William Magee Center


The William Magee Center for AOD and Wellness Education is dedicated to transforming students’ lives by providing education, intervention, and support services to enhance well-being and foster success at the University of Mississippi.

William's Story

William Magee

William Magee was an exceptional student at the University of Mississippi in many ways, participating in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Croft Institute for International Studies, a social fraternity, and Ole Miss Athletics, lettering for the track team as a sprinter in the 400 hurdles. William was also shy and suffered from anxiety, and he used substances as a means of coping and trying to join in.

By his junior year in college, William recognized he was in over his head, and he wanted to stop using alcohol and other drugs. He assumed he could easily stop, as he was known for toughness, reaching the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships and earning A’s in his classes amid a rigorous schedule. But substance use was much more difficult to overcome than he thought, and after graduating from Ole Miss, William went directly into a rehabilitation center, spending months in treatment. He told his family during that time that he wanted to help others one day, so they might avoid a similar fate.

Sadly, William relapsed and died of an accidental drug overdose before that could happen. He was found by his father, David Magee, who three years later wrote a newspaper column titled “For Ole Miss freshman: My Son William’s Story” that was read online by more than 1 million people. With the help of many caring people, including students, alumni, faculty staff, and friends of the University of Mississippi, a grassroots movement to help others ensued, and the William Magee Center and the William Magee Institute opened on campus in September 2019 to change and improve students' lives with education, research, and support.

How does the William Magee Center Work?

The William Magee Center is entirely focused on improving the lives of Ole Miss students.

Here's what we offer Ole Miss students:

  • Programs & Resources. Our interactive programs help students develop and maintain healthy habits at college. Students can find community with our WellRebs, help through WellChats, and enjoy our signature events throughout the semester. (This isn't even all of the programs and services we offer!)
  • Collegiate Recovery Community. If you're struggling with substance use disorder, The Collegiate Recovery Community is here for you. We provide a nurturing and affirming environment so students can continue their journey to recovery, reach their academic goals, and find a caring community on and off campus.
  • Wellness Resources. We know that college is tough. Sometimes things get so overwhelming that you forget to take care of yourself. Our Wellness Resources can help you prioritize your physical, mental, emotional, and social-well being. 

Meet the Staff

We're here to help all Ole Miss students succeed in and out of class.
Nicholas McAfee

Nicholas McAfee

  • Director William Magee Center for AOD and Wellness Education
Shannon Richardson

Shannon Richardson

  • Assistant Director of Wellness Education
Katherine Ann or Kakky Brown

Katherine Ann or Kakky Brown

  • Wellness Navigator
Alysia Lajune

Alysia Lajune

  • Program Manager
Rhonda Tompkins

Rhonda Tompkins

  • Operation Supervisor

Contribute to the Mission

The William Magee Center started because of stakeholders, including alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and businesses who care and contribute resources. We are aiming to grow, continuing to find innovative ways of making a difference in the lives of students –individually and collectively.

If you’d like to make a contribution, please visit our giving link here.

Sigma Nu Charity Bowl Check Presentation
Brett Barefoot and Shannon Richardson accepting a donation from the Sigma Nu Charity Bowl in 2023

To learn more about supporting the William Magee Center for AOD and Wellness Education, contact Brett Barefoot, Senior Director of Development for Parent and Family Leadership, at bmbarefo@olemiss.edu or 662-647-4276.