USM Foundation has success with ‘Day of Giving’


Christopher Little/Printz

Christopher Little/Printz
Christopher Little/Printz

The Campus Beautification Campaign for The University of Southern Mississippi proved to be successful over the last few weeks.

The ‘Southern Miss Campus Beautification Campaign’ has been established as a way to gather funds that will support the University’s efforts to restore landscaping along the southern edge of campus impacted by the February tornado.

An initial gift of $100,000 from the Southern Miss Alumni Association helped fund the five 40-foot live oak trees that were planted last Tuesday in the front of campus, but the giving didn’t stop there.

May 8 was designated as the official ‘Day of Giving’ that is part of the Campus Beautification Campaign. The Foundation encouraged supporters to donate to campus restoration during the 24-hour period.

At the end of the day, $130,234.46 was raised from a total of 347 donors from 37 states across the United States and the country of Barbados.

Inspired by the donations from the Day of Giving and the passion for Southern Miss, an anonymous donor presented a check to Dr. Rodney Bennett and Dr. Joe Paul for $1 million to help restore the institution’s Hattiesburg campus.

Paul said restoring the campus landscape is important not only to alumni and friends, but prospective students.

“It is the first impression people have about the quality of the educational experience we offer,” Paul said. “A beautiful campus is a reflection of our commitment to teaching and graduating future leaders of our state and nation.”

In a media roundtable held in the President’s Conference Room Tuesday morning, Dr. Rodney Bennett, President, said the $1 million dollar donation was a selfless gift without any terms or conditions.

“Anybody who gives a million dollars to anything loves it and supports it,” Bennett said. “It was given for campus beautification and restoring the front part of campus and we are committed to carrying out the wishes of our donors.”

The tornado damaged a number of buildings and 75 trees, as well as spreading debris across the campus. For more information or to give to the Campus Beautification Campaign visit or call 601-266-5210.