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Hancock Whitney Commits $75,000 to USM Oseola McCarty Scholarship Program

GULFPORT, Miss. (October 14, 2021)—Hancock Whitney, the largest bank headquartered in Mississippi and one of America’s strongest, safest banks, has partnered with The University of Southern Mississippi through a $75,000 commitment to the Oseola McCarty Scholarship Endowment, established in 1995 when its namesake—an 87-year-old former laundress who lived very frugally—designated USM as the beneficiary of an unexpected $150,000 planned gift. McCarty’s gift represented the majority of her life savings.

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Hancock Whitney Pine Belt President Michael Schloegel (second from left) gathers with students selected for the Oseola McCarty Scholars Program at The University of Southern Mississippi next to a sculpture honoring the former laundress whose life savings created the scholarship endowment bearing her name.


Hancock Whitney’s donation of $25,000 per year for three years also supports the Osceola McCarty Scholars Program created in 2018 as an extension of the endowment held by the USM Foundation.

“Hancock Whitney is proud to partner with The University of Southern Mississippi to continue to honor the legacy of Oseola McCarty, remembered for her service others, strong work ethic, giving heart, and desire to help others afford college,” said Hancock Whitney Pine Belt President Michael Schloegel. “Knowing the scholars receive financial training and career based resources to help them thrive in the workforce was at the heart of our decision to partner with Southern Miss on such a meaningful program. We look forward to watching current and future scholars succeed now and in years to come.”

To date, 126 students have received a total of $598,721 in scholarships from the McCarty scholarship endowment.

The Oseola McCarty Scholars are South Mississippi students, preferably from the Hattiesburg and Pine Belt region, who have distinguished themselves in the areas of work ethic, leadership, and extracurricular activities and have demonstrated financial need. The scholars are chosen fairly through the freshman competitive application process and have access to a personalized program tailored to help them make strategic choices during their time at Southern Miss.

The scholars program incorporates financial planning and other career-based resources to help build additional skills to succeed in the workforce and become financially stable. Upperclassmen have the chance to develop their leadership skills further through two direct leadership opportunities built within the program. By the end of the four-year experience, scholars will have a polished resume as well as the necessary skills for their chosen career field, a network of future employers, and lifelong memories forged with other McCarty Scholars.

“We are thankful to Hancock Whitney for their generous commitment to bolster Miss McCarty’s scholarship. We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of her gift and, in doing that, told her story to a new generation of Golden Eagles and Pine Belt community members who weren’t aware of her nature and legacy,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation.

Additional information about the Oseola McCarty Scholars Program and Scholarship is available at https://www.usm.edu/undergraduate-scholarships/oseola-mccarty-scholars.php.