OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) -- For the first seven years of his life, Charles Moore lived in a home with no electricity on a dirt road near Blytheville, Arkansas.
As he matured, he made three goals for his life: to marry a nice young woman, to see the turn of the century, and to do well financially.
The 1947 University of Mississippi graduate realized all three, and he and wife Sarah have committed $1.8 million to his alma mater for general faculty support.
"Growing up on that dirt road during the Depression years of the '30s has made me realize that I have lived an abbreviated version of the American dream," said Moore, a retired farmer, state legislator and civic leader. "Education is the key to life, the key to success. I've been rather successful, and I wanted to put some of my resources to good use. Naturally, I thought of Ole Miss, a place I love."
The Charles R. Moore Faculty Support Endowment was created with a planned gift, which will provide funds in perpetuity for the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty members.
The gift becomes a part of UM's Barnard Initiative, which has a goal of adding $100 million in endowed funds for faculty support.
The initiative comes in response to the stiff competition that exists among leading universities for gifted faculty members and to the decrease in higher education support at the state level
UM Chancellor Dan Jones expressed appreciation for the Moores' gift, which will provide funds for salary supplements, research and creative activity support, and other support deemed appropriate by the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.
"Charles and Sarah Moore's extremely generous gift reflects their great love for the University of Mississippi and their concern for young people," Jones said. "Their investment in our faculty will directly impact students by assuring they are taught and mentored by outstanding scholars.
"The Moores have made an investment that will have a far-reaching impact – one that will help ensure quality teaching, research and service will be available for generations of Ole Miss students.
They have made a significant investment in the future, and we deeply appreciate their vision and also their trust in our stewardship."
Charles Moore, the only living child of Mississippi natives Walter Ross Moore and Elizabeth Earle Evans Moore, skipped grades during his early school years due to high grades in math.
He was only 16 years old when his parents sent him to Ole Miss in 1941.
"I enjoyed my years at Ole Miss," Moore said. "Like any freshman, I liked the freedom of being on my own for the first time in my life."
World War II interrupted his college years, and when he was drafted into military service, he entered the U.S. Air Force as a cadet in 1943.
Medical reasons sent him to Gulfport Field and later to Keesler Field, both in Mississippi.
He was on assignment to go to the South Pacific when Japan surrendered, and he was later discharged as a corporal in 1946.
Moore returned to Ole Miss, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology in August 1947.
He made his home back in Blytheville, where he served as a personnel counselor for a utility company.
He became active in community affairs and served in leadership roles of civic organizations.
He was named "Outstanding Young Man of Blytheville" in 1952.
When his father passed away that same year, Moore left the utility company to take over his family's farming operations, which included growing cotton, soybeans and later rice.
In 1954, he married Sarah Langston Sartain, a University of Arkansas graduate.
Moore was elected president of the Mississippi County Farm Bureau in 1963.
Six years later, the Moores received the distinction of Farm Family of the Year.
Besides his success with farming, Moore earned an appreciation for the challenges of appropriating state funding for education as he served 18 years in the Arkansas House of Representatives during a number of administrations, including that of former President Bill Clinton.
He provided leadership as co-chairman of the Arkansas Retirement Systems Committee and was later elected to the Mississippi County Quorum Court.
He retired from farming in 1988, although he continues to lease his land to other farmers.
Sarah and Charles Moore have two grown children: Ross Moore, a graduate of Arkansas State University, and wife Susan have one son, Zachary, a UA student.
The Moores' daughter, Laura, a UA graduate and Phi Beta Kappa member, also lives in Blytheville.
In addition, Sarah Moore's father, Roscoe C. Langston, was also a Mississippian, growing up in Calhoun City.
"It has been an absolute joy to work with Charles and Sarah Moore," said Sandra Guest, vice president of the UM Foundation. "They were immediately receptive to our priority of making certain having exceptional professors to teach our students continues as a hallmark of Ole Miss. They are generous individuals who want to extend great opportunities to others."
The couple's planned gift gives them membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university opened to its first students.
The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts.