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Alumnus’ Major Gift Supports Athletics

By Bill Dabney

University of Mississippi

Ole Miss Athletics Foundation CEO Denson Hollis (right) thanks Mike (left) and Donna Glenn for their $350,000 gift that will help improve the University of Mississippi’s athletics facilities and programs. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

When football players at the University of Mississippi leave the locker room for practice, they’ll soon pass through a foyer honoring one of many donors to Champions. Now., the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s fundraising campaign focused on improving facilities.

The Donna and Mike Glenn Walk-Off Foyer honors the Eads, Tennessee, couple’s $350,000 gift to the university.

“A successful athletic program, as is often said, is the front porch to the university,” said Mike Glenn, a 1977 UM graduate and former executive vice president of market development and corporate communications for FedEx Corp. “When athletic programs are successful, enrollment increases as does awareness of our great university, and this helps accomplish academic goals.

Last summer, Glenn witnessed the Ole Miss baseball team win the College World Series.

“I had the opportunity to attend, along with my son, and it was a memory of a lifetime,” said Glenn, adding that gathering with family and friends on football game days has also created special moments for him. “Donna and I tailgate less than 75 yards from where my brother and I started tailgating with my parents and aunt and uncle over 60 years ago.”

He hopes his gift and those from others will enable such celebrations to continue for the Rebels. 

“You simply cannot compete at a championship level without private support from alumni and friends,” said Glenn, immediate past chair of the UM Foundation board of directors.

The Glenns’ gift will help expand and renovate the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center, giving the Rebels a state-of-the-art practice facility, among other projects. 

Denson Hollis, the foundation’s CEO, expressed his appreciation.

“Mike and Donna represent a multi-generational Ole Miss family who has shown great loyalty to Ole Miss athletics by sharing their resources, time and leadership,” he said. “We are thankful not only for their gifts that enhance our sports programs and facilities, but also for their longtime universitywide support.

“And we are especially grateful to Mike for strengthening the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation through his service on its board of directors.” 

This is the latest of many gifts the Glenns have made to the university. 

Most recently, the couple gave $150,000, which was used to modernize the university’s digital communications and marketing services. In 2017, Glenn honored his wife by endowing an Ole Miss Women’s Council scholarship in her name.

The two met 38 years ago at FedEx. Donna Glenn is a graduate of the University of Memphis. Over the years, her own affinity for the university has grown so much that Glenn occasionally refers to his wife as a “walk-on alumna.”

In 2007, when Mike Glenn co-chaired UM’s capital campaign, the couple pledged $500,000 to help support five different areas of the university: the School of Business Administration Endowment, Residential College Program, UMAA Basketball Campaign, Mike and Donna Glenn Ole Miss First Scholarship Endowment and the Glenn Family Quasi Endowment.

Glenn, a Memphis, Tennessee, native, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UM and an MBA from the University of Memphis. He joined FedEx in 1981 and held management positions in sales and marketing.

The former executive was named to the Ole Miss Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the Alumni Association’s Alumni Service Award in 2016. He also is vice president of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation board of governors and served on the Alumni Association board of directors and as a member of the UM Foundation’s Joint Committee on University Investments. 

“The university was instrumental in preparing me for my career at FedEx, and it is only appropriate that I give back to the university in any way I can,” Glenn said. “I am hopeful my family’s gift will inspire others to give as well.”

To make a gift to Ole Miss athletics, visit Champions. Now. or contact Denson Hollis at dhollis@olemiss.edu or 615-957-4372.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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