July 31, 2014  

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Southern Miss Faculty, Staff Gift-Giving Campaign Surpasses Goal

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Southern Miss faculty and staff who served as volunteers on the 2012 Campaign for Southern Miss were recognized during a special ceremony on June 21. Those pictured include: Back row (left to right): Dave Davies, Josh Schutts, Delores McNair, David Tisdale, and Matthis Piel. Front row (left to right): Larry Sparkman, Laurie Benvenutti, Jessica Cloud, Dolly Loyd, Kameron Dale, and Keltoum Rowland. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

With 32 percent of full time University employees making gifts to The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, the 2012 Campaign for Southern Miss has exceeded its goal.

The Campaign, which was an effort to increase the number of Southern Miss faculty and staff that give back to the University through the USM Foundation, began on July 1, 2011, and will end on June 30, 2012.

The USM Foundation announced the participation rate to campaign donors and volunteers at a reception held on June 19 at Southern Miss Gulf Coast. A reception for Hattiesburg campus donors and volunteers was held on June 21. The 32 percent participation rate is believed to be the highest of any public university in Mississippi, according to Bob Pierce, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the USM Foundation.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Pierce. “To grow the charitable giving participation rate among Southern Miss employees from one in 10 to more than one in three in a year’s time is remarkable. I appreciate Jessica Cloud and the USM Foundation staff; Dolly Loyd and the Campaign Steering Committee; as well as the numerous USM employees that made it happen. If this is not an endorsement of confidence in the institution, I don’t know what is.”

The success of this year’s campaign was fueled by the efforts of 75 volunteers and steering committee members across both University campuses who helped educate co-workers about the importance of annual gifts from faculty and staff. The USM Foundation distributed packets of information to all employees across Southern Miss campuses and teaching and research sites.  Several departments achieved 100 percent participation.

Campaign steering committee chair, Professor Dolly Loyd said, “I am just thrilled that our faculty and staff showed their love for our University by giving over and above the goal that we set for the Campaign for Southern Miss. It makes me so proud of the University community. My thanks to all the members of the committee and Foundation staff for their hard work.”

The goal for the 2011-12 fiscal year was to triple the previous year’s participation rate of 10 percent, according to Jessica Cloud, manager of annual giving and special projects for the USM Foundation.

 “One of the reasons I came back to work at my alma mater was to demonstrate what was possible at Southern Miss,” said Cloud. “We have great people here who love this University and believe in its mission. Once we had an ambitious goal to organize that energy, look at what we were able to accomplish!”

The funds raised during the campaign support a wide variety of areas, including scholarships, schools and programs, building campaigns and faculty support. “The message that you can give to the area of the University that means the most to you was very important to this Campaign,” explained Cloud. “Many faculty and staff donors even split their gift so it could support several areas.”

Gifts to the Campaign for Southern Miss from faculty and staff of the University totaled more than $435,000. Cloud explained that although the focus of the Campaign was participation, it all adds up to make a significant impact.

“I am deeply grateful for the incredible response from the Southern Miss employees to this campaign,” said Dr. Martha Saunders, university president. “This is a wonderful testimony to our belief in our students, our programs and ourselves.”

For more information on The Campaign for Southern Miss, visit www.usmfoundation.com/facstaff.

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