Employee Training Targets Discrimination and Sexual Violence

Putting an end to discrimination and sexual violence on our campus is an important topic to everyone at the University of Mississippi.

Although many programs exist and are being developed to combat these issues, the question is, what can we, as employees, do to effect change? As stewards of the UM Creed, we all have a responsibility to help create a safe environment for everyone.

To educate all employees on how we can better serve our students and peers, the Department of Equal Opportunity and Regulatory Compliance will begin a mandatory training for faculty and staff on Tuesday (Nov. 8), with a goal of having all employees trained by Dec. 21. The training will also be a requirement for all new hires going forward.

“The training helps support the university’s commitment to creating and fostering a safe and educational environment where all members of our community can thrive,” said Becki Bressler, director of equal opportunity and regulatory compliance. “It also ensures that our faculty and staff have the proper skill set to assist one another and students.”

All faculty and staff will receive an email Tuesday (Nov. 8) from “Workplace Answers eLearning.” The email will include a link to the online training that must be completed by Dec. 21.

Reminders will be sent before Dec. 21.

For more information, contact Honey Ussery, Title IX Coordinator, at 662-915-7045.

Rockefeller Discovers Rich Culture of Delta during UM Visit

Bruce Levingston's guest lectures provide insights for students and longtime friends

Bruce Levingston and David Rockefeller Jr. perform Tennyson’s 'Enoch Arden' at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Bruce Levingston and David Rockefeller Jr. perform Tennyson’s ‘Enoch Arden’ at Nutt Auditorium. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Pianist Bruce Levingston draws on his longtime relationships with notable figures from the world of arts and humanities to provide unique opportunities for students in the University of Mississippi’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Along the way, he also tries to show his friends a side of Mississippi that the mass media often ignores, resulting in many of them becoming fans of the state’s culture and people.

Levingston, the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence and holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair, has brought many prominent figures – including documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, prima ballerina assoluta Allessandra Ferri and Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and author of “Hamilton” – to the Oxford campus. Most recently, Levingston hosted longtime friend and philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr. at Ole Miss.

Rockefeller’s visit included a performance with Levingston of Tennyson’s “Enoch Arden” at Nutt Auditorium, which was part of the events celebrating the investiture of Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter.

“Among their other wide-ranging interests, the Rockefellers care deeply about art and music,” Levingston said. “David Jr. is a superb singer as well as speaker, and we have performed together many times. We both love poetry and music, and with this work, we found the perfect piece that combines the exquisite words of a great poet and the sweeping emotionally charged music of master composer Richard Strauss.”

David Rockefeller Jr. Submitted photo

David Rockefeller Jr. Submitted photo

Levingston’s relationship with the Rockefeller family spans over three decades.

“David’s father, David Rockefeller Sr., now 101, has been one of the most important mentors in my life,” Levingston said. “David Jr., a wonderful thinker, philanthropist and outstanding leader in his generation of the family, has also become a dear friend over the years.”

The younger Rockefeller, one of the world’s leading conservationists of ocean and water resources, began his visit with a conversation among students from Levingston’s honor’s class, “Art and the Republic.” Topics ranged from water conservation and sustainable farming to issues of foreign relations regarding trade, government and human rights.

Levingston said he wants students to leave his class with a deeper understanding of art, creativity and problem-solving, as well as a sense of responsibility to one’s society.

“I want them to come away with the ability to discuss complex issues and hear different points of view with open ears, open eyes and open minds,” Levingston said. “Art, like life, is complex. There are many approaches, many roads to success and fulfillment and endless possibilities for interpretation.

“I want students to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, with nuance, with uncertainty and with the idea that sometimes there are not easy answers, but most importantly, with an understanding that their voice counts and that they themselves may make a real difference in society.”

Much like his relationship with David Rockefeller Sr., Levingston serves as a mentor for many students, including Clay Wooley, a senior in the Honors College from Jackson.

Rockefeller’s visit to UM is an experience that Wooley said he will not soon forget.

“Seeing a man from a historically great American family come all the way to our state meant a lot to me personally as a Mississippian,” Wooley said. “Perhaps the most striking thing about Mr. Rockefeller was his ability to make himself relatable to everyone in the class. Each student who asked a question, including myself, was met with an open and honest response that carried a value and perspective that was tangible for everyone in the room.

Bruce Levingston (left) and David Rockefeller Jr. chat with UM honors student Clay Wooley. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Bruce Levingston (left) and David Rockefeller Jr. chat with UM honors student Clay Wooley. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“I particularly enjoyed hearing Mr. Rockefeller discuss his conservation efforts and our responsibility to maintain and improve the environment. It is no secret that the Rockefeller family is responsible for the creation of many of our national parks, but to see that tradition passed down the generations gave me hope that one day I will be able to contribute as well.”

Besides sharing his friends’ insights with students, it is important to Levingston that his visitors experience his home state.

“I wanted David to see my homeland in the Delta,” Levingston said. “I also wanted him to see all of our history, good and bad, and not just a prettified version.

“We first stopped in Sumner and went to the courthouse where the Emmett Till murder trial had been held as well as the center for study about Till. Needless to say, it was incredibly moving.”

Rockefeller’s tour of the Delta continued with visits to McCarty’s Pottery, the B.B. King Museum and dinner at the legendary Lusco’s in Greenwood.

“I enjoyed a fantastic journey to the Delta,” Rockefeller said. “I am grateful to meet so many kind and generous people, and I want to thank the University of Mississippi for its gracious hospitality.”

Rockefeller left the state with a deeper understanding of who Mississippians are as a people, Levingston said.

“I believe he was truly moved by not only the quality of our students, but also our interest in growing and evolving, our efforts to embrace our own rich and complicated history while seeking to move forward to an even greater future,” Levingston said. 

David Rockefeller Jr. and Bruce Levingston Set for UM Performance

Distinguished friends unite Wednesday for evening of words and music

David Rockefeller Jr.

David Rockefeller Jr.

OXFORD, Miss. – Conservationist and philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr. and longtime friend and pianist Bruce Levingston, Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence and holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, are teaming up onstage this week for an evening of words and music.

The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 28) at Nutt Auditorium. Limited seating is available by calling Penny Leeton at 662-915-7266.

Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr., serves as director of Rockefeller & Co. and formerly served as board chair of the Rockefeller Foundation, recognized for promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world since 1913. He is a leading conservationist of the world’s ocean and water resources and an avid sailor.

Also a passionate supporter of music, Rockefeller has sung as a chorister with Boston’s Cantata Singers for more than 40 years. His most recent performances have focused on narration, performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Lexington Symphony, and the Handel and Haydn Society.

Rockefeller will combine his love of sailing and song as he and Levingston perform Tennyson’s poem, “Enoch Arden,” the heartbreaking love story of a sailor lost at sea, set to music by Richard Strauss.

Bruce Levingston

Bruce Levingston

Rockefeller said he is looking forward to both his visit and his performance with Levingston.

“Mississippi has produced many wonderful artists, writers and musicians, including my good friend Bruce Levingston,” Rockefeller said. “I am eager to get to know this unique state.”

Levingston was named the inaugural recipient of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, which was made possible by a generous gift by Lester “Ruff” Glenn Fant III. Fant made the gift in memory of his father and grandfather. Fant and Rockefeller, graduates of the same law school class of the Harvard Law School, are also friends.

Levingston said he is pleased to introduce Rockefeller to Mississippi, adding to a growing list of prominent figures he has brought to the university, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and international ballet dancers Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo.

“David Rockefeller and his remarkable family have been inspiring global leaders in philanthropy, conservation and medical research for well over a century,” Levingston said. “It is a distinct honor to have this wonderful friend visit our state and our beloved university.”

For more information, contact Penny Leeton at pleeton@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7266.

Here’s a Quick Guide to Commencement

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi will present degrees to more than 4,000 students Saturday (May 14) at its 163rd Commencement. The ceremony, set for 9 a.m. in the Grove, features renowned broadcast news anchor Tom Brokaw as speaker.

The College of Liberal Arts and individual school ceremonies will follow at various locations throughout the day.

In case of rain, the main ceremony will be moved to 9:30 a.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. and announced through media outlets, text messaging and the Ole Miss website.

You can access our online campus map and select commencement for up-to-date Commencement venues, information booths, shuttle stops, parking areas, and restaurant and restroom locations.

If you are not able to attend Commencement but would like to watch the ceremony, we will be live streaming morning Convocation from the Grove. Please visit www.youtube.com/olemiss. The stream will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

To help make your visit to campus more enjoyable, here are a few important pieces of information.

Full Schedule of Commencement Events

Friday, May 13

4 p.m. – Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Ceremony, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (tickets required, contact the Dean’s Office)

7:30 p.m. – Graduate School doctoral hooding ceremony, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Saturday, May 14

9 a.m. – Convocation, the Grove

Inclement Weather – 9:30 a.m., The Pavilion

11 a.m. – College of Liberal Arts master’s degree ceremony, Fulton Chapel

Inclement Weather – 11 a.m., Jackson Avenue Center

School of Law – the Grove
Inclement Weather – 5 p.m., Manning Center

School of Engineering – Lyceum Circle
Inclement Weather – 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., Fulton Chapel (Contact the Dean’s office for individual department ceremony times.)

School of Education – the Grove
Inclement Weather – 2:30 p.m., C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum

School of Business Administration – C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum

Patterson School of Accountancy – Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (Tickets required; contact the Dean’s Office.)

School of Applied Sciences – The Pavilion

General StudiesManning Center

2:30 p.m. College of Liberal Arts – The Pavilion

School of Pharmacy – Manning Center

Meek School of Journalism and New Media – Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (Tickets required; contact the Dean’s Office.)

*Overflow for Ford Center will be in the center’s Studio Theater.

Parking and Transportation

It is recommended that you park in the lots designated for the school or college ceremony you will be attending after convocation concludes. A full list of these designated parking areas can be found here.

A printable guide to parking and other information can be found here.

No parking or drop-off will be available on University Avenue or the Circle. Note that once Convocation starts, vehicle access to the Grove is limited until Convocation and school ceremonies in the Grove conclude.

For safety reasons, parking is not permitted along roadways, sidewalks or grassy areas.

ADA Information

A shuttle service will be available for handicapped and elderly visitors. All guests who require assistance should park in the garage attached to The Pavilion on Hill Drive. Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families. To request assistance, call 662-915-7235.

Emergency Medical Services

EMS will be available at the UPD area of the Welcome Center on University Avenue for Commencement and the remainder of the day. All information booths and ceremony venues will have basic first-aid kits. For immediate assistance, dial 911.

Information Booths

Should you need additional assistance, information booths will be located around campus to provide assistance with shuttle inquiries, maps, driving directions, UPD communication, general first aid supplies and lost-and-found. Complimentary water will also be available.

  • Entrance to the parking garage at The Pavilion on Hill Drive
  • Welcome Center on University Avenue by the Grove (official UPD EMS station)
  • Entrance to Tad Smith Coliseum
  • South side of Manning Center
  • Ford Center
  • Intersection of West Road and Fraternity Row
  • Rebel Drive-Fraternity Row intersection
  • Student Union Drive-Rebel Drive intersection
  • University Avenue-University Place

Hotty Toddy HR Almighty!

HR staff takes on the ‘Healthy Team Challenge’

The HR team begins their first session with a warm-up plank

The HR team begins their first session with a warm-up plank

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of participating with my colleagues in Leadercast’s Healthy Team Challenge. Healthy team? The program challenged us with weekly discussions concerning our team dynamics, leadership topics, as well as a physical challenge for good measure. Hello, have you met me? This is right up my DNA!

 
Week One: No small feat, our assignment was to answer the “why?” “Why do we show up each day? What is our “why?” “Consider how you (have an impact on) the lives of others and how you are in service to others.”
My team comprised Audrey Floyd, Judy Hopper, Jessica Hughes and Pam Johnson. Each team member noodled the idea and contributed a line or two. With 100 percent participation, the end product of the discussion resulted in the following informal “mission statement.”
 
“We show up each day, regardless of distractions, and reach a little deeper to do the things that matter in order to inspire and encourage others to personal and professional fulfillment!”
   
What is your “why?”
 
We also learned that a spontaneous plank session warmed us up and really got the blood flowing! Why don’t we start more meetings off with a few planks?
  
Week Two: Leadercast speaker Andy Stanley invited us to discover our critical role with our organization. The critical role was defined as “If you don’t do it, nothing gets done, and if you do it well enough, it almost doesn’t matter what else doesn’t get done.” The assignment was to write a one-sentence job description for yourself that highlights your unique contribution. After some thought, here’s my one-sentence job description: To create paths for hiring teams to succeed in selecting the best applicants and for employees to continue to grow professionally and personally on a campus that promotes a healthy and engaging environment. This is some good stuff, right? Can you jot down your one-sentence job description with your core responsibility, the critical role, on an index card? Where do you fit in? Our physical fitness challenge was shoulder shrugs! They are like an instant massage break.  
Thumbs up for wall sits, the HR team’s week 3 fitness challenge

Thumbs up for wall sits, the HR team’s week 3 fitness challenge

Week Three: Wall sits! While sitting on the floor after wall sits and more planks, we tackled the discussion of improving team communication and collaboration. The obvious obstacle for the HR team-at-large is our two separate offices, Howry Hall and Lester Hall. When divided more than three years ago, the team created systems to keep operations moving, but what more could we do to further team communication and collaboration?  We brainstormed activities to bring the two teams together, while getting to know each other better. Hint: We have an eye on Campus Recreation’s Rebel Challenge Course and more team-learning opportunities.

  
Week Four: This program has been interrupted. Ugh, in all honesty, my schedule didn’t allow me to participate in week four activities, wall pushups and the topic “Celebrate the Victories.” It is no secret that we like to celebrate birthdays, as reminded by Jessica, but what else can we do to celebrate our successes?
 
Week Five: Wait, what? No week five?! The team was saddened to realize that the challenge ended with week four. We were there without an assignment or a physical challenge. So, what did we do? We committed to keep it up. It may sound funny, but really it was the only time most of us see each other. Can you relate? We all get busy, and we all have less and less face-to-face contact. We send each other IMs, emails and text messages. We hop on the hamster wheel of work without asking, “What are we doing?” “Why are we doing it?” and “Where do I fit in?” Even more, how can we function better as a team through communication and collaboration while remembering to celebrate our successes? Are you ready for these questions? Make the commitment, make the time, make the connections.

Employee Benefits

4 things HR can do for you in 2016

The benefits of being a University of Mississippi employee are countless, and UM and the Human Resources department want to make sure your employment experience is the best it can be. With so many options available, HR is here to help navigate the waters of the perks available to you as a UM employee. Here’s a quick reminder of four things that HR can do to ensure all UM employees have an enlightened and fulfilling 2016.

  1. HR can help you grow as an employee. It offers a variety of developmental workshops to help you perform the best in your current position or prepare you for the next step in your career. You can sharpen your professional skills or focus on personal development. These classes are available to all eligible employees. Decide which class is right for you, and register today. Also, don’t forget that one of the greatest benefits of working for UM is the ability to take academic classes. UM encourages you to further your education and your career. Take a look at all the current job opportunities here, and let HR help guide you on your career path.
  2. HR can help you get to know your benefits. Remember the benefits you signed up for when you first started; HR’s representatives are here to make sure you fully understand your selections. They also want you to know about all the benefits available to you. They are not just there on those first few days. They want to continue to support you in your benefit decisions throughout your employment and can help you make changes when and if the time is right. From health insurance and retirement to free classes and athletics event discounts, UM offers its employees a wonderful selection of benefits – just one reason UM has been named a Great College to Work For by the Chronicle of Higher Education for seven years running.
  3. HR can help you live a healthier, happier lifestyle. UM’s RebelWell program works to promote a healthy culture on campus and in the community. As an employee, you are encouraged to participate in the many events and programs it offers. A great start is getting away from your desk and taking daily walks with your co-workers. Every building has a Wellness Champion to help you on your journey along with many resources available to you on the RebelWell website. UM wants you to be well in all areas of your life, including exercise, nutrition and work/life balance. Check out all the programs available to you today, and be RebelWell.
  4. HR can make things easy for you. Did you know many of your questions can be answered by visiting the HR website or logging into my.olemiss.edu? The website offers information about benefits, development and compensation, as well as important HR forms such as permission to take a course, time sheets and new employee checklists. HR also has 13 apps on my.olemiss.edu that put viewing or changing your personal information at your fingertips. HR staff members want to make information accessible to you so you can take care of business at your convenience. They’ve even developed this trusty newsletter to keep you up on the latest happenings.

Bruce Levingston Takes Mississippi Inspiration to Carnegie Hall

Bruce Levingston

Bruce Levingston

As the University of Mississippi’s Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence, Bruce Levingston introduces many influential artists to Mississippi, including our rich culture, our storied past and the artistry that has emerged from both.

In his upcoming April 4 performance at Carnegie Hall, Levingston will feature works inspired by two important Mississippians whose lives embodied the true essence of our state.

Levingston, a native Mississippian and renowned concert pianist, will perform solo premieres of works by composers Nolan Gasser and James Matheson, as well as works by Philip Glass. He is joined by bass-baritone Justin Hopkins for the New York City premiere of “Repast,” an oratorio based on the life of Mississippi civil rights figure Booker Wright with a libretto by National Book Award finalist Kevin Young.

An excerpt from the program shares the inspiration for this meaningful piece.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 desegregated places of public accommodation, including restaurants. To mark the larger struggle that preceded passage and to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of that milestone, the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi, along with Premiere Commission, conceived this original oratorio, set in civil rights movement-era Mississippi. ‘Repast’ tells the tragic, true and emboldening story of Booker Wright, owner of Booker’s Place nightclub and waiter at famed restaurant Lusco’s, who spoke out about the pains of segregation and lived and died in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood.

“Interviewed by NBC in 1966, Wright dared to speak the truth about attitudes towards race in that place and time. He ultimately had to leave the job that had drawn him attention, and eventually, just a few years later, lost his life. His vision and spirit live on in this powerful tribute by composer Nolan Gasser and poet Kevin Young, whose searing libretto was inspired by Booker Wright’s own inspiring and unforgettable words.”

Hardly Levingston’s first performance at Carnegie Hall, this appearance celebrates the 15th anniversary of his foundation, Premiere Commission, which promotes the creation and performance of new music and art in different mediums.

“Although I have performed at Carnegie Hall a number of times, it is always a tremendous honor and exciting experience,” Levingston said. “So many great artists, including Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Leontyne Price and even the Beatles have performed there that one is always aware of special spirits that fill the place.”

Levingston also will perform “An American Citizen,” a collaboration with “Repast” composer Nolan Gasser paying tribute to Mississippi artist Marie Hull and inspired by her painting of the same name.

Levingston lends these words from his recent book “Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull” to the program for his upcoming performance.

“During the Great Depression, Hull began an important series of portraits of African-Americans, tenant farmers and sharecroppers. In these works, she treated each subject equally, regardless of race, revealing the human drama, inner struggle and indomitable spirit of each figure. In 1936, she painted a portrait of John Wesley Washington, a local worker born into slavery in 1847. In this heart-rending work, Hull not only gives the portrait the complete name of her subject (almost never bestowed upon African-Americans at that time), but the overall title ‘An American Citizen.’

“This quiet, subtle and extraordinarily significant act of respect and social commentary by a Southern painter from this most ‘Southern’ of states remains, more than ever, a deeply resonant statement about who we are and can be, as a people. It is also a reminder of the powerful voice an artist may bring to his or her society, even in the most closed and difficult of times.”

Levingston said he is proud to bring these works about deserving Mississippians to a broader national audience.

“My hope is that people in and outside of our region learn more about our culture, who we are as artists, as people and as American citizens trying to embrace our own place in history and moving forward to make a positive impact on our society,” he said.

RebelTHON Dance Marathon Nearly Doubles Goal

Event raises more than $112,000 for children's hospital

This year, the RebelTHON dance marathon raised $112,603 this dollars for Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital.

This year’s RebelTHON Dance Marathon raised $112,603 or Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.

University of Mississippi students raised $112,603 for Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at this year’s RebelTHON, held over the weekend at the Turner Center.

The total was announced following the annual dance marathon. RebelTHON is a yearlong fundraiser for Batson Children’s Hospital, which is part of the UM Medical Center in Jackson.

Thirteen patients from the hospital were in attendance to share their stories and tell what fundraising means to them, said Maia Cotelo, an Ole Miss senior and RebelTHON executive director.

This year’s goal was to raise $60,000, but the group nearly doubled that amount.

“We are one of few schools that gets to raise money for a hospital that is directly connected to the university and this event offers the rare opportunity to meet the cause one is fundraising for,” Cotelo said. “It is a very moving experience.”

RebelTHON is a year long fundraiser for Blair E. Batson Hospital, which is part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

RebelTHON is a yearlong fundraiser for the children’s hospital, which is part of the UM Medical Center in Jackson.

The dance marathon serves as a celebration for all the fundraising work done throughout the year. Students involved in the fundraising since August are invited to attend the 12-hour overnight celebration with music, food and games. Participants are asked to stand, jump, dance or just keep moving for 12 hours.

“They cannot sit down,” she said. “We are literally standing in solidarity with the patients and families of Batson. It is very difficult, but extremely fulfilling.”

The dance marathon is part of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a nationwide movement for college and high school students to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“All of the money raised goes directly to Batson,” she said. “We survive on sponsorships and donations from places around town, as well as a very small budget.”

Legendary Dancers to Perform at Spring Honors Convocation

Bruce Levingston, acclaimed dancers to debut collaboration before taking show to New York

Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo join Bruce Levingston in Trio ConcertDance. Photo by Roberto Ricci.

Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo join Bruce Levingston in Trio ConcertDance. Photo by Roberto Ricci.

OXFORD, Miss. – This year’s Spring Convocation for the University of Mississippi’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College will bring together three world-renowned artists for a preview performance of “Trio ConcertDance with Alessandra Ferri, Herman Cornejo and Bruce Levingston.”

The Artist Series special performance, co-sponsored by the Honors College and the USA International Ballet Competition, is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Alessandra Ferri, Italy’s prima ballerina assoluta, will perform with Herman Cornejo, Argentinian dancer and principal of American Ballet Theatre. UM Artist-in-Residence Bruce Levingston will join the pair on piano.

General admission tickets are $25. A limited number are available at the UM Box Office in the Ole Miss Student Union. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“Ferri and Cornejo are both two of the most gifted and creative artists I have ever performed with and take dancing and music into a transcendentally spiritual and soul-searching realm,” Levingston said.

“We three share a deep love of beautiful music, and that shared understanding and passion has driven and molded our artistic choices. In all cases, it was the music that came first, and the music which told us what the dance should be.”

The three performers have called upon some of the world’s most celebrated choreographers to create dances for their collaboration, which previews at UM and moves to New York City for six more shows, Levingston said. The choreographers include Russell Maliphant of England, Stanton Welch of Australia, Demis Volpi of Argentina and Fang-Yi Sheu of Taiwan.

TRIO promo short version – www.afdance.org from INTERNATIONAL MUSIC AND ARTS on Vimeo.

Levingston, a native Mississippian and acclaimed concert pianist, has introduced artists such as filmmaker Ken Burns and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow to the university. Bringing “Trio ConcertDance” to UM further exemplifies Levingston’s passion to make the arts accessible to Ole Miss students and to Mississippi.

Levingston has added a new dimension to the Honors College experience, said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, the college’s dean.

“Bruce Levingston has brought his nationally-renowned talent, verve and leadership to the SMBHC classroom and given us new life,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “His engaging one-on-one interaction with students and staff, his commanding skills as a classical pianist and his gracious presence transformed our campus immediately.

“Honors students, through Bruce’s great work, get the chance to engage the internationally renowned prima ballerina Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo with our Spring Convocation, and we all will witness the power of ‘lived art’ through their performance. What an opportunity.”

Ferri, born in Milan, trained at the school of the Teatro alla Scala opera house and attended the Royal Ballet School in London. Winner of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in 1980, she joined the Royal Ballet in the same year and was soon made a principal dancer with the company.

In 1985, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre, where she danced as a principal until 2007. She has received numerous international awards, including the Sir Lawrence Oliver Award, the Dance Magazine Award and the Benois de la Danse Prix. She was presented the Cavaliere della Republica Honoris by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azelglio Ciampi and holds the rare title of prima ballerina assoluta.

“I am so looking forward to sharing once again the experience of performing with Bruce Levingston and Herman Cornejo, two artists that are able to always touch my heart,” Ferri said. “I have never been to Oxford and can’t wait to meet a new audience.”

Cornejo, a native of Argentina, began his training at Teatro Colon’s Instituto Superior de Arte in Buenos Aires and continued his studies at the School of American Ballet in New York. He performed as a guest artist with numerous ballet companies across the world and in 1997 won the Gold Medal at the VIII International Dance Competition in Moscow.

He joined the American Ballet Theater in 1999 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2003. Considered one of the world’s greatest dancers, he has received many awards and distinctions, including Dancer of the Year by The New York Times, Benois del la Danse Prize and the Argentinian Pride Award by the Argentinian Performance League.

“I am very excited to perform for the first time in Mississippi at the university in Oxford with one of the greatest ballerinas, Alessandra Ferri, and one of the greatest concert pianists, Bruce Levingston,” Cornejo said.

Inaugural Mighty Half and 5-K Set for Saturday

Organizers hope to encourage healthy lifestyles, establish a Mighty Milers program

The inaugural event is sponsored by RebelWell and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

The inaugural event is sponsored by RebelWell and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

OXFORD, Miss. – Run Oxford’s Mighty Half and 5-K is set for Saturday (Feb. 20) at the University of Mississippi. The community running group will host the inaugural event sponsored by RebelWell and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

One of four races making up The Inn at Ole Miss 2016 Grand Prix series, the Mighty Half half-marathon will begin at 7 a.m. near the Manning Center, with the 5-K following at 7:30. Each route takes runners through the UM campus with the half marathon extending into Oxford.

Food and free activities will be available at the Manning Center during the races, including a pop-up Zumba class by instructor Caysie Lagrone at 8:30 a.m. All events are open to the public.

The event is a way to encourage health and wellness throughout the community, said Wendy Carmean, RebelWell project coordinator.

“RebelWell and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is so pleased to work with Run Oxford by sponsoring the inaugural Mighty Half marathon and 5-K,” Carmean said. “We have a beautiful campus and community, and it’s exciting to be able to share it with runners from across the country.

“The race is also an excellent opportunity to bring our local runners together and provide an organized event that doesn’t require travel. Oxford and Lafayette County is such a healthy and vibrant community, and it’s a treat to be an advocate for wellness in such a dynamic town.”

The goal of race organizers is to create a youth running program for the community that will be managed by Run Oxford, said Marvin King, race director and Run Oxford president.

“Run Oxford will dedicate proceeds from this race to establish a Mighty Milers program in Lafayette County,” said King, who is also an associate professor of political science and African-American studies at UM. “We will partner with other nonprofits as we encourage youngsters to make running and exercise a regular part of their lives. Given how poor Mississippi often fares on common health measures, we know you can’t start too soon in reaching out to young people and finding fun ways to get them moving.”

RebelWell and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation will also contribute funds to help establish and offer continued support to the Mighty Milers program.

Weekend festivities kick off at 3 p.m. Friday (Feb. 19) at the Manning Center, with the Visit Oxford Health and Race Expo featuring more than 25 vendors and sponsors. This free event will have activities for all ages, including a bounce house, yoga and hula-hoop demonstrations, and a 50-yard dash.

A nutritionist from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will be on hand to answer questions beginning at 4:45 p.m. Food will be available from vendors, and The Grill at 1810 will serve the RebelWell pre-race meal from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For registration, parking options and information on all events surrounding the Mighty Half and 5-K, go to http://www.runoxfordhalfmarathon.com.