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Thomas Hayes Mayo Lab Fund

Raised toward our $30,000 Goal
107 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 06, at 11:55 PM CST
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Thomas Hayes Mayo Lab Fund

Thomas Hayes Mayo

 Established in memory of a beloved Ole Miss student and Oxford native, the Thomas Hayes Mayo Lab will become a vital component of the William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing.

Thomas Hayes Mayo died from fentanyl poising on April 14, 2022, during his junior year at Ole Miss.

Thomas, the son of Caroline and Cal Mayo of Oxford, was full of life and a friend to all. His tragic passing hit the Ole Miss and Oxford community hard, inspiring an immediate outpouring of gifts made in his honor to the Magee Institute, which was established in 2019 to honor a young UM graduate who lost his life to a drug overdose. The Magee Institute seeks to understand how best to break the cycle of unhealthy habits and addictions and support students at all levels as they develop resiliency and maximize their potential through holistic wellbeing.

In the days and weeks after Thomas’s death, as memorial gifts continued to be made to the Magee Institute in his honor, the Mayo family decided to use those gifts to establish the Thomas Hayes Mayo Lab at the Magee Institute. With this campaign, the Mayo family, the Magee Institute and Thomas’s friends invite everyone to contribute to the important work the Mayo Lab will accomplish.

One primary focus of the Mayo Lab will be developing a peer-to-peer education program for K-12 students that can become a model for schools throughout the region and possibly across the nation. The program will help students develop the social skills and strategies they need to achieve satisfaction and happiness and to enrich their lives, their families and their communities. 

Other work within the Mayo Lab will be content-based, designed to reach students in spaces they already visit, such as podcasts and online newsletters. The initial launch will include a podcast in Mayo’s name, hosted by David Magee, director of operations at the Magee Institute.

“We’re developing the Mayo Lab podcast as a premium weekly program to bring together the most captivating, useful information and voices from throughout the country to educate and inform parents, educators and all stakeholders,” Magee said.

Thomas was the youngest of four, an avid soccer player and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. His memory lives on in his family, friends and teammates. Even in his absence, Thomas is continuing to bring positivity to the Oxford community.

“Thomas cared deeply about people, and he would want his legacy attached to a cause that helps other people navigate the difficulties life sometimes presents,” said Caroline Mayo, Thomas’ mother.

The Mayo Lab has received support from family, friends and University groups including Sigma Chi, Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Nu fraternities.

For more information, contact Brett Barefoot in the Office of University Development at or 662-915-2711.

After his son's funeral, Cal Mayo addressed Thomas's fraternity brothers at Sigma Chi, urging them to reach out for help for substance misuse and make better choices. The experience of having an impact on young people was the beginning of a journey that starts anew with the Thomas Hayes Mayo Lab at the Magee Institute.


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21 Years

Thomas Hayes Mayo died just a few days after his 21st birthday. Although his life was tragically cut short, he made impactful friendships that will last far beyond his 21 years. Thomas saw good in everyone, and it's appropriate that he continues to inspire others to do good even after he's gone.


80 Friendships

Thomas was an active member of Sigma Chi fraternity at Ole Miss. His fall 2019 pledge class had 80 members, and some of Thomas's strongest friendships were made that fall with those young men.


100 + #8

Like a lot of children growing up in Oxford, Thomas Mayo played hundreds of hours of soccer. Thomas wore jersey #8 when he played for the Oxford High School Chargers, one of the top-ranked teams in the state.


OHS Class of 2019

Thomas's graduating class at Oxford High School had 266 students, many of whom had been friends since preschool and then went on to Ole Miss together. Losing their lifelong friend was hard for many of these young people.


Oxford to Omaha

As a lifelong Ole Miss fan and Oxford resident, Thomas attended games since he was a very young child. In 2014, he and his dad made the 785-mile trip from Oxford to Omaha to see the Rebel baseball team play in their first College World Series appearance since 1972. The trip was very special, and one they would have loved to repeat in 2022 to see the National Championship series.


From Pain, a Chance to Help

Just days after Thomas Mayo's death from fentanyl poisoning on April 14, 2022, the Mayo family and Thomas' friends already saw an opportunity to help others. Their hope is that something good comes from this preventable tragedy, and that lives can be saved in Thomas' memory.

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