After a career spanning more than 30 years in the telecommunications and information technology industries, including leading four companies as CEO, Dean Douglas gives back to the university to which he credits his success.
With gifts totaling $250,000, the 1978 graduate received the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration founded the Dean Douglas Business Student Preparation Endowment and the Dean J. Douglas Business Advisory Board Business Connect Program Endowment.
Funds will work together to support an initiative aimed at making the business school a focal point for companies recruiting new executives, meaning graduates are better prepared to be hired by top companies in global business will.
“When I spoke to others about Ole Miss IBM and a lot of other companies, I realized that University of Mississippi graduates weren’t at the top of their recruiting lists, and that bothered me,” said Douglas, who is retired and lives in Oxford and teaches a sales course at the school.
“I understand that our students have a 90% placement rate within six months, but I’m not sure they get the best jobs. I want to help them do it.”
Douglas stated that he hopes his gift will be used to support the development of artificial intelligence software or tools to achieve a better job placement outcome for Ole Miss Business graduates.
“Placing our graduates in the best global companies is a focus of our advisory board, which Dean serves on, and it’s good for our students, for our school and for the university,” Dean Ken Cyree called.
“I am very grateful to Dean for his perspective on this situation and for his generous gifts. Dean brings deep, real-world experiences home to our students, and that kind of knowledge creates great educational opportunities for our students.”
Most recently, Douglas was CEO and President of Syniversum, a software company specializing in telecommunications. Previously, he was president of CenturyLink’s corporate segment, a division that accounted for $10 billion of the company’s $16 billion in revenue; He was the central transformation leader at a crucial time for the company.
Previously, he was CEO of Unify, where he led a transformation into a software-based, enterprise unified communications provider.
During his career, Douglas was also CEO of Westcon Group and LCC International, held senior management positions at Motorola and lived abroad for many years managing international business ventures for his employers.
In addition to his donations to the business school, Douglas supports Ole Miss Athletics; his most recent gift of $500,000 is for the Vaught Society and the Champions. Now. Campaign.
“I’m a huge Ole Miss fan, both academically and athletically,” Douglas said. “It just seemed to me that this would be a good way to help in the future as plans to expand the athletics facilities have come to fruition.”
Keith Carter, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics, expressed his gratitude for Douglas’ generosity, which will strengthen student-athlete facilities and programs.
“We are very grateful for Dean’s longstanding support and desire to see our student-athletes succeed in their respective sports, in the classroom and in life outside of college,” Carter said.
Douglas was there DePaul University in Chicago before joining Ole Miss where he joined the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.
“My fraternity brothers laughed when I told them I was going to IBM because I wasn’t the most tech-savvy guy,” Douglas recalled. “I have a gift for it, but it’s deeply hidden. I focused on verbal skills. I studied law here for a year and wasn’t interested in technology.
“Then I was given an opportunity to work in the Reagan administration or continue at IBM and I decided to continue at IBM, which in hindsight was a really solid move. The leadership thought a lot of me.
“So in my early 30’s, I was vice president of sales and marketing for a joint venture with Blockbuster, which really taught me the value of technology, not just in computing, but in telecom applications.”
Douglas credits his UM training, both academic and social, for his numerous professional achievements.
“There is no question that my training at Ole Miss helped me prepare for my career path,” he said. “In the classroom, the business degree I received was very helpful in understanding how businesses work, how to approach and sell those businesses.
“Outside of the classroom, I learned a lot about empathy and how to deal with people on a very social campus. At 24, I had a job speaking to the CEOs of these billion-dollar companies. In fact, I felt very comfortable with that dynamic because being an Ole Miss coed kind of made me fearless.”
Individuals and organizations may contribute to the Dean Douglas Business Student Preparation Endowment by mailing a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 for the amount specified on the endorsement, or by donating online at https://give.olemiss.edu.
To learn more about the School of Business Administration’s support, including its student preparation and Business Connect program, contact Angela Brown, Director of Development at email@example.com or 662-915-3181.
To support Ole Miss Athletics, visit http://givetoathletics.com or contact Fowler Staines, CEO and CFO, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-1143.