Meridian Star

January 19, 2013

Scholarship endowed for Ole Miss Navy ROTC

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Work to raise funds for the commissioning of a new Navy ship were so successful last year, there was money left over for a scholarship. That brought Navy officials, representatives of the Navy League and of the University of Mississippi together on Friday for a presentation of an endowment check for $40,000.

    Curt Goldacker, a retired Navy captain and Southern Region president of the Navy League of the United States, said the scholarship is a result of fundraising efforts for the commissioning of the U.S.S. Mississippi last year. He and others who raised money for the commissioning had a goal of $300,000. Fortunately they exceeded that goal, so $40,000 was set aside to endow the scholarship.

    They picked the University of Mississippi to receive the scholarship endowment because UM is the only college in the state that has an active Navy ROTC, Goldacker said.

    "The life span of the U.S.S. Mississippi is expected to be at least 30 years," Goldacker said. "We expect this foundation to run well past when they decommission the U.S.S. Mississippi."

    Arjen Lagendijk, president of the Mississippi Council of the Navy League, praised the fundraising efforts of Goldacker, Mark McDonald and Tom McGuire.

"Without these three gentlemen and a lot of other folks," Lagendijk said, "this wouldn't have happened. To say that we can raise more money and have money left over for something like this is pretty neat."

    Denson Hollis, senior director of development, College of Liberal Arts, University of Mississippi Foundation, was on hand to accept the donation.

    "The money will be invested in the University endowment. We're hoping for about a five percent return which is around $2,000 which will be awarded every year to a deserving student," Hollis said.

    A different student will get it each year and first choice would be to a dependent of a U.S.S. Mississippi crew. If there is not an eligible applicant, the next choice will be to a student from Mississippi.

    "The university, the College of Liberal Arts and the Navy ROTC are just so grateful that they have chosen us to house this money and ensure this scholarship," Hollis said. "We'll do our best to make sure the money is used the way they want it to be used."