Monday, March 20, 2023

Triplett Foundation’s $4M Gift to Support Construction of New Alumni Center at Ole Miss

By Bill Dabney

University of Mississippi

The Ole Miss Alumni Association is planning a $30 million project to construct a new alumni center on the footprint of the current one, allowing the association to expand its services and provide an updated space for receptions, weddings, class and team reunions, and recruiting events. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The most recent of many gifts from the Dr. and Mrs. R. Faser Triplett Foundation to the University of Mississippi will help construct a new alumni center on the footprint of the current one.

The Triplett Foundation, named for the late Jackie and Faser Triplett, of Jackson, is managed by their children: Chip Triplett, of Ridgeland; Diane Holloway, of Nashville, Tennessee; Suzy Fuller, of Greenwood, South Carolina; Liz Walker, of Jackson; and Lou Ann Woidtke, of Madison.

Faser Triplett, a past president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, made a major gift to the university in 1993 in support of the Alumni House, and the building was renamed the Triplett Alumni Center in his family’s honor. Now, the Triplett Foundation’s $4 million donation will be the lead gift to support new construction for the $30 million project.

“It is a continuation of my parents’ legacy because they felt strongly about a place for the alumni to gather, and the alumni meant so much to my father, as he attended Ole Miss,” said Chip Triplett, who attended Ole Miss for two years before finishing at Belhaven College. 

While the Triplett Alumni Center already welcomes hundreds of alumni and friends to campus, each year creating and building relationships that foster continued support for the university, its services will significantly expand in its new home, said Clay Cavett, associate director of alumni affairs.

Initial plans for the new multistory building feature expansive plate-glass windows through which guests can view the historic Grove as they host receptions, weddings, and class and team reunions, as well as events focused on recruiting new students.

“With the new construction being one of the first places for new students and their parents to visit on campus right across the Grove, we felt that it would make a great first impression,” Chip Triplett said. 

“It will also be one of the last places they go when they graduate from school. Then any time they come back and as they have children of their own, they can say, ‘This is the first place I came when I was on this campus, and I have great memories of it.’ That’s our goal for this gift.”

Diane Triplett Holloway, a 1985 graduate of the UM School of Education, serves on the planning committee for the new building and shares her brother’s sentiments.

“My siblings and I are thrilled that the Alumni Center will welcome a whole new generation of students, alumni and families,” she said. “It will act as a front door to the university that everyone can be proud of. 

“We know that the new building will continue to anchor our community, just as the old building has for decades. And we are excited to see it evolve to meet new needs and purposes that advance the university’s cutting edge.

“We look forward to this next chapter and know that the Alumni Center will carry on the tradition of serving as a hospitable gathering place, a vibrant and strategic center point on campus, and a space to honor and expand Ole Miss’s legacy.”

Holloway said the facility holds sentimental value for her family, and they are eager to see it flourish. 

“My siblings and I grew up running the halls of the old Alumni House, and those moments are truly some of my fondest memories,” she said. “This place is a part of us, and I know I speak for my whole family when I say that we are humbled to be able to serve the community that has enriched our lives so deeply.”

Countless generations of graduates will be grateful for the Triplett Foundation’s support, Cavett said. 

“Their gift continues what Faser and Jackie started years ago when they made their initial contribution to the alumni center,” he said. “That tradition continues, and we’re blessed beyond belief that we have a family with such generosity and vision for Ole Miss.”

Holloway considers her family’s support of Ole Miss an honor.

“Seeing the Triplett name represented here inspires my siblings and me, every time we set foot on the grounds, to reflect on the greatness of this special place and to be proud to serve as members of the vibrant Ole Miss family,” she said.

In 2021, the Triplett Foundation provided $500,000 in seed money to establish the William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing at the university. The institute serves as the umbrella organization over several wellness centers designed to encourage holistic well-being and transform lives through education, research and support related to alcohol and other drugs.

This is the second major gift the foundation has made to the university’s efforts in this area, and the support has been instrumental in the growth of resources for students. In 2019, the family’s foundation awarded the William Magee Center $750,000 to support the hiring of a health-education specialist, fund the planning of a national symposium at Ole Miss and cover expenses associated with the startup.

Besides supporting student wellness, the Triplett siblings directed a $1 million gift to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi at the UM Medical Center to support the expansion of Children’s Hospital. They also helped establish the R. Faser Triplett Sr. Chair of Allergy and Immunology in honor of their father.

“By directing this gift and others to Ole Miss, we want to draw attention to the projects that we believe will improve the university we love – those that will benefit generations of students and alumni to come,” Suzy Triplett Fuller said. “In raising awareness for this worthwhile project, we hope other foundations and individuals will lend their support as well.” 

Anyone interested in supporting construction of the new Triplett Alumni Center can contact Clay Cavett at clay@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7375.