Dewey Knight was a father of four children, a doting grandfather and a mentor and advocate for many thousands of young people he nurtured during his decades of service at the University of Mississippi.
As the associate director for the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience and a stalwart friend in the Financial Aid office before that, Knight dedicated his career to helping students – especially first-generation students, community college transfer students and student veterans.
To honor his lifelong dedication to Ole Miss students, his friends and colleagues have established the Robert Dewey Knight Scholarship Fund and have invited every member of the Ole Miss family to contribute to the cause.
The scholarship is a fitting tribute to Knight’s service.
“If I ran across a student who needed something or needed financial help, I knew I could have them talk to Dewey,” said Rachael Durham, who worked as a regional admissions counselor before joining Knight in the Center for Student Success in 2014. “He'd always remind me that we are in the business of helping people, our students, here at the University of Mississippi. And that's something that we will continue to strive for each and every day in his honor.”
Dewey Knight made first-year students at UM feel at home.An Oxford native, Knight entered UM as a freshman in 1966. He later served in the U.S. Marine Corps, which made him a loyal advocate for student veterans in his career at Ole Miss. The Student Veterans Association presents the Dewey Knight Leadership Award to the student veteran who shares Knight’s intrinsic leadership traits during its Veterans Alumni Gala each year.
A Marine veteran, Knight supported military-connected students at UM.
“He was a great guy – a Marine who loved taking care of people and who was invaluable to campus,” said Andrew Newby, who worked alongside Knight as assistant director of veteran and military services. “The way he interacted with military-connected students is what led us to create the Dewey Knight Leadership Award.”
Knight, famous for knowing not just the names of all the students he interacted with but also their hometowns, majors and interests, could often be found in his office well after the workday ended, unwilling to let students go without his help. Upon his passing in November 2020, the entire Ole Miss family and Oxford community mourned.
Helping students is the ultimate tribute to his legacy. With this scholarship, it’s a legacy we all have the opportunity to participate in. Please give today!
Knight receives a standing ovation at a 2018 ceremony honoring his retirement.