UM Honors College Creates Mississippi Water Security Institute

Program will help students learn to protect resources while supporting economic development

Clifford Ochs

Clifford Ochs

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi has established the Mississippi Water Security Institute to help students understand the delicate balance between promoting strong economic development and protecting natural resources.

 A $258,000 grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation is funding the institute, which is an educational project geared toward undergraduates. Students will study the various facets of how to best support and encourage a flourishing business environment while maintaining high water quality and availability.

“The term ‘water security’ can connote different images and meanings,” said Clifford Ochs, a UM biology professor and the institute’s director. “For us, water security refers to the challenges inherent in promoting and linking strong economic development with community health with natural resource protection.”

In May 2016, 2017 and 2018, the institute plans to offer a two-week summer workshop for rising college sophomores and juniors to explore water security in Mississippi. Those students will meet with and learn from representatives in multiple fields and also hear from the stakeholders: the business community, agriculture, law, urban planning, engineering and conservation.

The workshop promises to be “a fascinating, rich opportunity for interdisciplinary student education,” Ochs said. It also will allow students to visit sites that are caught up in the debate over how to promote and link economic development with water security.

“The workshop will include superb guest speakers from around the state,” Ochs said. “It will also include travel to representative sites where water security issues can be clearly defined and addressed. Most importantly, there will also be the opportunity to be a member of a vigorous team of students and teachers dedicated to applied and practical interdisciplinary research on water resource management in Mississippi.”

Students from all honors programs across the state are encouraged to apply, Ochs said. Only 10 spots are available for those students, but they will receive free on-campus housing for the two-week period and full board, plus a $500 per week stipend. 

Douglass Sullivan-González, dean of the Honors College, will serve as principal investigator and Debra Young, associate dean, will serve as coordinator.

“Dr. Ochs and his team of exceptional students will confront the problems of ensuring water quality and quantity to meet the needs of attracting business and industry while supporting community development and environmental stewardship,” Sullivan-González said. “The Honors College is once again proud to set the terms of debate not only for Ole Miss but also for the state of Mississippi.”

Applications for the Mississippi Water Security Institute will be available online in October. Those who are accepted will be notified by January. Application windows will be set and announced for the May 2017 and 2018 workshops at a later date.

For more information, contact Debra Young at

Greg Tschumper Honored with Faculty Achievement Award

Professor of chemistry and biochemistry is respected scholar, educator and mentor

Dr. Gregory Tschumper. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Gregory Tschumper. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Greg Tschumper, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, is the 2015 recipient of the university’s Faculty Achievement Award.

Since receiving his doctorate 16 years ago from the University of Georgia, Tschumper has been a significant contributor to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the entire university. As a teacher, he has the reputation of being extremely challenging and highly effective.

Tschumper said one of the things that motivates him is the respect he has for his colleagues.

“It is very humbling when you look at previous recipients of this award, and I certainly do not feel like my name belongs on that list,” Tschumper said. “This award says more about the amazing environment in which I have the privilege of working than it does about me.”

Tschumper said he is passionate about research and teaching, and considers himself fortunate to be at a university that places a high value on both.

“Every day I get to interact with outstanding students, not only in the classroom but also in the research lab,” he said. “All of my research at Ole Miss has been accomplished with the help of the bright minds and hard work of our graduate and undergraduate students. Any success I’ve had as a teacher or a scholar stems from the talented people around me and being in an atmosphere that fosters the growth of that talent.”

The Burlington Northern Award was established in 1985 to honor superior teaching faculty who were also active researchers. This award evolved into the Faculty Achievement Award, which is given annually to recognize unusual effort in the classroom, involvement with students, active scholarship and service to the university.

One student wrote of Tschumper’s courses: “His teaching style relies on self-study quite a bit. You’ll have to work for this class, for he is determined to make his students the best chem students on this campus.”

Another evaluation letter stated that he is “probably one of the most challenging professors on this campus, but he is always willing to work with you to get better.”

Tschumper joined the chemistry and biochemistry department in 2001 after working as a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich in Switzerland and at Emory University. He has also provided service to the university, including his contributions on the University Research Board and the Faculty Senate.

In the area of scholarship, Tschumper’s achievements are remarkable, and he has established himself as an expert in physical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, computational chemistry, non-covalent interactions, hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces. He has published an average of four-plus peer-reviewed journal articles per year since joining the UM faculty. Tschumper has also received more than $3 million in federal grants for research and student support.

Tschumper’s other professional honors and awards include the 2009 Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. He has served as the Computational Chemistry Research Focus Group Leader on an EPSCoR award from the National Science Foundation that has brought in more than $20 million to the state of Mississippi for research and STEM education.

Tschumper is also the principal investigator on a major research instrumentation award from the NSF for a GPU supercomputer housed at the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research on campus.

He is the father of two daughters, Kate and Anne Paige.

UM Honored with Attendance Award at SEC Symposium

Graduates and undergraduates traveled to Atlanta to participate

Clay Wooley stands beside his exhibit displayed at the SEC Symposium.

UM mechanical engineering student Clay Wooley stands beside his exhibit at the SEC Symposium. Photo credit

OXFORD, Miss. – A diverse group of University of Mississippi students, both graduate and undergraduate, traveled to Atlanta Sept. 20-22 for this year’s SEC Symposium. This year’s theme was “Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” and UM represented each of these areas at the event.

The university received the Excellence in Student Attendance Award, which is given to the university with the most students at the symposium. In recognition of the honor, the SEC will make a donation to the university’s general scholarship fund.

From engineering backgrounds to fine arts and everything in between, the UM team included nine undergraduate students, eight graduate students and two alumni.

“The SECU Symposium was a great opportunity for students and faculty to learn about ways to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship within and across disciplines,” Interim Provost Noel Wilkin said. “It was nice to see our students participate in the conference and engage with faculty and students from other SEC universities.”

Since students were a central focal point for this year’s symposium, each school was asked to send one undergraduate student as an ambassador. The Ole Miss ambassador, Michael Davis, is a senior majoring in management information systems. Davis helped by with assisting speakers before their speeches, registering attendees for the event and performing other tasks assigned by conference organizers.

“I got the chance to meet and network with people all across the SEC,” Davis said. “My experience was great!”

“One of the best aspects of the SEC Symposium was the opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and to work with faculty,” said Clay Dibrell, executive director for the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship,

“I know that I have personally enjoyed working with students associated with the different schools across campus and faculty outside of the business school. Once again, it illustrates the diversity of talent, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit which permeates everything we do at the University of Mississippi.”

Clay Wooley, a mechanical engineering major and a member of both the Center for Manufacturing Excellence and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, displayed a piece in the Student Applied Arts Exhibition.

Hailey Hodge (right) stands by her piece "Fragmented House" with her professor, Brooke White.

Hailey Hodge (right) stands by her piece “Fragmented House” with her professor, Brooke White.

Hailey Hodge, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree, displayed a piece titled “Fragmented House” in the Student Creative Works Exhibition.

Two Ole Miss students, Austin White and Daniel Roebuck, participated in the SEC Jazz Ensemble.

Alex Ray, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and Caleb Robinson, who earned his bachelor’s in computer science, participated in the Student Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition with their Web-based business plan for

“The judges offered a lot of great feedback for our business,” Ray said, “We now have a few ideas of where we want to take the site in the next few weeks, and I think it’ll make our future pitches a lot stronger.”

The remaining 12 students were competitively selected by the university’s SEC Symposium planning team to represent the university based on their interest or track record in creativity, innovation or entrepreneurship.

The students selected were Andres Diaz Lopez, representing MIS; Deidre Jackson, higher education; Nick Keeling, pharmacy administration; Colin Wattigney, MBA; Cary Allen, Business, Center for Manufacturing Excellence; Kristin Howitt, mechanical engineering; Ashley Irons, accountancy; Josh McGlawn, civil engineering; Michael Williams, integrated marketing communications and Chinese; Pierre Whiteside, integrated marketing communications; Dave Thomas, mechanical engineering and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence; and Valencia Lloyd, psychology.

“I’m excited to see how SEC students impact the future,” Ray said.

University to Host Inaugural ‘TEDx’ Talk

Oct. 31 event to feature 10 brief lectures

TEDOXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi hosts its inaugural “TEDx” talk Oct. 31 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The 9 a.m. event will feature 10 brief lectures from university faculty members to showcase “ideas worth spreading.”

“TEDxUM 2015” uses the TED Talks conference format, which brings together lecturers and other participants in a globally popular set of conferences run by the Sapling Foundation under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” Under the rules set by TED for the event, it will be open to only about 100 audience members this year, but organizers plan a much larger TEDxUM event for 2016.

“We believe it critical that Mississippi and the University of Mississippi, in particular, showcase the many ideas we have that are worth spreading,” said Marvin King, UM associate professor of political science and African-American studies. “We have incredible researchers and activists in our community, and the TED platform is among the best ways to make sure that Mississippi is a part of engaging discussions leading to real, positive change.”

The theme for the event is “In Plain Sight,” said TEDxUM organizer Lizzy Wicks, a senior international studies and French major from Ocean Springs.

“It will serve to highlight the great minds that we have here on our campus and show the world the amazing work being done in the Oxford area,” Wicks said. “Our theme for this year is ‘In Plain Sight’ and will remark upon those aspects of life which are right before our eyes, yet must be illuminated in order to receive recognition.”

She said audience members will be constantly engaged by a diverse group of speakers and they’ll also participate in interactive breakout sessions.

“The importance of an event such as TEDxUM on our campus cannot be understated,” Wicks said. “This will be the first event of its kind to occur at any university within the state of Mississippi and will be the second of its kind within the state as a whole. I believe that it will be an event that will better our community tremendously as well as show the world the talent and promise that we have here at Ole Miss.”

About 60 prospective faculty and staff lecturers were nominated to speak. A nine-member committee of five students and four faculty-staff members selected 10 speakers for TEDxUM 2015.

After the talks, breakout sessions will give audience members a chance to respond to the talks. The event also includes a reception, and audience members and speakers will receive small gift bags.

“We want people to remember the day not as a series of 12-to-18-minute lectures, but as a lifetime of engagement with ideas worth spreading,” King said.

The talks will be recorded and later posted on the TEDx Youtube channel.

Speakers for TEDxUM 2015 are:

  • Randy Wadkins, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, talking about nanotechnology
  • Matthew Wilson, assistant professor of performance, lecturing on humor
  • Mitchell Robinson, of Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, discussing diversity and environmental activism
  • Cathy Janasie, research counsel for the National Sea Grant Law Center, lecturing on water scarcity
  • Michele Alexandre, professor of law and Leonard B. Melvin Lecturer in Law, giving her talk titled “The B Word”
  • Gregory Heyworth, associate professor of English, lecturing on digital humanities
  • David Rock, dean of the UM School of Education, discussing classroom technology
  • Laura Johnson, associate professor of psychology, lecturing on cross-cultural engagement
  • Marc Slattery, professor of pharmacognosy, talking about drug research from the ocean
  • Chris McCurdy, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, lecturing on natural products used to diagnose neural damage

For more information, visit the TEDxUM 2015 Facebook page, which will have details about how to register for the event when they become available.

‘Teddy Ferrara’ Opens Ole Miss Theatre’s New Season

Performances continue through Oct. 4

Photo credit: Marya Paolillo

Photo credit: Marya Paolillo

OXFORD, Miss. – The curtain went up this week on Ole Miss Theatre‘s 2015-2016 season with the staging of “Teddy Ferrara.”

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Sept. 24) and Friday and continue nightly Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 1-2, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 27) and again Oct. 3-4. All performances are in the Meek Hall Auditorium.

“‘Teddy Ferrara,” described as thought-provoking and emotional, focuses on a college senior named Gabe. When the play opens, Gabe seems to have a bright future. Not only does he run the Queer Students Group, but he has finally arranged for a single room and recently started dating a great guy.

But Gabe’s neatly organized world is thrown into chaos after a campus tragedy occurs and the ensuing media attention ignites a firestorm, according to the “Teddy Ferrara” website.

The main character discovers the events surrounding the tragedy aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Gabe is forced to question popular assumptions as well as his own life’s contradictions.

Max Mattox, a senior musical theater major who portrays Gabe, said the play is a contemporary examination of society.

“It’s a look at how people deal with relationships today in places like college, especially with technology being a big part of our world now and how we meet people and interact, and how it affects the world,” Mattox said. “You kind of follow the life of a college kid, building his life from the ground up, getting up on his feet.”

The play will touch those who see it, said Rory Ledbetter, UM professor of theatre arts and the show’s director.

“By the end of the show, many audience members will feel frustrated, melancholic or tragic,” Ledbetter said. “This play does not have a happy ending, but it will leave you thinking.

The show deals with a lot of issues from LGBTQ rights, depression and communication in our society. Every audience member will relate to at least one character during the show.”

“Hair,” the Vietnam-era musical classic, is the second show of the season with performances Nov. 13-15 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The popular musical features several popular songs, including “Let the Sunshine In,” “Aquarius” and “Good Morning Starshine.”

Theatergoers should know that both “Teddy Ferrara” and “Hair” contain adult content that might not be suitable for children.

Kicking off 2016 is the third production of the season, “Anton in Show Business.” This madcap comedy follows three actresses across the footlights, down the rabbit hole and into a strangely familiar Wonderland that looks a lot like American theater. In the tradition of great backstage comedies, this show conveys the joys, pains and absurdities of putting on a play at the turn of the century.

The final production of the season is William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The production will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death and Shakespeare’s first folio coming to UM.

In addition, Ole Miss Theatre is continuing its Patron Appreciation Night, which will be the first Friday of each production. Only patrons, season ticket holders and Friends of Ole Miss Theatre will be able to purchase tickets for these performances, providing a perfect environment for those who enjoy the magic of the theater.

Individual tickets are $12.50 for adults, $9 for Ole Miss students and $8 for seniors and children. For ticket information, contact the UM Box Office at 662-915-7411 or visit

Visiting Scholars from Ohio, Utah to Headline Writing Symposium

OXFORD, Miss. – Registration is open for the fifth annual Transitioning to College Writing Symposium at the University of Mississippi. The symposium, set for Oct. 1-2, is hosted by the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and is open to area English, language arts and writing instructors from high schools, community colleges and universities.

Attendees may register online until Sept. 28 and by phone after that date. The registration fee is $30.

This year’s symposium, “Listen, Think, Respond: Engaging Students in Writing Life,” was developed by a diverse group of writing instructors from throughout Mississippi. The program includes topics such as digital literacies and composition, academic writing, student engagement and the development of local writing centers.

“The symposium is designed to foster dialogue and resource-sharing for writing in all disciplines, with special focus on those teaching in English and language arts,” said Alice Myatt, associate director of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and event coordinator. “As teachers in Mississippi who recognize the importance of writing for life, we are interested in helping students transfer the skills they gain through academic writing to college and career settings.”

The program begins with a Thursday evening reception and workshops by visiting scholars Cynthia and Richard Selfe from Ohio State University and Clint Gardner, director of the Salt Lake Community College Writing Center. A variety of sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions will be led by visiting professors and writing instructors from across the state.

CEU credit is available for public school teachers. For more information or to register, visit or call 662-915-2121.

UMMC Fellowship Opens Door to Prestigious Mayo Clinic Opportunity

Public policy leadership major took new perspectives to summer program

Anna Grace Stout

Anna Grace Stout

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi senior Anna Grace Stout of Carthage used her experience at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Bioethics Fellowship to gain acceptance to a prestigious Mayo Clinic Summer Program.

The Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Program in Biomedical Ethics Research pairs students with a faculty mentor for summer research. Stout was paired this summer with Dr. Megan Allyse, who specializes in reproductive ethics and women’s health, and Dr. Katherine Carroll, a medical sociologist, on two separate projects.

Stout participated in qualitative research in the women’s health field and conducted focus groups while she also helped develop a codebook for Carroll.

Because the Mayo Clinic chooses only five students nationwide for the Summer Undergraduate Program, Stout was in a select group of participants. She credits her experience in summer 2014 as a UM Medical Center fellow as being crucial to being accepted into the Mayo Clinic program.

“My experience at UMMC allowed me to bring a new perspective to the table,” Stout said. “While there, I experienced firsthand the ethical dilemmas our state faces.”

Because she is majoring in public policy leadership with double minors in chemistry and biology, Stout seems like an unorthodox applicant for the medical programs. However, Stout said her studies have given her invaluable experience benefitting both the Mayo Clinic program and the UM Medical Center fellowship.

“I chose public policy leadership because I believe that an understanding of the policy realm and health policies is invaluable for both aspiring and practicing physicians,” Stout said.

Through her participation in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, Stout said she learned communication and time-management skills that make her a more competitive and well-rounded student.

Now that she has completed both programs, Stout said she is eager to bring her knowledge back to her home state.

“As a Mississippian and an aspiring physician, I hope to help make strides towards improving health care in our state,” Stout said.

She was able to use her experience in both programs to organize the university’s first poverty simulation program. The program’s purpose is to demonstrate poverty’s extensive impact on the community.

“My aim is to apply what I have learned over the years as I continue to work towards a better understanding of the factors that impact our health care system,” Stout said.

UM Program Transforms Incarcerated Men into College Students

New initiative giving Parchman penitentiary residents a fresh start in life

The PTCPP class of 2015 relishes their success with their professors, Dr. Alexander (far left) and Dr. Pickett (far right).

The PTCPP class of 2015 relishes their success with their professors, Alexander (far left) and Pickett (far right).

OXFORD, Miss. – Several men imprisoned at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman are on their way to earning degrees, thanks to a new University of Mississippi-based program designed to assist them in obtaining a college education.

UM’s Prison-to-College Pipeline Program is a university-community engagement initiative promoting higher education in prison. Participants must have earned a GED or high school diploma to be eligible. Those who complete the course receive a certificate and the possibility of time off their sentences. Begun in summer 2014, the project already has yielded 34 graduates.

“We started the program because we love both learning and learners and we believe that meaningful learning happens everywhere – even behind prison walls,” said Patrick Alexander, UM assistant professor of English and African-American studies and co-founder of the program.

Alexander started the program with Otis Pickett, former UM assistant clinical assistant professor of teacher education at UM and now an assistant professor of history at Mississippi College. The two men share a common passion to extend educational opportunities to an often-neglected population.

“We both knew, through our prior research and teaching experiences, the profound role that student-centered prison education has played not only in reducing recidivism, but also in positively transforming isolated prison environments and the post-imprisonment outlooks and outcomes of imprisoned students,” Pickett said.

Alexander and Pickett credit Glenn Hopkins, dean emeritus of the UM College of Liberal Arts, with inspiring them to launch the program, known as PTCPP.

“Dean Hopkins made a point of emphasizing that he saw college-level and college-aspiring students at Parchman as part of our UM community during a 2012 faculty orientation we attended,” Alexander said. “Soon after we began teaching that fall, we heard from Dr. Linda Keena and Dr. Christopher Simmons, our UM colleagues who spearheaded the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program at Parchman. They shared how many of the men they’d met through that program were really interested in taking college-level courses.”

Consequently, Alexander and Pickett began building relationships with education staff and prospective postsecondary students at the prison. With guidance, encouragement and support from the Department of English, African-American Studies Program, College of Liberal Arts, Sarah Isom Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, the duo began PTCPP’s 10-week pilot course at Parchman.

“‘Justice Everywhere’ met on Mondays for three hours from June to August 2014,” Pickett said. “We rigorously studied the speeches, writings and historical context that shaped the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and Barack Obama. An enhanced version of the course, which included more readings and writing assignments, was taught this past June through August.”

For the summer 2015 term, six students are receiving credit in English from UM, while eight are receiving credit in history from Mississippi College. One student, who previously earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, received credit from last year’s course and is considering graduate school at Mississippi College.

While their identities were kept anonymous, PTCPP graduates wrote evaluations about their experiences.

“I learned more in these 10 weeks than I did in my high school and college years,” one graduate wrote. “The great professors not only showed us a passion to teach, but also to learn about us and from us as they taught us valuable lessons.”

Another wrote, “This course was a great confidence booster heading back into society. It’s never too late to get an education and (there is) no limit to the things you can accomplish.”

Participants who completed the courses received their certificates during a graduation ceremony held at Parchman. Mississippi College was the first institution in the state to offer college credit for a PTCPP student. UM added several more for-credit learners this summer.

“In the months and years to come, we hope to expand the number and diversity of courses offered in the program in ways that reflect the wide range of educational goals and intellectual curiosities expressed by imprisoned students at Parchman and throughout the state of Mississippi,” Alexander said.

Seeing their students regain dignity and rediscover hope for their futures is one of the most rewarding aspects of the program, Pickett said.

“The work we do through PTCPP aims to unite university faculty and administration across disciplines and area institutions in the ethical-intellectual endeavor of teaching at the postsecondary level throughout the state prison system,” he said. “The PTCPP also aims to raise public consciousness on the impact of higher education on imprisoned populations regionally and nationally through the formal publication and public presentation of scholarly work on this topic.”

Alexander and Pickett presented their findings at a Southern studies brown bag lecture during fall 2014 semester and in papers presented at the 2015 Biennial Southern American Studies Association conference last February in Atlanta.

The PTCPP was funded by grants from the UM College of Liberal Arts both summers.

“We are extremely thankful for and humbled by their generosity and hope to receive the continued support of the college, the university at-large in years to come as the PTCPP expands,” Alexander said.

“This course exceeded my expectations in so many ways,” a proud graduate of the program wrote. “It should be offered every summer.”

