Accountancy Professor, Violence Prevention Officer Win Frist Awards

Recipients honored for their exceptional service to students

Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick

Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick

OXFORD, Miss. – Each day, University of Mississippi students are affected by the words and actions of faculty and staff members who extend their work beyond classrooms, labs and office space.

Two of them – Brett Cantrell, assistant professor of accountancy in the Patterson School of Accountancy; and Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick, assistant director of the Office of Violence Prevention in the Counseling Center – have been selected as this year’s Frist Student Service Award honorees in recognition of their exceptional service to students.

They were chosen from among dozens of nominees, submitted by students, alumni, faculty and staff. A chancellor’s committee weighed all the nominations and made the picks.

“Of all the awards we bestow on faculty and staff each year, the Frist Awards are extra-special because they recognize unwavering commitment to serving our students and making sure they are successful,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “Students are the central reason we are here, and service is part of our core mission. I am grateful for the work of Ms. Mosvick and Dr. Cantrell, and on behalf of the entire university, thank both of them for their dedication and remarkable example.”

The awards, one for faculty and one for staff, were established with a gift from Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr. of Nashville, a 1930 UM graduate. This is the 22nd year for the awards.

Cantrell and Mosvick each receive $1,000 and a plaque, and are to be recognized May 14 at the university’s main Commencement ceremony. Both recipients expressed surprise upon learning that they had been chosen for the recognition.

Brett Cantrell

Brett Cantrell

“My first thought was, ‘I wonder if this is really correct?'” Cantrell said. “There are just so many professors at the University of Mississippi that go above and beyond in student service, and who have been doing so for so much longer than I have. I certainly see that here in the accounting school.”

Mosvick was equally astonished to receive the award.

“The work I do in the violence prevention office frequently involves confidential information, so I never expected something like this to happen,” she said. “I also thought I have not worked here long enough to deserve the honor. I am starting a master’s program in higher education through the university and I will put this (her stipend) toward those costs.”

Cantrell, who joined the Ole Miss faculty in 2013, received his doctorate in accounting from the University of Texas. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting are from UM.

His research examines the quality and usefulness of bank accounting estimates such as the allowance for loan losses. Cantrell’s work has been published in The Accounting Review, and he is a certified public accountant in the state of Mississippi. Before his doctoral studies, he served in the audit practice of KPMG’s Birmingham, Alabama, office.

“This is really the first award I’ve won,” said Cantrell, faculty adviser for the UM chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. “I am certainly honored to get to serve in that position, and I imagine it had something to do with me winning this award.

“Our chapter works to foster a sense of community for African-American students in the accounting school as well as developing the professional skills of our members.”

One nomination for Cantrell, from a graduate student, stated in part: “Dr. Cantrell not only does his duties as NABA adviser . . . but he goes above and beyond. He has generously opened his home to all of NABA on numerous occasions and is always willing to help us when needed. He has even donated money to start the Patterson School Minority Summer Scholarship.”

In another nomination, a former student wrote: “Dr. Cantrell has worked diligently to always keep our best interest at heart. He has been a voice for our community.”

Mosvick, who earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia law school, has also been employed at the university since 2013. Formerly project coordinator in the Office of Violence Prevention, she also works as adviser of Rebels Against Sexual Assault, the campus student organization that assists in raising awareness about sexual assault and implementing peer education programs.

She previously received the Students First award at the first annual Women’s Empowerment Awards in March 2015.

“That award was also an honor, but this award obviously leaves a greater legacy,” Mosvick said. “Learning about how my name will be on display in Martindale Hall and seeing this list of names I am joining is just as great an honor, as it includes many folks who I admire greatly like, Valeria Ross and Thelma Curry.”

One nomination for Mosvick, from a staff member, stated: “Lindsey is always putting the needs of her students above her own. She works weekends, nights and early mornings to ensure the survivors are getting the care and attention that they deserve. She never complains about the intense workload because she truly cares about the lives of Ole Miss students.”

A student wrote, “The professional support she provides is important, but the emotional support that she is willing to give is what sets her apart from the rest. I am convinced that, if financially able, Lindsey would do this work for free. That’s how much she cares about our students.”

Cantrell and his wife, Stacey, have a 1-year-old daughter, Bronwynn.

“She’s a delight,” he said. “Since having Bronwynn, the concept of leisure time seems pretty foreign to us, but I used to read and play sports.”

Mosvick is married to Nicholas Mosvick, a doctoral candidate in the university’s Arch Dalrymple Department of History.

“If not for him, I would have never joined the university in the first place,” she said. “Outside of the office, I enjoy reading, cheering on my favorite sports teams and spending time with my family, especially my 1-year-old nephew.”

Joel Kotkin to Discuss Urban Development at UM

May 6 talk to examine issues of growth and economic development in smaller communities

Joel Kotkin

Joel Kotkin

OXFORD, Miss. – A respected professional in urban development is the guest speaker for a public forum Friday (May 6) at the University of Mississippi.

Joel Kotkin will address UM students and the local community in The Pavilion at Ole Miss beginning at 11:30 a.m. The author’s appearance is being co-sponsored by the UM Real Estate Advisory Board, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, School of Business Administration and Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in 36 years that academics and athletics at the University of Mississippi have joined together to sponsor an event such as this,” said Blake Tartt III, a UM marketing alumnus and owner of New Regional Planning, a real estate and strategy firm in Houston, Texas.

“Joel Kotkin is an internationally recognized author and professional in the global, economic, political and social trends of urban development. He studies patterns, why people are moving and where they are moving.”

One of the ongoing conversations in Oxford has been expansion and economic development with the growing student and local populations. For example, more than 50 percent of Ole Miss students are millenials from out-of-state, Tartt noted. Also, more and more adults 50 and older are moving away from urban areas and into nonurban/small towns, similar to Oxford.

“All the members of the advisory board are passionate about Ole Miss and Oxford,” Tartt said. “We feel it is extremely important to bring professionals like Joel Kotkin to Mississippi. As urban development rapidly continues, it is essential that the Oxford’s infrastructure expand to accommodate its growth. That also helps create much-needed job opportunities in Oxford and the state of Mississippi.”

Representatives of the other sponsors of the event echoed Tartt’s opinions.

“We believe this type of event, that students from throughout the campus may attend, enables students to be exposed to practical ideas that they may never have considered,” said Will Norton, UM journalism dean. “Despite the depth of his knowledge, the topics he addresses are so practical that students need to hear him so that they can be preparing themselves for internships and jobs.”

The Ole Miss real estate program partnered to provide an opportunity for students to engage in discussions and hear from industry leaders to add perspective to the academic information and how it relates to the real world.

“We definitely realize the value of bringing speakers of the quality of Joel Kotkin to further prepare our students as they transition into the global workforce,” said Chip Wade, assistant professor of finance.

“Joel Kotkin is a forward thinker with great insight into topics ranging from the future of class in global cities to the places with the best opportunities for minorities. These are extremely pertinent topics in today’s economic landscape. Moreover, these are challenges that the millennium generation is going to have to address head-on.”

The athletics department has a stake in the continued growth of Oxford, said Stephen Ponder, senior executive associate athletics director.

“It is an exciting time to be at Ole Miss, and I think campus and our community will find the remarks beneficial as our leaders continue to work on plans for campus and Oxford,” he said. “We want to be an integral part of our campus and community beyond athletics.”

Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, California, and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism. He is executive editor of the widely-read website and writes the weekly “New Geographer” column for

He serves on the editorial board of the Orange County Register and writes a weekly column for that paper. He is also a regular contributor to the Daily Beast and Real Clear Politics.

His new book, “The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us” was published by Agate in April. Other books by Kotkin include the critically-acclaimed “The New Class Conflict” (2014, Telos Press), “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050” (2011, Penguin Press), “The City: A Global History” (2005, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and “Tribes: How Race, Religion and Identity Are Reshaping the Global Economy” (1992, Random House).

Kotkin has published reports on topics ranging from the future of class in global cities to the places with the best opportunities for minorities. His 2013 report, “Post-familialism: Humanity’s Future,” an examination of the world’s future demography, was published by the Civil Service College of Singapore and Chapman University and has been widely discussed not only in the United States, but in Israel, Brazil, Canada and other countries.

During the last decade, the speaker has completed studies focusing on several major cities, including a worldwide study examining the future of London, Mumbai and Mexico City, and studies of New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, San Bernardino and St. Louis, among others. In 2010, he completed an international study on “the new world order” for the Legatum Institute in London that traced transnational ethnic networks, particularly in East Asia.

Kotkin also has worked in smaller communities, including a report – working with Praxis Strategy Group – on the rise of the Great Plains for Texas Tech University. He is coordinating major studies on Texas urbanism, the future of localism and the re-industrialization of the American heartland for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

As director of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman, he was the lead author of a major study on housing, and is involved in a project about the future of Orange County, California.

For more information about the UM School of Business Administration, visit For more about the Meek School of Journalism, go to For more about Ole Miss athletics, visit

Sustainability Enthusiasm Wins UM Student Udall Scholarship

Grace Sullivan is the university's third award recipient since 2008

Grace Sullivan is congratulated by her parents, Claire and Dr. David Sullivan (left) and UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Grace Sullivan is congratulated by her parents, Claire and Dr. David Sullivan (left) and UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Every leap year since 2008, a University of Mississippi student has been surprised with a Morris K. Udall Scholarship. This year is no exception, as Grace Sullivan became the university’s third recipient of the prestigious academic award.

The junior social work major from Madison got the news recently when she was summoned to Chancellor Jeffery Vitter’s office in the Lyceum. Led to believe that the chancellor was meeting with all institutional nominees for national fellowships, Sullivan had no idea she had actually won the Udall.

“I was just overwhelmed by the support that I have been given in my years at Ole Miss,” she said. “So many people have come alongside me and provided me with opportunities to serve and develop my ambitions in sustainability. I know that I would not be a Udall Scholar without the support of all of them.”

As the chancellor announced the good news, he extended thanks to her professors, staff members who have assisted her and family supporters.

“I love to see effective passion, and Grace has taken a lot of good advice and channeled it in healthy and constructive ways,” Vitter said. “Part of what education is about is helping people find what they love and then use it to make the world a better place. Our students are making a difference, and we are pleased when their efforts are recognized on a national scale. We look forward to following Grace’s career and seeing what she will accomplish.”

The Udall Scholarship provides $7,000 for one year of study. Previous UM students to be awarded Udall Scholarships are Alecia Waite in 2008 and Taylor Cook in 2012.

Sullivan is among 60 national winners of the scholarships, given annually to college sophomores and juniors who are committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care.

“I will be putting the monetary scholarship from the Udall toward my graduate studies,” Sullivan said. “I plan to attain a master’s in social work and a law degree, so I am thankful to have this assistance as it seems I have a lot of education left to go. More importantly, I think that the Udall will help me in my further studies by providing a network of support through the other scholars.”

Sullivan is a graduate of Madison Central High School. A member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi and Order of Omega, she is actively involved in the Associate Student Body, Green Fund Committee, Delta Gamma fraternity, Active Transportation Advisory Committee and Gamma Beta Phi community service honors society.

She is also a member of the Ole Miss Cycling Club and UM Garden Club.

As a sophomore, she led her sorority’s team in the Green Cup competition, an annual event among Greek houses to be named the most sustainable, culminating in Green Week. Intent on being interactive with members and on encouraging involvement, the team developed a project to reduce transportation waste.

“I had everyone sign a pledge to carpool, take a bus or ride a bike to campus at least once a week,” she said. “When I gave a presentation about easy sustainable choices on campus, I asked to see the hands of those who had used our recycling receptacles or who had noticed them and chosen the nearby trashcans instead.”

As a second project, Sullivan took groups to local recreation trails to pick up litter.

“After that year, I think that a significant difference will be made,” Sullivan said. “I see this experience as a microcosm for culture around sustainability in Mississippi and the potential for progress. For anything to change, individuals have to be engaged and understand their impact.”

“I have known Grace Sullivan since her freshman year, and I have worked with her extensively both formally through internships and informally through collaborative partnerships and committee service, which speaks to the kind of dedication and commitment she has,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability. “She is passionate, driven, smart and yet humble. I am thrilled to see her being recognized and know that she certainly deserves this honor.”

Honors College Dean Douglass Sullivan-González said he was pleased, but not really surprised.

“Grace Sullivan leads by example,” Sullivan-González said. “She makes her academic pilgrimage come alive with her commitment to our university community as both citizen and scholar, and Udall distinguished that record with this extraordinary award.”

Sullivan credits the university with developing her leadership skills.

“Social work and law are not the typical avenues through which people expect environmental activism to grow, but I think that the Udall Foundation appreciates that change has to come from every direction,” she said. “Getting to know the diverse group of students that will become the generation that fights with me will likely help direct and support me in my future studies even more than funds can.”

Besides her work in the world of environmentalism, Sullivan fosters education and activism for local birds, volunteers at an Oxford nursing home and is a member of the Student Gardening Club, all while maintaining a 3.76 GPA.

In her Udall application, she wrote that she hoped “to go into public service in Mississippi, eventually transitioning into a community planning position in which I will encourage sustainable practices as a way to combat social ills.” This scholarship is a sign of Sullivan’s dedication and potential, and will offer unique opportunities as well.

One of Sullivan’s mentors is Tess Lefmann, assistant professor of social work.

“Grace is a wonderful student whose passion for sustainability is evident in her work and presence in the classroom,” Lefmann said. “Her united interest in social welfare and the environment has sparked new dialogue among social work students, which has been a joy to witness.”

Lefmann said she has no doubt that Sullivan will continue to make valuable contributions to the country’s policies on energy use and environmental sustainability.

Sullivan’s parents are Dr. David and Claire Sullivan of Madison, both UM alumni.

Congress established the Udall Foundation as an independent executive branch agency in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Students interested in pursuing a Udall Scholarship can contact Tim Dolan, the university’s Udall representative, at

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement conducts workshops each semester to introduce students to major national scholarships. Go to for more information.

UM Social Work Department Makes Huge Strides

Transformation includes tenure-track faculty hirings, rising national rankings for master's program

Jandel Crutchfield presents her social work research.

Jandel Crutchfield presents her social work research.

OXFORD, Miss. – With a significant climb in national rankings and the hiring of tenure-track faculty, the Department of Social Work at the University of Mississippi is experiencing unprecedented growth.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the department’s master’s program No. 103 out of 200 nationally, which is a 45-spot climb since 2013. In addition, seven new professors have joined the department, each bringing years of expertise in the field.

“Basically, we wanted to make the University of Mississippi Department of Social Work nationally visible and continue providing flagship-quality education and mentorship to students,” said Daphne Cain, chair and associate professor of social work. “We’re doing that.”

Formerly interim director of social work at Louisiana State University, Cain accepted the position here in 2014. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, her research interests include disaster mental health and parenting interventions with high-risk and vulnerable families.

“After arriving here, many of my goals were to hire new tenure-track faculty from premier social work programs, grow the graduate program and improving licensure exam passing rates,” she said. “These professors, whose research interests range from addictive behaviors to economic insecurity and poverty, are experts in the discipline.”

The latest rankings demonstrate the department’s effort to become one of the best places to earn an MSW, said Velmer Burton, dean of UM’s School of Applied Sciences and professor of social work.

“We are all pleased with the progress the department’s faculty and staff have made over the past three years,” Burton said. “The continued success of our MSW program is a testament to the value of investing in our people and programs in the School of Applied Sciences.”

Viktor Burlaka shares a moment with his social work students.

Viktor Burlaka shares a moment with his social work students.

Other new social work faculty are Javier Boyas, Viktor Burlaka, Jandel Crutchfield, Yi-Jin Kim, Tess Lefmann and Younghee Lim. Institutions they earned doctorates from include Boston College, the University of Michigan, LSU, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Tennessee. Each has had peer-reviewed articles published in various professional journals.

“The department has been able to recruit some of the brightest scholars in social work over the past three years,” said Mark Loftin, associate dean of the applied sciences school. “This upward trend in the social work department is very exciting.”

The academic mission of the Department of Social Work is one that aligns with the UM Creed, Provost Morris Stocks said.

“In and out of the classroom, the social work department pursues the ideals of respect, civility and freedom for all people,” Stocks said. “The University of Mississippi is proud of the department’s growth and academic success.”

Established in 1974, the Department of Social Work’s mission is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people – with particular attention to the needs of those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.

For more information, visit

Crawford Crowned a Queen of Engineering

Alumna's successes at Lockheed Martin earn her a second Black Engineer of the Year Award

Tamara Crawford (right) ins congratulated by Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman/president/CEO.

Tamara Crawford (right) is congratulated by Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman/president/CEO.

Tamara Crawford knows she’s been blessed. So when she entered her 13th year of employment at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the University of Mississippi mechanical engineering alumna wasn’t the least bit superstitious about her steady stream of career achievements coming to some unfortunate end.

Crawford’s confidence, creativity, leadership and endurance were recently rewarded when she was honored with Special Recognition for Career Achievement during the 2016 Black Engineer of the Year Awards. She previously won the 2014 Black Engineer of the Year Outstanding Achievement Award-Science Spectrum Trailblazer.

This year is the 30th anniversary of BEYA, a national award regarded as “one of the most prestigious and competitive honors in science, engineering and technology management.” Fewer than 1,000 individuals have achieved the distinction of being a Black Engineer of the Year honoree.

“As a 13-year-old girl from a small Mississippi town, in eighth grade, I decided to become an engineer,” said Crawford, who is a board member of the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. “My junior year in college, I declared, ‘I’m moving to Texas to work for Lockheed Martin. My parents taught me that all things are possible when you believe in God and yourself.”

She set out with no job, family, interviews or connections and with only $292 in her pocket.

“Fast forward 13 years, and here I am,” Crawford said.

An advanced technical leadership program senior, Crawford is responsible for work product quality, including the assessment of system processes, and product performance for the C-130, C-5, P-3, F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighter programs.

She previously was the lead systems engineer for the F-22 Raptor, the world’s only fifth-generation fighter. When it reached the end of production, Crawford was responsible for overseeing the dismantling of that production line, preserving and storing those production components for future use. With no standard model for doing this, hers will be the blueprint for going forward.

A member of the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame (Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year) and Ole Miss Alumni Association Life Member, Crawford credits her Ole Miss engineering education for her success.

“I knew that an engineering degree earned from the University of Mississippi would be respected globally,” she said. “Ole Miss provides its students an amazing juxtaposition of experiencing a world-class education in your own backyard.”

The partnering of rigorous engineering study in a liberal arts environment has proven immensely beneficial to Crawford and her career, she said.

“Upon graduation, I was prepared as an engineer and a leader,” Crawford said. “Innovation, teamwork and the art of effective communication are key skills I developed as a students and continue to demonstrate as a professional.”

She serves on the Ole Miss Engineering Advisory Board, lectures in Dean Alex Cheng’s Leadership and Professionalism course and maintains a close relationship with UM engineering faculty who taught her.

“(This is) yet another impressive award on your yet young, but abundantly fruitful career,” wrote Jeff Roux, professor of mechanical engineering. “Your public speaking skills are excellent and highly refined. You are our hero and we are proud of you and love you.”

ME professor Ellen Lackey expressed similar sentiments to her former student.

“Congratulations!” she wrote. “I always enjoy receiving emails from you and finding out about your continued success. I hope to see you soon.”

Crawford acknowledged Lackey, Roux and others as having been instrumental to her career success.

“If Dr. Lackey hadn’t assigned my class to read ‘Skunk Works,’ I may not have moved to Texas to work at Lockheed Martin,” she said. “Dr. Roux (and many others) all taught me well. It means a lot to have their love and support.”

Tamara Crawford (second from right) surrounded by (from left) her brother, Kendrick Crawford; mother, Jeanelle Crawford; and father, Archie Crawford.

Tamara Crawford (second from right) surrounded by (from left) her brother, Kendrick Crawford; mother, Jeanelle Crawford; and father, Archie Crawford.

As both a woman and a minority, Crawford has been a trailblazer in the world of professional engineering.

“Service is inextricably woven into the tapestry of my life,” Crawford said. “My joy is inspiring youth through STEM. I must give back. I love witnessing the ‘light bulb’ moments for younger people … the realization they can be creators of technology, not merely consumers of it.”

Crawford was also selected as a member of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Advanced Technical Leadership Program. ATLP exists to develop future technical leaders for Lockheed Martin Corp. The purpose of the two-year program is to accelerate the technical, professional and leadership development of selected intermediate career-level individuals through stretch assignments, strategic research projects, training, mentoring and networking.

The program’s four major components are stretch assignments, a strategic research project, community service and training. Additionally, ATLP participants attend periodic learning and networking conferences and participate in a mentoring relationship as a mentee to someone in higher levels of leadership within Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Candidates were considered from across the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics locations in Texas, California and Georgia. Only 10 candidates were selected. Crawford’s credentials, nomination and panel interview performance solidified her qualification for this exclusive leadership development opportunity.

Henry Brevard Receives Engineer of Service Award

Longtime benefactor recognized for generosity, philanthropy

Henry Brevard

Henry Brevard

For the past 25 years, Henry Brevard has been a pillar of support to the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi. Fittingly, the chairman of the board of B&B Concrete Co. Inc. was recently presented the school’s Engineer of Service Award for the longevity of his efforts.

In 1991, he made an initial $1 million gift to the School of Engineering in order to establish the Brevard Family Scholarship Endowment in Engineering. Since the fall 1991 school semester, the endowment has provided partial undergraduate scholarships to more than 500 students.

In 2001, Brevard and his family established the Elizabeth B. Brevard Council Scholarship Endowment to provide academic scholarships for students to attend Ole Miss. The family established the Brevard Family Engineering Chair at UM in 2012.

To honor Henry Brevard and his family for their support for the engineering school, the university renamed the Old Chemistry Building as Brevard Hall in April 2011.

“Henry Brevard is a natural recipient for the Engineer of Service Award,” said Kevin Gardner, UM development officer for the engineering school. “While pouring foundations for decades, he has been methodically laying a firm foundation for the School of Engineering.

“His sacrificial involvement has abundantly strengthened our program. It is difficult to measure the height and breadth; but rest assured, his impact has and will continue to inspire and influence generations upon generations.”

In 1987, Brevard was named the UM Engineer of Distinction. The next year, he was inducted into the UM Alumni Hall of Fame. Brevard is also a member of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, the Ole Miss Associates, the Chancellor’s Trust and the Lyceum Society.

Brevard’s other contributions to his alma mater include serving as president of the UM Foundation, a president of the engineering alumni chapter, chairman of the school’s board of advisers and chairman and charter member of the Woods Order. He is also a former board member for UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and a former member of the board of directors for the UM Alumni Association.

Brevard co-founded B&B, a concrete materials supply company with plants throughout north Mississippi, in Tupelo in 1949. Brevard is also president and chairman of the board of Concrete Industries Inc., a real estate firm with ready-mix concrete plant holdings in north Mississippi.

A native of Amory, he graduated from Amory High School in 1939. Later, Brevard earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UM in 1943. As a senior student, he served as a student instructor in the Department of Civil Engineering. He was also member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity.

Upon graduation, he enlisted as a cadet in the Army Air Force, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was then selected to remain at the Hondo Air Field as an aerial navigation instructor. Just before the end of World War II, he completed B-29 aircraft combat training.

Brevard married the former Mae Elizabeth (Beth) Boozer, and the couple was married almost 67 years before Mrs. Brevard passed in 2013.

After his discharge from the service, Brevard was employed by the Design Section of the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg. He worked for the Corps for almost a year, assisting in the design and development of such projects as the Grenada Dam and reservoir.

