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Gift Reflects a Love for the Arts

By Tina H. Hahn

University of Mississippi

Ole Miss students work on portraits in an advanced painting class on campus. A robust arts environment was what drew Mike and Ami Tincher to Oxford, and a new estate gift from Mike Tincher, honoring his late wife, will support the Institute for the Arts’ work and help raise awareness for the arts in the community and across the region. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Ami Moore Tincher’s interests in life were focused on film and theater, music and art, the areas highlighted by the Institute for the Arts at the University of Mississippi. 

Mike Tincher has committed an estate gift of $100,000 to create an endowment in his wife’s name to support the work of the institute. Besides memorializing his spouse, he hopes his gift will raise awareness for the arts and encourage other individuals to provide support. 

The gift was announced today (April 4) as part of Giving Day 2023, the university’s annual social media-driven fundraising event.

“To me, the next All-American doesn’t have to be from the football or baseball fields; the ‘star’ can be out of the music, film or art departments,” Tincher said. “I’ve listened to some of the students perform, and they are incredible. The quality of instruction at Ole Miss is wonderful.

“All of the arts areas are so focused on helping the students accomplish their goals. I would like to see the achievements of the students and faculty in the arts publicized more. If I were a prospective student and saw where all these individuals had become successful in the arts after graduating from Ole Miss, it would definitely influence my decision on where to attend college.”

As examples of notable achievements, Tincher’s neighbor Jos Milton, a tenor and associate professor of music, has four Grammy nominations to his credit. The Mississippians Jazz Ensemble, a student group, is traveling to France and Spain this summer to perform at three jazz festivals. And the UM Concert Singers are traveling to France and Belgium in May for multiple singing opportunities in historic cathedrals.

The arts were responsible for bringing the Tinchers to Oxford. Mike Tincher – a native of Paducah, Kentucky, who lived in Chicago throughout his adult life – told his wife she could choose anywhere for the couple to retire, and she chose Oxford, in part because of all the arts events hosted at Ole Miss. 

Two weeks after the couple moved into their new home, Ami Tincher died suddenly.

“Ami chose Oxford because of better weather, namely 300 days of sunshine annually, and she loved the Southern culture,” Tincher said. “She also liked the size of the town and the university-sponsored events, things you wouldn’t otherwise have in a town of 25,000.

“Ami didn’t really have interests in many other areas than the arts. Her primary interests were film and theater, and then music and art. She was a fan of every kind of movie and had an enormous comic book collection. I really wanted to do something in her name because I know we would have had the opportunity to enjoy everything that comes with Ole Miss.” 

Ami Tincher, who was Hawaiian and moved to Los Angeles with her family, earned a degree in education from the California State University at Fresno. For many movie projects, she taught child actors on sets who were missing school to film. After she moved to Chicago and married, she returned to college to become an occupational therapist.

Ami Tincher is buried in Oxford. 

“This is where she wanted to be,” her husband said. “She said, ‘This is home.'”

Mike Tincher has agreed to serve on the advisory board for the Institute for the Arts, which was created to highlight and strengthen the university’s departments of Art and Art History, Music, and Theatre and Film. 

“In academia, we tend to be so focused on what we are researching and teaching, but we also need to ensure our work connects to the public,” said Nancy Maria Balach, chair of the Department of Music and director of the institute. “Mike will help us connect these two worlds, and we are so lucky that he is living in Oxford.

“Mike’s pure love for music and the arts will propel the institute forward and transform the landscape of the region; he is a true arts advocate. His passion is inspiring; his musical palette will bring a fresh perspective to the institute’s work.”

The Tinchers collected art for many years and are gifting two paintings to the university: one by Joan Miró and another by Salut Carol. 

“How can you have a bad day if you are listening to beautiful music or looking at beautiful art?” Tincher said. “Music is a universal language that everyone can understand, and I think art, and in some ways film, is the same. 

“In building our art collection, we looked for the story that goes with the piece of art. It’s like that with music too; a story is told even if there are no words.”

Mike Tincher was one of two founders in 1979 who established Buker Inc., an international consulting and educational firm headquartered in Chicago with offices all over the world: London, Sydney, Mexico City and Johannesburg. Buker leaders work with manufacturing organizations to improve their processes. Tincher has partially retired but continues to work about 10 days a month with some of the firm’s key clients.

He earned a degree from Bowling Green State University, working his way through as the first person in his family to attend college. 

Individuals and organizations can contribute to the Ami Moore Tincher Endowment for the Arts by mailing a check with the endowment’s name noted on the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or support the Institute for the Arts here.

For more information on supporting the arts at Ole Miss, contact Caroline Hourin, associate director of development, at cehourin@olemiss.edu or 662-915-6385. To learn more about including Ole Miss in your will, contact Marc Littlecott, advancement director for estate and planned giving, at marcplan@olemiss.edu or 662-915-6625.


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