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Sunday, February 9, 2020

University of Southern Mississippi

The Benefactor

Oseola McCarty was born on March 7, 1908 in Wayne County, Mississippi. She
moved to Hattiesburg, MS as a child. She had to quit school in the sixth
grade to care for her ailing aunt. McCarty never married and never had
children. She supported herself by working as a washerwoman, the same trade
of her grandmother. She worked as a washerwoman until her arthritis forced
her to quit in 1994, at the age of 86.

Yet McCarty became the most famous benefactor of the University of Southern

It wasn't that she made a lot of money at her occupation; her occupation was
rather low-paying. But she was very frugal and saved a lot of her income
throughout her life. She never owned a car and therefore walked wherever
she went. She would push a shopping cart nearly a mile to get groceries.
She didn't subscribe to a newspaper because she viewed it an extravagant
expense. The house in which she lived was a gift from her uncle.

It was announced in July 1995 that she had established a trust through which
at her death, a portion of her life's savings would be left to the
university to provide scholarships for deserving students in need of
financial assistance. The amount was estimated at $150,000. According to
an entry in Wikipedia, "With the assistance of a local attorney, for whom
she had done laundry, and [her] bank's trust officer, using slips of paper
and dimes, to represent 10% shares, McCarty set out the future distribution
of her estate. She set aside one dime (10%) for her church, one dime (10%)
each for three relatives, and the remaining dimes (60%) for Southern Miss.
She wanted others to have the opportunity for the education she never

McCarty received scores of awards and other honors recognizing her selfless
spirit including a Presidential Citizens Medal presented to her by President
Bill Clinton during a special White House Ceremony.

McCarty died from liver cancer in 1999 at the age of 91. She will be fondly
remembered for her selflessness which will continue to enable others to be
blessed with a college education.

Her generosity points to the selflessness of the Greatest Benefactor: "For
you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet
for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become
rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Because of God's love and our desperate need for salvation from sin, Jesus
left the glories and splendor of heaven to come to this earth to live as a
man and then to go to the cross to die for the sins of this world. Read
Philippians 2:5-11, a passage that beautifully describes what He gave up in
order to save us. He became "poor" so that we could be "rich" - rich with
all of the spiritual blessings that are found in Him, blessings such as
forgiveness from sin, peace that surpasses all understanding, and the hope
of eternal life in a beautiful place called Heaven.

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust
in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts
17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will
continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His
Word (1 John 1:7-9).

Jesus became "poor" and suffered and died so that YOU could become "rich"
with spiritual, eternal blessings. He's the Great Benefactor and you can be
the recipient of His blessings if you will only accept them on His terms.

-- David A. Sargent

* Information gleaned from "Oseola McCarty" entry on

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