Hakan Yasarer Joins Civil Engineering

Instructor teaches statics, surveying and laboratories

hakan yasarer


Even before Hakan Yasarer joined the University of Mississippi faculty last fall, the civil engineering instructor already felt that he would enjoy working here.

“I was impressed by the history of the university and I enjoyed the campus atmosphere,” Yasarer said. “Most importantly, I found a work environment as I had always imagined. An environment with respectful people, who are willing to help and share, who are passionate about their work and have a high degree of professionalism.”

Yasarer teaches ENGR 309, Statics, CE 207, Surveying, and three civil engineering laboratories. His research interests include developing prediction models using the Artificial Neural Network approach in CE applications and decision-making in engineering prediction systems.

“I have the opportunity to work with faculty who are scholarly recognized, and at the same time friendly and accommodating,” he said. “Seeing the faculty and staff’s effort to improve the quality of engineering education and to help students develop their careers and be successful after finishing their degree is what I like most about my job and my department.”

Yasarer has gained the respect of his new UM colleagues.

“Hakan is a fantastic and much-needed addition to the civil engineering family,” said Yacoub “Jacob” Najjar, chair and professor of civil engineering. “Hakan, since joining our department, has successfully taught an array of CE and engineering courses. Our students will surely enjoy his teaching style and benefit greatly from his devotion to teaching.”

Yasarer received his bachelor’s degree at Mustafa Kemal University in Turkey, and his master’s and doctoral degrees at Kansas State University. Before coming to UM, he was employed at KSU as a graduate teaching and research assistant for six years.

“During my graduate studies, I received the Transportation Center “Ph.D. Student of the Year” award and scholarship,” Yasarer said. “But my most fulfilling achievement was receiving excellent teaching evaluations over the six years as a graduate teaching assistant.”

Yasarer and his wife, Lindsey, live in Oxford. His hobbies include music and photography.

“I play jazz, classical and flamenco guitar, the ney (a Turkish folk flute), the Western flute and several other traditional flutes,” he said. “I also compose music and I’ve played jazz guitar with the K-State big band and jazz combos.”

In photography, Yasarer uses both film and digital cameras. He had two photo exhibitions of his collected work in Kansas.

“I’m looking forward to exploring Mississippi with my camera,” Yasarer said. “So far, my experience here has been wonderful.”

John Cleveland Recalls Climb to Success

1988 civil engineering alumnus employed 26 years with ExxonMobil

John R. Cleveland

John R. Cleveland

The ladder of success is one John R. Cleveland has been climbing steadily for a long time. The University of Mississippi civil engineering alumnus has worked with oil and gas conglomerate ExxonMobil for more than 26 years. During his tenure, Cleveland has emerged a proven leader who has delivered significant results in each of the 16 assignments held.

“We love Ole Miss and Oxford and have built a house just off the Square so we can return and enjoy the ambiance of the Square and Ole Miss,” Cleveland said. “We fully subscribe to the writing of Frank E. Everett Jr. and his words hang on our wall, wherever we live that states ‘one never graduates from Ole Miss.'”

Cleveland’s leadership abilities were validated early on. The Fulton native became an Eagle Scout at age 15 and was a three-year starting point guard in varsity basketball at Itawamba Agricultural High School. Named Mr. IAHS as a senior, that experience brought him an athletic scholarship to Itawamba Community College, which he attended before entering UM.

“While at Ole Miss, I was a member of the ASCE, Chi Epsilon and VP of the Engineering Student Body,” said Cleveland, who graduated cum laude in 1988. “Since then, I’ve become a Life Member of the Alumni Association, Woods Order, Woods Society, Ole Miss Fund, Education 111 Initiative and Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.”

As the Americas Heavy Fuel Oil Commercial Trader for ExxonMobil, Cleveland has exercised his international business knowledge and adept commercial negotiating skills honed through interactions with major global corporations. His sales savvy, business acumen, vision and leadership enable him to manage large portfolios, in excess of $4 billion.

“I’m a strategic marketer with the ability to manage high-profile brands as in a previous role as marketing manager for Mobil 1, including Mobil 1 Racing,” he said. “I have both organizational design and start-up experience. Being technically astute in critical thinking and strategic analysis has given me the ability to motivate and develop people to achieve a common cause. I also have developed keen expense and capital budget management skills.”

