Fisher-Wirth Chosen as Fellow of Black Earth Institute

Ann Fisher-Wirth

Ann Fisher-Wirth

OXFORD, Miss. – Ann Fisher-Wirth, professor of English and director of the environmental studies program at the University of Mississippi, has been chosen as a fellow of the Black Earth Institute, a think tank of artists and scholars devoted to serving environmental and social causes with their art.

“I am very pleased to be chosen as a fellow for the Black Earth Institute,” Fisher-Wirth said. “It is a big honor and a wonderful validation of my work as a poet and environmental activist. It reflects on the support I have been given at the University of Mississippi, both as a member of the English department and as director of the minor in environmental studies.”

Fisher-Wirth was among seven, chosen from nearly 100 applicants, selected for the fellowship.

“Ann Fisher-Wirth has a reputation for being a strong environmentalist both in her professional and personal life,” said Ivo Kamps, chair of the UM Department of English. “Her commitment to leaving our planet a place our children and grandchildren can hope to enjoy is evident in her poetry and her teaching.”

Many of the courses within the English department that focus on literature and the environment are available to students because of Fisher-Wirth, he said.

“As director of the environmental studies minor, she continues to bring in many speakers and organizes events that expose our students to one of the most pressing issues of our time,” Kamps said. “Her selection as a fellow of the Black Earth Institute is a recognition of the important work she has done, is doing and will do in the future.”

Fellows are chosen every three years. Fisher-Wirth’s fellowship is a three-year term from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2018. The aim of the fellowship is to collaborate with other fellows and promote awareness of the Black Earth Institute’s mission.

Each year, the selected fellows gather in Black Earth, Wisconsin, with founder Michael McDermott and several former fellows and scholars to discuss social justice and environmental topics and share their individual experiences. Fellows also take turns editing special issues of the institute’s online journal, About Place.

Keeping the Flame

Oklahoma City alumni help UM accounting school continue to excel

UM Patterson School of Accountancy Dean Mark Wilder, left, and Ed Krei, right.

UM accountancy Dean Mark Wilder, left, and Ed Krei.

OXFORD, Miss. – For Ed and Barbara Krei, the University of Mississippi is the place where it all came together – friendship, networking, young love and, most importantly, lasting and valuable educations.

Longtime UM supporters, the couple established the Edward Krei Lectureship in Accountancy in 2009. This year, they have generously elevated their endowment to the chair level, with more than $1 million committed to sustaining and strengthening the Patterson School of Accountancy faculty.

“We received great educations here,” said Ed Krei, a 2015 Hall of Fame inductee and former gold medalist on the CPA exam. “Professors Gene Peery and Jimmy Davis – they had a big impact on me. This is my way to thank them and thank the institution for allowing them to have such a focus on teaching.”

Krei, who attended a public high school in Jackson, Tennessee, said he was lucky it had a small advanced placement program that prepared him for college. He received an Ole Miss band scholarship for his talent on the trumpet, which led him to meet Barbara, who played clarinet. Originally enrolled in the School of Engineering, Krei began to feel engineering wasn’t his true calling.

“I talked with my adviser, and he suggested I take Professor Peery’s class,” Krei said. “I really enjoyed it. I took more accounting courses and decided that was where I needed to be.”

The Kreis both graduated in 1973, later marrying in 1974. Barbara graduated from what is now the School of Applied Sciences and enjoyed a career as a speech pathologist in public schools. The couple has a daughter, Lauren, and son, Barrett, both successful graduates of Vanderbilt University who work in health care. Barbara is retired and enjoys traveling, most recently to Machu Picchu, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

Ed Krei said this endowment is meant to provide an eternal flame for what he felt in those years as a student.

“I think the Patterson School is a worthwhile investment because of the passion of the faculty,” Krei said. “Their passion is so evident, and it sounds corny, but they really excite students about their field. And now, with the speaking engagements I have, I find myself emulating what I learned from them.”

Krei is a managing director and board of directors member for the Baker Group, an institutional fixed income firm primarily servicing community banks, in Oklahoma City. For 21 years, he has represented the Baker Group helping client organizations develop strategies and plan for the future.

“My favorite part of the job is being with people,” he said. “I enjoy hearing what is happening in our industry on the ground level, in real time. It is worthwhile to hear our clients’ perspectives about how their institutions are being impacted and try to help them find solutions.”

Krei also serves on the faculty of two graduate banking schools: Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, and the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado in Boulder.

 

The UM School of Accountancy receives exceptional rankings annually by Public Accounting Report, the independent newsletter of the accounting profession. UM’s undergraduate degree program has been ranked in the top 20 since 2008 and in the top 10 since 2011.

“We have been fairly high in the rankings for several years and this has brought in many more students,” said Dale Flesher, the Roland and Sheryl Burns Chair of Accountancy. “As a result, we definitely need more faculty. Endowed chairs provide needed funds for current faculty and will help in the future.”

“The secret is out about the strength of our program,” said Mark Wilder, the school’s dean. “Our students have employment opportunities across the United States and abroad. During spring 2015, the Patterson School placed interns in 17 different states, from coast to coast, and in London.”

Wilder also noted that “Ole Miss accountancy graduates like Ed Krei who have worked hard during their tenure here to get the most out of our degree programs have helped craft a national reputation for the Patterson School that is synonymous with success.”

Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about supporting faculty in the Patterson School of Accountancy can contact Brooke Barnes, development officer, at brooke@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1993.

Mossing Left Lasting Mark at UM

Endowment celebrates and continues efforts of Susan Mossing

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Susan Mossing

OXFORD, Miss. – Michael Mossing, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, has committed a generous gift to the UM Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to honor and memorialize his late wife, UM administrator, counselor and educator Susan Mossing.

The Susan Lynn Mossing Memorial Endowment will provide support for the center, continuing her sustained efforts to assist students struggling with academic demands and college life.

Susan Mossing, 55, died from an aggressive cancer in November 2013. Employed for many years in UM’s Academic Support Center, she most recently served as the associate director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, or CETL.

“Dr. Sue Mossing was a valued mentor, colleague, friend and advocate to so many individuals,” CETL colleagues Nancy Wiggers, Rebekah Reysen and Sara Hill said collectively. “She found purpose and meaning in her quest to help others and saw the positive qualities in people that were often overlooked, either by society or by themselves. She made it a point to foster the development of those who were struggling on both an academic and personal level, and encouraged students to move past their challenges and persevere despite difficult life circumstances.

“A lifelong learner herself, Sue was a proponent to tailoring the needs of students using a holistic, not one-size-fits-all approach. And although she was busy with numerous roles on campus and in the community, Sue always found the time to be the support system that so many people needed. The endowment that has been made in her honor will help carry her spirit for many years to come.”

The late Susan Mossing has been honored by family and friends with a memorial endowment at the University of Mississippi to continue her legacy of service to UM students struggling to make the transition from high school to college. This photo was taken by her husband, UM associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Mike Mossing, of the then-22-year-old Susan Mossing, waiting for her husband to finish a late night in the laboratory. Until her death in 2013, Susan dedicated her career to helping students find their place on a large college campus, many grappling with similar displacement issues she had as a young student.

The late Susan Mossing has been honored by family and friends with a memorial endowment at UM to continue her legacy of service to students struggling to make the transition from high school to college. This photo was taken by her husband, UM associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Mike Mossing, of the then-22-year-old Susan, waiting for her husband to finish a late night in the laboratory.

In 1998, the Mossings visited Oxford with their four children as Mike considered a faculty position in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. While Oxford would be a change from the big cities the family had resided in thanks to academia, they felt it would be a good fit. After Mike accepted the position, the couple received several copies of the Oxford Eagle newspaper from new colleagues: a photo of Sam, their youngest, had been taken at a local playground and appeared on the front page. The couple, touched by the outpouring of welcome from new friends, decided it was a good omen.

But the Mossings’ story – and Sue’s calling as an adviser, counselor and specialist for faltering college students – started much earlier. They met in 1976 as high school seniors departing a tour bus during a scholarship competition for incoming freshmen at Michigan State University.

The couple married in 1979, just before their senior year. Sue Mossing’s transition from valedictorian of her small-town high school to one of hundreds in her introductory science classes was not easy. She changed her major several times and eventually took a break from college and went to work as Mike completed a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

A few years later, as Mike finished a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin, children Christopher and Caroline were born. Besides completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Sue helped manage grocery and child care cooperatives in the UW married housing complex.

They moved to Boston in 1986. Mike completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sue received an MBA at Boston University. In 1990, the family went to South Bend, Indiana, where Mike taught biology at Notre Dame.

In South Bend, Sue flourished in full “mom mode.” As a Brownie leader, swim team organizer, Parent Teacher Association leader and more, she worked to make sure her children were fulfilled musically, academically and athletically. The move to Oxford gave Sue an opportunity to pursue an additional master’s degree in educational psychology and a Ph.D. in counselor education. With that completed, she made time to volunteer in the community and her children’s activities.

“Sue was dedicated,” said Suzanne Wilkin, who worked with Mossing in the Oxford High School Band Boosters. “She so wanted and worked for the kids to have whatever they needed. She was a quiet yet remarkable person who helped as many people as she could.”

In her professional life, she found a role on the UM campus developing programs for undecided and at-risk students. During her tenure, she oversaw the implementation of study skills workshops, academic counseling and new freshman courses EDHE 101 (Academic Skills for College) and EDHE 202 (Fundamentals of Active Learning). She also assisted with the Freshmen Absence-Based Intervention program and Supplemental Instruction.

Her husband believes that her personal experience as a young college student and eventual climb through the ranks of academia inspired her career.

“One of the things that allowed her to recognize opportunities was her empathy,” Mike Mossing said. “Sue was valedictorian of her small high school and really did feel lost at that huge college. So I think that translated into a career path. She drew on her experience working with students, and that was sometimes academic, sometimes transitional and sometimes emotional. She knew that it wasn’t easy and believed that with the right tools and support, they could be set up to succeed.”

Just weeks before her death, with a prognosis confirmed, Sue Mossing was still passionately advocating for UM students. She had been coming in to work as often as she felt able, preparing the CETL for her departure. She sent Provost Morris Stocks an email outlining her recommendations, and among them, she detailed suggestions for an upcoming faculty development series. As she suggested themes and speakers, she also insisted that “panels should include someone who will speak for and protect the students.”

Stocks will remember Mossing for her dedication to the UM community.

“Even after learning of her diagnosis, Sue remained committed to her work advocating for academic student support measures,” said Stocks, now UM’s acting chancellor. “She was a tireless leader in the University of Mississippi’s efforts to ensure access to higher education for all students and understood the importance of classroom success and earning a four-year degree. This endowment from her family will undergird our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and maintain her strong presence of encouragement for those students in need.”

Born in South Haven, Michigan, Mossing is survived by her husband, Michael; her children: Christopher (Alexandra) Mossing of New Orleans and granddaughter Agnes Ann, Caroline Mossing of San Antonio, Texas, Daniel Mossing of Princeton, New Jersey, and Samuel Mossing of Evanston, Illinois; and 13 siblings in Michigan.

Individuals and organizations can make gifts to the Susan Lynn Mossing Memorial Endowment by sending a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting online at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contacting Sandra Guest at sguest@olemiss.edu or 662-915-5944.

UM to Honor First Doctoral Recipient in English

Kenneth Holditch slated to present lecture at annual Faulkner conference

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‘Galatoire’s Biography of a Bistro’ by Marada Burton and Kenneth Holditch

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will honor its first doctoral recipient in English, Kenneth Holditch, during his presentation at this year’s Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

Holditch, a professor emeritus of English at the University of New Orleans who earned his doctorate at UM in 1961, is coming to Oxford for the 42nd annual conference to present a lecture on “Growing Up in Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha Country.” During the program, Jay Watson, the UM Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English, will unveil the Holditch Scholars Award, which will be given annually to a graduate student in the Department of English.

Holditch’s lecture is slated for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday (July 22) in the Faulkner Room on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. It is free and open to the public.

“The creation of the Holditch Scholars Award is exciting news indeed for the English department,” Watson said. “This award will be an important source of support for deserving graduate students in our program, and a lovely way to honor the distinguished career of the man who received the very first Ph.D. granted in English at the University of Mississippi.”

Ivo Kamps, UM chair of English, praised the efforts of Holditch and the university for the timely announcement.

