Mississippi State University has made history after being named the recipient of one of the largest contributions to ever be given to a higher education institution in the Magnolia State.
The $100 million gift from George and Kathy Bishop is also among the largest contributions designated solely for scholarship support made to any university in the world.
“Today is a truly historic day for Mississippi State University and the entire state of Mississippi as we celebrate this transformational gift that will change the lives of generations of students, their families, and their communities,” Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum said. “This unprecedented investment in our students by George and Kathy Bishop reflects their visionary understanding of the power of higher education and their appreciation for the life-changing work we are doing at Mississippi State.”
The contribution builds on the Texas couple’s past support for scholarships, namely the George Bishop Family Endowed Scholarship which was established by a $10 million commitment from the Bishops in 2018.
“Mississippi State opened many doors for me and gave me the foundation I needed to be successful. So, when the opportunity arrived for me to be able to give back to the place that’s been so influential for me and many others, it just felt right,” George Bishop said. “It’s a blessing to help people, and I especially want to help students that have the desire to work but don’t have the funds to accomplish their goals on their own.”
A native of Smith County, Bishop earned a degree in petroleum geology from the land-grant institution in 1958.
He led a successful early career in the oil and gas industry in Louisiana and Texas before founding GeoSouthern Energy in 1981, which grew to become one of the largest, privately held producers of oil and gas in the nation.
Bishop, a former member of the MSU Foundation’s board of directors, was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from the university in 2019.
“I’m most proud of the fact that all my success doesn’t really make a difference to me,” Bishop said. “I came from nothing, but you have to believe and know you’re blessed to accomplish great things. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and more so for what’s been done for me along the way.”
Currently, 97 students have benefited from the Bishops’ scholarship investments at MSU.
According to the university, the funds will enable the George Bishop Family Endowed Scholarship to provide more assistance for MSU students each year, further cementing the family’s meaningful legacy at the university.