OXFORD, Mississippi — Lifetime Disney World fan Donna Dukes Wade knows the theme park considers herself the happiest place on Earth, but don’t tell Mickey the University of Mississippi makes her a little Happier.
Wade, from Oxford and a part-time resident of Naples, Florida, was a die-hard Rebels fan long before she graduated in business administration in 1974, majoring in accounting. When the Rebels play, she’s there, frequently even supporting the teams on the road. And almost every Wednesday for the past 20 years, she’s joined a bunch of guys for lunch at Handy Andy to talk Ole Miss sports.
His college donations record spans 463 rows on an Excel spreadsheet with a history of over $500,000 in support of many different entities – both academic and athletic.
With a $50,000 donation to the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund — his most recent of many gifts to the school — Wade will help shape the institution’s new construction that shaped his life during his time on campus at Oxford.
“We are grateful for all that Donna has done for us over a long period of time,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “The new building will be located in a prime location on campus, and we believe it will provide our school with the opportunity to become the #1 accounting program in the nation.
“We greatly appreciate Donna’s support of this truly transformative opportunity for the Patterson School.”
Wade credits her successful career as a Certified Public Accountant to the education she received at Ole Miss.
“Through my background in accounting, I have been able to help countless clients achieve their financial goals,” Wade said. “Ole Miss gave me the foundation I needed to be self-sufficient in business at a time when it was hard for women to do so. For that, I will always be grateful.
In 2009, Wade and his mother, Cecile F. Dukes, established the Dukes-Wade Scholarship in Accounting.
“I guess my affinity for Ole Miss was contagious because my mom came to love college as much as I did, and she wanted to help other accounting majors have a similar experience — especially those who didn’t. maybe not had the opportunity to go to college otherwise,” Wade said.
Dukes died in 2010; Wade continued to fund the scholarship in memory of his mother’s love and support.
At Ole Miss, Wade was a Taylor Medalist, Phi Kappa Phi, and a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She was honored by Who’s Who among American college and university students and received the Outstanding Student Award from the year of the Mississippi Society of CPA.
She is active on the School of Accountancy Advisory Council, past Chair of the School Board of Trustees and an ex officio member of the Board of Directors of the Ole Miss Alumni Association.
Her son, Dax Wade, attended Ole Miss and her granddaughter, Kenedy Wade, will be a freshman at her alma mater this fall.
“The new Patterson Schoolhouse will be one of the finest buildings on our campus,” said Jason McCormick, Director of Development. “It’s a big undertaking, and we couldn’t do it without the support of our alumni like Donna.
“We are extremely grateful not only for this gift, but also for her support of the Patterson School of Accountancy over the years.”
UM accounting programs have been ranked in the Top 20 nationally by the Public Accounting Report every year since 2008. Earlier this year, Big4AccountingFirms.org released a list of the “50 Best Accounting Schools in the United States” , and Ole Miss was ranked No. 1. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC.
In the 2020-2021 academic year, the school awarded a record 588 degrees – including 253 master’s degrees.
To learn more about supporting the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Jason McCormick, Director of Development, at [email protected] or 662-915-1757. To make a gift, visit https://give.olemiss.edu.