Attractive from Coast to Coast

Engineering freshmen make UM connections

David Thomas

David Thomas

Over the past five years, the University of Mississippi School of Engineering‘s undergraduate population has doubled from roughly 700 to more than 1,400 students. While a significant number of those come from Mississippi, many others come from long distances to pursue engineering education here.

Two such students are David Thomas of Brooklyn, New York, and Richard Jaramillo of San Diego. Thomas, who was accepted into the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and hopes to become a student in the Center for Manufacturing Excellence to earn an emphasis in manufacturing. A graduate of LaGuardia High School, he was drawn to Oxford and the university because of personal connections to the region as well as the academic programs available.

“I have always liked the South and have been visiting my entire life,” Thomas said. “I have family nearby who really encouraged me to consider Ole Miss. I was definitely drawn in because of the combination of the School of Engineering and the Honors College along with the strong athletics and social scene. My official campus visit helped seal the deal!”

Although Thomas was a member of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and participated in theater productions in high school, the AP Scholar and Eagle Scout found that engineering was a great match for his interests.

“I’ve always loved solving problems and thinking of better ways to do things,” he said. “That’s exactly what an engineer does.” His favorite courses this semester are calculus and psychology.

So far, he has had a positive transition to the university because faculty and staff have been very supportive. He has decided to become a member of a Greek organization and has joined the Ultimate Frisbee team. He hopes to get involved with Engineers Without Borders.

Jaramillo, a member of the Provost Scholars program, has also enjoyed his first few weeks on campus. Although he admits to missing family and the weather back home in California, he has found the adjustment to Ole Miss easy.

“People are really nice, and it has been easy to make new friends here,” Jaramillo said. “Also, the staff at the Center for Manufacturing Excellence are willing to help you in any way that they can. The CME provides a one-on-one experience stronger than any of my other classes.”

He has started discussing cooperative education program opportunities (co-ops) for a future semester.

A graduate of Scripps Ranch High School, Jaramillo visited campus before a home football game and was introduced to the CME by a current engineering student. He believes the emphasis in manufacturing will allow him to engage in his areas of interest, since he has always considered a career in engineering.

“From a young age, I liked to fix things,” he said. “I have rewired rotary phones and worked on classic cars. I love to make things work, better them or create something new.”

Jaramillo’s favorite course this semester is Manufacturing 250, which involves Creo 3D modeling. He has become involved in a Greek organization and spends free time playing intramural sports. Jaramillo hopes to become involved with the internal combustion industry.

Both Thomas and Jaramillo encourage any high school students who are considering engineering to take time to visit the university.

Engineering’s ‘O’Reilly Factor’

Auburn alumnus Andy O'Reilly joins faculty in geology and geological engineering

Andy O'Reilly

Andy O’Reilly

Andrew “Andy” O’Reilly may not have attended the University of Mississippi, but the new assistant professor of geology and geological engineering is more than pleased to be part of the UM faculty.

“Ole Miss has a growing, respected ABET-accredited program in geological engineering that allows me to combine my broad engineering/design skills from my civil engineering background and my expertise in the hydrological and geological sciences developed at the U.S. Geological Survey,” said O’Reilly, a product of Auburn University and the University of Central Florida. “Additionally, the collegiality and breadth of expertise of the faculty in the department and the emphasis on student engagement, both in teaching and research, were very attractive.”

O’Reilly taught ENG 645 (Contaminant Transport) this fall. In the spring, he will teach GE 503 (Environmental Geochemistry) and assist in teaching GE 421 (Geological Engineering Design). Previously, he was a teaching assistant at Auburn and a USGS hydrologist for 21 years before entering academia.

“While at the U.S. Geological Survey and as a Ph.D. candidate at UCF, I was closely involved in the development of a new storm water best management practice,” O’Reilly said. “The new BMP utilizes an innovative storm water infiltration basin and biosorption activated media, a functionalized soil amendment to reduce inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus to groundwater.”

The jointly funded, collaborative effort combined the unique expertise and contributions of academia with those of federal, state and local science and resource management agencies. The new BMP is continuing to effectively reduce nutrient loading to groundwater and has served as a model for additional applications of similar nutrient reduction technology.

“The study was particularly meaningful to me because it linked research and application, culminating in the design and construction of a functioning facility,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly is a welcome addition to the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, colleagues said.

“He brings two decades of experience with the U.S. Geological Survey out of Florida, where he worked with regional groundwater models and efforts to protect the state’s water resources,” said Gregg Davidson, chair and professor of geology and geological engineering. “The addition of Dr. O’Reilly strengthens our areas of expertise in hydrogeology and engineering.”

O’Reilly said his professional goals include continuing his geoenvironmental subfield research, focusing on processes in shallow, heterogeneous geologic environments in Earth’s critical zone that govern aquifer recharge and groundwater quality.

“I endeavor to use knowledge gained from my research to develop and implement engineering solutions for maintaining and enhancing groundwater quantity and quality while fostering sustainable development within a wide range of geoenvironmental challenges facing society,” he said.

O’Reilly and his wife, Kelli, have a daughter, Felicity. He enjoys bonsai and amateur astronomy.

He summed up his ultimate goal for his UM tenure as follows:

“I want to provide opportunities for young engineers and scientists to achieve their full potential by passing along what I have learned in my experiences within and outside academia in an effort to always link research and application via teaching and societal engagement.”

CE Alumnus Manages Jackson’s Department of Public Works

Charles E. Williams Jr. credits Ole Miss foundation with his impressive career success

Charles Williams Jr.

Charles Williams Jr.

As a solid infrastructure is essential for a populated area’s establishment, growth and survival, so was Charles E. Williams Jr.’s education at the University of Mississippi School of Engineering vital to his successful academic endeavors and professional career.

“I appreciate Dr. (Waheed) Uddin giving me the foundation during my understudies at UM that has helped me be successful both professionally and academically,” Williams said. A 1996 civil engineering graduate, he is the acting managing engineer of public works with the city of Jackson. Before, he worked in the Materials Division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

“Charles is an exceptionally talented graduate,” said Uddin, civil engineering professor and founder-director of the UM’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology. “You will not find such positions commonly filled by a graduate degree holder.”

Williams completed his doctorate in civil engineering at the University of Alabama. He also earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Belhaven College.

“Again, he is one of the few CE alums who have achieved these significant academic milestones at such a relatively young age,” Uddin said.

Williams said he enjoyed all of his professors within the Department of Civil Engineering.

“The classes were very challenging,” he said. “My education from Ole Miss has provided me with a foundation built on solid fundamental engineering principles to exceed higher than I personally ever expected to achieve.”

In his position, Williams is responsible for the oversight and management of six divisions comprising 500 employees and an annual budget of $398 million. He also implements and manages a $400 million sewer consent decree.

Williams grew up in west Jackson but his family moved to Clinton, where he graduated from Clinton High School. Though he originally planned to attend engineering school and play football at Mississippi State, he decided to play football at Hinds Community College in Raymond. After one year, Williams transferred to Ole Miss to play for the Rebels.

“My football career ended early due to multiple injuries, but I am glad my pathway led to Ole Miss,” he said. “I enjoyed my time attending the university, and met a lot of great people.”

A licensed professional civil engineer in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, Williams holds memberships in the American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers/Mississippi Engineering Society and Chi Epsilon Engineering Honor Society. He considers being named the 2012 City of Jackson Public Works Department Engineer of the Year to be his most meaningful professional honor/achievement.

“It felt good to be recognized by my work peers who respect my work ethic and leadership,” said Williams, who is also a 2013 graduate of Leadership Greater Jackson.

Being inducted into Chi Epsilon at the University of Alabama was also a great accomplishment, he said. “Knowing that my name will always be displayed on a plaque honoring my academic achievement is most rewarding.”

Williams and his wife, the former Alix Davis, have two sons: Cameron, 9, and Graham Warren, 5. He enjoys spending time with his sons, who are completing football and soccer seasons. Williams also participates in various programs at Wells United Methodist Church that provide community service to low income residents living within the Jackson Metro area.

Williams is scheduled to return to UM next spring as a guest lecturer for a graduate seminar class and a transportation class. He finds it a pleasure to share his experiences with present engineering students.

“You have to give back by mentoring,” Williams said. “I was able to tutor my senior year through a partnership with NSPE Mathcounts and the Clarksdale Public School District. I drove over to Clarksdale once a week to help mentor elementary school kids struggling in math. The mentoring experience in college allowed me to continue to mentor over years through various programs at work that outreached to local high schools and colleges within the Jackson metro area.”

UM Alumnus Discusses Intelligent Transportation System

MDOT engineer Acey Roberts emerges as leader with innovative safety technology

UM alum Acey Roberts (second from left) shares the ITS Hall of Fame award with (from left) John Gilligan, MDOT Traffic Management Center Operations Manager, Jim Willis, MDOT Assistant State Traffic Engineer, Melinda McGrath, MDOT Executive Director, James Sullivan, MDOT State Traffic Engineer and Mike Stokes, Former ITS Program Manager (Retired).

UM alum Acey Roberts (second from left) shares the ITS Hall of Fame award with (from left) John Gilligan, MDOT Traffic Management Center Operations Manager,
Jim Willis, MDOT Assistant State Traffic Engineer, Melinda McGrath, MDOT Executive Director, James Sullivan, MDOT State Traffic Engineer and Mike Stokes, Former ITS Program Manager (Retired).

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi civil engineering alumnus Thursday (Oct. 30) shared details of an internationally recognized intelligent transportation system he helped design with others in the traffic control industry.

Acey Roberts, intelligent transportation systems engineer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, moderated and presented during the daylong active traffic management workshop at the Inn at Ole Miss.

MDOT, in conjunction with the states of Arkansas and Louisiana, designed an ITS system on four shared Mississippi River bridge crossings. The project received the Best New Innovative Practice – Partnership Deployment award at the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress last month in Detroit.

“We installed traffic sensors, cameras and message boards to communicate with surface roadway traffic and river traffic to communicate any potential impacts to travelers,” said Roberts, president of the Gulf Region Intelligent Transportation Society. “This project won the international award for the Americas in 2014. It was a great opportunity to represent our state on the same stage as other international traffic systems winners London, England, and New Zealand.”

The award goes to the organization with projects that can demonstrate specific and measurable outcomes and show innovation by establishing a “new dimension” of performance.

Roberts, who also earned graduate hours at Mississippi State University and Northwestern University, has been with MDOT since 2008. His group plans and implements roadway sensors and computer networks to help make the interstates safer and reduce traffic congestion.

“Our website,, highlights the video and communication systems we have in the state to allow the traveling public to make better decisions on traveling around and through construction zones, traffic accidents scenes or other incidents they may encounter,” he said. “All of this work is focused on reducing accidents and injuries and improving your travel times on the state highways and interstates.”

About 40 people representing public and private sectors of the transportation systems industry attended the workshop. Participants praised Roberts’ leadership of and service to the organization.

“Acey was part of the steering committee, served as treasurer and ascended through the ranks by volunteering his personal and professional time,” said Chris Hilyer, ALDOT operations manager and immediate past president of GRITS. “This organization wouldn’t be where it is without his contributions.”

Roberts acknowledged Waheed Uddin, UM professor of civil engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology, as playing a pivotal role in his career trajectory and success.

“Dr. Uddin was one of the professors I worked with the most, and I still work with him today,” he said. “He allowed me to work for him in research and in the classroom, so I got a little taste of what engineers did for a living.”

Uddin remembers Roberts as one of the top students in his transportation course who was destined to excel in his profession.

“Early on, he was willing to take challenging assignments,” Uddin said. “He demonstrated this when he worked on my NASA/Mississippi DOT-funded project in his senior year to evaluate airborne laser terrain survey technology for highway design. He worked with professional survey teams who collected topographic survey data that I later used for ‘ground truthing.'”

The UM School of Engineering is also indebted to Roberts, Dean Alex Cheng said.

