Fund Started to Endow Chair in Honor of Jones at Ole Miss
OXFORD, Miss. – This week, alumni, faculty, friends and staff members are participating in a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to recognize Chancellor Dan Jones for his commitment to faculty support and a culture of academic integrity at the University of Mississippi.
Already underway, the Chancellor Daniel W. Jones, M.D. Faculty Chair is drawing support from a wide range of donors. Initiated by a leadership team coalesced from the UM Foundation, Ole Miss Alumni Association, Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, UM Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy and Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat, volunteers have spread the word in recent days to secretly raise initial support.
Rose Flenorl of Memphis, chair of the UM Foundation board of directors, surprised Jones with the announcement at a May 15 board meeting.
“In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,'” Flenorl said. “Dr. Jones has always stood in integrity, in what is right for Ole Miss – and he always stood in his faith.”
A standing ovation thanked Jones as a placard announcing the Chancellor Daniel W. Jones, M.D. Chair was unveiled.
“Anyone who knows me well knows nothing could please me more,” Jones said at the announcement. “For these six years, I thank you for your support of me and our leadership team as we have moved things along at Ole Miss. It’s been gratifying, emotional and moving for both Lydia and me. The outpouring of support for us makes us feel loved and affirmed.”
At his 2010 inauguration, Jones highlighted attracting faculty support as a priority during his tenure. Since then, the university has assembled almost $40 million in endowed funds to continually strengthen teaching and research on the part of UM faculty. With the university’s enrollment continuing to grow at record pace, it is estimated that UM must recruit 200 new faculty members in coming years. Total applications for the fall semester have already increased by 10 percent from last year, Jones said.
“We have every confidence that our goal of $1.5 million for the Jones Chair Endowment will be reached,” said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “We have had an overwhelming response thus far, which is not surprising given the respect that our faculty, staff, alumni and friends have for Dr. Jones.”
Flenorl thanked everyone who embraced the effort. Initial donors were pleased to have an opportunity to exhibit their appreciation to Jones before his departure, she said.
“Dr. Jones has had a deeply meaningful impact on our university community during his administration,” Flenorl said. “The Ole Miss family feels a very personal connection to him. We are so happy to have this chance to thank him for his service and also to give back to Ole Miss in a way that illustrates how we have learned from his example.”
Jones has been credited with leading UM during an era of substantial growth and success. Approximately $473 million of active capital projects can be found on the Oxford campus, while construction at the UM Medical Center in Jackson totals $414 million. Both the Oxford campus and UMMC have been nationally recognized for their value and quality of education, and individual schools and programs continue to climb in rankings and garner acclaim. The university’s athletics programs have added achievements in sports standings for Rebel fans, while the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation has attracted more than $130 million for athletics facilities improvements.
Jones announced a $5 million gift just weeks ago from Martha Dowd Dalrymple of Amory to undergird teaching, research and service efforts of the newly named Arch Dalrymple III Department of History.
“Establishing the Dr. Dan Jones Faculty Chair will cement the permanent legacy of Chancellor Jones and will showcase how he inspired our students, our faculty – all of us – to be better human beings who contribute through service and leadership,” said Athletics Director Ross Bjork, who also attended the announcement. “He is a selfless champion for improving education, and he has used his position to transform the university’s expectations of what is possible. This show of gracious support speaks to the strength of the Ole Miss family. Together, we are Ole Miss.”
The announcement comes on the heels of the 2015 UM Senior Class establishing the Chancellor Dan Jones Service Before Self Scholarship Endowment. That effort raised $26,060 in 30 days to provide scholarships for future UM students with academic achievement and servant-leader qualities. The chancellor has also been recognized through the Daniel W. Jones, M.D. Outstanding Team Service Award, created by the UM Staff Council to acknowledge university employees who exhibit tremendous service through teamwork and shared vision.
“I love Ole Miss,” Jones said. “While I have some sadness, I leave this position with great joy in my heart. The opportunity to be a part of this university for 30 of my 66 years is the greatest professional privilege of my life.”
Lydia Jones was also recognized for her contributions to university projects and her devotion to the institution and its people.
“These have been the most wonderful six years I could imagine,” she said. “You made us feel like a part of a family. Ole Miss is strong in all the right places.”
Individuals and organizations may contribute to the Chancellor Daniel W. Jones, M.D. Chair Endowment by visiting https://ignite.olemiss.edu; mailing a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the UM Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655; or by contacting Wendell Weakley, UM Foundation CEO and president, at email@example.com, 662-915-3845 or Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-3937.
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