USM’s ‘Take Wing’ fundraiser off to quick start

FY22 comes to a close at the end of this month, and it was a record-breaking fiscal year for the University of Southern Mississippi.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2022 at 1:03 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - After being stifled by COVID-19 for the better part of two years, the University of Southern Mississippi’s “Give Wing: The Campaign for Southern Miss” finally has taken flight.

And the early fundraising effort is soaring.

With 3 1/2 years left on a four-year plan to raise $150 million, USM had reached 84 percent of the goal, with $126,356,468 raised through the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year that ended July 30.

The figure included $16.9 million in private funds raised by the USM Foundation during FY 2022. About $5 million was earmarked for some 2,200 student scholarships, with the rest used to support university programs and capital projects.

“We have spent all of our time actually creating relationships, building engagement opportunities for alumni and friends to gather private support for the university,” said USM Foundation Executive Director Stace Mercier said.

“We, you know, aim every day to help those students to find people who want to invest in someone’s future. We have seen scholarship support steadily increase now over the last couple of years highly as a result of new scholarship endowments.”

Like “Give Wing,” which was slated to be rolled out in FY 2020 but delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, much of the groundwork for the campaign’s 2022 unveiling had been laid during the “quiet time” for “Get Wing.”

“Of that $150 million, about $120 million of it is for student success,” Mercier said. “Over $80 million is for scholarships, specifically. So, that would be any academic programs, student athletic scholarships.”

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