Jim Barksdale - Personal Life and Philanthropy

Personal Life and Philanthropy

He and his late wife, Sally, gave a $5.4 million endowment to the University of Mississippi to help form the McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College. In January 2000, they gave $100 million to the State of Mississippi to create The Barksdale Reading Institute, a joint venture with the Mississippi Department of Education and the state's public universities.

His wife, Sally Barksdale, died of cancer in 2003. He has three children and five grandchildren. To honor his deceased wife, Barksdale asked that the Honors College be renamed the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

In 2005, he married Donna Kennedy Sones of Jackson, Mississippi. Between them they have six children and five grandchildren. Barksdale's latest gift, given in conjunction with his wife Donna, created the Mississippi Principal Corps at the University of Mississippi that will change the way the state's school principals are trained.

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