Ongoing Support from Jimmy A. Payne Foundation Enables Programs to Thrive

Published 4:49 pm Monday, August 2, 2021

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The Jimmy A. Payne Foundation recently made a $571,000 gift to support multiple areas of Southern Miss through the USM Foundation, benefitting all four corners of the institution’s academic landscape. There are very few areas of the University that Jim Payne’s generosity has not impacted.

Since its establishment in 1989, the Jimmy A. Payne Foundation has provided $2 million to benefit Southern Miss. Since his passing in 2015, Jim’s children, Jonathan Payne and April Payne Nall, have continued their father’s philanthropic legacy by overseeing the Foundation.

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The support of each program, as listed below, allows important and impactful programs to bolster the already exceptional reputation of USM, while enabling students to navigate their pathways to earning a college degree.



  • The Jimmy A. Payne Gap Scholarship Program
  • An RN to BSN Scholarship Program (College of Nursing and Health Professions)
  • Scholarship Endowment to Honor Dr. Cyndi H. Gaudet (College of Business and Economic Development – Gulf Coast)
  • Kennard Scholars Program
  • Library Public Services Fellowship



  • The Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families Building Initiative
  • Digital Lab Enhancement (University Libraries)



  • The Hatchery at Southern Miss (College of Business and Economic Development)
  • Oseola McCarty Scholars Programming Support
  • School of Sociology: Academic Peer Mentoring Program (College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Advancement of Women in Natural Sciences (College of Arts and Sciences)
  • The Children’s Center for Communication and Development



“Jim Payne was a true Golden Eagle — his passion for Southern Miss was unfaltering. We admire his vision and outstanding generosity during his lifetime and well beyond,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation. “His legacy will live on in perpetuity through each student receiving these great gifts of education.”

A native of Newton, Miss., Payne served in the U.S. Army National Guard before attending USM, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, eventually serving as vice president. After graduating in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, he began working for Proctor & Gamble. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi College and went on to become a pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry founding UAD Laboratories, where he served as president and CEO until its merger with Forest Laboratories in 1989. Payne was inducted into the Southern Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 1990 and was also a member of the Mississippi Business Journal’s Business Hall of Fame.

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