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Alumnus Repays Career Guidance with Major Gift

By Bill Dabney

University of Mississippi

Brent Wood’s recent gift to the University of Mississippi will help shape new construction for the institution that launched his successful 26-year career in accounting.

“I went to Ole Miss without a specific major in mind,” said Wood, chief financial officer with EastGroup Properties who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy in 1991 and 1992, respectively. 

“After taking an Accounting 201 class taught by Dr. Jimmy Davis, he encouraged me to consider pursuing a major in accountancy. Looking back, I see that his advice established the entire course for my future.

Residents of Madison, Wood and his wife, Marsha Magee Wood, a 1992 UM School of Education graduate, have made a $150,000 stock-transfer gift to the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund. The Woods’ support will go toward Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss, a historic fundraising initiative to secure $1.5 billion in private gifts to strengthen the university for generations to come.

“Ole Miss has been so meaningful to our family and extended family that we were seeking a way to give back to the university,” Wood said. “The launch of the campaign to build a free-standing building for the Patterson School was the perfect opportunity.”

The school’s new home will be at the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop.

“I am pleased that the university is acknowledging the perennially nationally ranked program with such a prominent location on campus,” he said. “I think it is a win-win for the university and the Patterson School.”

UM accountancy programs have been ranked in the top 20 in the nation by the Public Accounting Report each year since 2008. Earlier this year, Big4AccountingFirms.org released a list of the “50 Best Accounting Schools in the USA,” and the Patterson School was ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC. 

During the 2020-21 school year, the school granted a record 588 degrees, with 253 of those being master’s degrees.

Dean Mark Wilder expressed gratitude for the Woods’ gift.

“We view our new building as an opportunity for us to become the top accounting program in the nation,” he said. “It will undoubtedly strengthen our efforts in recruiting top students, faculty and staff.”

At Ole Miss, Brent Wood was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and participated in the Associated Student Body government and College Republicans. Marsha Wood was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. 

After earning his master’s degree, Wood worked as a certified public accountant with a Jackson firm before accepting a position with EastGroup Properties. During his career, he spent 14 years in Houston, Texas, managing the company’s Texas region before returning to the Ridgeland office in 2017.

He is active on the Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi and UM Foundation boards of directors. 

All three of the Woods’ children attended Ole Miss, as well as three siblings and many nieces and nephews. Following in his father’s footsteps, Wade Wood earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy in 2020 and 2021, respectively; Ansley Wood received a bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications in 2021; and Logan Wood is a junior pursuing an IMC degree. 

“The new home for the Patterson School will be one of the finest buildings on our campus,” said Jason McCormick, director of development. “It’s a big undertaking, and we could not do it without support from our alumni like Brent. 

“We are extremely grateful for not only this gift but also for his support of the Patterson School of Accountancy throughout the years.” 

To learn more about supporting the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Jason McCormick, director of development, at jason@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1757. To make a gift, visit https://give.olemiss.edu.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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