Museum Advocate Remembered

museum-advocate-rememberedThe University Museum is deeply saddened to share news of the passing of Elizabeth Cummings Fortune—known to all her Oxford and Ole Miss friends as “Lib.”  She was preceded in death by her husband Porter Lee Fortune Jr., Chancellor of the University of Mississippi from 1968 to 1984. She passed away in Atlanta on October 31, 2012.

Lib devoted many years of her time and leadership talents as president of the Friends of the Museum Board and was a tireless champion of not only the Museum but also arts and cultural initiatives across the entire University community. She remained an active supporter of the Museum throughout her life and in 1992 created the Porter and Elizabeth Fortune Endowment in support of Museum acquisitions and priority needs. In 1997 she donated funds to construct the Fortune Gallery to pay tribute to the life of her late husband, Chancellor Fortune. She extended her advocacy to an active concern and support for the Museum’s Walton-Young Historic House.

An enthusiastic and passionate volunteer, Lib gave her time generously. Her vibrant personality continued to inspire others after a move to Atlanta, where she resided in later years.

Lib was born in Ware Shoals, South Carolina, and grew up in High Point, North Carolina. She graduated from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina and became a benefactor of the school (now known as UNC at Greensboro). She is survived by two sons Philip Lee Fortune and Carey Fortune; her daughter Jean Fortune Kaplan; seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Upon her passing, the Fortune family requested that memorial gifts be made to the University Museum and Historic Houses, in care of the University of Mississippi Foundation. We are profoundly grateful for the family’s thoughtful gesture that extends Lib’s extraordinary legacy. Memorial gifts will be used for purposes congruent with the terms of the Fortune Endowment.

If you would like to contribute in honor of Elizabeth Fortune, contact Michael Upton at the UM Foundation at 662.915.3027 or Gifts also may be made by mailing a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677, noting the Elizabeth Fortune Memorial Gifts, or by visiting