The University of Mississippi

Hood Memorial Scholarship Grows

Khloe Carattini, left, and Raegan Hamm, right, are recipients of the Caroline McCollum Simrall Hood Scholarship. Photos by Amy Howell/UM Development.

Caroline McCollum Simrall Hood, a University of Mississippi senior, was known for having the biggest smile and the most joyful laugh — along with being a kind, caring person.

Her spirit is among the criteria for awarding a memorial scholarship in her name that has grown to more than $140,000 and will help young women fulfill their dreams for years to come.

Hood passed away in January 2022 in a tragic car accident. She was 22 years old and four months away from graduating with a degree in integrated marketing communications from UM’s School of Journalism and New Media. She had planned to begin graduate school in the fall semester.

Caroline McCollum Simrall Hood

To pay tribute to Hood’s life, her passion for Ole Miss and her love of Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority, the sorority, her family and friends launched the memorial scholarship endowment. The scholarship is awarded to active members of KKG who personify Hood’s love for others and deep commitment to her sorority.

Holley Hood, the student’s mother, said her daughter would be overjoyed to know that each year a KKG sister will be chosen to carry on her legacy.

“I want Caroline to be remembered,” she said. “As a mother of a lost child, I still long to show my love and to do things for her. Putting my energy into something that honors my child and gives back is good for my soul.

“My hope in awarding scholarships to the young women of KKG is that it eases their journeys and honors who they are. I want them to know — just like I always told my sweet Caroline — that they are strong, smart and confident and they can achieve whatever they want in this life.

“I want them to know that life can be hard but that nothing and no one can stop them from reaching their goals. And most of all, I want them to feel loved and supported,” said Hood.

The first two scholarship recipients are Raegan Hamm of Dyersburg, Tennessee, and Khloe Carattini of Encinitas, California.

Hamm, a rising senior majoring in accountancy and minoring in finance, has plans to remain at Ole Miss for a master’s in accountancy after earning her undergraduate degree. She said she appreciates the scholarship both from a financial standpoint and as an honor.

“I am beyond grateful to be a recipient of this scholarship to help me reach my goals. However, it is bigger than just that. Caroline was a few years older than me, so while I did not know her personally, I have heard stories from her friends and family that attest to her lively spirit and loving heart.

“I have been fortunate enough to form relationships with her mother and sister, Holley and Kate, and I am truly blessed and honored to be able to play a part in paying tribute to Caroline’s life and keeping her memory alive,” said Hamm.

Carattini is a rising junior majoring in exercise science and minoring in recreation therapy on the pre-physical therapy track.

“I did not have the honor of knowing Caroline personally, but everyone I have spoken with has shared amazing experiences of how she filled their lives with joy through her kindness and love. She is definitely a person I aspire to be like.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to honor her name and carry forward her legacy. Her character and integrity were second to none. This world needs more people like Caroline, as it would be a better place,” said Carattini.

Hood grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and was a varsity and competitive cheerleader and tumbler from a very young age.

“She put her heart and soul into this sport and loved sharing her talent and spirit with others,” said Holley Hood. “She was a fearless flyer for her high school varsity cheer team.”

She also grew up as an Ole Miss Rebel. Her grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all UM graduates. She applied to Ole Miss and Mississippi State University … “just to ruffle her dad’s feathers a little,” said her mother.

“She always had her sights set on attending Ole Miss. Caroline loved football season … hanging out in the Grove and cheering on the Rebels always provided a great time for us as a family. This scholarship endowment honors Caroline’s memory and allows her legacy to live on in a place where she felt loved,” her mother said.

As a lifelong member of The Church of the Holy Trinity, Caroline Hood held close to her faith to help her through difficult times. On Jan. 11, 2014, exactly eight years before her death, she tweeted, “The pain you are feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.” Romans 8:18

“She worked hard to overcome adversity and knew her strength and courage came from her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Hood’s mother said.

“Caroline meant everything to our family. She had so many hopes and dreams, and our desire is for recipients of this scholarship to fulfill theirs, while also understanding the importance of making everyone feel special, as Caroline did.”

To make a gift to the Caroline McCollum Simrall Hood Memorial Scholarship, send a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation with the fund’s name noted in the memo line to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online here.

For more information on the scholarship, contact Brett Barefoot, executive director for central development, at or 662-915-2711.

By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development