Commonalities Among Experiences of Supportive Alumni of the University of Southern Mississippi

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Wanda Maulding

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


Fiscal solubility, a common concern among leaders in higher learning, is the basis for a great deal of planning and worry. Solubility is dependent upon income meeting and exceeding yearly budget requirements. The ability of leaders to plan and budget depends upon their ability to understand the dynamics of income sources and calculate based upon that understanding. As tax dollars become less available, nontax-related revenues have increased in importance. This shift in support and the need for increased understanding of alternative funding is the foundation of this study. The implications of the existing literature toward a study of relationships between undergraduate experience and alumni financial support for The University of Southern Mississippi seem clear. No two studies, found during the course of this research, involving similar samples have been conducted in manners which yield comparable results. Furthermore, research supporting broad conclusions based on a single theory is not supported by prior published research. This study, conceptually applicable to numerous institutions each taken as a single case, was conducted utilizing a sample of supportive alumni of The University of Southern Mississippi. Thus, the findings of this study are institution specific to The University of Southern Mississippi. The identification of common interests, activities, giving traits, and/or backgrounds of supportive alumni is the ultimate purpose of this study. Development of clusters within the sample body reveals that identifiable subgroups do exist within the body of dues paid members of The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association. Additionally, the development of clusters more clearly demonstrates the tendency of alumni of similar backgrounds to share similar giving traits. Based upon this study, it appears that alumni of The University of Southern Mississippi who were engaged in one or more activities as students tend to be more supportive of the institution after enrollment.