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Ole Miss Alumni introduces Texas Plates

Soon, Texas-based alumnus will be able to show off their University of Mississippi Spirit.
The Ole Miss–Texas license plate is a joint effort by the Rebel Club of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston Rebel Club and San Antonio and Austin Ole Miss Club.
MyPlates, the specialty plate’s vendor for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, has assisted the foundation with marketing.
Rebecca Bertrand, vice president of Houston Rebel Club, said the plates will showcase Ole Miss.
“We’ve been working on it and have thought about it the past few years, but the effort caught on last fall,” she said.  
“It’s going to be a great showcase for Ole Miss and will continue a revenue stream that (the plates) set up.”
Ryan Williams, an engineer alumni living in Austin, came up with the idea for the plates and has been the liaison between the Ole Miss Alumni Association and MyPlates.  A $5,000 deposit was required in order for the contract to be signed and production to begin on the plates.
Port Kaigler, club coordinator for Ole Miss Alumni Association, said they primarily used the Internet to raise money for the deposit.
“We raised the money through e-blasts sent from our office to our Texas alumni, and the hard work of our four local Ole Miss Clubs in Texas,” Kaigler said.
Once 300 plates have been sold, the majority of the deposit will return to scholarship funds for Ole Miss students from Texas and will be a recurring revenue stream to endow scholarships through the foundation.
North Dallas native Jacob Ludlum, an applied science homeland security freshman, said the plates will help spread Ole Miss pride.
“It can show the representation of Ole Miss students in Texas,” he said.
 “It can exploit how Ole Miss students are really a family when you see the license plate in another state and have the (Ole Miss) name on it.”
As of yet, 241 plates have been sold, pushing the foundation closer to the 300 mark.   
Kaigler said the proceeds from the endeavor will be split among four scholarships endowments.
“We receive 10 percent of each plate that is sold that will also be divided among the four clubs’ scholarship endowments,” Kaigler.
North Dallas native Matt Kotecki, a business freshman, said initiatives such as this are useful to students from Texas and other states.
“I definitely need more money, like a lot of kids out-of-state, and I’ve taken a lot of loans out, so programs like this are really helpful and I think there should be a lot more of them,” he said.
With 30 Ole Miss Clubs in Mississippi and 34 Ole Miss Clubs in other states, Kaigler said the alumni association supports out-of-state clubs the same way they support in-state clubs by establishing scholarship endowments to help send students from their areas to Ole Miss, promoting events and lining up speakers for those events.
Kaigler said Texas isn’t the only state they’re focused on.
“We focus on Ole Miss alumni no matter where they live,” Kaigler said.  
There is currently an Ole Miss alumni license plate in Tennessee, and the association is working on a plate in Georgia.
Bertrand said the plate has led to some other initiatives to spread awareness.