Scianna donates another $1 million


Sean Smith

Chuck Scianna, USM alumnus and founder of oil drilling equipment company, speaks during the IHL search for the next president of the University of Southern Mississippi Oct. 3, 2022.

Longtime donors Chuck and Rita Scianna made yet another generous investment in the USM College of Business and Economic Development.  

They recently gave another $1 million to the college; a portion of the money will be used for the Student Investment fund. This program will be overseen by Steven Stelk, MBA Director and Assistant Teaching Professor. However, it will ultimately be run by students within the College of Business. 

“The fund includes a total of $150,000. $100,000 is in a portfolio of financial assets that students actively manage. That is, students select the investments in the portfolio,” said Stelk. “$50,000 is set aside to support activity related to the fund, such as bringing in speakers, defraying the cost of participating in investment competitions, covering students’ travel costs for visiting financial exchanges and investment firms, and so on.”  

Another portion of the money will be used to fund the Scianna Business Leadership Program. Students who are selected for this program will receive a scholarship to help with the cost. Students will be able to receive mentoring as well as getting real life counsel from business professionals. The program will begin the fall of 2024. 

“Students participating in this process will be better prepared to enter roles in professional investment management. They will have done the same work under similar circumstances and pressure that they will experience professionally. In addition, the skills and knowledge gained from those who participate will also inform personal investment strategies, so even those who do not go on to professional investment roles will benefit,” said Dr. Stelk. 

Lastly, the rest of the investment will go toward bettering the college long-term such as with research and overall students’ success.  

“Overall, I will say that we are most grateful for the donation and will do everything possible to ensure that this contribution is utilized to help fulfill our mission in the College of Business and Economic Development and to benefit our students to the absolute fullest extent possible,” said Dr. Gregory Bradley, Associate teaching professor within the School of Leadership. 

The couple already invested $6 million in 2015 for the construction of the college’s state-of-the-art building, that bears their name. 

Dr. Bret Becton, dean of the College of Business and Economic Development also expressed great gratitude toward the Sciannas. He said that the college is most grateful and that it will be used in the most prosperous way.