Burns Family Continues to Show Generosity Toward Ole Miss

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Sheryl and Roland Burns have shown great generosity and service toward Ole Miss athletics and the university as a whole.
Sheryl and Roland Burns have shown great generosity and service toward Ole Miss athletics and the university as a whole.

April 3, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. – A new Ole Miss residence hall will be named for Vaught Society members Sheryl and Roland Burns of Frisco, Texas, on Friday to honor the couple’s generosity and service. The 3:30 p.m. public dedication ceremony will also celebrate the couple’s recent $2 million gift, which elevates their lifetime giving to more than $5 million.

The couple made a $1.5 million gift to the Patterson School of Accountancy and subsequently gave $1.5 million to the Ole Miss athletics department to help fund a new team meeting room for football. They recently pledged $2 million to the university to continue to support both the academic and athletic programs.

“Sheryl and I are honored to be part of the Ole Miss family and wanted to continue to support the university’s excellent academic programs as well as help the football program have the facilities they need to be competitive in the powerful Southeastern Conference,” Roland said.

The Burns were inspired to support athletics, and when they learned of plans to build a new team meeting room with cutting-edge technology for the Rebel football team, they provided a $1.5 million gift for its construction, calling the football program the “calling card that keeps the alumni connected to university and draws them back to campus.” Ole Miss named the meeting room for the couple, and athletics director Ross Bjork applauds their ongoing commitment to enhance both athletics and academics.

“Sheryl and Roland Burns have been so generous to the University of Mississippi on many levels,” Bjork said. “They continue to give their time and resources to make a strong impact not only on the playing fields for athletics, but also in the classroom for academics. Their spirit of giving is showcased by their commitment to have an equal amount of their contributions go toward athletics and the same amount towards academics. That is uncommon leadership, and Roland and Sheryl have displayed the best of the best in their increasing commitment toward excellence across our beautiful campus. We are thankful they are Rebels and appreciate all of their generous support.”

A reception will follow the dedication in the lobby of Burns Hall, which is located on Rebel Drive facing George Hall. The event will mark the second time in a year that a campus building has been named for a Patterson School alumnus. In April 2013, the adjacent residence hall was named for Mary and Lucian Minor of Memphis. Roland Burns earned both undergraduate and master’s degrees in accountancy at Ole Miss.

Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones expressed his appreciation to the couple.

“Sheryl and Roland Burns’ generous investments, wise counsel and exceptional involvement in the life of our institution are paying great dividends not only for the University of Mississippi that stands before us today, but also for the generations of students who will look to Ole Miss for opportunities in the future,” Jones said. “We are profoundly grateful for their tremendous investments and look forward to seeing the Burns name on this modern facility that serves hundreds of students. This naming is so fitting when considering the countless young people who will be positively impacted by this family’s support.”

Accountancy Dean Mark Wilder points to the generosity of accountancy alumni as a key factor in the school’s success in the national rankings. The Public Accounting Report, the independent newsletter of the accounting profession, recently rated Ole Miss’ undergraduate accountancy program as No. 4 in the country (behind Texas, Illinois and Brigham Young) and the master’s and doctoral programs at Nos. 5 and 8, respectively. The accountancy programs are No. 1 in the SEC.

“We deeply appreciate the generous support of Sheryl and Roland Burns,” Wilder said. “They have established the Burns Chair of Accountancy, helping us significantly with faculty support, which is one of our most critical strategic needs. In addition, for a decade now our students have been participating in internships with the financial reporting department of Comstock Resources, an independent energy company, where Roland is president and CFO. This exceptional opportunity gives students valuable insights into the financial workings of a publicly traded company.” Wilder noted that “Roland has enjoyed a stellar career and helped the University and School in many ways over the years and we are pleased and honored to induct him into the Patterson School’s Hall of Fame on April 24.”

Burns, who serves on the boards of the University of Mississippi Foundation and the Patterson School, understands the necessity of quality faculty and mentors to ensure future success at the school and recruitment of top students.

“When I was a student in the accounting program from 1979 to 1982, I had great support from professors, including the legendary Gene Peery and Jimmy Davis,” Burns said. “My accounting professors took a personal interest in my future career and advised me how to be successful in the business world. I left the university and headed to Dallas, Texas, entering the competitive world of public accounting very well prepared to build a business career. The focus that the nationally ranked Patterson School of Accountancy at Ole Miss places on instruction and student development is what inspires its alumni to support the university.”

President and CFO of Comstock Resources Inc., Roland was instrumental in transforming the enterprise over the past two decades from a small start-up with few resources into a $2 billion NYSE-listed exploration and production company. The Birmingham, Ala., native spent eight years in Dallas with accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP, working primarily in the firm’s oil and gas audit practice. He joined Comstock in 1990 as CFO and contributed to the company’s growth by overseeing a series of acquisitions, joint ventures and financing transactions. In 2004, he was vital in founding and taking public Bois d’Arc Energy, Inc, a Gulf of Mexico exploration company that Comstock sold for $1.8 billion in 2008.

Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director of development for the university, says she has developed a friendship with the Burns family members over a number of years and is always uplifted by their great passion for education.

“Their calling to provide extraordinary educational opportunities began in Frisco, Texas, where they helped found the Legacy Christian Academy,” Vaughn said. “Although that in itself is a great legacy, Sheryl and Roland then turned their attention to Ole Miss, where their two sons attend. Their belief in and support of our efforts here at Ole Miss is truly inspiring. When people see the name Burns Hall, I hope they will stop and reflect on the remarkable generosity of this wonderful family.”   

In the Burns’ support to establish the Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, they ran the school’s initial capital campaigns and Roland oversaw construction of much of its $20 million campus. The school has grown to serve over 750 students on its 30-acre campus.

They have three children: Stephanie, a graduate of Southern Methodist University; Derek, an Ole Miss graduate student in accountancy who earned a bachelor’s degree at Ole Miss in 2013; and Tyler, an Ole Miss freshman majoring in biology.

Those individuals and organizations interested in joining this family in providing academic support to Ole Miss, can contact Debbie Vaughn at dvaughn@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3937. To learn more about providing support to athletics programs, contact Keith Carter, executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at jkcarter@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7159.

    • Rebels Rule NCAA Stats, SEC History

      Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - Football

      Last week, I wrote this story about the 64 school records and numerous program firsts that Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss football team accomplished in 2015.Today let's take a closer look at where the Rebels' season stacked up in the national... read more

    • What They're Saying in 2015

      Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss Football is one of five programs in the nation to make back-to-back New Year's Six bowl games and will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 2016) for the first time since 1970. The Rebels are the... read more

    • Ole Miss Football: 2015 Offensive Juggernaut

      Thursday, December 3, 2015 -

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Rebel Offense Shatters School Records... read more

    • Seniors Shine, Records Broken in Magnolia Bowl

      Saturday, November 21, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsAfter a bounce that didn't go their way against Arkansas, the Rebels knew tonight was a must-win situation. No. 22 Ole Miss knocked off rival No. 15 LSU 38-17 in a top-25 matchup... read more

    • Drama Rules The Day at Vaught-Hemingway

      Saturday, November 7, 2015 - Football

      By Brandon Lee, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsDrama in front of a sold-out crowd of 60,680 between the No. 18 Rebels and Arkansas? It was that and a whole lot more in a back-and-forth Saturday night knockdown, drag-out SEC West... read more

    • Rebels Dominate In Prime-Time Spotlight

      Saturday, October 24, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsIt wasn't pretty, but the Rebels got the job done. No. 23 Ole Miss and No. 15 Texas A&M combined for seven turnovers, but a dominant defense and a balanced offense led to... read more

    • Midseason Checkpoint: Rebels Control Their Own Destiny

      Wednesday, October 14, 2015 -

      It seemed like it was just yesterday that the Ole Miss football team continued through the motions of fall camp, and we all were just ready for the season to finally begin. Fast forward with a little Talladega up-tempo... read more

    • Rebels Bounce Back at Home

      Saturday, October 10, 2015 -

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsOle Miss raced past another non-conference opponent at home this week. The Rebels returned to their usual form after a conference loss at Florida last week, racking up 665 yards of total offense,... read more

    • Ratings, Exposure Huge for Ole Miss-Alabama

      Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss' historic win over Alabama last Saturday was not only popular with members of Rebel Nation, it was among the most-watched college football games of the year.The Rebels' thrilling 43-37 victory over the Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium was the... read more

    • Rebels Pass First Test in Search of Playoff Berth

      Sunday, September 20, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThe road to the College Football Playoff includes many tests along the way. The Ole Miss Rebels (3-0, 1-0 SEC) just passed their first, proving that they are a legitimate contender after knocking... read more

    • Kelly Makes Statement in Big Rebel Win

      Saturday, September 12, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;... read more

    • Big Plays Highlight Season-Opening Win

      Saturday, September 5, 2015 - Football

      Offense, defense and special teams. Ole Miss dominated all three aspects of the game as the 15th-ranked Rebels routed UT Martin 76-3 in the season opener. The 60,186 fans, mostly dressed in white, anticipated an exciting start to the 2015... read more

    • Time to Take a Stand

      Monday, August 31, 2015 -

      It's finally here...game week! It's been 242 days since the Ole Miss Rebels last took to the gridiron for a clash of the helmets. After a successful 2014 campaign in which Ole Miss knocked off a No. 1-ranked team... read more

    • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge to Air on ESPNU Aug. 1

      Thursday, July 30, 2015 -

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ATLANTA - On Saturday, fans can tune in to see the Rebels duo of Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze and former Ole Miss basketball player Sean Tuohy compete in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • Rebels Emerge on Four Watch Lists This Week

      Friday, July 17, 2015 -

      Only 50 days until The Grove is full, the constant shouts of "Hotty Toddy" are in the air, and football kicks off 100 years in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium! Looking forward to this upcoming college football season, seven Rebels were named to... read more


» «