Ole Miss, MSU Could Help Jackson State in Fund-Raising Efforts
JACKSON, Miss. A Jackson State University fund drive that the school hopes will be the largest ever may be receiving help from two of Mississippi’s majority White universities. Next year, Jackson State plans to announce what would be the school’s largest national capital campaign ever, says JSU President Ronald Mason. That could coincide with a drive spearheaded by University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat and Mississippi State University President Mack Portera to create a $35 million private endowment to boost the state’s three historically Black universities. Ole Miss and MSU leaders say they will call on corporate donors and reach out to friends nationwide to build endowments for JSU, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State, part of a $503 million plan to settle the state’s 26-year-old college desegregation case (see Black Issues, June 7). While the offer may be unusual, Mason and other leaders of the state’s HBCUs say they would welcome the assistance. “This is not about Jackson State,” Mason says. “It is about the future of Mississippi, and we all have a stake in it. This is one state, and we all need to get better.” Roy Hudson, longtime Mississippi Valley State University administrator, says the support is welcomed. “They have the contacts and proven records raising resources,” Hudson says. “We appreciate their commitment.”A commission exploring Jackson State’s future has determined the urban institution needs to raise big funds “over the long haul,” Mason says. “We will definitely announce the type of (major) capital campaign for our 125th birthday in 2002,” Mason says. With the commission’s final report not out until September and more studies coming, he says he can’t pinpoint the campaign’s dollar goal. Jackson State traditionally has not launched major capital campaigns, instead conducting smaller private campaigns over the years. Jackson State’s biggest campaign was the $11 million undertaking led by former President James Hefner in the 1980s, now president of Tennessee State University.Before Khayat and Portera try to boost endowments at the three historically Black schools, their proposal, like the entire college desegregation package, must be approved by U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. The judge will hear from critics and supporters of the plan at a Sept. 4 hearing. The plan includes a requirement that the three historically Black universities reach “quotas” of 10 percent non-Black students before they can divide $105 million in state and private endowment funds.
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