Stace Mercier is passionate about the betterment of The University of Southern Mississippi, and so the USM Foundation named Mercier executive director earlier this month. Mercier has been actively contributing her capacities to the foundation for over 10 years, previously serving as the chief financial officer and associate director for finance.
“I am excited about being named the permanent executive director for the foundation,” Mercier said. “Regardless of the title, I have always been committed to doing my very best to advance the university. The future of Southern Miss is bright, and the foundation will be an integral part of shaping that future.”
The USM Foundation, established in 1959, is responsible for the university’s fundraising ventures and is associated with the Alumni Association, the Trent Lott National Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship and the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families. Donations made to the foundation can be used for many purposes, from scholarships to building projects.
“Charitable dollars play an important role in providing funds that can make a transformative impact on the university,” Mercier said. “Two very recent examples of that are Scianna Hall and the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society.”
Those giving can be assured their monetary gifts go directly into projects beneficial to USM. Mercier stressed that trust is important to build between the foundation and donors.
“It operates in such a manner that alumni and friends of the university feel good about investing in our students, faculty, staff and programs,” – Mercier
As the new executive director, Mercier will be the highest-ranking professional at the foundation. She will be responsible for managing the day-to-day procedures of the
organization. This important role is not unmanageable for Mercier, who proved her capability during her interim trial as executive director. Chad Driskell, vice president of external affairs, made it clear that securing the position for Mercier was an easy decision.
“I have great confidence and trust in the ability of Stace Mercier to be the permanent executive director of the USM Foundation,” Driskell said. “(Mercier) possesses great leadership skills, has proven management experience and provides an attention to detail that is uncompromising. This move gives us a solid leadership structure and allows us to move forward in assembling the highest caliber development group possible.”
Not only has Mercier garnered the attention of her superiors, but also of those working side-by-side with her. President of the USM Foundation Board Reed Allison noted the qualities Mercier possesses from firsthand observation.
“Having had the privilege of working closely with (Mercier) the last few years, the foundation leadership and I are very excited about her title of executive director of the foundation being made permanent,” Allison said. “I am very confident that with her vision and leadership skills, Stace is the right person to take the USM Foundation to the next level.”