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Clarks create OMWC scholarship in memory of their late mothers

Ginger and Charles Clark (center), surrounded by their family, have established a scholarship endowment to pay tribute to their mothers for passing on a love of education. Submitted photo

When giving a speech as a high school student, Ginger Guice Clark was surprised to see her mother standing in the back of the room. 

“I hadn’t told her I was going to give a speech, but there she was,” said Clark, of Birmingham, Alabama. “Mom always supported us and our education, and that meant so much to me.” 

Ginger Clark and her husband, Charles C. Clark, are passing on a love for education instilled in them by their mothers by establishing the Ginger Guice Clark Council Scholarship in Memory of Frances Rivers Clark and Jo Hornsby Guice Endowment at the University of Mississippi with a testamentary gift of $125,000 to the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy. 

“My mother, Frances, was a strong believer in education and was my tutor until I went to college,” said Charles Clark, a native of Jackson. 

“I remember a time in junior high school when my mom had my cousin and me out on the patio, grilling us on our subjects for upcoming exams.”

Charles Clark, who majored in accountancy, graduated from UM in 1972 with a degree in business administration. He served as national alumni president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. 

Clark is a member of the university’s Patterson School of Accountancy advisory board and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2012. He holds a master’s degree in business taxation from the University of Southern California.

Ginger Clark, a native of Biloxi, graduated from Ole Miss in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in art, theater and speech and has been a member of the OMWC for more than a decade. 

“Charles and Ginger Clark are models of extraordinarily devoted alumni support and commitment that has been evident from the minute they graduated,” said Liz Johnson Randall, OMWC chair. “The Clarks have contributed their time, leadership and financial support across many areas of campus.

“We are thrilled and very grateful that they have continued their unwavering dedication to support our university and the Women’s Council. Their gift will provide unique opportunities for excellent students not only to advance scholastically but also to become leaders and philanthropists through the OMWC’s mission of producing scholars who help create a more caring and ethical society.”

Besides their academic pursuits, recipients of the scholarship will participate in a leadership development and mentoring program sponsored by the OMWC and the UM Lott Leadership Institute.

“I love the mentoring aspect of the council, which makes it an exceptional scholarship program,” Ginger Clark said. “It is rewarding to see our students come out of their shells as we guide them through their college careers and into their chosen professions. I get just as much out of it as the students do.

“We hope this scholarship will let the recipients know there’s someone who wants them to succeed. Both our mothers were organized and bright and they loved education. We hope the scholars gain some of those characteristics.”

To the Clarks, establishing a council scholarship is a natural extension of their continued involvement in the Ole Miss family.

“We grew up giving back, and we’ve tried to give back for what we have been blessed,” Ginger Clark said.

“We also hope this scholarship will further enhance the experience at Ole Miss for the recipients,” Charles Clark said. “We hope it will help attract outstanding students and thus continue to enhance the image of the university.”

The Clarks have three adult children: UM graduate Charles Clark Jr., of Mountain Brook, Alabama; Lee Dicks Clark Pilcher and Ginger Ann Hughes, both of Atlanta; and six grandchildren. 

Women’s Council scholarships, at $40,000 each, are among the top awards at Ole Miss. Some 157 male and female students have benefited from the program. Since its founding in 2000, the OMWC has expanded to include the Global Leadership Circle, which helps students study abroad or pursue national and international internships.

Memberships in the Rose Society and Rosebud Society help provide additional resources for student programming.

“Not only has Ginger served the Women’s Council as an excellent mentor, but she has also contributed to the success of our Legacy and Rose Society events thanks to her event planning and culinary expertise,” said Suzanne Helveston, OMWC development associate.

The Ginger Guice Clark Council Scholarship in Memory of Frances Rivers Clark and Jo Hornsby Guice Endowment is open to gifts from individuals or organizations. To contribute, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For more information about establishing a scholarship or joining the Global Leadership Circle, Rose Society or Rosebud Society, contact Suzanne Helveston at shelveston@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2956. Interested parties also can go to the OMWC website at https://omwc.olemiss.edu

By Mary Stanton Knight

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