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A long and generous life well lived

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A family foundation honoring the late Madeline (left) and Jim McMullan has provided more than $1.25 million in scholarships to Ole Miss students. The foundation’s latest donation supports the university’s Foundations for Academic Success Track program, which helps freshmen succeed. Photo submitted

OXFORD, Mississippi – During her lifetime, the philanthropy and service of the late Madeleine McMullan improved the lives of countless people. Today, his family’s foundation continues his legacy with recent gifts totaling $500,000 to the Foundations for Academic Success Track program at the University of Mississippi.

FASTrack helps freshmen become successful members of the college community by providing smaller, enhanced class sizes, one-on-one mentoring, and student leadership opportunities.

It is the last of 30 years of donations made to the university by McMullan and her late husband, Jim McMullan – a UM graduate in 1956 – and the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation. The foundation was established in 1987 and is managed by the couple’s daughters Carlette McMullan, of Lake Forest, Illinois, and Margaret McMullan, of Pass Christian.

To date, the foundation has provided over $1.25 million in scholarships.

“The University of Mississippi is extremely grateful for the unwavering support of Madeleine, her late husband, Jim, and the entire McMullan family,” said Chancellor Glenn Boyce. “They have provided us with extraordinary resources that benefit our students and strengthen our academic programs.

“Their generous commitments are an essential part of how our sustained standard of excellence is increasingly evolving.”

Overseeing their family’s foundation, the sisters say they incorporate their parents’ primary concerns and philanthropic goals into every decision they make.

“Our parents were both passionate about education, community work, health care and organizations that help the underserved,” said Margaret McMullan. “My sister and I always consider them when making decisions about foundations. We are very proud of the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Mississippi for sharing our parents’ vision. »

“Our Mississippi-born and raised father was deeply interested and passionate about Southern history and supportive of research and learning,” said Carlette McMullan. “Our parents’ shared passion for helping those less fortunate and their belief in the benefits of education inspired much of their philanthropy. Margaret and I are blessed to be guided by their vision.

“We are excited to continue our family foundation’s partnership with the University of Mississippi and the FASTrack initiative.”

The latest donations have added resources to funds created by the family in 2016: the Student Success Fund, which supports the Academic Mentor position in the FASTrack program, and the Student Leadership Fund, which supports new student leadership and/or peer mentors for FASTrack Participants.

Trynica Wash, from Newton, one of the most recent McMullan scholars, said the McMullan family helped her fulfill her dream of going to university.

Trynica Wash, an Ole Miss student from Newton, is one of the newest McMullan scholars. Photo submitted

“Because of the opportunities they have given me, I continue to be motivated to work hard and get the best grades possible so that I can graduate as a member of the class of 2023,” Wash said. “Their contributions to scholarships and FASTrack help so many students succeed.”

Suzanne Wilkin, Academic Mentor and Acting Director of the program, said she was honored to be a part of student success.

“Thanks to Madeleine and her daughters, I have the privilege of working with students every day and seeing them flourish,” she said. “Thanks to the generous support of this family, FASTrack students have the opportunity to discover new experiences and gain the confidence to be leaders in the community on our campus and beyond.”

The generosity of the McMullan family helped the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture gain national recognition, said Bill Ferris, its first director.

“Madeleine McMullan was simply the center’s guardian angel,” he said, recalling a first meeting with the couple. “Jim said that he and Madeleine wanted to support our programs on the American South and that they had considered endowing a chair with $500,000. We were speechless.

“Then, with a twinkle in her eye, Madeleine said, ‘Jim, don’t beat around the bush. Round it up to a million dollars.

The James M. and Madeleine M. McMullan faculty endowment, the McMullans’ first major gift to the center, funded the hiring of two new co-appointed professors in literature and anthropology.

The Literature position is held by Kathryn McKee, McMullan Professor of Southern Studies, Professor of English and Director of the Center. The position of anthropologist is held by Simone Delerme, McMullan Associate Professor of Southern Studies and Anthropology.

“We became friends over the years and Madeleine never failed to ask me what I was working on or how my classes were going,” said McKee, who credits the McMullans with her on-campus career.

“Madeleine liked to talk about ideas, music, art, history and literature. His own keen intellect molded exactly what we seek in interdisciplinary study: a sense that all things are interconnected and best understood as pieces of a larger puzzle. I am proud that his name is attached to my post.

Delerme said she was grateful to the family for funding a chair in both Southern Studies and anthropology, a unique combination.

“I chose to join UM in 2013 because I could work at a center that focuses on Southern history and culture,” she said. “The family has created an opportunity where scholars like me can document and analyze the evolution of the southern United States, share our love of southern culture with our students, and challenge inequality so we can work for change. positive through community-engaged research.”

Over the years, the McMullans have welcomed the center’s faculty and students into their home. Their daughters continue to support the center through the family foundation.

Additionally, the McMullans’ longstanding support of the university includes the Hardin Future of the South Endowment, Friends of the Library, Thelma Boozer McMullan Memorial Library Endowment, the Ann Abadie Fund for the Oxford Conference for the Book, and fellowships at the Oxford campus, as well as Dr. Guy Gillespie Jr. Endowment at the UM Medical Center campus in Jackson.

“Madeleine and Jim’s philanthropy has opened doors for so many people, including me,” said Bruce Ware, one of the first McMullan Fellows.

Ware is a board member of the UM Foundation and the Ole Miss Alumni Association. He is Vice Chairman of DaVita Inc., a Denver-based Fortune 500 healthcare company, and a member of the boards of directors of Blackhawk Bank in Beloit, Wisconsin, and AAON Inc., of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“They not only gave generously of their financial resources, but they also gave of their time, wisdom and kindness,” he said. “Just look at the magical things that happened in the lives of young Newtonians, like Trynica, who was recently inducted into the Mortar Board and on her way to graduating with honors here at the University of Mississippi thanks to Madeleine and his family.”

With the McMullans in mind, a few years ago Bruce Ware and his wife, Rhondalynne, established the Annette Ware Fund, which supports Newton students considering Ole Miss by providing resources to visit campus. This fund also supports the FASTrack program, the McLean Institute, and the Department of African American Studies.

“Remembering my dear friends and mentors, Madeleine and Jim McMullan, continues to inspire me,” Ware said. “We invest in the educational opportunities of current and future UM students because the McMullans have invested in me and so many other young people in Mississippi.

“Rhondalynne and I believe that philanthropy begets philanthropy. And so, we do our best to share with others how we have observed and experienced the impact of Madeleine and Jim’s transformational gifts.

To support UM programs, contact Nikki Neely Davis at [email protected] or 662-915-6678 or visit https://nowandever.olemiss.edu.