Ole Miss Alum Ben Napier Donates Handcrafted Desk to School's Creative Writing Program

The desk was made using cedar from the home of William Faulkner.

Ben Napier
Photo: Manny Carabel/Getty Images

Ben Napier is using his woodworking talents to give back to his alma mater.

In August, the Home Town host delivered a handcrafted desk built using materials from the University of Mississippi campus to the school's Department of English.

"A friend of mine reached out to me explaining that he had gotten his hands on some wood from the campus at Ole Miss," Napier, a 2007 graduate, said in a news release. "There were two slabs of oak and the slab of cedar from Rowan Oak. My original thought was to mill the slab down and build a bookcase, but eventually I decided to leave it whole and build a desk."

Rowan Oak, the former Oxford home of Pulitzer Prize–winning author William Faulkner, is owned and operated by the University of Mississippi as a museum.

Napier reportedly planned on auctioning the desk and giving the profits to the university's creative writing program, but after speaking with ESPN writer and fellow Ole Miss grad Wright Thompson on an episode of Home Town: Ben's Workshop, the HGTV star decided to gift it directly to the school.

Wright Thompson (left) and Ben Napier help deliver a desk built by Napier to the Department of English
Randy Sherrell/University of Mississippi

"William Faulkner is an iconic Mississippi author, and we are honored to have Ben Napier's beautifully crafted desk," Caroline Wigginton, chair, and associate professor of English, said in a statement. "Its presence in the department represents our community's literary heritage and also our creative writers' talent for adapting the materials of the past to imagine a vivid and sustainable future."

The desk is in the Hannah-Ford Room on the second floor of Bondurant Hall, which is a classroom and meeting space for the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program.

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This isn't the first time Napier has donated his handiwork to the school. The Laurel, Mississippi, resident built and installed a bar top for McCormick's bar and grill in The Inn at Ole Miss which was installed last summer.

The Home Town: Ben's Workshop episode featuring the handcrafted desk is available to stream on Discovery+.

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