An Ole Miss campus recruiter for ExxonMobil, Cleveland regularly returns to his alma mater and meets with engineering students and faculty. He’s served on the Engineering Advisory Board and is a UM Lacrosse Club sponsor and team booster.

Cleveland has lived in multiple cities with ExxonMobil, including Kingwood, Texas, Bridgewater, New Jersey, Nashville and, presently, in Centreville, Virginia. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Beth, for 29 years. The couple has three daughters: Megan, Courtney and Kellie.

“A 2013 cum laude graduate of Harding University, Megan is a second-year occupational therapy President’s List student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center,” Cleveland said. “Courtney is a junior in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at Ole Miss double-majoring in banking and managerial finance. Kellie is a junior at Westfield High School, where she is an honor student and Virginia state champion field hockey and lacrosse player. She plans to attend Ole Miss in 2016.”

The Clevelands are members of Manassas Church of Christ. His hobbies include golf, whitetail deer and upland game hunting, snow skiing and running. Cleveland has been SYA girls travel basketball coach for six years and AAU girls basketball coach for Western Fairfax Mustangs for one year. Other involvements include Rainbow Christian Services (Prince William County Foster Children’s Home), Rainbow Golf Classic co-chair raising $35,000 for foster children, young family ministries leader and vision, mission and values leader at Fairfax Church of Christ and youth and young professionals Bible school teacher at Manassas Church of Christ.

As president of the Westfield Athletic Booster Club, Cleveland oversaw a $2 million capital improvements campaign. The effort produced a turf athletic field in the main stadium, comfort station expansion, lacrosse wall, accessibility paving upgrade and an additional $500,000 to WHS athletic operations. He championed the selection and giving of more than $125,000 in scholarships to deserving WHS athletes to continue their education in college.

Smith Brothers Help Maintain Father’s Legacy at UM

Sons of Charles E. Smith Sr. own manufacturing company, support alma mater

Chuck Smith

Chuck Smith

From 1975 to 2004, Charles E. Smith Sr. devoted his life to the advancement of the electrical engineering program at the University of Mississippi. Years later, the late chair and professor emeritus’ legacy is being maintained by the benevolence of his two sons, Chuck and Steve.

Both Smith brothers earned electrical engineering degrees from the university. Each attributes his career success to their father’s wise suggestions, patient guidance and gentle influence.

“I was all over the map on what I wanted to major in,” said Chuck Smith, president of Guardian Manufacturing Inc. and CEO of Pinnacle Ozone Solutions LLC. “My dad offered some good advice that has served me well to this day. He told me to start off in electrical engineering. I ended up sticking with electrical engineering throughout my college and professional career.”

Steve Smith recalled how his father gave him one of the first Radio Shack computers that began his trip down geek lane.

“However, his greatest influence in all my decisions derived from his character and values that over time built the foundation I stand on today,” he said.

By summer of 2004, Charles Sr. was nearing retirement from Ole Miss. The brothers wanted to do something special that would recognize his accomplishments, dedication and tenure. Chuck thought about naming one of the engineering buildings in honor of their dad’s career through financial support of the engineering school.

“I approached Dean Lee and Tom Black about my idea,” he said. “They came back with a proposal to rename the Engineering Science Building to the Charles E. Smith Engineering Science Building. We loved the idea because this was a building that Dad spent a lot of time in with students and performing research.”

After agreeing to the terms of the support, Black pressed to get the dedication ceremony done on the Friday before the Ole Miss-Auburn football game. Charles Sr. was an Auburn University alumnus.

“I remember the day Steve and I called Dad to tell him about what we had done,” Chuck said. “He was truly touched by our actions in a way that I will never forget. The building dedicated in his name proved to be the perfect way to honor his service and provide financial support for Ole Miss engineering at the same time.”

Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Steve Smith said philanthropy is in the family’s “DNA.” His father was a member of the Woods Order Society, the School of Engineering’s largest financial supporter.

“Growing up walking through the doors of Carrier Hall, I always looked for the new donor’s bronze plaques that adorned the entrance, the members of the Woods Order Society,” Smith said. “Many I knew as my father’s colleagues and neighbors. This instilled in me a vision of one day being a member and having the ability to give back.”

