Skip navigation

Philanthropy Strong in Fiscal Year 2021 for USM Foundation

Fri, 09/03/2021 - 10:46am | By: Hayley Taylor

Despite the lingering effects of a pandemic, The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation saw an outpouring of support for Southern Miss in fiscal year 2021. Through the private philanthropy of nearly 3,000 Southern Miss alumni and friends, gifts totaled more than $18 million, including approximately $14.9 million in outright gifts and pledges and $3.1 million in planned gifts.

“These are exciting times for our University, and philanthropy plays a major role in our success,” said Stace Mercier, executive director. The remarkable generosity of Southern Miss alumni and friends is humbling, and I am so proud of the impact that private giving through the USM Foundation has made.”

Over $8.6 million was disbursed to the University through the USM Foundation to support various scholarships and programs, including 2,558 scholarships awarded, totaling over $4.9 million.

At the close of the 2021 fiscal year, the USM Foundation’s endowment was approximately $136.3 million in market value, an increase of 32 percent from the prior year. Twenty-six new scholarship endowments contributed to this amazing growth, as did a 25 percent return in the endowment’s investment pool. “The endowment is a vital component for sustainable support for students, faculty and programs at USM,” Mercier said. “Not only does investing in an endowment create opportunities that change lives, the return is perpetual, lasting long beyond all of our lifetimes and benefitting generations to come.”

Significant gifts made during the 2021 fiscal year include:

  • With a $1 million gift, brothers Wick and Randall Moorman established the Moorman STEM Jump Scholarship Endowment in honor of their father, Dr. Charles Moorman. Dr. Moorman worked in multiple areas of USM, including serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs. In each role, he helped students pursue academic majors that ensured promising careers upon graduation.
  • Lynn Hagan and her husband Don made a $1.1 million planned gift benefiting two existing funds they established to support the School of Social Work.
  • Geoff and Marcia Hartwig pledged $818,708.44 to honor the Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig Public Health Program, bringing their total commitment to $1 million. This act of love and generosity will honor the work and memory of the program’s founder, Dr. Lynn Cook Hartwig.
  • Through a $1 million commitment, the Ergon Foundation, Inc. will support future generations of polymer scientists and engineers by establishing the Ergon Polymer Science and Engineering Scholarship Endowment.
  • An additional $2.2 million was received from the estate of Lamar W. Powell to establish the Lamar W. Powell Scholarship Endowment, which will provide four-year scholarships to select incoming freshmen. Cumulatively, USM has received $3.1 million in support from Mr. Powell, with the largest portion of $2.9 million coming from his estate and trust.
  • $3.7 million was realized through the George R. Olliphant Trust supporting the Olliphant Honors College Scholarship.
  • A $1 million gift from The Meeks Family Trust has established the Frank Meeks – Trent Lott Entrepreneurial Scholarship Endowment, which will provide annual assistance to a student in any major who demonstrates financial need and possesses an entrepreneurial spirit.

Founded in 1959, the USM Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the University community by overseeing fundraising efforts to raise private support for scholarships and other academic needs at Southern Miss.

For more information on supporting The University of Southern Mississippi, call the USM Foundation at 601.266.5210 or visit