Laurel businessman Nick Welch, a longtime supporter of The University
of Southern Mississippi, announced on Thursday his commitment to
continue to provide financial assistance to the university.
has in the past contributed to the Southern Miss baseball program,
said he is prepared to provide funds for academic programs and scholarships
at the university to support its students and the administration
of Southern Miss president Dr. Shelby Thames.
He said this
commitment is in response to the decision by another Southern Miss
donor to withdraw their direct support of the university, because
of their disagreement with Thames' recent decision to pursue termination
of the employment of two university professors.
want to express that for those who are not supportive of Dr. Thames,
there are just as many and more who do support him, and I'm willing
to step up and make that commitment of support by replacing the
donation (that would be withheld) to the university," Welch
Tim Ryan, director
of The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, said the mission
of the foundation is fund raising, public and donor relations, administration
and accounting, and investments as they relate to the academic enhancement
of the university, with a primary focus on securing funding for
scholarships for deserving students.
final analysis, I implore everyone who has supported, is giving,
or is considering financially helping worthy academic needs of The
University of Southern Mississippi through the USM Foundation, to
consider any potential actions," Ryan said. "The impact
on those who need their help and assistance the most - the students
and faculty - rely on their generosity to continue the noblest of
efforts, furthering higher education through this support."
Though he has
been a major contributor to the university's baseball program, Welch
said his latest commitment of funding could be used in any way the
university felt was needed for academic programs or scholarships.
Welch's son, Darren Welch, played baseball for the university and
will be a graduate student at Southern Miss studying business and
finance this fall.
earned a scholarship to play for Southern Miss, his father instead
paid for his son's tuition so that the scholarship funds intended
for his son could be used to help a needy student, the elder Welch
said those withholding donations from the university because of
disagreements with Thames' decision "ultimately only hurt Southern
just an athletics donor," he said. "I'm doing this (making
financial commitment) to help students achieve the goals they're
trying to reach. They're our future leaders."