“He has been instrumental in bringing MDOT equipment that includes a high-speed fiber optic line, a TV wall and other equipment into Dr. Uddin’s transportation lab that allows the real-time monitoring of traffic throughout the state wherever there is a traffic camera,” Cheng said. “The facility can be used not only for Dr. Uddin’s research, but by the university to monitor game day traffic around Oxford.”

Roberts said he is grateful for all his UM engineering education has helped him achieve.

“I really believe in the benefits of ITS systems and it was very fulfilling to get recognition for the work we do in Mississippi,” Roberts said. “Even though Mississippi doesn’t have the largest population and the worst traffic problems, we provide a big safety benefit to our commercial and local commuters in the region, not to mention it is a very cost effective solution to traffic problems.”

For a view of the MDOT project, go to

CONNECTIONS: The Reasons for the Season

Holidays should mean more than a change of scenery

‘Tis a month before semester’s end and everyone here from senior administration to the freshmen class is readying for the holidays as they quickly draw near. Faculty are preparing their final lectures and reviews before giving final exams. No doubt, the nooks and crannies of the various libraries on campus soon will be filled to capacity with students writing papers, finishing projects and studying.

But soon, it will be over. Relief is in sight. You’ll ride in your car or on an airplane take flight. Getting off campus, leaving Ole Miss behind. Going home for the holidays will be so sublime! Good times await you with family and friends. You can hardly wait for the holidays to begin!

But before the deadlines close in, before you begin to feel the stress of assignments due, take a few moments to reflect upon the reasons for the season. The winter holidays should bring more than a welcome respite from the pressures of academia. This should be a time when there’s a focus on joy, peace and good will toward all mankind.

Unfortunately, circumstances are rarely ideal. For many, the loneliness they feel most of the year is amplified during the holidays. Bouts with depression and suicide attempts usually ramp up during this season. The need for basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter is more acute than we can begin to imagine.

So, before you get caught up in finishing the semester strong and traveling away from campus and the Oxford-Lafayette County area, remember these three things:

First, be thankful. Pause long enough to see how fortunate you’ve been, particularly compared to the less fortunate.

Second, be sensitive. This is a time when it’s perfectly legit to think of someone else besides yourself. Pause long enough to see how fortunate you’ve been. Look into the eyes of people who speak to you. Notice their moods. Listen. See whether they’re actually doing as well as their responses seem to indicate. If they don’t speak to you first, then you reach out to them.

Third and finally, be responsible. Don’t turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to those clear cries for help. If you saw/heard them, then you’re the one who can and must do something. So often, tragedies could have been avoided if just one person had simply taken the time to get involved in a crisis situation. Believe it or not, you’ll actually feel good knowing that your words and actions made a positive difference in someone else’s life.

After all, isn’t that what this season is really all about?

Adopt-a-Basket, Books and Bears Donations Needed

Charitable programs assist families in need during holidays

Students packing boxes for Adopt-a-Basket

Students pack boxes for Adopt-a-Basket

OXFORD, Miss. – As the winter holidays draw near, the University of Mississippi community is working together to provide meals and toys for area families in need.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the 10th annual Adopt-a-Basket program is accepting food donations at UM’s Jackson Avenue Center. Collection dates and times are noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 18, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 19 and 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 20. The event is co-sponsored by the Associated Student Body, the Big Event and the Office of Volunteer Services.

“The number of families helped has been increasing,” said Coulter Ward, assistant dean of students for student organizations. “Last year, we had close to 500 baskets that were sent out to families. We have averaged close to 250 baskets annually for the last five years.”

Each basket provided will contain a $35 gift card (Walmart, Kroger or Larson’s Cash Saver), 2 large cans of corn, 2 large cans of green beans, a can of cranberry sauce, a large onion, 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, 3 pounds of white potatoes, a can of sweetened condensed milk, 5 pounds of sugar and 5 pounds of cornmeal. Volunteers are needed to pack baskets. Contact Kaitlyn Vogt at or Ward at to sign up.

