The University of Mississippi

Pushing Toward Progress

Dennis (left) and Hope Craven are pictured with their sons William and Lucas (from left) at a recent Rebel football game on the Ole Miss campus. Submitted photo.  

In the ongoing campaign to fund the Patterson School of Accountancy’s new home at the University of Mississippi, a major gift recently pushed the total raised from private support over $15 million.

Hope and Dennis Craven of North Palm Beach, Florida, made a $200,000 gift to help fund the construction of the planned four-story facility, estimated to cost over $120 million.

The Patterson School’s new home at the corner of Grove Loop and University Avenue will feature tiered auditoriums and classrooms, study areas, conference rooms, administrative and faculty office suites, and outdoor balconies and terraces.

The university is recognizing the couple’s gift by naming a vestibule at the building’s entrance in their honor.

An architectural rendering of the future Patterson School of Accountancy building at the University of Mississippi.

“The best decision I made in college was switching majors to accountancy,” said Dennis Craven, a 1993 graduate of the school. “The Patterson School of Accountancy played an integral part in my development, especially Dr. (Morris) Stocks and Dr. (Jimmy) Davis. The PSOA set me on the path to a fulfilling career.”

After college, Craven began working in the audit practice in the Memphis and London offices of Coopers & Lybrand — then a “Big 6” accounting firm. As his career path evolved, Craven held various executive roles in accounting and finance. After acting as Chief Financial Officer, he now serves as Chief Operating Officer for Chatham Lodging Trust, a publicly traded hotel real estate investment trust.

He and his wife met as cheerleaders at Ole Miss, where she majored in exercise science.

“For Hope and me, Ole Miss holds a special place in our hearts. We love the university and Oxford,” the donor said. “We have been blessed since our time there, and as such, it’s an honor for us to commit this gift to the Accountancy Building Fund for what is sure to be a fantastic addition to the Ole Miss campus.”

Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School, expressed gratitude for the Cravens’ gift.

“Dennis and Hope are wonderful representatives of Ole Miss and great role models for our students,” the dean said. “We are proud to have Dennis as one of our most outstanding alumni, and I’m so grateful to him and his family for their generous support of our new building.

“Our goal in the Patterson School is to ultimately become the top accountancy school in the country. This new facility will help tremendously in recruiting, students, faculty and staff – and will enable the Patterson School and university to reach new heights of excellence.”

Recognized as one of the best accountancy schools in the nation, the PSOA continues to have strong enrollment and sought-after accountancy programs that are expanding. These are some of the factors behind the campaign to construct the academic building that will serve as an impressive gateway to campus.

“We look forward to seeing everyone at the opening of the building!” Craven said.

To make a gift online, visit the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund.

For information on remaining naming opportunities or to establish an endowment, contact Jason McCormick, executive director for development, at or 662-915-1757.

By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation