Ole Miss Science Center Donation in Danger without Chancellor Dan Jones

Photo courtesy UM Communications
Photo courtesy UM Communications

Tom Papa, president of the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation board, told MPB reporter Sandra Knispel during a broadcast Monday afternoon that a $20 million donation for a new science center on the Oxford campus would be rescinded if Dan Jones was not chancellor of the university because the decision seemed motivated by reasons beyond his job performance.

Last year, Ole Miss received a $20 million lead gift from the foundation for a new science building. The $100 million building will be added along Science Row between University Avenue and All American Drive, with construction expected to begin in early 2016 and be complete by August 2018. The building will include about 200,000 square feet for research and education efforts.

We will update this story as it develops. For more on the decision not to renew Jones’ contract, click here.

Amelia Camurati is editor of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at amelia.camurati@hottytoddy.com.


  1. So Ole Miss doesn’t deserve the 20 million without Dan Jones? So Ole Miss doesn’t need a new science center? With- holding 20 million from Ole Miss because of not agreeing with the IHL decision is nothing more than blackmail.

  2. @Cindy Pipkin. Perhaps we don’t fully know the basis of the decision made by the IHL. Are you certain there was no “bartering” going on there? At least the holders of the purse strings for the donation toward the science center are being forthright concerning their decision to rescind the offer. One does not donate large sums of money without the confidence of its proper usage. Mr. Papa obviously feels the absence of Chancellor Jones at the helm is a cause for “loss of confidence.” Now, this is not to suggest the donation will be withheld permanently but, possibly, until a subsequent chancellor proves to be as exemplary an administrator for our fine university as Dan Jones has been. Please note that Chancellor Dan Jones’ job performance or lack thereof is never mentioned by the IHL as a reason for the decision to not renew his contract. In fact, the University of Mississippi has enjoyed great financial success under his direction. So, while I think the term “blackmail” is not an appropriate expression, I do think perhaps a “bidding” war has begun. Just my rambling thoughts on the matter.

  3. I doubt it will work. I assume the hillbillies down in the Governor’s Mansion don’t believe in science. They probably think it might lead to dancing or miscegenation.

  4. It seems the IHL did not give a reason for not renewing his contract. Perchance they could tell everybody what was wrong with him.

  5. Really?? Really?? I thought donations were meant to improve the University and help students? no chancellor is bigger than ole miss. To withhold a donation over one employee is childish. Sounds like someone got their left wing feelings hurt and now they are pouting

    In the interest of full disclosure, I have never been a fan of jones. I think he is divisive. But I have continued to donate for the sake of the U

    Some people need to grow up and get over it

  6. The issue at hand is not Dan Jones. It’s the IHL. Whether you like Dan Jones or not, all of you should be appalled at the handling of this entire matter. The IHL is funded completely by tax payer dollars. I feel that they “owe” us a clear explanation for their reasoning before any of us draw a true line in the sand concerning the Chancellor. If this is nothing but a political payback situation, then all hell should break loose. If the Chancellor gave reason for non renewal of his contract, than shame on him. Show us first IHL. Then let us look at either restructuring your body or eliminating it all together.

  7. Check out a story just posted by clarion ledger. Details some of the policy donations. Wonder if some of the Jones acolytes feel foolish now

  8. Perhaps the IHL was trying to do Jones a favor by not giving details immediately. With all the whining about details, they put them out. Some the policy violations are embarrassing for Jones. The lesson here is be careful what you wish for. Good luck to our new chancellor in cleaning up this mess.

  9. @Ej…I’m not a Jones “acolyte” by any means, but I read the Clarion-Ledger article you referenced, but didn’t link (here it is http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/03/23/ummc-dan-jones-university-mississippi/70355182/ ) and I saw nothing embarrassing for Jones. As an old time Reb fan, I wasn’t thrilled with Jones. I was happy without a mascot and I hate the bear. I miss From Dixie with Love. I think Elvis is cool. I like being a Southerner and don’t apologize for it. However, I am even less thrilled with how this situation has been handled by the IHL…This is nothing but politics and nothing can be said to convince me otherwise. Dan Jones has accomplished way too many positive things for the University to be thrown out like yesterday’s trash. I just pray we find someone who is capable of continuing the rebranding of the University. I fear the future.

  10. Let’s be clear. The most revered names in our in community-Manning, Khayat Overby, Barksdale, Grisham, ,Ford Currence…say this is bad. The Faculty Senate and the Alumni Association are pissed. This was not run by anyone who is important to UM. At all.

  11. Pretty much everyone who is alive (except for Cochran) who has a name on a building is up in arms. I think that should say where they stand on Dr. Jones.

  12. Time to stop the donations to UM which will force Ole Miss to have to keep all the tuition money it generates. This will cut the flow to the other schools in the system and strangle them from being able to operate. At present time UM keeps only 17 pct of the tuition it generates thanks to great alumni base support of its campus.

    It’s all about the money and power to IHL so time to cut the life blood of what keeps that political serpent alive.

  13. After reading the article in the Clarion Ledger, it became apparent to me that this whole controversy occurred over a war of wills between Dr. Jones and the IHL. It’s obviously been going on far longer that the public realized. There was plenty of time for the situation to be rectified by level-headed adults willing to compromise. Ole Miss is greater than one man who’s feelings have been hurt. Let’s move forward with what’s best for the university.

  14. Would you all please remember that this has to do with UMMC, NOT Ole Miss. Contracts are contracts. Either you abide by the regulations of IHL or you don’t keep you seat at the table. OLE MISS and UMMC will both survive without Dan Jones as well as without that research center. If the grant doesn’t come from one donor, it will come from another.

  15. Ole Miss is bigger than one man, the school is not Dan Jones University! A donation should be made to Ole Miss, to benefit all the University community and the state of Mississippi. A decision not to donate because the College Board made a decision that you are not happy with, is sad indeed.


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