UM Art Instructor Gets Arts Commission Grant

Jaime Johnson plans to use the money to continue work in historical photographic processes

Johnson is the recipient of a $4,500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Johnson is the recipient of a $4,500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Arts Commission has awarded a $4,500 grant to Jaime Johnson, an adjunct instructor in the University of Mississippi Department of Art and Art History.

The grant will allow Johnson to continue her work in historical photographic processes, which aligns Southern gothic, the woods of Mississippi, Victorian-era portraiture and Audubon-like documentations. Johnson’s work is printed onto hand-coated Japanese paper, and she combines digital and analog techniques to tell her story.

“It’s affirming to receive recognition for my work and an indication of the quality of the entire art department at Ole Miss,” Johnson said.

Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in imaging arts from Ole Miss and her master’s degree in photography from Louisiana Tech.

Jaime Johnson's Bone Dress

Johnson’s ‘Bone Dress’

“Jaime Johnson possesses a distinctive narrative quality that is new and innovative, yet deeply rooted in the history of photography,” said Turry Flucker, arts industry director for the Mississippi Arts Commission. “The agency is honored to recognize her talents by giving her a visual arts fellowship.”

The grant, which is a portion of $1.61 million in grants awarded by the MAC in 2015 and 2016, is made possible by funding from the Mississippi Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The arts in Mississippi are now being recognized as a key component to economic development and as a driver for creative strategies for the growth of our communities,” said Tom Pearson, MAC executive director. “Individual artists play a vital role as really the backbone of this movement, and it is an honor for this agency to be a part of their professional growth.”

Former Political Science Chair Robert B. Albritton II Fondly Remembered

UM administrators, faculty members recall late colleague and mentor as a great leader, example

Robert Bynum Albritton II

Robert Bynum Albritton II

OXFORD, Miss. – Robert Bynum Albritton II, chair and professor emeritus of political science, is being fondly remembered by his University of Mississippi colleagues as a visionary leader, loyal mentor and respected teacher.

Albritton, 78, passed Sept. 9 at his home in Oxford. A memorial service will be held later in Andalusia, Alabama. Coleman Funeral Home was in charge of local arrangements. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tennessee 38101-9908 or Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, P.O. Box 1674, Oxford, MS 38655.

“We will miss Bob as a colleague and a friend,” said Richard Forgette, senior associate dean of UM’s College of Liberal Arts and professor of political science. “Bob had far-reaching academic interests: state and local politics, democratic theory and Thailand. He was an active scholar who loved to discuss research with colleagues.”

John Bruce, UM chair and associate professor of political science, said Albritton was “simply a good guy” who held good values, worked hard and savored friendship.

“Bob was, in many ways, the ultimate Renaissance guy,” Bruce said. “He would carry on informed conversations about a huge range of topics. The Department of Political Science and the University of Mississippi are better for the time he spent here.”

Robert Brown, a former student of Albritton’s at Northern Illinois University who recruited his mentor to join the UM faculty as department chair, said Albritton was “everything an academic should aspire to be.”

“He was energized by the give and take of academic debate and was a thoughtful researcher who addressed important questions,” said Brown, a UM political science professor. “Bob was a lifetime learner who never tired of tackling new ideas and lines of inquiry. And he was a caring and energetic mentor and teacher who had a profound impact on the lives of his students.

“Those of us who are lucky enough to do this wonderful job should look to Bob Albritton as a role model of how to be a university professor.”

A native of Andalusia, Albritton earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama. He moved to Oxford in 1998, serving as professor and chair of the Department of Political Science until 2003, when he left his administrative role to concentrate on teaching. He also chaired the university’s Faculty Senate in 2011-2012 before retiring in spring 2012.

Previously, Albritton taught at Northern Illinois University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Williams College, University of Vienna in Austria, Northwestern University and Chiang Mai University and Songkla University, both in Thailand.

Albritton’s professional activities included memberships and appointments in the Mississippi Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, Policy Studies Association, Policy Studies Review, Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, American Politics Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Political Science Association and the Association of Asian Scholars.

He co-edited one book and co-authored more than 30 journal articles, textbook chapters and countless conference papers.

Having played football, Albritton was an avid football fan. He was also an animal lover who often volunteered at the animal shelter as a “paw-walker.”

He is survived by his wife, Nantaporn Apasiripol of Oxford; a son, Robert Bynum Albritton III of Herndon, Virginia; a daughter, Phyllis Mary-Anne Albritton of Evergreen, Colorado; a brother, William Leonard Albritton of Saskatoon, Canada; and three grandchildren.

Online condolences may be left on the Tribute Wall at!/Obituary.