Before Christmas, the 17th annual Books and Bears Drive is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 19 in a location to be determined. Sponsored by UM’s Black Faculty and Staff Organization, the drive collects new teddy bears, children’s books and toys to be presented to children of custodial and grounds workers. A reception follows the distribution.

“People inquire about the program’s particulars well before we start planning,” said Donald Cole, associate provost and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs. “I don’t feel as if I’m imposing when I ask for donations because I know your heart and your desire to help with the program again this year.”

Donations for Books and Bears may be dropped off at several campus locations: third floor of the Khayat Law Center, Graduate School, second floor of Vardaman Hall, first floor of Ventress Hall, Office of the Provost in the Lyceum, UM Ticket Office in Student Union, Howry Hall, Room 308, Hume Hall, Room 305, Farley Hall, Yerby Center, Career Center at Martindale Hall, Powers Hall and the Lucky Day Residential College.

For more information, contact Cole at 662-915-1712 or  or Jackie Certion at

Ross’ Gifts Enrich Special Collections

Late researcher posthumously donates valuable documents to University Libraries

thompson_004Carolyn Jones Ross’s devotion to research was matched perfectly to her commitment to the University of Mississippi Libraries. Her combined loves yielded two gifts to UM’s Archives and Special Collections this year.

The Carolyn Jones Ross Memorial Collection began last March with an initial gift of primary documents from Jacob Thompson and his family. Included are nine letters signed by Thompson, 17 letters from his wife, Catherine, ledgers containing information on slaves and financial papers written between 1842-1885.

A second gift in September, the Carolyn Jones Ross Research Files, is a collection of the research files of Ross pertaining primarily to her own work on Thompson. Ross, who died last March, served three years on the Oxford-Lafayette Heritage Foundation board, during which her ongoing research into Thompson’s life was used to develop the marker at the Thompson Home Place site and the interpretive materials at the L.O.C. Lamar House.

Born in 1810 in North Carolina, Thompson moved to Mississippi in the 1830s. He got involved in politics early, serving in Congress from 1839-1851.

“During President Buchanan’s administration, Thompson was Secretary of the Interior until 1861 when the Civil War erupted,” said Julia Rholes, UM dean of libraries. “During the war he served in both military and legislative capacities for the Confederacy.”

Joyce Sidorfsky of Oxford was a longtime family friend of Ross. The two met as band students at Louisiana State University years ago and became inseparable.

“She was in the band because her father was the director,” Sidorfsky said. “I was the band librarian. That’s how we got to know each other on a daily basis.”

Ross and Sidorfsky traveled the United States and Europe together. She remembers her late friend as both a serious collector and a kind, benevolent human being who loved the performing arts.

“She collected everything,” Sidorfsky said. “She was particularly fond of giraffes. She has well over 300 of them in her house.”

“At the same time, Carolyn was always sticking her neck out for others. She was pleasant to be around and a great traveling companion.”

Ross was a retired speech-language pathologist whose career included stints in Iberville Parish, Louisiana public schools and LSU Medical School prior to nearly a quarter century in private practice in New Orleans. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from LSU-Baton Rouge and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She was an early pioneer in the use of Cued Speech, a phoneme-based system of hand shapes and positions that clarifies ongoing speech.

Ross served three years on the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council board.

By Edwin Smith


Roberts Helps Keep Traffic Moving, Motorists Safe

Alumnus is an award-winning intelligent transportation systems engineer

awards photo acey

When famed author George Orwell penned his novel “1984,” he predicted that  surveillance technology would one day be everywhere. Thirty years later than that prophetic title, Acey Roberts has helped make Orwell’s fiction a reality.

An intelligent transportation systems engineer in the Traffic Engineering Division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the University of Mississippi alumnus was instrumental in designing and installing traffic cameras and other traffic control equipment throughout the state and beyond. While some drivers may be annoyed by citations prompted by “caught-on-camera” violations, Roberts says the motivations for the technology are far from punitive.

“My group plans and implements roadway sensors and computer networks to help make the interstates safer and reduce traffic congestion,” Roberts said. “Our website highlights the video and communication systems we have in the state to allow the traveling public to make better decisions on traveling around and through construction zones, traffic accidents scenes or other incidents they may encounter.

