The donor of a major gift to the University of Mississippi hopes to give students increased exposure to different cultures and people as they navigate opportunities to explore new places and professions, thus building a foundation for success and strengthening their empathy for others.
UM alumna Diane Triplett Holloway of Nashville, Tennessee, made a $250,000 gift to support the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy’s Global Leadership Circle (GLC). The GLC expands the growth and success of Women’s Council scholars by underwriting national and international internships and study-abroad experiences.
The opportunities presented by the GLC offer UM students real-world experience and skills that complement their learning on campus and launch them into the next phase of their lives with personal confidence and professional opportunities cultivated through their travel and internship experiences.
“As I travel, I see things from a totally different perspective. Therefore, my appreciation for our world and the many different people in it grows,” said Holloway, a 1985 graduate of the UM School of Education. “The GLC is providing a foundation for future success that cannot be taught in the classroom alone; it must be lived. Traveling brings unique wisdom.”
Gray Duperier of Oxford, Mississippi, a junior psychology major with a minor in society and health, knows firsthand the truth in Holloway’s statement. A GLC grant gave her the opportunity to live in Ireland for the spring semester.
“I experienced rainstorms that nearly carried me away, learned how to hop from bus to train to bus to get around various cities and how to have some ‘craic’ (fun) on my own in my new surroundings,” Duperier recalled. “I saw amazing natural attractions and was able to hike often. I got to know many locals and found out for myself that the Irish people are some of the genuinely happiest groups of people I have ever come across.”
Duperier’s experience fulfilled her lifelong dream of studying a different culture and its effects on people.
“The GLC gave me the opportunity to see the similarities all people share despite very apparent cultural differences,” she said. “Seeing the Irish way of living brought forth observations and questions that caused me to critically reflect on my life, which eventually led me to know myself better. I will always look back on my time abroad as one that has fundamentally changed me as a person.”
Such transformation with personal growth is exactly what Holloway wants her gift to accomplish for its recipients.
“My hope is that the experiences this gift enables will be as life changing as my travels have been for me,” said Holloway, daughter of longtime UM donors Faser and Jackie Triplett of Jackson, Mississippi, who taught their five children the value of travel.
“The classroom is only one dimension of a young person’s learning experience,” Holloway continued. “My parents, and now the Ole Miss Women’s Council, both recognized this. The Women’s Council has set a trailblazing program in place to offer students the resources and opportunities they need to succeed in all aspects of their lives.”
Holloway said the GLC’s impact is profound: supporting students with professional training and career exposure while encouraging them to lean into new experiences, learn hard lessons and cultivate independence and practical skills.
The GLC also enables students like Miley Ray to have a broadened perspective of different cultures and traditions.
Ray of Jackson is a rising junior with a double major in international studies and journalism and a minor in Italian. The GLC sponsored her travel experience in Italy.
“Getting to travel to the country where the language you are studying originated is always a rewarding experience, but I found this to be incredibly true for me since I am focusing on a less commonly used language. It is difficult to find people in Mississippi who can speak Italian, so getting to field test my skills while immersing myself was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Ray.
“It introduced me to such great people. My fellow students and the locals of the communities I encountered all challenged me to become more open to learning from others,” she continued. “Being a teenager while exploring one of Europe’s greatest treasures and also receiving journalism credits for my degree were incredible.”
Holloway said her husband, J.L. Holloway, founder and retired CEO of Tenax Aerospace in Madison, Mississippi, shares her passions both for travel and for seeing students succeed.
“For us to help bring new opportunities and a broader world view, not to mention essential life skills, to each student the Women’s Council reaches brings us great joy,” Diane Holloway said. “I can think of no better way to amplify the mission and programs of the Ole Miss Women’s Council than by enabling its scholars to access experiences such as those offered by the GLC.”
OMWC program director Suzanne Helveston expressed her gratitude for Holloway’s gift, stating it will be instrumental in extending the GLC’s mission.
“Now, more than ever, our students need to broaden their horizons and gain compassion for those who are raised in different cultures. We fully intend to respond to that need by expanding our program offerings, reaching more students than ever.
“That’s why donors like Diane are so important to our program,” Helveston said. “On behalf of the Women’s Council, I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart.”
In response, Holloway said, “New experiences are a joyful and rewarding part of living a full life, and a tremendous complement to the OMWC’s whole-student approach to scholarship. I am honored to be a small part of the GLC and OMWC’s extraordinary work to extend new experiences and rigorous opportunities to as many students as possible.”
The Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy is a group of female leaders and philanthropists committed to nurturing the development of students with a desire to contribute to create a caring, more ethical world.
To make a gift to the Ole Miss Women’s Council, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contact Suzanne Helveston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-2956.
To make a gift to the Women’s Council’s Global Leadership Circle, click here.
For more information on the OMWC, click here.
By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation