Library Celebrates National Archives Month

Observance draws public's attention to value of special collections

From the first day of the month to the last, October is filled with national emphases to remember. There’s Breast Cancer Awareness, AIDS Awareness, Bullying Prevention, Domestic Violence Awareness, Health Literacy, LGBT History, Disability Employment Awareness, Polish-American Heritage and Oktoberfest, just to name a few.

These and many more are not found on the average calendar. Nonetheless, the fact that they exist means they are and can be observed (or not) in any number of ways.

One such observance that definitely deserves remembering is American Archives Month. Librarians at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library are joining the national and statewide celebration.

“American Archives Month was established in 2006 to publicize the importance of archives to the general public,” said Jennifer Ford, UM director of archives and special collections. “Programs during this month highlight the various archival functions of preservation, cataloging and accessibility of primary materials.

“This year, the president of the Society of American Archivists, Kathleen Roe, invited archivists to participate in the ‘Year of Living Dangerously for Archives,’ especially stressing the need during Archives Month to advocate for their collections.”

Those responding to a call to demonstrate their value of archives will be planning events to celebrate this month. For example, the Society of Mississippi Archivists is highlighting the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer for American Archives Month. A poster created by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Records Advisory Board and Society of Mississippi Archivists, with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, shows archival Freedom Summer images and documents.

“In response to the SMA, UM’s Department of Archives and Special Collections has mounted an exhibit case featuring several items from our collection about this historic event to further increase awareness,” Ford said.

The SMA poster can be found at

For more information about American Archives Month, go to

Galapagos Tortoises Topic for Science Cafe

UM biology professor will discuss preservation efforts in Oct. 21 presentation

³Photo courtesy of Yale University²

Photo courtesy of Yale

OXFORD, Miss. – Methods for conserving threatened and endangered species of tortoises is the topic for the next installment a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s third meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Ryan Garrick, UM assistant professor of biology, will discuss “Applications of genetics to Galapagos tortoise conservation.” Admission is free.

“Molecular genetics offers conservation biologists critical information upon which to design efficient, effective management strategies,” Garrick said. “Galapagos tortoises are flagships in this respect because captive breeding programs have been largely facilitated by genetic tools.”

Garrick’s 30-minute presentation will review recent work on this group.

“Occasionally, past hybridization can actually generate positive outcomes for conservation,” he said. “This is the case for Chelonoidis elephantopus, a species that was thought to have been extinct over 150 years ago. However, for another pair of evolutionarily distinct lineages of Galapagos tortoises, ongoing hybridization is likely to lead to a net loss of biodiversity via lineage collapse and replacement with a hybrid swarm.”

Garrick earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from La Trobe University in Australia. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University and at Yale University.

Garrick’s research interests are insect evolution, molecular ecology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation biology.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-5311.

5 Reasons Why Ole Miss Should Support the United Way

Campus goal is $150,000 by Nov. 30

1. Because it’s a long-standing tradition. Ever since United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County was founded 44 years ago, University of Mississippi leadership, faculty, staff and students have annually brought in more dollars than any other workplace campaign in the community. Just as importantly, UWOLC works closely with individuals and departments from across campus on critical issues affecting the community, from early childhood education to affordable housing to healthy aging. Following UWOLC’s official kickoff program Sept. 24 (at which UM Chancellor Dan Jones’ wife, Lydia, delivered the keynote address), UM administrators, faculty, staff and students have begun supporting with fundraising events, activities and promotions. The community-wide goal is $540,000, of which $150,000 is to come from campus efforts by the campaign’s end Nov. 30.

2. Because of the work United Way does. “The mission of United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County is to improve lives and meet community needs by uniting people and resources,” said Alice Ricks, UWOLC director. “We fund programs, convene issue-driven coalitions and serve as a resource for individuals and organizations. Ninety-nine percent of the money raised for United Way stays local and 87 cents of every dollar we spend funds local programs.”

3. Because there are so many opportunities to do so. All UM employees will receive pledge cards, allowing them to pay gifts in full or in installments through payroll deduction.

“Whether $10 or more than $1,000, employees may contribute to United Way through payroll deductions each work period,” said Kate Kellum, associate director of institutional research and assessment and faculty-staff committee chair. “Employees may also participate in Fair Share, Associate or Leadership giving plans. Fair Share givers contribute one hour’s wages each month to the United Way. Associate givers donate $250 to $499. Leadership givers contribute at least $500.”

Other fundraising efforts scheduled include intradepartmental competitions.

4. Because United Way really needs the money. Again, the goal set by faculty and staff members of the Ole Miss United Way Steering Committee is $150,000. “Donations of any and all sizes are welcome and extremely appreciated in this critical economic climate,” said Thelma Curry, University Police Department officer and campus committee co-chair.

5. Because, together, we can do it. With more students enrolled on campus than ever before, more than a thousand employees and hundreds frequently visiting campus week after week, officials are very optimistic all financial goals will be reached.

“The committee members and I believe that with better promotion of the campaign and more fundraising events, we can more than reach this year’s goal,” said Lucile McCook, director of health professions advising office and campus committee co-chair. “People are depending on us, so we must not fail.”

Teamwork Pays Off in Awards for UM Communications

Ole Miss unit continues winning state, regional accolades

The University Communications staff gathers around with recent awards.

The University Communications staff gathers around recent awards.

Here in University Communications we have the enviable job of promoting Ole Miss on a daily basis. We work on a beautiful campus, and we get to communicate with wonderful Ole Miss students, faculty, staff members and alumni doing so many interesting things.

So, it is like icing on the cake when we find out our team has earned the attention of other communications professionals, and we wanted to take a moment to recognize the hard work put in over the past year. Recent recognitions include:

2014 PRSA Silver Anvil Finalist (Award of Excellence)

2014 Southern Public Relations Federation Best of Show Award and 2014 Southern Public Relations Federation Lantern Award, all for “Ole Miss, We Have a Parking Problem”

2014 Southern Public Relations Federation Lantern Award for the article “Educating the Brain

2014 Southern Public Relations Federation Certificate of Merit for “Inside Ole Miss” (UM faculty/staff newsletter)

2014 Public Relations Association of Mississippi Award of Excellence in Tactical Materials/Video for “The World Without Ole Miss

2014 Public Relations Association of Mississippi Award of Merit in Tactical Materials/Projects – Newsletters for “Inside Ole Miss” (UM faculty/staff newsletter)

2014 Pubic Relations Association of Mississippi Award of Merit in Tactical Materials/Projects – Projects for “Ole Miss Instagram

2014 Public Relations Association of Mississippi Award of Merit in Short Term Strategic Plans for “Parking at Ole Miss

2013 Southern Public Relations Federation Lantern Award for “Ole Miss Pins the Day

2013 PR Daily Social Media Award in Best Use of Instagram for “Ole Miss Instagram

2013 PR Daily Social Media Award in Best Use of Pinterest for “Ole Miss Pinterest

None of this would have been possible without the work of our entire team of writers, videographers, photographers and designers, and we want to publicly recognize and thank them for their collective commitment to Ole Miss.


Maximizing the University Experience

Diverse and well-populated campus provides endless possibilities for personal growth


I’ve always thought that nothing expands one’s horizons like travel. I’ve been blessed to visit most of the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Trips to Africa, Asia and South America are on my bucket list. And as dangerous as it appears to be these days, the Holy Land is also somewhere I’d like to go, along with several European countries.

One of the universal truths I’ve come to understand through my various travel experiences is that people are just that – people. Sure, languages, skin color and hair types vary. Customs and cultures differ according to climate, income, education and socialization. But at the end of the day, we’re all just human beings making our way through the mystery we all call “life.”

Travel is still the best way to mature and get an understanding of people, but a university education is the next best thing. Or at least it should be. Unless you’re in a metropolitan area, where else other than a university campus can someone find an opportunity to live and interact among so many different types of people? Social media aside, nothing connects us with real people better than real time spent in close proximity on a regular basis.

Here at the University of Mississippi, we are given plenty such opportunities. Yet, I know most people choose to remain in their familiar social circles. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. It’s expected.

But it’s also predictable, limiting and counterproductive to having a genuine university experience. If all someone wants from going to college is a degree, it would probably be simpler to just do it online. Technology makes it possible to earn numerous academic credits without ever setting foot in a classroom.

But there’s more to going to college than taking classes, isn’t there? Sure, there is. There’s living in a dormitory or off campus with or without roommate(s). There’s dining at any number of restaurants with other students, faculty or administrators. There’s joining Greek organizations, professional and honor societies and social clubs. There’s participating in and/or watching collegiate athletics, both intramural and intercollegiate. There’s being part of a diverse group of people brought together for worthwhile and benevolent causes. There’s dating a few people and meeting someone special who becomes the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. There’s volunteering to promote worthwhile causes that benefit others. There’s all this and so much more.

Of course, no one can be forced to do any of these things. A student could easily just enroll, attend classes, past courses progressively, earn a degree and move on without having ever getting involved with various aspects of campus life. Ignore it all.

But why? As long as we’re here at the University of Mississippi, we might as well get better acquainted and see where things go. Amidst literally thousands of individuals on a daily basis for months at a time, the potential is there to actually be more strangers, casual acquaintances or perceived enemies.

Who knows? We might even learn how to become friends. That would truly be making the most of the university experience.

Nouranian Joins Chemical Engineering Faculty

Former MSU postdoctoral researcher brings knowledge, experience to department

Sasan Nouranian conducting research in the Chemical Engineering laboratory.

Sasan Nouranian conducts research in the chemical engineering laboratory.

When Sasan Nouranian completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Amirkabir University of Technology, he was already in the fast track for academic advancement in higher education. Once he completed his doctorate at Mississippi State University and began working there, he was certain he would remain at MSU indefinitely.

Buy after three years as a postdoctoral associate and six months as an assistant research professor, Nourianian was offered an opportunity too good to pass up. This fall, he became the newest assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

“In the ‘Meet the Faculty’ poster session of the 2013 annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, I was introduced to Dr. (Paul) Scovazzo,” he said. “I learned about an open assistant professor position at Ole Miss, and I later applied.”

Nouranian accepted the position because he knew the university well and was collaborating with Ole Miss faculty while at MSU.

“I saw a potential for growth and an excellent opportunity to build a multidisciplinary research group at Ole Miss,” Nouranian said.

Nouranian is a welcome addition to the chemical engineering department, said Clint Williford, chair and professor of chemical engineering.

“Dr. Nouranian’s expertise combines molecular modeling and experimentation in the material science field,” Williford said. “He adds a new facet to the capabilities supporting our strategic vision. Energetic new professors, such as Sasan, will play an important role in rejuvenating our department into the future.”

Sasan Nouranian enjoys family time with his wife, daughter and son.

Nouranian enjoys family time with his wife, daughter and son.

Nouranian is teaching Introduction to Chemical Engineering I, a freshman course with 80 students divided into two sections, this fall. In the spring, he plans to teach Plant Design II, as senior course in chemical engineering.

“My short-term goals are to establish my own research lab and recruit graduate students to get my research started,” Nouranian said. “My long-term goals are threefold. I want to find better ways to interact with students and help them realize their potential and succeed. I want to establish a polymer processing lab as well as a molecular dynamics simulation lab to conduct multidisciplinary experimental and computational materials research, advance the graduate program in the department, and mentor undergraduate and graduate students.

“With respect to service, I want to make contributions to the university, my professional society and my community in general.”

Among his many professional achievements, Nouranian said he is most proud of having had opportunities to collaborate with internationally renowned scholars in the field of computational materials research.

“I was involved in a pioneering work on the development of an interatomic potential for polymers,” Nouranian said. “I am excited to advance this work further and establish my computational materials group at Ole Miss.”

When not at work, Nouranian enjoys reading books and spending time with his wife, their 4-year old daughter and 10-month old son.


Power Broker: EE Alumnus is General Manager of Area Utility

Keith Hayward has been with NEMEPA since 1988

Keith Hayward

Keith Hayward

When Keith Hayward earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Mississippi in 1987, he found employment as an engineer and assistant to the general manager of North East Mississippi Electric Power Association. Twenty-six years and many promotions later, the successful alumnus is general manager and chief executive officer of the cooperative.

Remembering where he came from, Hayward readily acknowledged the role Ole Miss engineering faculty played in his professional development and career longevity.

“Charles Smith (the late chair emeritus and professor emeritus of electrical engineering at UM) was a very good person, as well as professor,” Hayward said. “He was instrumental in my decision to change from chemical engineering to electrical engineering. That decision that allowed me to land at NEMEPA, continue with our families’ farming business and remain in Oxford to take care of my parents, who have both recently passed.”

A lifelong resident of Oxford, Hayward briefly worked for a lighting manufacturer in Tupelo before joining NEMEPA in 1988. At the time, the utility had approximately 10,000 meters, 1,600 miles of line and a net utility plant value of $16 million.

“I was promoted to manager of operations at the age of 27 and was soon in charge of overseeing restoration from the largest disaster ever to strike north Mississippi, the 1994 ice storm,” he said. “In 2006, I was promoted to manager of engineering, operation and IT, and began the implementation of many new technologies that have made North East Power one of the most advanced distribution systems in the Tennessee Valley.”

As general manager-CEO, Hayward oversees the total operations of the fastest-growing cooperative in Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley.

“We now provide electric service to nearly 24,000 meters over 2,000 miles of line and have a net utility plant of $83 million,” he said. “My duties have moved away from engineering, although I am still heavily involved in the final decision on expansion and upgrade projects.”

NEMEPA is constantly working on forecasting models to make sure its capital projects will meet the needs of the current and future members of the association, Hayward said. In doing so, he designs rates and secures financing to pay for the projects, while maintaining the association’s good financial health.

“I am also responsible for making sure I am providing a productive, safe work environment for the 60 employees that are the backbone of NEMEPA,” he said. “We have embraced new technology as long as the technology helps and does not hinder.”

Hayward said he manages to do all this while keeping up with a rapidly-changing electric industry.

“I must stay on top of developments in regulations, distributed generation, grid security and smart grid technology, just to name a few,” he said.

Hayward considers becoming general manager-CEO by far his greatest career achievement.

“Having grown up in this area, I feel like I am giving back to the community in which I live,” he said. “Sometimes, it is difficult working for a public entity, but in the end, it is very rewarding.”

Hayward is married to the former Cheryl Caffey, a 1988 UM graduate. They have two daughters: Allison, who plans attend Ole Miss in 2015; and Mary Clark, who also plans to attend in 2018. The Haywards enjoy travel and spending time on their farm just outside town.

Paying It Forward: ME Alumnus’ Generosity Benefitting Students

Pilot Mike Jurgensen serves on Engineering Advisory Board, created scholarship fund

Mike Jurgensen

Mike Jurgensen

Michael “Mike” Jurgensen might never have come to Ole Miss had he not been following his older brother. That decision led to a 30-plus-year career as a pilot. Now semi-retired, Jurgensen generously gives back to the School of Engineering that gave him his start.

A faithful donor, Jurgensen is on the Engineering Advisory Board and usually makes one presentation each semester to engineering students. In November, he plans to speak as a part of the ENGR 400 Leadership and Professionalism course.

“I thoroughly enjoy talking to Ole Miss students,” Jurgensen said. “They are our future!”

Recently, the Jurgensen family endowed a scholarship in the name of his parents, Don and Carolyn Jurgensen, who dearly loved Ole Miss and worked hard to make sure he and his older sibling could attend the school.

“Honestly, I attended Ole Miss because my brother studied mechanical engineering there,” said the 1974 graduate. “We have always had the same interests, so I was sure I would like what he liked.”

Shadowing his sibling, Jurgensen also studied mechanical engineering, but found his interests divided. During his freshman year, he almost decided to pursue another major.

“Without question, Dean Karl Brenkert rescued me from making a poor decision to leave engineering,” he said. “I remember him as a kind, soft-spoken man who always thought before he spoke, cared for all of his students and had a great wit.”

John Fox, chair emeritus and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, also influenced Jurgensen to go the distance.

“Dr. Fox was also a quiet man who had a caring personality and always had time to talk,” he said. “I enjoyed every math class I took. Also, thermodynamics and a class called ‘Elements of Propulsion’ (which delved into various types of engines) were very interesting to me.”

While his sibling went on with a successful career in mechanical engineering, Jurgensen’s love for airplanes led him to a job as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force for six years. He returned to mechanical engineering for about four years before finally becoming a pilot at Federal Express, performing several other interesting and challenging aviation-related jobs. Jurgensen’s flying career in the Air Force and at FedEx spanned 31 years.

“I recently retired from Federal Express but have returned on a limited basis as a technical pilot for the B777F, the same job I had before I retired,” Jurgensen said. “My responsibilities include acting as a company pilot representative to the aircraft manufacturer on pilot-related issues, interfacing with the manufacturer on design-related issues, producing manuals for flight crew members, answering questions for other parts of our company that are involved with the aircraft, the integration, testing and documentation of new pilot-related equipment installed onboard the aircraft, and acting as a resource for the discussion of the acquisition of additional aircraft.”

While humbled to have received some honors while in college, Jurgensen said he is most proud of the confidence and trust that FedEx showed in allowing him to manage several advanced technology projects, including the flight test and development of a new variant of the DC-10F (the MD10F), the development and certification of GPS-based instrument approaches in the Philippines and the position of technical pilot on the DC-10F, MD-10F, A380F and B777F aircraft.

“Without question, the engineering skills I learned at Ole Miss helped to prepare me for each one of these jobs,” Jurgensen said.

Jurgensen is married to the former Cindy Sharp, who attended Texas Tech University. The couple has three daughters who graduated from Ole Miss: Carrie Anne (BSME 05), Cathleen (BAEd 08) and Cassie (BSN-RN). Jurgensen’s hobbies include working on cars, antique firearms, fishing and international outreach through his church.

ME Student Interns at Naval Research Department

Ben Branson spent 10 weeks discovering, improving analytical skills

Many students vacation in Florida, but Ben Branson spent 10 weeks there this summer for a very different reason.

The mechanical engineering sophomore from Madison interned with the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program in Panama City. The NREIP is designed to provide college students in various STEM fields an opportunity to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory during the summer.

The program’s goals are to encourage participating students to pursue science and engineering careers, to further education via mentoring by laboratory personnel and their participation in research, and to make them aware of DoN research and technology efforts, which can lead to employment within the agency.

A member of the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Branson was made aware of the program through a weekly email from the School of Engineering Student Services office notifying undergraduates of various opportunities for research, co-ops/internships and other professional development opportunities.

“I felt that it was important to begin gaining potential job-related experience early in my college career,” Branson said. “The traditional route is to start seeking internships after sophomore year. I wanted to be ahead of that, so I was looking around for opportunities I thought would be interesting.

“This program was appealing because of the available locations, generous funding and the variety of experiences offered.”

While working with the NREIP program, he was tasked with writing the code for a systems control box being used in a collegiate robotics competition. Through this process, Branson was able to learn the Python language, compile code, troubleshoot problem areas and document his code.

He also learned more about himself along the way.

“Not only did I improve my problem-solving abilities, but I gained great insight into the type of work environment that is the best for me,” Branson said. “This will help me in the future when I am seeking employment.”

Branson said he feels that internships are important because they give students a chance to spot-check their perceived strengths and develop skills in any weak areas. They also provide credibility, necessary training and opportunities to utilize previous classroom experiences in real-world settings.

Entering his second year on campus, Branson is still undecided on his career path but is sure that it will involve design, working with his hands and problem-solving.

“I am certain, though, that the educational opportunities afforded to me at the University of Mississippi will be beneficial regardless of the path I choose after graduation,” he said.

Wiginton Named MSTA College Teacher of Year

Assistant chemistry professor to receive plaque at annual convention

John Wiginton

John Wiginton

OXFORD, Miss. – John Wiginton, instructional assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, is the Mississippi Science Teachers Association’s College Teacher of the Year.

Wiginton will receive a plaque Oct. 21 at MSTA’s annual convention awards banquet in Jackson. The organization uses its annual convention to allow teachers to present ideas to fellow teachers and to glean information and ideas from each other to better equip themselves for their classroom.

“I am excited and humbled to receive this award,” Wiginton said. “I used to think that the Teacher of the Year was the ‘best’ teacher of the year, but I’ve since come to understand that many of the best educators are far too humble to be recognized easily. There are many more individuals far more deserving than I am.

“It is a supreme honor to be included in the same group with such awe-inspiring and selfless individuals.”

The honoree began teaching nonmajors chemistry lecture courses as a UM instructor in 2003. After receiving his doctorate and being promoted to instructional assistant professor in 2008, Wiginton added General Chemistry, Chemistry for Teachers I and II, and Graduate Chemistry for High School Science Teachers I. He has been a laboratory manager since 2003 and director of undergraduate labs since 2010.

“As the director of our undergraduate laboratory program, Dr. Wiginton has responsibility for 56 sections of laboratory courses,” said Charles Hussey, chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “He works hard to keep abreast of the latest developments in laboratory instruction and has worked with prominent publishing companies to write laboratory manuals for his courses. His hard work is very much appreciated, and we are glad to see him recognized with this award.”

Wiginton reflected upon his teaching career.

“I come to work every day excited about the possibilities and leave every day feeling like I have done good, meaningful work,” he said. “Receiving awards is motivating to be sure, but none of us do what we do for the recognition. We do it because we love and care about our rising generation.

“At the end of the day, my reward is seeing my students graduate and become successful individuals and colleagues.”

MSTA award recipients are nominated by peers, students and parents. At the close of the annual convention, MSTA recognizes seven teachers. The Distinguished Science Teacher is one who has previously won an award from MSTA and continued to be an exemplary teacher.

Awards are presented for an outstanding new science teacher at any educational level, and for an outstanding elementary teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher and college teacher. An Informal Science Teacher award is presented to a person who is not employed as a science teacher, but who has contributed to science education in some manner.