University of Mississippi School of Law alumnus Don Frugé received the 2013 Law Alumnus of the Year Award July 12 at the annual Mississippi Bar Convention in Sandestin, Fla.
The award is given annually by a selection committee to recognize positive contributions to the legal profession, the law school and the University of Mississippi. Award recipients are either chosen for recent accomplishments or for a cumulative record of service.
“Don Frugé is an outstanding teacher and mentor,” said Richard Gershon, UM law dean. “He has been one of the greatest supporters of the law school and the university. I truly cannot think of a more worthy winner of this award.”
Among Frugé’s many noteworthy accomplishments in the legal profession, he has authored multiple books including the Mississippi Wills and Trusts Manual along with its annual supplements and Estate Planning for Retarded Persons and Their Families. He has memberships within the Mississippi Bar and the American Bar Associations, and is a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, serving as past president of the estate and trust section.
“To say I was shocked and surprised and humbled is an understatement,” Frugé said. “I truly never imagined this recognition happening to me, but I appreciate sincerely those who were responsible.”
A friend to the law school in service, Frugé has been a faculty member since the 1970s and currently teaches estate planning. He is immediate past chairman of the Lamar Order, an organization established by the Law Alumni Chapter to administer substantial gifts for the benefit of the law school.
“The Law School is a physical place, none more beautiful than the new Robert C. Khayat Law Center, but it is more to me than just the three separate buildings in which I have been pleased to teach and learn,” Frugé said. “It is more than the four Chancellors with whom I also had the pleasure to work and know. It is even more than the nine Deans of Law. The Law School to me is a collage of students, fellow faculty, staff and administrators. I have been pleased to be mentored, challenged and encouraged by many.”
In addition to the law school, Frugé has served in other university capacities including executive director of development, vice chancellor for university affairs, vice chancellor for university advancement and as head golf coach.
He also held a significant 22-year tenure as president and CEO of the University of Mississippi Foundation. Under his leadership, the Foundation grew from 2,000 annual donors to more than 19,000. His expertise in the financial market was put to use when the university’s policy on investing endowment funds was developed.
“Chancellor Robert Khayat recruited me to lead the University of Mississippi Foundation,” he said. “Robert would later say that he agreed to be Vice Chancellor if I would run the Foundation. Little did I know at the time that these invitations would lead to a lifetime of service to the University.”
Frugé is currently serving as Chairman of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation Board of Governors. When it was known as the Loyalty Foundation, he helped write its charter.
With this record of service, it’s easy to see why Frugé was selected.
“The UM Law School has impacted my life beyond measure,” he said. “Those at the Law School recognized something in me and gave me the opportunity, encouragement and responsibility to serve the University in diverse ways as teacher, administrator and coach. I will always be grateful for their respect and belief in me and for calling forth talents that I may not have otherwise known that I had.”
Frugé is a native of Meridian, Miss. but makes Oxford his home. He holds both undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Mississippi, and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University.