at the north, east and west entrances as well as a limited number of individual gates. For more information about the Forward Together campaign or the gate naming initiative, visit http://givetoathletics.com or contact Matt Mossberg, chief development officer of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, at 662-915-7167 or mossberg@olemiss.edu.

RJ Young President Supports Ole Miss Athletics with Major Gift

By | Donor Support

By Bill Dabney

Chip Crunk is no stranger to the University of Mississippi campus.

“I’m up here at least once a month trying to give back, trying to do the right things and help young people better themselves,” said Crunk, president and CEO of the RJ Young Company of Nashville, Tennessee.

The 1987 UM graduate and his wife, Gina, recently made a $500,000 gift to Ole Miss Athletics, the latest of many gifts to his alma mater.

“That’s the reason you work hard — so you have the ability to give back to help young people have better opportunities to attend college and be proud of what the university has to offer,” Crunk said. “I want to see young people have the opportunity to better themselves.”

Crunk is also no stranger to hard work. He started his career with RJ Young at age 14, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping, mopping and taking out the trash.

After graduating from Ole Miss, Crunk returned to the company as a sales representative. He became director of sales in 1989, then executive vice president and chief operating officer. In 1995, he took the reins and led RJ Young to see double-digit annual growth.

Providing technology services and office solutions for small- to enterprise-level businesses across every industry, the multimillion-dollar company now ranks as the largest, privately held dealer in the Southeast and one of the largest in the nation. Crunk oversees an operation that covers eight states and employs more than 650 people in 30 locations.

“We are so grateful to Chip and Gina for their commitment to the University of Mississippi and specifically to Ole Miss Athletics,” said Keith Carter, vice chancellor of intercollegiate athletics. “This type of leadership gift shows the Crunks’ commitment to helping us make a difference in the lives of our student-athletes.

“Gifts like these are inspiring to others who may be considering whether the timing is right to give back to Ole Miss,” Carter continued. “Other potential donors will see Chip and Gina leading the way toward increased support and hopefully feel that they want to contribute too.”

In addition to his interest in opportunities for student-athletes, Crunk said he is equally determined to see the School of Business Administration grow in national stature. A longtime member of the Business School’s Advisory Board, he now serves as president.

Crunk is also a member and past president of the Copier Dealers Association, along with serving on both the Canon USA and Ricoh Corporation copier dealer counsels. He is active in church, community and civic organizations and enjoys flying, boating, golfing and cheering for the Rebels and Tennessee Titans.

The Crunks live in Brentwood, Tennessee, and have two children, Trey, a first year student at Ole Miss and Caroline, an Ole Miss alumna.

To support Ole Miss Athletics with a gift to the Forward Together campaign, contact Matt Mossberg at mossberg@olemiss.edu, call 662-915-7159 or visit www.givetoathletics.com/forward-together/.

Knight Gift Names Gate 38

By | Donor Support

By Bill Dabney

Their recent $250,000 gift to the University of Mississippi gives Amy and Alex Knight of Germantown, Tennessee, a lasting family tribute while honoring a beloved fallen Rebel.

The Knights’ name adorns Gate 38 of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, representing in perpetuity the family’s desire to help improve athletics facilities and help recruit student-athletes to campus.

“We believe that modernized facilities help land top recruits that lead to winning seasons, so it seemed logical to focus our support in that direction,” said Alex Knight, executive vice president of analytics and an owner of Citizens Rx, a national full-service pharmacy benefit-management provider for public and private companies.

“In selecting Gate 38, we wanted to honor Chucky Mullins’ spirit and courage,” said Amy Knight, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UM Patterson School of Accountancy in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

The late Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins, a Rebel defensive back from Russellville, Alabama, died on May 6, 1991 — 19 months after the Ole Miss homecoming game in which he sustained a devastating football injury that left him a quadriplegic. After the injury, Mullins became the central figure in an outpouring of support that spread nationwide. On Sept. 3, 2006, his jersey number (38) was retired in a pregame ceremony.

The Knights’ gift is part of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s drive to honor donors with naming opportunities for each entrance gate at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

“We are so grateful to Alex and Amy for participating in our gate naming initiative, which is the first of its kind and will play an integral role in completing the $200 million Forward Together campaign,” said Keith Carter, interim athletics director. “This type of leadership gift shows the Knight’s commitment to helping us make a difference in the lives of our student-athletes.”

Of the $180.9 million raised toward a multitude of capital projects, gifts have most recently supported the William F. Galtney Indoor Tennis Center and renovations to Oxford-University Stadium.

Naming opportunities remain available for the grand gates at the north, east and west entrances as well as a limited number of individual gates.

Prior to his current position with Citizens Rx, Alex Knight held various operational and business development roles in retail, mail order, specialty, internet and hospital pharmacy as well as pharmaceutical repackaging and physician dispensing.

In 2011, he was named to the Memphis Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” for his professional contributions, accomplishments and community service. In 2013, he was named “Big of the Year” for the State of Tennessee by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Memphis for his service mentoring his “Little,” Marquette, for more than 12 years.

A CPA by trade, Amy Knight held various accounting and financial leadership positions for both privately and publically held companies. Her career focused on directing global corporate compliance and financial process improvement efforts. She developed a high level of proficiency in all aspects of financial controls and compliance-related initiatives, specializing in re-engineering countless revenue and accounting-related processes.

In 2016, after a successful 15-year career, she chose a new challenge, leaving behind her position at a Fortune 50 logistics company to focus on raising the couple’s son, Jack, now 4. This role includes participating in various functions at his school, St. George’s Independent School. She also volunteers with various philanthropic organizations, including the Memphis Zoo, Orpheum Theatre, Children’s Museum of Memphis and Junior Auxiliary of Collierville, Tennessee.

The Knights, who met at Ole Miss, want their support to inspire similar giving.

“We hope other young alumni, family, friends and fans of Ole Miss, especially those in the Memphis, Tennessee-area will consider enhancing their philanthropic giving to Ole Miss Athletics,” Alex Knight said.

His wife agreed: “It’s never too early to focus on giving opportunities for which you feel passionate about and have a personal connection.”

For more information about the Gate Naming Initiative, contact the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at 662-915-7782 or visit www.givetoathletics.com/gates.