Published on September 25th, 2023 | by University of Mississippi0
New Prize at University of Mississippi Aims to Fulfill Students’ Greatest Potential
University announces launch of Stamps Impact Prize
A $100,000 renewable gift to the University of Mississippi from E. Roe Stamps and his family will establish a competitive award for undergraduate students seeking support for enterprising academic projects outside the classroom.
The Stamps Impact Prize is first program of its kind funded by the Stamps family, and the university will match the investment, Chancellor Glenn Boyce announced. Ken Sufka, distinguished professor of psychology and pharmacology and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will lead the program.
“We are incredibly grateful to Roe Stamps, his late wife Penny, and their daughter Annie for working side by side with us over the last decade,” Boyce said. “We appreciate how they have demonstrated their trust in Ole Miss by partnering with us again, this time to pilot the Stamps Impact Prize.
“The University of Mississippi will be the first in the nation to launch this program for undergraduate students, which will inspire them to pursue academic passions outside of the classroom and help them advance areas of interest while building the leadership skills needed to be successful.”
The family provided major financial gifts to establish the Stamps Scholars Program at Ole Miss in 2012. The highly competitive program is unique among UM scholarships, as it features a generous enrichment fund for educational pursuits, including travel, research, internships and academic conferences.
Any Ole Miss undergraduate student is eligible to apply for funds to support enhanced educational opportunities through the Stamps Impact Prize.
“Ole Miss has demonstrated a strong, personal commitment to its students, and we are pleased to partner again to create opportunities that, unfortunately, are often so rare,” Roe Stamps said. “Our goal is to inspire undergraduate students to pursue their academic passions outside of the classroom and to aim high.”
The Stamps Impact Prize is open to undergraduates on all UM campuses. The application portal with specific details will open by October 1, 2023, and be announced to students and faculty via myOleMiss. Applications will be accepted through November 1 and require consultation with faculty mentors before submission.
The inaugural prize recipients will be announced November 17. Coupled with UM matching funds, $200,000 will be available annually.
Recipients will have proposed fall, spring or summer timelines for their projects, which may include research, community service, technology development, travel – outside established study-abroad or Study USA programs – or other experiential learning components. While there is no set limit on the amount students may request, the budget for a typical prize is projected to be $5,000.
Competitive applications will propose activities in which the student can make a substantial independent contribution. The proposed activities should result in, or contribute to, a finished product for the student, such as a publishable manuscript, artistic or scholarly work, exhibition, performance or other tangible way to share their discovery and achievement.
The prize creates partnership opportunities for students and faculty, Provost Noel Wilkin said.
“Students and alumni often report working alongside faculty and other experts in their disciplines to be some of their most rewarding collegiate experiences,” he said. “Mentored research and experiences in their chosen fields are crucial to students’ development and help hone the analytical and critical thinking skills required to successfully prepare for the next stages of their career paths.
“It is also imperative that we reinforce the enduring joy of inquiry. Initiatives like the Stamps Impact Prize are essential to the intellectual health of the university.”
Sufka agreed, saying the prize brings added value by broadening opportunities for faculty to support student-initiated research and creative achievement projects.
“We have talented undergraduate students looking to our exceptional faculty for remarkable experiences – research and creative endeavors – outside of the classroom,” he said. “The Stamps Impact Prize is a perfect fit for this need and will significantly change what the Ole Miss experience can and will be for these gifted students.
“This, in turn, will better position Ole Miss graduates to be much more competitive and successful as they move into careers or pursue advanced degrees in graduate and professional programs.
The Stamps family has provided Ole Miss with more than $2.6 million, supporting the Stamps Scholars Program and the new prize.
Roe and Penny Stamps began the Stamps Scholars Program at their alma maters of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Seeing the impact, the philanthropists grew their scholarship programs for thousands of students across the nation and in the U.K. but had no previous affiliation with Ole Miss.
The UM Stamps Scholarship continues to be the university’s most comprehensive, full scholarship package. Each scholarship covers the total cost of attendance, along with a $12,000 enrichment fund for unique educational pursuits, including travel, research, internships and academic conferences.
The 2023-24 class of freshman Stamps Scholars rounds the total number at Ole Miss to 60, making UM the third-largest program in the nation.
By Bill Dabney and Katie Morrison