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Morgan Freeman to host 20th anniversary gala at Ole Miss’ Ford Center

Photo courtesy of Morgan Freeman/Twitter.

Ole Miss will be welcoming award-winning Morgan Freeman later this month as he hosts the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts’ 20th-anniversary gala.

The event on March 25 will honor Ole Miss alumni Mary and Sam Haskell, who will receive the Ford Center’s third Concerto Award for their patronage of the center and the arts.

“In honor of our 20th anniversary, I wanted to find a way to publicly recognize exceptional patrons, who have supported the center from the beginning and continue to provide their guidance, energy, and treasure,” Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director and associate professor of music, said.

The first two inaugural Concerto Awards were presented to the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation and Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat.

Other notable appearances planned for the first half of the gala will include the following:

  • Tony and Emmy award winner Christine Baranski
  • Ole Miss alumnus and Emmy-winning actor Gerald McRaney
  • Award-winning actress Delta Burke
  • Broadway and Critics’ Choice Award-winning TV star Bellamy Young
  • Supermodel Kathy Ireland
  • Percussionist Pedro Segundo
  • Emmy-winning producer, director, actress, and choreographer Debbie Allen
  • Pianist Bruce Levingston
  • Actor and singer Blake McIver Ewing
  • Actress Mary Lane Haskell

The second half of the gala is set to feature performances from eight-time Grammy Award winners Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. at 7:30 p.m.

“The 20-year anniversary of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts is certainly worthy of a celebration,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “The Ford Center is a cultural treasure, the premier entertainment venue of the region, that makes life more meaningful by offering experiences in the performing arts.

Additional performances during the gala will include actress and recording artist Mary Donnelly Haskell, “The Lawrence Welk Show” regular Guy Hovis, and Broadway’s Laurie Gayle Stephenson. Oxford icon Patty Lewis also will appear on the program.

All performers will be supported with musical accompaniment by the Mississippians Jazz Ensemble, which is an Ole Miss student group under the direction of Michael Worthy.

Tickets to the March 25 anniversary celebration range from $25 to $60, with reduced prices for Ole Miss students, faculty, staff, and retirees. They can be purchased at the UM Box Office in the Ford Center, by calling 662-915-7411, or online.

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