Well over 200 students have received much-needed support because of the Breelands’ generosity. Over the 35 years since the fund was established, the total scholarship dollars awarded to students has surpassed the original gifts invested in the fund by nearly $100,000.
“The Alfred A. and Doris R. Breeland Scholarship is a great example of the perpetual support created through an endowed scholarship. We cannot even imagine how many more lives their giving will touch over the next 35 years,” said Mercier.
“The lasting impact an endowment makes is incredible, not only for the students being supported, but also for the donors whose return on their investment lends great joy and satisfaction,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation.
Alfred lost Doris in 1994, but was later able to open his heart again when he met Renae. Alfred and Renae enjoyed 20 years together in Biloxi, Miss., and they too chose to support USM through philanthropy.
Just as Alfred and Doris loved Southern Miss in their lifetimes, that same passion will live on in perpetuity through their endowment. With the cost of education on the rise, endowments of this nature ease the financial burden and enhance the student experience by providing more scholarship dollars and support for programs. Endowments are vital to the future of the University, as they provide permanent, self-sustaining sources of funding, which create stability and opportunity for generations to come. Whether created though outright gifts of cash or planned gifts through an estate, endowments create a strong financial foundation for Southern Miss, making the University less dependent on the ever-changing nature of state appropriations, grants and other revenue sources.
“Alfred loved reading thank you notes from his scholarship recipients. He kept every single one in a folder more than two inches thick. Southern Miss and its wonderful students were very dear to Alfred's heart,” Renae said. The legacy that Doris, Alfred and now Renae created lives on at Southern Miss. Their commitment to helping others through the gift of education has made a profound impact in the College of Business and the lives of hundreds of students. Even knowing his time left in life was limited due to illness, one of Alfred’s last wishes was to further grow their scholarship endowment. In his honor, Renae continues to bolster the fund, allowing his passion and generosity to endure in perpetuity.
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