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Ole Miss Student Wins Free College Tuition as Part of Egg Bowl Weekend

C Spire Toss for Tuition Contest Pitted Finalists From Rival Schools in Spirited Bean Bag Toss Game

Starkville, Miss. - (December 1, 2015) – The Ole Miss Rebels weren’t the only winners last weekend in the renewal of their 88-year-old college gridiron rivalry with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Marlee Crawford, a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in journalism, won free tuition for the remainder of her college education at the University of Mississippi.

With over 2,000 friends, family and supporters from the rival schools cheering them on in the C Spire Toss for Tuition contest Saturday, Crawford bested Emily Ware, a 20-year-old junior at Mississippi State, by a score of 21-16 in a spirited bean bag toss game that concluded just hours before the big football showdown on the MSU campus.

C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services provider, sponsored the contest earlier this month at all of its 56 retail locations in Mississippi. Hundreds of students and their family members and friends tossed bean bags on a board for a chance to be entered in the sweepstakes drawing. Ware and Crawford were the two finalists in the contest.

For her victory, Crawford’s tuition for the remainder of her education on the Oxford campus will be paid by C Spire – a value of almost $18,400. She also received a championship belt and was recognized on the field during the fourth quarter of the game.

“At first, I was extremely nervous and the atmosphere was just electric with fans from both schools cheering us on,” Crawford said. “I’m still in shock because it was over so fast. It took me a minute to realize I had actually won, but my Dad was right there to give me a hug.”

Crawford said she was “almost in tears” when she first learned about her selection as one of the finalists. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. I really wanted to win this so bad – for me, my family and Ole Miss,” she said, noting that her mother encouraged her to enter the contest. “I was initially reluctant because it seems like I never win anything, but this was different.”

Both students praised C Spire for its support of education in Mississippi. “A lot of kids couldn’t afford to go to college without the help of companies like C Spire because it is so expensive,” Ware said. “College can be a huge financial burden for families,” Crawford said. “It’s great to see C Spire investing in the lives of college students.”

Since 2008, C Spire has donated over $3 million to higher education causes, programs and scholarships in Mississippi through its non-profit C Spire Foundation. The value of the free tuition - $18,360 – is based on fees set by the College Board, according to Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire.

“At C Spire, support for education has been a key focus for over 27 years and we are passionately committed to helping elementary, high school and college-age students succeed in school, in the workforce and in life,” Richmond said. “Our children are our future. We need to prepare and support the next generation to be leaders in their communities and the world.”

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class customer-inspired service and a superior comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, high-speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.