The University of Mississippi

She Never Quit

Trenia Reynolds (second from left) tailgates prior to an Ole Miss football game with (from left) her husband, Bruce, daughter, Moni Reynolds Simpson, and son-in-law, Stuart Simpson.Submitted photo. 

“Never Quit” – two powerfully motivating words for the Ole Miss Rebels became, years later, an oft-repeated mantra for a University of Mississippi alumna who struggled to recover from a life altered by unthinkable tragedy.

In 2015, healthy, vibrant, energetic Trenia Reynolds was instantly rendered quadriplegic after being run off the road by an 18-wheeler. In critical condition, the Clinton, Mississippi, resident envisioned the late Rebel football player Chucky Mullins encouraging her to never quit fighting to survive.

Trenia and Bruce Reynolds enjoy an Ole Miss football game. Submitted photo.

Now her husband, Bruce Reynolds, and daughter, Moni Reynolds Simpson, both of Oxford, Mississippi, hope to pass on Trenia Reynolds’ determination to the recipients of endowments Reynolds established.

With gifts totaling $750,000, the UM graduate created the Trenia Amelia Fulton Reynolds Council Scholarship Endowment under the umbrella of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy and the Trenia Amelia Reynolds “Never Quit” Student Athlete Relief Endowment.

Trenia Reynolds, who passed away in 2023, graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1975 followed by a master’s degree in speech pathology in 1978. She then accepted a position as the sole speech and hearing therapist for Clinton (Mississippi) Public School District.

“Trenia considered speech pathology her ministry,” Reynolds said. “She would tell her coworkers to treat the work not just as a calling but as a ministry, so the Women’s Council gift is a four-year scholarship designated specifically for speech pathology students.”

Over her four decades in the profession, Trenia Reynolds molded hundreds of speech- and hearing-impaired children into confident students who have become successful professionals in their chosen careers.

“On behalf of the Ole Miss Women’s Council, we greatly appreciate Bruce and Moni’s desire to honor Trenia’s life by making a gift that will be transformative in the lives of our students,” said Suzanne Helveston, OMWC program director. “Our Council Scholars not only receive financial assistance, but they also are mentored by our established cadre of highly successful professionals — similar to how Trenia helped shape the lives of her students.”

In one of many rewarding moments, the UM alumna accompanied a student to Memphis after paving the way for him to receive a cochlear implant. She was then present to see the child hear for the first time, thus changing the trajectory of his life.

Additionally, “Trenia lived and died Ole Miss sports,” her husband said. “To reflect her passion for the Rebels, we came up with a fund that will be available to any student-athlete who has a negative, life-altering experience.”

Trenia Reynolds (right) and her family (from left) son-in-law Stuart Simpson, daughter, Moni Reynolds Simpson, and husband, Bruce Reynolds, are pictured with the Egg Bowl trophy at a benefit for the Palmer Home. Submitted photo.

In 1987, Trenia Reynolds witnessed the gridiron hit that left Mullins paralyzed from the neck down and she followed his story closely, saving any articles she read about the injured athlete. She also participated in a walk in his honor and various fundraising drives to support his continued health care. She even attended his funeral and later visited his gravesite.

“Then, boom, same thing: she is Chucky,” Reynolds said. “The little steel magnolia, 98-pound turbo got relegated to a chair. She forgave the truck driver and just tried so hard. She experienced a great deal of pain but always had that never-quit attitude.”

In a Facebook post, she once wrote, “After my injury, while in ICU, I was aware that Chucky was there with me in a dream, giving me his support and I said to him, ‘If you can do this, I can too.’ I have continued to use his never quit quote to make it through some very dark times.”

Catherine Adkins, the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s development assistant for major gifts, expressed gratitude for Reynolds’ gift to student-athletes.

“This family’s endowment will allow Ole Miss Athletics to continue to support and develop our student-athletes to their fullest potential to be competitive in life, even after a career-ending injury or other tragic circumstance,” she said. “Bruce and Trenia are longtime members of the Ole Miss family, and we are grateful to Bruce for including Ole Miss Athletics in his desire to honor his wife. By this endowment, Trenia will forever be supporting her Rebels.”

Reynolds recently committed a third gift to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in memory of his wife and to cover operational costs for the campus ministry.

“One gift is scholastic; another is for sports and the FCA one has a Christian aspect. We feel like that covers Trenia pretty well,” Reynolds said. “We want all of this to honor Trenia and get her story out. She was a special Christian lady who was in some ridiculously bad circumstances, but she just kept on going.”

Trenia Reynolds was a fighter. In November 2015, she was flown via air ambulance to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Immediately before leaving Jackson, two doctors told her husband she would never be able to talk, eat on her own, have a wheelchair or even sit up. She ultimately proved them wrong on all accounts.

“With the help of God, they literally performed miracles at this house of healing — not just prolonging her life but making her life as normal and accommodating as it could possibly have been,” Reynolds said.

During her career, Reynolds was the recipient of many professional awards and accolades, the most prestigious being the Outstanding School Clinician for the state, which was presented to her in 2008 by the Mississippi Speech and Hearing Association.

Bruce Reynolds earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s in urban planning from Ole Miss in 1974 and 1975 respectively. He later received an advanced degree in economic development from the University of Oklahoma.

During college, Reynolds interned at the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was later hired, ultimately became director of the Planning and Urban Planning Division and was instrumental in recruiting Nissan to Mississippi, creating 2,500 jobs.

The couple knew each other at Clinton (Mississippi) High School and began dating before marrying during college. Together, they enjoyed traveling to Ole Miss games and the many “little latitudes” mentioned in Jimmy Buffet songs, having attended over 40 of his concerts.

Bruce and Trenia Reynolds during their college days at Ole Miss. Submitted photo.

The Reynolds’ daughter, Moni, is a third-generation Rebel who graduated from Ole Miss in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and works for Invitation Oxford magazine. She and her husband, Stuart, have two children: Amelia, 8, and Ave, 4.

For more of Trenia Reynolds’ story, click here to read her obituary.

To make a gift to the Trenia Amelia Fulton Reynolds Council Scholarship Endowment, click here; to make a gift to the Trenia Amelia Reynolds “Never Quit” Student Athlete Relief Endowment, click here; or mail 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.

For more information about supporting students through the Ole Miss Women’s Council, visit the website at contact Suzanne Helveston, program director, at or 662-915-2956.

To make a gift to the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, visit CHAMPIONS. NOW. or contact Catherine Adkins, development assistant, at or 662-915-7159.

To make a gift to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit or contact Jonathan Fulcher, campus minister, at 601-934-4144.

By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation