Marty and John Dunbar established the Jazz Series Fund at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts with a $25,000 gift. Credit: Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Marty and John Dunbar of Oxford have contributed $25,000 to establish a Jazz Series Fund at the University of Mississippi.

“Plans are already made to present three jazz groups next season, thanks to the Dunbars,” said Julia Aubrey, director of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at Ole Miss.

Next year’s Jazz Series includes Cyrus Chestnut, Julian Bliss and the Birdland All-Stars, all of which are headliners at prestigious jazz venues and festivals around the world.

“We want to support excellence in jazz in Oxford and Ole Miss,” said John Dunbar. “We have enjoyed performances by the faculty and students of music at Ole Miss over the years, such as Michael Worthy and The Mississippians, and have met so many talented people there.”

In partnership with the university and the Ford Center, the fund also will support master class sessions for faculty and students of the university’s music department and local high school faculty and students.

“This is a dream come true and I am truly grateful for the Dunbars’ vision and generosity,” said Michael Worthy, an associate professor of music at the university. “I will work hard to maximize the educational outreach opportunities that will come with the Jazz Series, and I am excited for Ole Miss students to have more opportunities to interact with world-class jazz musicians.”

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Ashley F. G. Norwood, a native of Jackson, earned a bachelor's degree in English from Jackson State University and a master’s degree from the Meek School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi. Norwood, who specializes in multimedia journalism, has been recognized nationally for her documentary film the fly in the buttermilk, which covers the history, perceptions and principles of black Greek-lettered organizations at the University of Mississippi.