FOX8: Local ‘Idol’ contestant hopes dance with Jennifer Lopez is first of many moments


Michael Simeon on American Idol

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) – A University of Mississippi engineering major hopes to be the next American Idol, and Michael Simeon knows it’s not just about the song.

“Each performance has to have a moment,” Simeon said. “You have to have a moment that is going to be remembered by the people watching, and if you don’t have that, you’re just another OK singer.”

Simeon hopes his dance with Jennifer Lopez will be the first of many moments on his journey to becoming the next American Idol. The 21-year old from Lumberton, Mississippi, has traveled this road before, making it to the top 48 last season.

Click here to read the full story.

Ole Miss Scores in the Classroom This Fall

Soccer Led the Way with a 3.70 GPA

Ole Miss student-athletes excelled on the playing field and in the classroom in 2014.

Ole Miss student-athletes excelled on the playing field and in the classroom in 2014.

OXFORD, Miss. — Success wasn’t limited to the fields and courts this fall, as Ole Miss student-athletes achieved the highest cumulative grade point average (2.96) in recorded history, with over 50 percent of all student-athletes earning a 3.0 GPA or higher and 10 receiving their degrees.

In addition to those who made a 3.0, 113 posted a 3.50 or better, 68 finished with a 3.75 or better and 19 achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA.

“The Ole Miss student-athletes continue to improve each and every year, choosing challenging majors and excelling in the classroom as well as on the field, as evidenced by the continued upward trend in baseball, football and track and field; and the consistent improvement by all sports in general,” said senior associate athletics director Derek Cowherd. “We can all sense that there is something special brewing here. But more important than any GPA goal, we take great delight in witnessing the growth and professional development of the young men and women. They are building great habits and exhibiting a positive attitude, which makes it a joy to come to work each day at the University of Mississippi.”

With an impressive 3.70 cumulative GPA, and the highest ever in recorded history, women’s soccer led all teams. Six players scored a perfect 4.0, while 16 made the Chancellor’s Honor Roll, including Capital One Academic All-District honorees Maddie Friedman and Jessica Hiskey.

Men’s tennis topped the men’s teams with a 3.34, their best fall GPA in eight years. Seven players made the honor roll.

While enjoying the program’s best season in a long time, the Chick-fil-A Bowl bound football team posted the highest GPA in recorded history. Eight players earned their degrees, including two-time Chucky Mullins Award winner Deterrian Shackelford, who now has a Master’s Degree in Higher Education. A Capital One Academic All-District selection, Shackelford recently won the Wuerffel Trophy, which honors exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement and was named Captain of the AFCA Good Works Team. Other football graduates include offensive lineman Justin Bell, defensive tackle Lavon Hooks, tight ends Carlton Martin and Nick Parker, wide receivers John Ratliff and Vince Sanders and defensive end Walker Sturgeon.

Women’s tennis had another outstanding semester with a 3.65 GPA, including seven of nine players making a 3.50 or better and five on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. Junior Mai El Kamash and freshman Arianne Hartono both finished with a 3.94 to lead the Rebels.

Men’s basketball earned the team’s best GPA in recorded history (2.97), and the entire starting lineup made the honor roll, with nine of 14 team members earning a 3.0 or better.

Volleyball posted the most wins since 2007 and Nakeyta Clair became the first All-American since 2011, but the success didn’t stop on the court. The Rebels earned a 3.06 GPA, marking their first 3.00 team GPA in eight semesters. Over 50 percent of the team earned a 3.0 or better, with sophomores Aubrey Edie and Melanie Crow earning Capital One Academic All-District honors.

Scoring the highest team GPA since fall 2009, softball, under first-year head coach Mike Smith, posted a 3.26.

Baseball finished with a team GPA of 3.03 with 26 players earning a 3.00 or better. Men’s golf posted a 3.25 and had seven of eight players on the honor roll. Women’s golf recorded a 3.30 and placed six on the honor roll and rifle had six of nine make the honor roll for a GPA of 3.33.

Women’s track posted their highest GPA since 2011 (3.01) and the men’s team had their best semester (2.90) in more than six years.

For academic accomplishments and news surrounding Ole Miss student-athletes, follow them on Twitter, @UMTrueRebel.

Update on Chancellor Dan Jones

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Great news from Chancellor Dan Jones today. His PET scan results came back, and the results were very good. The treatment plan is working! He and Lydia send thanks and blessings to the Ole Miss family and to so many others who have offered prayers and support. It’s working.

5 Days of Giveaways: Rebel Rags Swag

BowlGameTShirtAre you Peach Bowl ready? Well you can be with this awesome Peach Bowl package from our friends at Rebel Rags.

Want the world (or at least everyone on the highway) to know the team you’ll be cheering for on New Year’s Eve? We’ve got you covered with a WindowFanz helmet to adorn your vehicle on the way to Atlanta. It securely attaches to any window and won’t blow off like flags can. After your Peach Bowl journey, keep the spirit alive by proudly displaying your helmet on a window, wall, shelf or desk of your home or office.

And if you’re wondering what to wear to the big game, look no further. We’ll throw in this 2014 Peach Bowl T-shirt to take the guessing out of dressing. All you need to do is sign up below. It could be your lucky day, and if not, you can find these items and “anything, everything Ole Miss” at Rebel Rags.

Help everyone have a Hotty Toddy holiday season by sharing the joy and the contest. Find it on Ole Miss Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Here’s the link to the contest rules.

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‘Thank You’ from Ole Miss ROTC

2014 Egg Bowl Run.  Mississippi State ROTC cadets hand off the ball to the Ole Miss ROTC in Calhoun City.  Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

2014 Egg Bowl Run. Mississippi State ROTC cadets hand off the ball to the Ole Miss ROTC in Calhoun City. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Dear members of the Ole Miss family,

We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who supported ROTC programs at the University of Mississippi during Military Appreciation Week. From the Presbyterian football game to the Chancellors Review, the Veterans Day ceremony to the Egg Bowl Run, it was a very humbling experience. I could write for days thanking everyone who helped make it all possible. You know who you are. Words cannot describe the gratitude and support we get from university community. We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we look forward to 2015. God speed!

Master Sgt. Christopher Hayes, Ole Miss Army ROTC

5 Days of Giveaways: A Photographic Essay

Mock-up cover for a new photo book showcasing the beauty of the University of Mississippi.

‘Ole Miss: A Photographic Essay’ showcases the beauty of the University of Mississippi.

Feeling nostalgic? Here’s something to keep your memories of the Ole Miss campus alive throughout the year. “Ole Miss: A Photographic Essay” is a look at the most beautiful campus in the country through the eyes of the university’s own photographers. These stunning photographs, intermingled with quotes by famous alumni and friends, capture the true essence of the University of Mississippi campus.

It’s perfect for that Ole Miss grad on your list who has everything or, even better, to keep for yourself. OK. OK. It is the season of giving, so sign up to win one for yourself by entering below and follow this link to buy copies for the rest of your friends and family.

Enter to win daily prizes during the 5 Days of Giveaways, and don’t be a Scrooge, share the contest with your friends on Ole Miss Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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5 Days of Giveaways: Ole Miss Alumni Sweatshirt

Stay warm while you cheer on the Rebels in Atlanta with the official sweatshirt of the Ole Miss Alumni Association

OleMissAlumniSweatshirtWinter is coming. Check that, winter has arrived and it’s cold outside! What better way to brag about your Ole Miss allegiance than with this cozy sweatshirt courtesy of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. While we’re on the topic, are you a member? If not, it’s easy to sign up. In fact, if you know a big Rebel fan who would like to become an Alumni Association member, you can even gift them a membership this holiday season.

As an active member, you’re eligible for a number of cool perks, including a subscription to the Ole Miss Alumni Review, the annual Ole Miss Alumni wall calendar, access to the members-only area of the Triplett Alumni Center on home football game days, special travel opportunities with other alumni and many, many more items.

Sweatshirts not your style? The Alumni Association has plenty of other official alumni gear that’s perfect for bowl season and cheering on the Rebels in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Enter below for your chance to take home this sweatshirt.

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Win Big During ‘5 Days of Giveaways’

University Communications to give away Ole Miss-themed prizes each day this week

5_DAYS_OF_GIVEAWAYSThis has been a great year for our university: Our enrollment topped 23,000 students for the first time ever, our researchers made big headlines with cutting-edge research and our campus has never been more beautiful. As a token of thanks and appreciation for our students, faculty, staff and supporters, we’re giving away one Ole Miss-themed item every day this week. Here’s a rundown of the prizes we’re awarding, as well as some ways you can enter to win.


Each day, posts will be made to the Ole Miss Facebook pageTwitter account and the official Ole Miss Pinterest page with links to the daily contest entry form. To enter, simply fill out a form each day to be entered to win that day’s prize. There is no limit to the number of times you can enter to win each day. Already entered for one prize? Come back tomorrow and enter for the next one!


Monday: 3 framed Ole Miss holiday printables

Tuesday: A William Faulkner holiday package from the University Museum that includes a newly-released Rowan Oak scarf as well as the 2014 collectible keepsake.

Wednesday: A copy of  “Ole Miss: A Photographic Essay” by UM photographers Robert Jordan, Kevin Bain and Nathan Latil.

Thursday: Ole Miss Alumni sweatshirt.

Friday: 2014 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Ole Miss short-sleeve T-shirt and Ole Miss WindowFanz helmet courtesy of Rebel Rags in Oxford.


Entries will be accepted via forms submitted on Ole Miss News. Entries for daily prizes must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. each day.


Daily winners will be randomly chosen by 9 a.m. the following day. Winners will be contacted via email and will have until Jan. 5, 2015 to claim their prizes. If a winner does not claim their prize by that date, another winner will be selected at random.


Email questions to with subject line “5 Days of Giveaways.”


The University of Mississippi reserves the right to screen or delete comments made on official UM social media accounts that use profane, hateful or abusive language as well as content that defames, harasses, stalks or threatens others.

Snappy Hour to Return Jan. 5

University Communications to cover Supreme Court justices on Monday

Snappy Hour will return on Monday, January 5 for all faculty and staff members.

Snappy Hour will return Jan. 5 for all faculty and staff members.

University Communications will suspend Snappy Hour on Monday (Dec. 15) to cover the U.S. Supreme Court justices speaking event at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Snappy Hour, where Ole Miss faculty and staff members may have their portraits made free of charge, will be available every Monday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the University Communications photography studio in Sam-Gerard Hall beginning Jan. 5.

Long-term Closure of Hill Drive Begins Dec. 15

A portion of road will be closed to through traffic until mid-August 2015

Parking garage and Ole Miss basketball arena tabbed for completion in 2015.

The new parking garage and basketball arena are tabbed for completion in 2015.

A portion of Hill Drive, from the north side of the parking garage to the intersection with All-American Drive, will be closed beginning Monday (Dec. 15) and running through mid-August 2015 as construction on the basketball arena continues. We apologize for any inconvenience during this time of extreme growth on our campus.