“The English department is proud and pleased to recognize its first Ph.D. graduate, Dr. Holditch, with the creation of a graduate student award in his name,” Kamps said. “We are equally pleased that Dr. Holditch will be on campus for the announcement later this week, and that he will be sharing his work during the annual Faulkner conference.”

Watson asserted the fittingness for Holditch to attend and present his lecture at this year’s conference.

“That the announcement of the award fund will come during the summer’s Faulkner conference is another wonderful bit of serendipity, since Professor Holditch pursued his Ph.D. studies at a time when Faulkner was still living in Oxford and since he went on to become an accomplished scholar of Faulkner’s works in his own right,” Watson said.

To contribute to the Holditch Scholars Award, contact Angela Barlow Brown, UM director of development for special projects, at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

Heads in the Game Research Continues

High school students helping UM researchers, trainers learn to protect athletes from concussions

X2 impact sensors were used in Ole Miss spring football practice to document head impact during plays.

X2 impact sensors were used in Ole Miss spring football practice to document head impact during plays.

OXFORD, Miss. – Sixteen high school students from around the country are on the University of Mississippi campus this month to work with cutting-edge technology in the Heads in Game: Concussion Research Program.

The students are using sensors from X2 Biosystems to monitor and collect data from football and soccer players to detect concussions in real time. This technology will then be used by trainers and coaches to monitor the health and safety of their athletes.

“We want to take all that information and be able to complete this tool that the athletic trainers can then use to keep athletes on the field by using these prescriptive approaches,” said Matthew Morrison, an assistant professor of electrical engineering.

The first-of-its-kind program is a partnership among the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Department of Electrical Engineering and Division of Outreach and Continuing Education.

The students recently presented their mid-term research findings, which will be used by Morrison and graduate students to continue concussion technology research.

But this program is not only benefiting athletes. This type of research program is also attracting students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.

“It’s given me everything, and I know what I want to do now,” said Brennan Canton, a senior at Jackson Academy.

Erica Sims, a junior at Murrah High School in Jackson, said she was eager to work in new research and is excited to be part of it.

“What we want to be able to do is take that information that they are learning and take it back to their communities and distribute that information, not only to improve their own well-being, their own opportunities to be able to go to college and have careers, but take that information back to their friends and their guidance counselors to create opportunities for their classmates,” Morrison said.

The students will continue their work through the end of the month.

PHOTO GALLERY: Jonestown Youth Visit Campus

Innovative new program combines learning, service and empowerment

Starting from the left (with the tall guy) and going right, the names are Ben May, Ben Branson, Joe Bell, Chris Sahlen, Lisa Giles, Cierra Ray, Jeffery Peavy, Will Bedwell and Alex Ridgeway (kneeling in front)

Starting from the left, are Ben May, Ben Branson, Joe Bell, Chris Sahlen, Lisa Giles, Cierra Ray, Jeffery Peavy, Will Bedwell and Alex Ridgeway (kneeling)

Students from Jonestown, Miss., visited campus in June to learn about educational opportunities available after high school. The campus visit is part of a program coordinated by the McLean Institute to build awareness and resources in the Delta town, which has experienced tough economic challenges.Throughout the spring semester, members of the Institute’s Student Engagement Fellows program worked with organizations to coordinate activities in Jonestown including a Black History Month event in February, a map mural painting project in March and a project to construct a greenhouse in April.

Statement from UM Chancellor

The University of Mississippi community came to the realization years ago that the confederate battle flag did not represent many of our core values such as civility and respect for others. Since that time, we have become a stronger and better university. We join other leaders in our state who are calling for a change in the state flag.

Acting Chancellor Morris H. Stocks

Ole Miss Greek Community Working to Prevent Excessive Drinking

Campus team uses online videos to engage and inform students

OXFORD, Miss. – The Greek community at the University of Mississippi is using an alternative approach to help reduce and prevent issues caused by excessive drinking.

The Ole Miss Interfraternity Council has teamed with University Communications and the Office of Health Promotion to assist in promoting a responsible drinking campaign. IFC members worked closely with a team of university videographers to develop a video, titled “Skip the Risk,” that could be easily shared amongst a young, tech-savvy target audience.

“The opportunity for IFC to partner with Health Promotions and University Communications in producing an educational video for the ‘Skip the Risk’ campaign was a great way to engage students in dialogue and reflection on decision making and the use of alcohol,” said Jenell Bukky Lanski, UM coordinator of fraternity and sorority life.

While the use of video to drive social awareness campaigns isn’t new, a recent report from the Boston University School of Public Health cites social media as a way to create more effective, cost efficient messaging to target students and even change behaviors.

“Short video is proving to be one of the best ways to reach our target audience,” said Win Graham, a producer-director in University Communications. “Over the past year, we’ve found that shocking and funny videos garner more views and shares than other styles with which we’ve experimented.”

The “Skip the Risk” video campaign began in spring 2014 with the launch of five 15-second videos published on the university’s official Instagram account, @OleMiss. A second round of longer videos was completed and released during the fall 2014 semester. To date, the campaign is estimated to have reached more than 100,000 via social media.

In fact, a video that features Ole Miss IFC members was easily the best received of the campaign. In the first two weeks after its release, the video “Bad Decisions” received more than 27,000 views and continues to be one of the most viewed and most engaged videos on the university’s Facebook page. To watch the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM4DA05TXrU.

“We never guessed it would garner as many views as is and are excited to continue this partnership and collaboration moving forward,” said Erin Cromeans, UM assistant director for health promotion.

The campaign has garnered top public relations and communications awards for its strategic approach. The Public Relations Association of Mississippi presented University Communications with a Prism Award for the campaign in April. More videos are planned for fall 2015.

UM Senior Goes Over the Edge of Beau Rivage

Gulfport native Alex Garner raised more than $1,000 for Habitat for Humanity fundraiser

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Alex Garner rappels down the side of the Beau Rivage.

University of Mississippi senior Alex Garner, a 22-year-old nutrition and dietetics major from Gulfport, recently got to rappel down the side of the Beau Rivage as part of her work with Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Volunteers got an opportunity to rappel off the side of the iconic hotel and casino if they raised at least $1,000 for Habitat for Humanity and met certain qualifications. Garner was among the lucky 70 volunteers who got to rappel off the side of the Beau Rivage, thanks to her experience and certification in ropes courses.

“I’m from Gulfport and have been to the Beau Rivage over a hundred times,” Garner said. “This opportunity was exciting because I got to experience a whole new perspective of the hotel, beach and surrounding area.”

Participants had to meet certain criteria in order to do the stunt: must have previous experience with rope safety systems, course facilitation, rock climbing instruction, high-angle rescue and industrial rope access.

Garner, along with the other ropes volunteers, helped raise more than $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She was excited and humbled to be able to partake in this event and cause.

“I go to rappel off the side of the Beau while helping out a really awesome charity in Habitat for Humanity,” Garner said. “This was such a great experience, and I was so glad I was able to attend.”

Over the Edge, which sponsored this event and other similar stunts, is a special events organization that specializes in rappelling exercises. Founded in 2003, the company has helped thousands of participants take a once-in-a-lifetime plunge over the edge for some great causes and charities.

 

IOM: Thank You for Making This Day Possible

In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, UM Physical Plant employee Paul Goolsby helps set up chairs for graduation ceremonies that will be held in The Grove this Saturday, May 12.  Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain

In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, UM Physical Plant employee Paul Goolsby helps set up chairs for graduation ceremonies that will be held in The Grove this Saturday, May 9. Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain

Before the final days before Commencement tick away, I want to take a moment to thank all our staff and faculty members who are working diligently to ensure that everything goes perfectly. For our graduates and their families, Saturday will be the most important day of the year, a day filled with pride and celebration, marking the culmination of years of study, hard work and careful preparation.

I know that many of you are working long hours and volunteering to help with chores beyond the usual scope of your jobs, and I am grateful for your efforts. Your talent and dedication make a real difference, and even small acts of service can be critical to making this a truly special time for our students and guests.

Looking ahead, I hope you’ll take time in the coming weeks to relax and recharge. Enjoy the activities of Staff Appreciation Week. Spend time with family. Maybe take a vacation or simply enjoy a favorite activity. But most of all, be safe and come back ready for bigger and better things as the university prepares for the fall.

Sincerely,

Dan Jones