He later worked for the Mississippi Highway Department as a structural engineer in the Department of Bridge Design in Jackson. He moved to Tupelo, where he and his father-in-law, Riley Boozer, co-founded their concrete company. That same year, Brevard was admitted into the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is the oldest practicing Professional Engineer in Mississippi.

Active in community affairs, Brevard is a former chairman of the board of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services Inc., the North Mississippi Medical Center and North Mississippi Health Services. He is a founding trustee and former chairman for the North Mississippi Health Services Foundation (now the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi) and 50-plus-year volunteer for the Yocona Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, serving on the Camp Yocona redevelopment committee.

Other roles Brevard has filled include former president of the Yocona Area Council, former president of the Tupelo Kiwanis Club, a member of the board of directors of First Citizens National Bank in Tupelo and a local advisory board member for Deposit Guaranty National Bank. He is a former board member for the Mississippi Economic Council, the MUW Foundation, the Baddour Center, the CREATE Foundation, the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra, the Tupelo Art Gallery (now the Gumtree Museum of Art) and the highways and parkways committee for the Community Development Foundation.

A faithful member of First United Methodist Church in Tupelo, Brevard has given the church a priority of his time and resources. He is a former lay leader, former chairman of the finance committee, former chairman of the long-range planning committee, former chairman of the building committee, former delegate to annual conference, former member of the administrative council, former member of the trustees, and former teacher in either the youth or adult Sunday school program for more than 45 years.

In 1997, Brevard and his family donated a 21-lot subdivision, equipped with utility hook-ups and a concrete street in Verona, to Northeast Mississippi Habitat for Humanity for use in building houses for worthy recipients. He and his wife established an endowment fund at the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi to support community health needs, such as school nurses and immunizations.

Brevard was awarded the Silver Beaver for Distinguished Service to Scouting in 1967. He was selected as the Yocona Area Council’s Eagle Class Honoree in 1992 and again in 2015. In 2002, Brevard was honored as a Distinguished Citizen by the council. He was named Tupelo’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Tupelo Junior Auxiliary.

Brevard was recognized as a fellow by the North Mississippi Health Services Foundation. Criteria for selection as a fellow included service, advocacy, volunteerism and philanthropy. He and his wife received a McLean Award for Philanthropy from the CREATE Foundation in 2007. Brevard was inducted as a member of the inaugural class of the Mississippi Concrete Industries Association’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

Henry and his late wife have two children: Elise Brevard Smith (Mike) of Ridgeland and David Brevard (Shawn) of Tupelo. They have three grandchildren: Riley Smith and Lizzie Brevard of Washington, D.C., and Stewart Brevard McMillan (Victor) of Tupelo.

Farhad Farzbod Joins Mechanical Engineering Faculty

Newest professor brings creativity, energy to students and colleagues

Farhad Farzbad (far right) enjoys some time with his wife, Rosita, and friends at YellowStone National Park.

Farhad Farzbad (far right) enjoys some time with his wife, Rosita, and friends at YellowStone National Park.

As technological advances continue, the imaginary line between fiction and reality is being erased. And that’s one of the reasons Farhad Farzbod is an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi.

“I looked for academic opportunities in the South and I found Ole Miss,” said Farzbod, who joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty last August. “When I visited the campus, I was attracted to the level of collegiality in the department and how helpful everyone was. Not to mention that the campus was much more beautiful than what I had in mind.”

Farzbod, whose research area is mainly actuator design and novel acoustic devices, has taught Dynamics and Mechatronics. He will teach Engineering Systems Analysis and Design and Linear Control next semester.

“My background is in different areas, from laser ultrasound and bio acoustics to mechatronics and sensor design,” Farzbod said. “Currently, I am pursuing a subset of these.”

Farzbod is a welcome addition to the ME department, said Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering.

“Dr. Farzbod brings incredible multidisciplinary characteristics and capability through his work experience with the Google Inc. and research work at the Idaho National Laboratory,” he said. “The use of micro-electro mechanical systems in mechanical/electronics components and all types of sensors necessitates a need for teaching mechatronics to our students.

“With faculty like Dr. Farzbod, the mechanical engineering department has now positioned itself to further modernize its curriculum so that our students could find better opportunity in the global market.”

After earning his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology, Farzbod took a postdoc at Idaho National Laboratory. He was a research engineer at Google [x] Lab before coming to UM.

Farzbod’s most fulfilling professional achievement thus far is his second patent, which he filed while employed at Google.

“It is about using nose vibration to pick up speech signal,” Farzbod said. “I think it is really useful for wearable computers and it helps to personalize communication with wearable devices without much sacrifice for the power and the price.”

Although Farzbod enjoyed his time at Google, he found himself drawn to life in a college town more than the big city. “Those years of living in the South, with its green nature, warm weather and nice people made my best memories,” he said.

The new faculty member has already set short- and long-term goals for himself.