Over time, members of the Smith family have participated in supporting many initiatives through the UM Foundation for the School of Engineering. They also give as much time as they can through participation with the Engineering Advisory Board, the Vision Council, guest speaking and sending company employees to UM for consulting.

“I joined the Woods Order Society years ago and am still a proud member today,” Steve said. “I strongly encourage all alumni to join, as it provides direct funding to the dean for student activities where you see an immediate return on your investment through the student projects you support.”

In his dual roles, Chuck’s time is divided between managing two growing companies and product development for industrial applications. Steve became a part owner of GMI in 1999. Together, the Smiths have grown into C&S Consolidated that holds GMI, Pinnacle Ozone Solutions LLC, Guardian Creative Integration LLC and several other entities, all with a foundation based on Control System Integration and delivering ozone generation systems and products worldwide.

“We serve a vast array of industries, including aerospace, entertainment, municipal, agricultural, material handling, housing, oil and gas, solar energy and others,” Steve said. “In doing so, and being a small business, I wear many hats, including vice president, CFO, abnormal physiologist and, at times, janitor.”

The brothers have many fond memories of Ole Miss and their father.

“As a child, I remember going to work with Dad to see all of the things they were making in the fab shop. It was fascinating,” Chuck Smith said. “I remember guys like Ken Pruitt and Ray Cronin that would show me how to use the equipment and make things. I remember selling programs and Cokes at all of the Ole Miss football games.”

As a student, Chuck remembers the nights studying with others in the basement of Carrier Hall.

“Dad would stop by around 9 or so and see what problems we were having,” he said. “He’d never tell us the answer, but would give us just enough hints to figure it out on our own. I will always treasure the memory of having my Dad as a professor. He had a way with students that was genuine and caring. It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from. He would spend the time with you to ensure you got it.”

Steve also vividly recalls the long hours beating his head against the wall studying.

“But when our heads were bruised from the wall, Dad was among the professors who would stop in and lend a hand – many times extremely late at night,” he said. “Many of the professors are still teaching today and through the EAB meetings I have with them, I still see the same passion for the students.”

Chuck is most proud of his achievements as an entrepreneur.

“Starting, developing and running a multimillion dollar organization from the ground up has been a rewarding experience that I feel truly blessed to be a part of,” he said. “This March, our first company, Guardian Manufacturing, celebrates its 22nd year in business. By surrounding myself with a very talented group of engineers and technicians, our companies have been successful in many areas of business.”

Another Smith brother, Gary, leads the company’s information technology department. Steve’s son, Brad, works as a software developer.

“It’s great to have family at your side that you admire and trust,” Chuck said.

Steve feels “blessed” to be a part of an organization that continually provides a means to achieve more on the next project.

“It never ceases to amaze me the opportunities that come our way,” he said. “Being a control system integrator is awesome, but my highest achievement is learning a balanced life with God as my focus helping me lead my family and enjoying and helping others.”

Chuck and his wife, Tami, a 1987 UM education graduate, have three children. Hannah is studying accounting at the University of Central Florida. Sarah is a pathology major at Adventist University of Health Science. Kyle is in 11th grade and plans to be the couple’s first child to attend Ole Miss is 2016. When not working, Chuck enjoys flying, golf and fishing.

Steve and his wife, Karen, married while he attended UM. Brad, and his wife, Michelle, have two children, Wyatt and Levi. The grandparents love travel and spending time with their grandchildren.

A graduate of Auburn University, Charles E. Smith Sr. joined the UM faculty in 1975. His research interests were microwave circuits, antennas, measurements, RF systems, and digital and analog electronics and computer-aided design. Smith’s professional memberships included the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Senior Member, IEEE Microwave Theory and Technique Society, IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society, IEEE Education Society, Mississippi Academy of Science, American Society for Engineering Education and Order of the Engineer.

Four Named Outstanding Seniors in Engineering

Students planning to pursue graduate school, employment opportunities after graduation

Outstanding Seniors (from left) Robinson, Bowie, Clark and Dyer.

Outstanding Seniors (from left) Robinson, Bowie, Clark and Dyer.

Four University of Mississippi seniors have been named recipients of the 2014-2015 Outstanding Senior Leadership Award in the School of Engineering.

This year’s recipients are Samuel Bowie of Stafford, Texas, John Clark of Daphne, Alabama, Erin Dyer of Oxford, and Caleb Robinson of Canton. Each was selected through a nomination process in their respective departments based on their records of academic achievement, leadership, professional development and community service. Nominees also delivered a presentation to the selection committee about their undergraduate experiences while pursuing their engineering degrees.

“As in the past, this year’s competition has brought forward a group of outstanding seniors, who not only excelled academically but also demonstrated strong leadership qualities,” Dean Alex Cheng said. “We congratulate all the students who participated in the competition.”

Bowie, a double major in mechanical engineering and computer science, is the 2013 recipient of the John A. Fox Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Student Award. Listed on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll, he also received a Taylor Medal in 2014 as well as the Distinguished Senior Scholarship. He has earned membership in Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Tau Beta Phi engineering honor society and Upsilon Pi Upsilon computer science honor society.

During the summer of 2012, Bowie held a software engineering internship with Idera software company, working with a multidisciplinary team to solve issues with the internal software creation process. Additionally, he holds memberships in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Bowie was also named the university’s student representative to the Mississippi Engineering Society‘s Outstanding Senior program. He will travel to Jackson to be recognized with the other MES Outstanding Seniors from across the state.

“I am surprised to receive this award with all the stellar engineers that are graduating this year,” Bowie said. “I appreciate both the mechanical engineering and computer science departments for making me the engineer I am today. I would also like to thank the Mississippi Engineering Society for pushing engineering students to strive for excellence. I hope to represent the Ole Miss engineering school well.”

Bowie is considering graduate school admission offers from Georgia Tech, MIT and Stanford.

Clark, a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, is also pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in manufacturing through the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. He has earned membership in Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi, as well as a Taylor Medal. He also served as treasurer of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and volunteered with the Big Event. Clark has also held internships with Airbus Americas Engineering in Mobile, Alabama, and BBB Industries in Reynosa, Mexico.

Fluent in Spanish, he was able to conduct presentations and participate in meetings in Spanish while at BBB. Through his participation in the Summer Manufacturing Outreach Program, he designed modifications at Viking Range that resulted in a 40 percent improvement in their machine cycle time. Clark is seeking employment in the automotive or aerospace industry.

Dyer, a double major in chemical engineering and Chinese, is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Chinese Language Flagship Program. She holds memberships in Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi and was the recipient of a Taylor Medal. She also holds a Barksdale Honors Scholarship from the Honors College. She has studied abroad in China during the summers of 2011, 2012 and 2014 and served as a research assistant at Shanghai University’s School of Environmental and Chemical Engineering. On campus, she has served as president of the Chinese Flagship Ambassadors, represented the School of Engineering at various recruiting events and is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Ole Miss Club Tennis Team.

Dyer has also participated in the Honors College’s sophomore service trip in 2012 and was selected as the UM representative to the 2014 Language Flagship National Student Meeting. She is deciding between pursuing a career in engineering and seeking admission to medical school.

Robinson is pursuing a degree in computer science and is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He received the Outstanding Computer Science Student Award during his freshman year and has served as president of the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, as well as vice president of Upsilon Pi Upsilon. Robinson has competed in regional programming competitions through ACM since 2011 and has presented undergraduate research at the 2014 ACM Southeastern regional conference. He also holds membership in Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Robinson has also completed software development internships with C Spire in Jackson and FNC Inc. in Oxford. Additionally, he has two publications to his credit with a former computer science faculty member dealing with his interest in facial recognition.

Robinson plans to marry his fiancé this summer. He is considering offers of admission from Georgia Tech, University of Virginia and University of Florida, where he would pursue a Ph.D. in computer science.

‘Empire’ Strikes Home

UM employee has ties to casting director of popular Fox TV series

Ellen Phillips waiting to go on the set of “The Playboy Club” NBC-TV series.

Ellen Phillips waiting to go on the set of “The Playboy Club” NBC-TV series.

By now, you’ve probably at least heard of “Empire,” the Fox-TV series that dominates ratings for its timeslot and trends heavily in social media. What you probably didn’t know is that a University of Mississippi staff member once worked for the show’s casting director.

Ellen Phillips, a broadcast communications specialist in University Communications, interned nine months with Joan Philo five years ago. Thanks to Philo, Phillips had a role as an extra in the defunct NBC series, “The Playboy Club.”

Phillips vividly recalls her day on the set.

“My experience wasn’t very glamorous, but it was fun,” she said. “I had to go in for a wardrobe fitting the day before and was dressed in a light teal pencil skirt with matching blazer and a colorful silk scarf tied around my neck. I was told to show up 10 minutes earlier than my call time, with my hair in rollers and nothing but foundation on my face.”

The studio was in the warehouse district on the West Side of Chicago. Phillips arrived and immediately went into hair and makeup.

“I was in there while some of the ‘Bunnies’ were getting their hair and makeup done,” Phillips said. “That was fun hearing them banter about people on set and watching them practice their dance routines. I was envious because I wanted to be a pretend Playboy Bunny for the afternoon.”

As an extra, she waited for about 45 minutes. When Phillips was called to set, she didn’t know what she was going to be doing or what her scene was.

“For all I knew, I was the personal secretary to star of the show and I would take up so much screen time that they’d have to give me a more permanent role on the show with dialogue and boom, I’ll be a star on the rise,” Phillips said.

Sadly, her scene was a small one in which she played a pedestrian.

“My part was very simple: walk in a straight line and pretend go into a fake building,” Phillips said. “I did this about six or seven times, then was done. But we couldn’t leave until they were sure we were wrapped, so I waited for another 45 minutes.”

Unfortunately for Phillips, the show was canceled before she got to see herself on the small screen. Since that show, she and Philo have stayed in touch.

“Joan and I always had a great working relationship,” said Phillips, an established independent filmmaker in her own right. “I’m thrilled the new series has been so widely successful.”

Phillips regularly watches “Empire” and said she wishes she could be on the program – if only for a moment.

“I’d love to go back to Chicago (where “Empire” is filmed) and be an extra on the show,” she said. “It’s an eight-hour drive, and I have a place to crash. It would be worth it just to see Joan again and be a part of such a hit series.”

Given the show’s continued success, Phillips may get her opportunity. After only its first two episodes, Fox renewed “Empire” for a second season, a rare coup in network television. With the first season wrapped and halfway over, the cast and crew will be on hiatus until production resumes in August.

“I am really hoping I hear back from her,” Phillips said. “She owes me!”

Fantastic Fantasia Coming to Ford Center

'American Idol' and Grammy winner expected to wow her UM fans with March 5 show

Fantasia ford center ole miss university of mississippi the color purple grammy award r&b pop black alumni reunion american idol ticket box office

Fantasia will perform at the Ford Center on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Fantasia.

OXFORD, Miss. – As University of Mississippi electrical engineering student Michael Simeon continues to rise on the popular “American Idol” competition show, former winner Fantasia Barrino is preparing to perform on the Ole Miss campus.

The Grammy-winning singer and third season winner of “American Idol” performs March 5 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $75 to $100 for the general public, but a 25 percent discount is available. UM student tickets are $30.

Fantasia is renowned for her charismatic, energetic style onstage that is rooted in the traditions of gospel music. The North Carolina native takes her audiences to church even when she’s singing her own R&B/pop hits or those made famous by others. Add in some colorful costumes, lighting and stage moves and concert-goers get a memorable evening of entertainment.

“The American Idol who went on to become a best-selling recording artist and acclaimed Broadway star in the musical ‘The Color Purple’ will kick off the Black Alumni Reunion weekend in style with her 7:30 p.m. performance,” said Julian Gilner, assistant director of alumni affairs. “Knowing how Fantasia performs, it should be a fantastic show!”

To purchase tickets, go to http://olemissboxoffice.universitytickets.com/user_pages/event.asp?id=287 or call the UM Box Office at 662-915-7412. To buy online, users must create an account or log in to see the seating chart. At checkout, use the coupon code BAR2015 to receive a 25 percent discount.

UM Music Department Presents Black History Month Concert

Feb. 26 event features university ensembles performing African, Caribbean, jazz, world music and black composers' works

black history month concert ole miss university of mississippi music department gertrude c ford center ensemble artistsOXFORD, Miss. – In observance of Black History Month, the University of Mississippi Department of Music presents its annual concert Feb. 26.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free.

“The Department of Music does a Black History Month concert every February, led by the Ole Miss African Dance and Drum Ensemble and featuring a variety of musical ensembles and guest performers,” said Ryan Breeland, program coordinator for the department.

“I initiated this annual series of Black History Month Concerts in 2004,” said George Dor, associate professor of music and BMH concert program coordinator. “Black History Month is intended to celebrate African-Americans and latently other people of African descent. A way of valorizing the preceding is to acknowledge their significant contributions to different spheres of our lives.”

Dor recommended that the repertoire of BHM concerts feature works of black composers, genres created and developed by African-Americans, Africans and Caribbean people, and arrangements in the stylistic veins of African-American and African music traditions by musicians/composers of any cultural background.

Ghanaian dances and compositions by William Grant Still, Ayatey Shabazz, William Owens, Michael Ndow, Robert Sheldon, Len “Boogie” Sharpe, Rafael De Leon, et al, John Rosamond Johnson, Daniel Kelley, Mary Lou Williams and Oliver Nelson will be performed.

Featured ensembles include the Ole Miss African Drum and Dance Ensemble, directed by Dor; the UM Steel Orchestra and World Percussion Ensemble, directed by Ricky Burkhead; the Mississippians Jazz Ensemble, directed by Michael Worthy; and the UM Concert Band, directed by Randy Dale.

Guest artists scheduled are Johnny Lane, world-renowned percussionist and UM professor emeritus; Samuel K. Elikem Nyamuame, co-director, of Binghamton University’s African Music and Dance Ensemble; and Damein Wash, vocalist and UM alumnus. Music student soloists are George Money, vibraphone; Christopher Scott, saxophone; Kashaun Wortham, violoncello; Brandon Collins, clarinet; and Jasmaine Wilbert, lead voice.

A UM wind quintet also is scheduled to perform. Members include Donnie McGee, flute; Pamela Ponce, oboe; Kim Cassisa, clarinet; Traces Brooks, horn; and Madison Lorenzo, bassoon. Accompanists are Gordon Jason and Stacy Rodgers.

“This year’s concert features mainly instrumental ensembles and music,” Dor said. “Next year’s will return to emphasis on vocal genres. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Diversity is … a beautiful symphony of humanity.’ I consider all of us as members of that symphony.”

For more information, contact Dor at 662-915-7269 or by email at gwkdor@olemiss.edu.


Panhellenic Community Donates $40,000 to Baptist Memorial Hospital

Check to be presented Feb. 23 during Lady Rebels game

ole miss university of mississippi panhellenic donates community breast cancer CARE walk lady rebs basketball check baptist memorial hospital $40k greeklife

Members of the Oxford-Lafayette community and Panhellenic sororities participate in C.A.R.E. Walk 2014.

OXFORD, Miss. – When it comes to leadership and service, members of the University of Mississippi’s Greek community consistently demonstrate both. Such will again be the case Feb. 23 when the Lady Rebels host the University of Kentucky Lady Wildcats.

During the 6 p.m. game at the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum, UM Panhellenic community representatives will present a $40,000 check to Baptist Memorial Hospital officials for breast cancer research. This was an increase from their $30,000 donation in 2013. The money was raised through donations from local businesses, Panhellenic sororities and those who participated in the Panhellenic Council Cancer Awareness Research and Eradication, or C.A.R.E., Walk in September 2014.

“This as a great way to showcase the work of the students giving back to their local community,” said Jenell Lanski, UM coordinator of Greek affairs. “Students, council officers and chapter community service chairs will be presenting the check to Baptist during halftime.”

Hospital officials said they are grateful for the Greeks’ generosity.

“The Ole Miss Panhellenic Council has been a great contributor to the Baptist Cancer Center over the years, and this year is no exception,” said Peter Dilatush, director of oncology at Baptist Cancer Center-North Mississippi. “These funds will go so far in fighting against breast cancer here in Oxford and the surrounding communities, and we are honored to be associated with such a great cause.”

The marketing and fan experience division is excited about the continued growth of its breast cancer awareness women’s basketball game and the partnership with Baptist, said Jason List, UM assistant athletics director.

“Over the past decade, breast cancer awareness initiatives in sports have really taken off, especially in collegiate women’s basketball,” List said. “To be able to work with such a terrific supporter in Baptist Hospital on a cause that has affected virtually everyone is not only enjoyable, but important.”

For more about fraternity and sorority life at the UM, call the Office of the Dean of Students at 662-915-7248 or visit http://www.olemiss.edu/greeks.

Centennial of General Relativity Theory Topic for Feb. 17 Science Cafe

UM physicist presents new perspectives on Einstein's theory

Luca Bombelli

Luca Bombelli

OXFORD, Miss. – The centennial of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The spring semester’s first meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 17 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Luca Bombelli, UM associate professor of physics and astronomy, will discuss “General Relativity at 100.” Admission is free.

“Albert Einstein published the first papers on his theory of gravity, General Relativity, 100 years ago,” Bombelli said. “Several predictions of the theory for the solar system, where gravity is relatively weak, were tested and confirmed early on. The first observations of galaxies outside the Milky Way mostly fit the predictions of the theory for the evolution of the universe as a whole.”

Bombelli’s 30-minute presentation will include discussions of how Einstein’s theory has been challenged by new discoveries in recent years.

“The mathematical beauty of the fact that it explained gravity as curvature of space-time helped make general relativity the currently accepted theory,” he said. “But predicting the behavior of objects where gravity is really strong, such as near black holes or neutron stars, is much more difficult. In this sense, our understanding of gravity is still in its youth.”

In cosmology, the quality of scientists’ observations of very distant regions of the universe has improved dramatically in recent years.

“Those results appear to challenge the predictions of general relativity,” Bombelli said. “Studies of how to combine gravity with quantum theory and the other known forces in nature also indicate that at microscopic scales, general relativity will need to be replaced by a different theory.”

Bombelli earned his doctoral and master’s degree from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from Laurea, the University of Milan in Italy. He began working at UM in 1996 as a visiting professor. Before that, he was employed at the universities of Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland, Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium, the University of Calgary in Canada and the University of Vienna in Austria.

Bombelli’s research interest is theoretical physics. He has been published in numerous peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-5311.

Six Reasons to Attend the 2015 Black Alumni Reunion

Concerts, affordable prices, Greek show, tours, receptions and awards banquet scheduled

For some of us, it takes a moment or two for the light bulb to appear above our heads. By that, I specifically mean it’s taken me more time than it probably should have to realize I need to attend an Ole Miss Black Alumni Reunion.

But, if it’s the good Lord’s will, I plan to make the one scheduled March 5-8. Here’s six reasons why I’m planning to attend (and maybe you should as well):

  • It’s Affordable: Registration for non-active alumni association members is $140, which includes a one-year membership to the Ole Miss Alumni Association. Since my wife and I are active members, ours is $100.
  • Fantasia’s Concert: The American Idol who went on to become a best-selling recording artist and acclaimed Broadway star in the musical “The Color Purple” will kick off the weekend in style March 15 with a 7 p.m. performance in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Should be a great show!
  • Gospel Choir Unplugged: The Grammy-nominated University of Mississippi Gospel Choir (known as the Black Student Union Gospel Choir when I was in school) performs at 12:15 p.m. March 15 outside the Ole Miss Student Union in a student-sponsored series called Union Unplugged. I missed the 40th anniversary concert last November (plus this one’s free!).
  • Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement Reception: 2:30 p.m. March 16 at Stewart Hall. Looking forward to learning about ways to stay involved in ongoing efforts to sustain equity and inclusion across campus.
  • Greek Show: I’m not a Greek, but I have friends who are and look forward to seeing their frats and sorors turn up. Show is 7 p.m. March 16  in the Ford Center.
  • Black Alumni Awards Banquet: Starts at 7 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at the Inn at Ole Miss. Celebrating our history and honoring our heroes. Always worthwhile. Plus it’s a chance to see classmates from the ’70s and ’80s again.

Well, there’s plenty of other stuff scheduled, including parties, dances, tours, panel discussions and a devotional service. Want more information? Visit http://rebelnetwork.olemissalumni.com/s/1605/alumni/index.aspx?sid=1605&gid=2&pgid=1266&cid=2200&ecid=2200&ciid=2472&crid=0 or contact Julian Gilner or Sunny Eicholtz at 662-915-7375.