Meeks Family Trust Establishes Scholarship with $1 Million Gift

Published 5:31 pm Monday, May 31, 2021

University of Southern Mississippi (USM) alumnus Frank Meeks was born of modest means; however, he named the USM Foundation a beneficiary of his trust after ensuring his family’s future was financially secure.

A $1 million gift from The Meeks Family Trust has established the Frank Meeks – Trent Lott Entrepreneurial Scholarship Endowment, which will provide annual assistance to a student in any major who demonstrates financial need and possesses an entrepreneurial spirit.

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While at Southern Miss, Meeks was a student leader, serving as Student Body President, a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Kappa Sigma Fraternity and multiple other student organizations. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1978.

“Frank was an entrepreneur,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation. “He came from humble beginnings; but in true Southern Miss fashion, made a name for himself on campus and, later, in the pizza delivery industry in Washington D.C. We are sincerely grateful for his benevolence to USM during his lifetime and after his passing. This scholarship will allow future generations of students to forge their own path, much like Frank did.”

Meeks was an award-winning Domino’s Pizza franchise owner, a philanthropist and an advocate for his community. He passed away on November 9, 2004, at the age of 48.

Founded in 1959, the USM Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the University community by overseeing fundraising efforts to raise private support for scholarships and other academic needs at Southern Miss.

For more information on supporting The University of Southern Mississippi, call the USM Foundation at 601.266.5210 or visit

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 131 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 37 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit