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Dolly Parton to receive Legacy Award at Ole Miss next spring

Legendary performer and philanthropist Dolly Parton is scheduled to visit the University of Mississippi and Oxford to accept the prestigious Legacy Award from the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy next spring.

Parton was previously scheduled to be honored locally this fall.

The Women’s Council, founded more than two decades ago, has secured almost $17 million to endow 74 scholarships. Described as one of the most innovative scholarship programs in America, the OMWC supports young men and women who exhibit an ethical and caring behavior through a deep desire to help others.

The Legacy Award, established by the OMWC in 2010, recognizes those individuals who epitomize the council’s goals of philanthropy, leadership and mentorship.

“The Ole Miss Women’s Council is so grateful to Dolly for reserving the weekend of April 9-10, 2022, so she can join us here in Oxford to celebrate her work with the Imagination Library and attend the Legacy Award dinner,” said Mary Donnelly Haskell, the event chair.

“As we announce the news about Dolly rescheduling her visit with us, we take to heart the optimistic words she has shared recently about finding hope as we all adapt to the ongoing pandemic. Because the number of COVID-19 cases has increased dramatically in recent weeks, we will have to continue looking forward to spending some quality time with Dolly for a few more months.”

One focus of the popular entertainer’s philanthropy is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which gives free books to children around the world. Last year, this organization gifted its 150 millionth book.

During her visit to the Ole Miss campus, Parton will read to hundreds of local children. This free but ticketed story time event will be held at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on April 9. This presentation is sponsored by Regions Bank as part of the OMWC Rose Garden Literacy Project.

The annual Legacy Award dinner will follow on April 10. The C Spire Foundation is the presenting sponsor of this event.

“All arrangements for sponsors already established will remain the same for these new dates,” said Jan Farrington, sponsorship chair for the events.

“We so appreciate all those who are making generous investments in student programming for OMWC scholars through these signature events. We want our sponsors to know that their support means the world to our students and to us.”

Platinum sponsors for the 2020 Legacy Award are Sanderson Farms, Cooper Communities Inc. and Regions Bank. Gold sponsors are the FedEx Corp. and MTrade.

Silver sponsors are Bank Plus, Data Line Technologies, Nicholas Air, Diane and Dick Scruggs, The Jefferson, UM Foundation, Jane Claire and Nason Williams, and Yates Construction. Bronze sponsors are recognized here.

“While Dolly’s visit with us has to be delayed, we know that when she comes to Oxford next spring, it’s going to be better than ever,” Haskell said. “In the meantime, watch ‘When Life is Good Again,’ the video of the song Dolly was inspired to write during the pandemic.”

For more information about the event or supporting the OMWC program, contact Suzanne Helveston at shelveston@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2956.


Story written by Jonathan Scott, University of Mississippi

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