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Millsaps Celebrates 123rd Anniversary of Founding

During recent Founders Day activities, the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation was inducted into the Millsaps Founders Society which recognizes individuals and organizations who have given $1 million or more to the College, forever linking their names with those of Founders, Millsaps, Galloway, and Murrah who are commemorated on the Millsaps Tower.

Founder's Day
The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation is inducted into the Millsaps Founders Society. Shown here are (left) Mike Hutchison, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Matt Holleman, Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation Trustee, Rob Pearigen, President.

President Rob Pearigen, stated, “The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation is a leader in transforming lives that transform communities throughout the state of Mississippi. The Foundation has generously supported Millsaps by funding scholarships, innovative academic and experiential learning programs, and supporting faculty development. It is with great appreciation that we honor their work and generosity.”

The annual Founders Day celebration recognizes the philanthropy of three groups of people – members of the Founders Society, Heritage Society, and those who establish endowed funds to support scholarships, programs, and faculty – and honors the distinctive educational experience their gifts provide for Millsaps students.

 Founder's Day
(L to R) Kelly Gene Cook Charitable Foundation Trustee, Joan Mikell, Vice President and Dean of Students, Brit Katz, and incoming Kelly Gene Cook Charitable Foundation Director, Katie Pacelli, visit over lunch

In his remarks, President Pearigen recapped the College’s new strategic plan and its role in continuing the Founders’ vision, stating, “One of our commitments to our Founders is to regularly review how to advance the institution, how to anticipate future trends in higher education, and how to ensure the faithful use of the support of our benefactors.”

In keeping with that commitment, one of the key components of the College’s new strategic plan titled, Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College, is the expansion of experiential learning opportunities for students both locally and abroad.

Founder's Day
(L to R) Navy V-12 Scholarship recipient, Christopher Lawrence, visits with Scholarship Founder, Bob Donaldson, Class of 1948, and fellow recipient, Zachary Smith

According to Pearigen,

We are expanding partnerships “across the street” to create more intentional opportunities that connect students to the state’s economic, health care, political, and cultural hub. We want our students to have engaged learning opportunities at hospitals, community centers, Capitol Street offices, the Legislature, and at nonprofit organizations.

We need to fully leverage our location to the benefit of our students and the advancement of the institution. Every street you cross when you leave this campus, there’s something meaningful and important to do. Millsaps, to our great benefit, is located in the heart of the city, in the heart of the state with opportunities that are unique to our place and time – opportunities that no other college can match.

We are also expanding partnerships “around the globe” – not just in Europe but in countries and regions that will be central players on the world stage in the 21st century: Africa, China, and Latin America. We’re working to attract more international students to Millsaps and further embed global perspectives even more deeply across the curriculum.

Founder's Day
Selby and Richard McRae 2013 Scholars recipient, Courtney Warner, with Vaughan McRae

Millsaps senior, Jennifer Goebel, a Business Administration and Accounting major from Plano, TX, gave life to the President’s remarks by sharing her Millsaps story. During her time at Millsaps, Jennifer has founded a show choir, led the dance team, worked multiple campus jobs, studied international business at the University of Liechtenstein, learned about international law in the Yucatan, interned as a production assistant for one of the country’s top radio stations, and managed a creative economy project in the Midtown neighborhood where she served as consultant to a local small business owner, helping her develop a business plan, create financial statements and grant proposals, and restructure her business to turn it around and make it successful.

Millsaps senior, Jennifer Goebel, 2013 Founders Day speaker

When talking about her international experience in particular, Jennifer remarked,

While I can tell you that studying abroad changed my life, I want to be careful to not give too much credit to the travel or countries themselves. Because what truly changed my life was how Millsaps was involved in my study abroad. The academic connections, the experiential, hands-on learning opportunities, the faculty and staff support, the transformative difference we, as students, are encouraged and enabled to make are unique.

Millsaps gave me the chance to take what I learned in Liechtenstein about social entrepreneurship, expand it, and connect my international experience to the unique community of Midtown in Jackson. I don’t know if that could have happened for me at any other college or university. This is what makes the Millsaps experience life-changing and this is what makes Millsaps different from other colleges.

I will be forever grateful to Millsaps and to the people who made all of this possible for me. I have benefitted from the Charles W. and Eloise T. Else Endowed Scholarship, the Robinson International Fellows Program, the Robert M. Hearin Foundation’s support of the Creative Economy Initiative in Midtown, and so many other programs that exist for Millsaps students because of the generosity of those who support the College.

According to Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Mike Hutchison,

Jennifer’s inspiring story is just one example of the unique and outstanding experiences Millsaps students have because of gifts from alumni, parents, and friends. By providing generous scholarships for undergraduate students, funding for our Business Advantage Program and the ELSEworks initiative in the Else School of Management, and funding for entrepreneurial training and support for a business incubator to help retain creative talent and promote small business growth in the Midtown community, The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation is an important partner in Millsaps’ quest to graduate students who are making a difference in the communities they touch.


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