“My short-term goal is to bring outside research money to the department to provide for graduate student stipend, experimental setups and possibly some summer hours for undergrads,” he said.

“One of my long term goal is to reach out beyond Ole Miss and serve the state of Mississippi. Another long-term goal is to be somewhat well known in my area of research, to have a lab with state-of-the-art facilities to serve both my research and teaching activities.”

The most gratifying part of the job for Farzbod is working with students.

“I am still on a learning curve about the level of students here,” he said. “Some of them definitely beat my expectations. But I have to find the average, to adjust my gears.”

Farzbod and his wife, Rozita, enjoy hiking and playing cards with friends. He looks forward to serving the campus community and beyond.

“I remember that when I was working at Google, we were encouraged to go out couple of days a year and tutor high school students in underprivileged schools in the Bay Area,” Farzbod said. “I think Mississippi, among all places, needs our help. The late Jim Chambers – God bless his soul – was active in this.”

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UM Engineering Computes for Tuan Ta

Senior CIS major becomes academic and research success

Tuan Ta at 2015 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research program, Boulder, Colorado

Tuan Ta at 2015 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research program, Boulder, Colorado

As a secondary school student, Tuan Ta sought admission to a research university and financial support to pursue an education in the United States. He found both opportunities through the University of Mississippi School of Engineering.

A graduate of Hanoi-Amsterdam High School, the Vietnamese native first learned of the university through the U.S. News and World Report website, which annually ranks higher education institutions. He found that Ole Miss matched his interests and enrolled in fall 2012.

“Computers and programming have been my favorite interests since secondary school,” Ta said. “I enjoy writing code to solve real problems, and I have always been curious about how computers work, which is what led me to study computer science here.”

Since 2013, he has been involved with the Heterogenous Systems Research Lab, led by Byunghyun Jang, assistant professor of computer and information science. His work in the lab has included designing more efficient coherence protocol for heterogenous CPU-GPU processors and parallelizing and accelerating d-ary heap construction on GPU using OpenCL.

Jang has been Ta’s academic and research advisor during his four years at the university.

“He has taught me how to conduct scientific research, how to think critically and gave valuable advice in my studies,” Ta said. “Without his support, I would not have achieved such success at Ole Miss.”

Jang said that Ta has been one of the best students that he has encountered during his time at UM.

“What impressed me more than his grades was his intellectual capability, thorough understanding of subjects and extraordinary desire for knowledge,” Jang said. “He possesses all the best qualities that college students, engineers and researchers should have to succeed. He is a role model of my research group.”

Jang also noted that Ta is assisting him in writing a National Scientific Foundation proposal and that he has maintained a perfect GPA among all of his research and academic activities.

Ta said his most rewarding experience since enrolling at the university was having his first scientific paper accepted for publication in 2015. The paper, “Accelerating DynEarthSol3D on Tightly Coupled CPU-GPU Heterogeneous Processors,” was published in the Computers & Geosciences Journal last June. Ta also presented a poster at the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium in 2015.

Last summer, Ta interned with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked in the Computational and Informational Systems Lab. His main responsibilities were optimizing scientific modeling programs and analyzing the efficiency of new processors in their supercomputer.

“I acquired a lot of technical skills in programming, code optimization and computer architecture, among others,” he said. “I had a special opportunity to master teamwork skills through daily collaboration with my mentors and other interns.”

Having maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his UM enrollment, Ta has received numerous academic awards, including the Outstanding Computer Science Student Award (during his sophomore and junior years) and the Computer and Information Science SAP Scholarship Award.

Ta was the recipient of a Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic honor, and an Adler Engineering Scholarship. He has also served as vice president of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon computer science honorary society, treasurer and vice president of the Ole Miss Badminton Club. He has volunteered with the Vietnam Book Drive Initiative.

Particle Physics Topic for April 26 Science Cafe

UM physicist Breese Quinn to include discussion of discovery of Higgs boson

Breese Quinn teaches his physical science class.

Breese Quinn teaches his physical science class.

OXFORD, Miss. – Approaches used in the discovery of new subatomic particles is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The spring semester’s final meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. April 26 at Lusa Bakery Bistro and Bar, 1120 North Lamar Blvd. Breese Quinn, UM associate professor of physics and astronomy, will discuss “Particle Physics: The Sledgehammer and the Tweezer.” Admission is free.

“Particle physics is the field of research that seeks to discover and understand the most fundamental building blocks of the universe, and how they interact to form everything around us,” Quinn said. “One way to do this type of research is using the biggest machines in the world to smash particles together as hard as possible, and see what new comes out.”

Quinn’s 40-minute presentation will include discussions of the discovery of the Higgs boson to examine this sledgehammer approach.

“Another method is using very sensitive tools to make high-precision measurements of extremely rare processes,” he said. “An introduction to the new Muon g-2 experiment will demonstrate this ‘tweezer approach.’ We will discuss Ole Miss’ role in both of these efforts, as well as why it all matters.”

Quinn has been involved in particle physics research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab for more than 23 years, since he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Recently, his Ole Miss group was part of the analysis team that reported the first evidence for the Higgs boson particle.

One of the first recipients of Fermilab’s new Intensity Frontier Fellowship, Quinn helped design a new Fermilab experiment that should help explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.

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 Student Physicist Awarded Second Fulbright of the Year

Hunter Gabbard is a member of the LIGO group that helped discover gravitational waves

Hunter Gabbard

Hunter Gabbard

OXFORD, Miss. – Just when Hunter Gabbard thought things couldn’t possibly get any better, they did.

The University of Mississippi physics student participated in an international team of scientists’ discovery of gravitational waves announced in February. Fresh on the heels of that surreal achievement, the Austin, Texas, native learned that he is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to further study gravitational-wave astronomy at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hanover, Germany.

“I’m not quite sure ‘pure elation’ is adequate in describing how I felt once I read those first few words in the email, ‘Congratulations, you’re a Fulbright finalist!'” said Gabbard, who is the second UM student to be awarded the prestigious honor this academic year. Maggie Hall also received a Fulbright to Germany this spring.

Gabbard proposes to use a novel method-utilizing machine to better characterize and understand the non-astrophysical noise that can mimic gravitational-wave events in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave detectors. He will be supervised by Andrew Lundgren, co-chair of the detector characterization group and part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

“Ultimately, my goal is to do research and teach at the university level,” Gabbard said. “I would like to become an active researcher in gravitational physics, as well as take part in the design of next-generation detectors. This will become an important field, with much work to be done in both ground-based and later space-based observatories.”

Previously, Gabbard studied abroad in both the United Kingdom and France. A 2015 Goldwater Scholarship nominee, he is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Omicron Delta Kappa and Sigma Pi Sigma honor societies, and Phi Eta Sigma fraternity. He is active in the Society of Physics Students, Beta Theta Phi fraternity, Phi Mu Epsilon, Alpha Delta Lambda and the Library Ambassadors.

Gabbard is most deserving of his Fulbright, UM administrators and professors agree.

“This award is a testament to Hunter’s excellent work in his brief scientific career,” said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics and astronomy and LSC assistant spokesman. “He has been a full member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for several years and only one of a handful of undergraduate students earning authorship on the LIGO paper reporting the first direct detection of gravitational waves and all related companion papers. He can truly be taken as a model for student dedication and hard work by all his peers.”

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College, echoed Cavaglia’s sentiments.

“Hunter Gabbard represents what an SMB Honors student can accomplish at our great university,” he said. “His senior work in physics enabled him to co-author an extraordinary confirmation of Einstein’s theory, and he landed an amazing Fulbright. We are very proud of his determination, his imagination and resolve.”

Bruce Allen, professor and managing director of the Albert Einstein Institute, said Lundgren and other scientists there look forward to Gabbard’s arrival and research contributions.

“Mr. Gabbard has completed an impressive number of research projects in detector characterization, both during the regular academic year and through summer REU programs,” he said. “His proposed project at AEI will allow him to draw on this expertise while learning a new skill set of gravitational wave searches. This is a timely and important project and we’re excited to work with Mr. Gabbard on it.”

Gabbard said he shares the anticipation for working together with the world’s top physicists.

“Getting the opportunity to work at one of the leading institutions in the world for the study of gravitational physics (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics), and to represent the U.S. abroad is both an honor and a privilege,” he said. “The Fulbright allows me the freedom to pursue my current research interests in machine-learning applied to the now burgeoning field of gravitational wave astronomy. Following my Fulbright year, I hope to continue my research at a Ph.D. program in either physics or astrophysics.”

Gabbard’s interest in physics began in high school, but before joining the UM LIGO group he had no idea how scientific research was conducted. After his first exposure to data analysis, Gabbard said he was hooked.

“With the LIGO group, I assisted in improving the quality of gravitational-wave detection systems by developing and testing new techniques to classify transients, such as isolating outside disturbances from collected data,” Gabbard said. “Additionally, I developed the ‘Terramon’ monitor, which is used at the LIGO and Virgo control rooms to help predict the effects of seismic events at the LIGO sites.”

During 2014, Gabbard participated in a National Science Foundation IREU program in gravitational physics through the University of Florida. He presented his work at the American Physical Society April Conference a year ago before spending last summer conducting research at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.

“Through these experiences, I learned what it takes to work in an international collaboration,” Gabbard said. “I’ve learned how to better adapt to new research environments and what it truly means to be a scientist. I want to be a research mentor and inspire many of our future science leaders as I have been inspired by previous mentors of my own.”

The son of Lisa and Kurt Gabbard of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Gabbard is the university’s 16th Fulbright U.S. Student Award winner since 2000.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at