“All of this work is focused on reducing accidents and injuries and improving your travel times on the state highways and interstates.”

Since he began working for MDOT six years ago, Roberts has been recognized for being exceptionally good at his job. Elected president of the Gulf Regional Intelligent Transportation Society, he moderated and presented a workshop during a recent group meeting on campus. He also made sure that MDOT surveillance equipment is included in the transportation lab at UM’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology.

Moreover, MDOT, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development collaborated on an intelligent transportation systems project for four Mississippi River bridges that recently took top honors at the ITS World Congress.

To read more about Roberts and his efforts, click here.

So for motorists returning to campus for this weekend’s Ole Miss-Presbeteryn game, drive carefully and remember: MDOT is watching to help keep you safe.


Science Cafe to Focus on In-Memory Databases

UM Information Technology staff members to participate in Nov. 11 session


OXFORD, Miss. – The trend toward in-memory computing and real-time analytics is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s fourth and final meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 11 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Kathryn “Kathy” Gates, UM chief information officer, will discuss “In-Memory Databases and Big Data.” Admission is free.

“We live in a world saturated with mobile devices, environmental sensors, social media channels and more – all of which constantly generate vast amounts of data,” Gates said. “Deriving meaningful insights and actionable information from these data sources presents challenges for computer scientists.”

The 30-minute presentation will involve software developers from a leading technology company as well as Ole Miss Information Technology staff members. Children of IT staff will assist with live demonstrations.

“We’re finding out how in-memory databases, such as HANA, are helping to address the challenges of big data,” she said. “This presentation will focus on the hardware and software features of in-memory databases.”

Gates earned her doctorate in engineering science from UM, master’s degrees in computer science and mathematics from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Louisiana State University. She began working with the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research at UM in 1988, became director of academic computing in 1998, assistant vice chancellor in 2003 and chief information officer in 2006.

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.

UM Hosts Freedom Series Nov. 15-18

Week's events include concerts, museum tour and film screening

freedom series

The University of Mississippi Freedom Series

OXFORD, Miss. – Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer, the University of Mississippi has a slate of events coming up Nov. 15-18 in its Freedom Series.

Scheduled events include the UM Gospel Choir‘s 40th anniversary concert Nov. 15 and an Oxford Civic Chorus concert Nov. 17. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Adult admission is $10 each night, with a special $5 admission for students the second night only.

The Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center, 710 East Jackson Ave., will be open to visitors from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 16. A screening of the documentary “Freedom Summer” begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Oxford Studio Cinema on Jackson Avenue. Both events are free to the public.

“For years, the events of Freedom Summer evaded the history books, and several generations of Mississippians are unaware of the details surrounding the events,” said Donald Cole, assistant provost, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs and program co-coordinator.

“If you are one of the individuals who missed this part of your state’s history, or were told only portions of it or if you want to hear from individuals who actually experienced it, then you will want to attend the events planned for Freedom Summer. Even if you’re not a historian, you’ll enjoy the music, folklore and academic lectures associated with this event.”

The Oxford Civic Chorus concert features music inspired by the civil rights movement. Special guests include the Grammy-nominated UM Gospel Choir, Mississippians Jazz Ensemble, Lafayette High School Choir, Oxford High School Choir and Blue Ten Harmony. The concert will begin with composer-music teacher-pastor Lena McLin’s famous 1973 cantata, “Free At Last: A Portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.” Other songs will highlight protest from the era and inspiration.

“Dr. McLin, who grew up with Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, wrote this piece to honor the memory of her friend,” said Brooke Worthy, civic chorus director. “This is a great opportunity to hear an important piece that is rarely performed in the United States. In addition, the concert on Monday night brings together some wonderful ensembles in one venue.”

Presented by UM Libraries, the nationally-acclaimed documentary “Freedom Summer” focuses on the memorable 10 weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African-Americans in an effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in the South. “Freedom Summer” is part of the Created Equal film series that chronicles the legacy of the long civil rights movement.