‘Sweet Caroline’: Ole Miss Kappa Kappa Gamma establishes scholarship fund in memory of Vicksburg native
Published 11:02 am Friday, September 16, 2022
Caroline Simrall Hood was a vivacious and funny young woman; she loved her family, her friends and cheering for the St. Aloysius Flashes.
But on Jan. 11, 2022, Caroline’s life was cut short by a tragic car accident, affecting many in the community.
As family and friends continue to grieve this horrific loss, the sorority to which Caroline belonged at the University of Mississippi, the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, wanted to do something that would forever honor their sister.
“When this happened, we were all just devastated,” sorority sister Anna Mathis Larson said. “And you feel helpless and can’t do anything, so we wanted to do something to try and make some good come out of an awful situation. We didn’t want to sit back; we wanted to be proactive and help.”
Therefore, the Kappa Kappa Gammas helped enact the Caroline McCollum Simrall Hood Memorial Scholarship Endowment.
“Caroline was always full of life and lively and when she was there, you knew it. She was always happy and funny and could make you laugh anytime. So this is a way for Caroline’s effervescent spirit to live on,” Larson said of the scholarship endowment.
Larson said helping launch the scholarship, which will be awarded to a Kappa who embodies the spirit of Caroline, was also a way the Delta Rho Chapter could convey their expression of love to her family.
“Caroline’s family was so close (with the chapter), and we wanted to wrap our arms around them however we could,” Larson said.
Brett Barefoot, who serves as the senior development officer at Ole Miss, said he was approached by the Kappas with the desire to create a scholarship in Hood’s memory.
“Caroline was active in KKG, and they (KKG) wanted to do something to honor her memory and they wanted it to be permanent,” Barefoot said. “So, they led an initiative to establish a scholarship endowment in her name,” Barefoot said, with a gift of $35,000.
To increase this initial gift, Barefoot said, an Ignite Campaign offered through the university’s crowdfunding platform, was set up with the goal of raising a $55,000 endowment for Kappa scholarships.
This goal has already been exceeded.
“I think this shows that Caroline was special to the Ole Miss community and specifically Kappa Kappa Gamma,” Barefoot said. “And I hope the family will find some peace and healing knowing that there are so many out there that loved Caroline so much that they are giving a gift that will live in perpetuity.”
For anyone who is interested in contributing to the Caroline McCollum Simrall Hood Memorial Scholarship, visit ignite.olemiss.edu/caroline.
“My Sweet Caroline was the tiniest little girl with a raspy voice who was adventurous and curious about all things. She grew into a tiny, beautiful young lady who continued to love adventure and travels, loved to laugh and, above all else, loved her sweet pets, the kindest group of friends and her now-brokenhearted family,” said Caroline’s mother, Holly Hood. “She and her baby sister, Kate, are my greatest blessings. They are my joy, my love and my light. We will never be the same. We miss her each and every day.”