HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Give Wing, a fundraising campaign for The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), ended two years early, raising more than $156 million in the process. 

USM alumni, faculty, staff, and friends collectively surpassed the $150 million goal to support student success, academic excellence, innovation and discovery during its most ambitious fundraising campaign. For USM President Joseph Paul, it underscores the determination of the USM community. 

“Give Wing is another example of Southern Miss grit,” Paul said during an announcement on Friday, November 10. “We set audacious goals, pursued them with an uncommon passion and relentless persistence, and reached them in record time. I would like to thank all of our donors for helping us knock through the roof of our campaign goal.”

The campaign launched in March 2022 under then-President Rodney Bennett. Student success was the most significant area supported during the campaign, with $124.3 million committed, which includes the establishment of 232 new scholarships. Fifty-four million dollars for endowed student scholarships, when fully matured, will generate more than $2 million annually in support of USM’s students.

Donors also gave more than $26.8 million to fund programs and more than $21.2 million to transform USM’s two campuses and multiple research sites through new facilities and renovations.

One of the campaign’s pinnacle achievements was the completion of Quinlan-Hammond Hall of Honor, the home of the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families, which was dedicated in early 2022. USM was ranked as the 42nd best school for veterans in the U.S. by the Military Times in November. 

Several notable achievements have occurred over the life of the campaign:

  • $112 million was contributed through the USM Foundation.
  • More than $70 million directly supports the endowment, invested funds that generate a perpetual source of income, which provides long-lasting financial security. The growth of USM’s endowment is vital as it signifies the school’s motivation to invest in future generations of students. 
  • Funding from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation enables USM to provide outdoor classrooms and accessible playgrounds for The Children’s Center for Communication and Development on both of our campuses.
  • A robust scholarship endowment for STEM students from disadvantaged backgrounds established by Wick and Randall Moorman, along with an endowed academic position to support these scholars.
  • Progress in endowing the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection Curatorship.
  • Endowed support for and the naming of the Public Health program after its founder, the late Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig.
  • $44 million through the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation during this campaign for scholarships and support for student-athletes.
  • Eagle Club memberships are at an all-time high topping over 2,800 members this year.
  • Athletic facility enhancements include:
    • Pete Taylor Park upgrades
    • The completion of the Bower Academic Center
    • Volleyball and beach volleyball facilities
    • M.M. Roberts Stadium improvements
    • A new golf facility

Other Notable Statistics:

Campaign Timeline: April 2018 to October 2023

  • Total amount raised: $156,170,884
  • Total number of gifts: 131,877
  • Total number of donors: 19,545
  • Total number of gifts of $1 million or more: 23
  • Of the $156.2 million:
    • $118.7 million was contributed through outright gifts.
    • $37.5 million comes from planned gifts, where a donor contributes a major gift after their lifetime through their estate planning.

Founded in 1959, the USM Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to serving the University community by overseeing fundraising efforts to raise private support for scholarships and other academic needs at Southern Miss. The Foundation manages donor dollars to provide the most advanced educational opportunities available to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Southern Miss.

For more information on supporting USM, visit usmfoundation.com.