Galapagos Tortoises Topic for Science Cafe

UM biology professor will discuss preservation efforts in Oct. 21 presentation

³Photo courtesy of Yale University²

Photo courtesy of Yale

OXFORD, Miss. – Methods for conserving threatened and endangered species of tortoises is the topic for the next installment a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s third meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Ryan Garrick, UM assistant professor of biology, will discuss “Applications of genetics to Galapagos tortoise conservation.” Admission is free.

“Molecular genetics offers conservation biologists critical information upon which to design efficient, effective management strategies,” Garrick said. “Galapagos tortoises are flagships in this respect because captive breeding programs have been largely facilitated by genetic tools.”

Garrick’s 30-minute presentation will review recent work on this group.

“Occasionally, past hybridization can actually generate positive outcomes for conservation,” he said. “This is the case for Chelonoidis elephantopus, a species that was thought to have been extinct over 150 years ago. However, for another pair of evolutionarily distinct lineages of Galapagos tortoises, ongoing hybridization is likely to lead to a net loss of biodiversity via lineage collapse and replacement with a hybrid swarm.”

Garrick earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from La Trobe University in Australia. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University and at Yale University.

Garrick’s research interests are insect evolution, molecular ecology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation biology.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-5311.

Alumni Association to Honor Seven at Homecoming

Honorees include former chancellor, Rebel football and basketball stars

From left: Michael L. Ducker, Jennifer Gillom-Granderson, Robert Khayat, James W. Davis and Deuce McCallister.

From left: Michael L. Ducker, Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Robert Khayat, James W. Davis and Deuce McAllister.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association is recognizing seven distinguished alumni, including a former chancellor and two record-setting student-athletes, with its highest honors this month as part of the university’s annual Homecoming activities.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2014 are: James W. Davis (BBA 62, MS 63, PhD 72) of Oxford; Michael L. Ducker (72) of Collierville, Tennessee; Peggie Gillom-Granderson (BSW 80) of Abbeville; Robert Khayat (BAEd 61, JD 66) of Oxford; and Deuce McAllister (00) of Kenner, Louisiana.

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or state or to UM through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

Lanny Griffith (BBA 73, JD 76) of Alexandria, Virginia, will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Kelly English (BSFCS 02) of Memphis will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows at 7 p.m.

Davis received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1962 and a master’s degree in accountancy in 1963, both from UM. Upon graduation, he joined the Houston, Texas, office of Arthur Andersen & Co. After two years there, he returned to Ole Miss as an assistant professor of accountancy, teaching accounting and pursuing a doctoral degree, which he earned in 1971.

In 1985, he received the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award, now the Elsie M. Hood Award. He won the Patterson School of Accountancy’s Outstanding Teacher Award five times and was named the Peery Professor of Accountancy in 1995. Davis served as the school’s dean grom 1993 to 2002. During that time, Conner Hall was renovated along with the construction of Holman Hall, a project that received the largest amount of donor funding in the university’s history to that time. Davis officially retired in 2009 but has continued teaching part-time and retains the title of Peery Professor of Accountancy Emeritus.

Ducker is chief operating officer and president, international, for FedEx Express. He leads all customer-facing aspects of the company’s U.S. operations and its international business, spanning more than 220 countries and territories across the globe. He also oversees FedEx Trade Networks and FedEx SupplyChain. Ducker directs the company’s efforts to open markets, improve customs procedures and support international economic policy reforms.

He serves on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the Obama administration. In addition, he serves as chairman of the International Policy Committee and as an executive board member and vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he received his MBA from a joint program of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Gillom-Granderson led the basketball Lady Rebels to the AIAW State Tournament Championships in 1978 and 1979 and a berth in the AIAW National Tournament in 1978. A four-year starter, she is Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer with 2,486 points and rebounder with 1,271 rebounds. She is one of two players in Ole Miss’ history to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.

In 16 seasons as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor, she helped lead Ole Miss to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, including five Sweet Sixteen and four Elite Eight appearances. In 1991-1992, she helped lead Ole Miss to its first-ever regular season SEC title. As an assistant coach for USA Basketball, she helped guide the 1999 U.S. Pan American Games team to a bronze medal and the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. Gillom-Granderson was inducted into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.



A 1956 graduate of Moss Point High School, Khayat has lived most of his life at Ole Miss and in Oxford. He was an Academic All-American football player and was chosen as an All-SEC catcher for the 1959 and 1960 SEC Champion baseball teams. With undergraduate and law degrees from Ole Miss, he joined the law faculty in 1969. A Sterling Fellowship enabled him to pursue a degree from the Yale Law School in 1980.

He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL, the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation and the Silver Medallion Award for best memoir in the nation for “The Education of a Lifetime.” Khayat is a member of the Ole Miss Football Team of the Century, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the UM Student Hall of Fame, holds an honorary membership from Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as Law Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He served as chancellor from 1995 until his retirement in 2009, a transformative time in the university’s history.

McAllister is the only player in Ole Miss football history to record three seasons with at least 1,000 all-purpose yards. In 1999, he won the Conerly Trophy, which goes to the state’s top collegiate football player. He finished his college career at Ole Miss with records for carries, yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, points and 100-yard games.

In 2001, McAllister was selected by the New Orleans Saints and went on to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons, a first in Saints history. He was the first Saints running back with 22 100-yard games. In his first year as a starter in 2002 he led the conference with 1,388 rushing yards, scored 16 TDs and was voted to the Pro Bowl in both 2002 and 2003. He set the all-time rushing touchdown record for the Saints in 2008 and holds Saints records for most career rushing yards and touchdowns. He retired from the NFL in 2010. McAllister received the Army Community Award for his dedication to the states of Mississippi and Louisiana in 2010 and was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Griffith serves as chief executive officer of BGR Group. He joined the Washington, D.C.-based government affairs and communications firm in 1993 after serving in several roles in President George H.W. Bush’s administration.



Griffith’s political career began in the early 1980s when he worked for the Republican National Committee, managed Haley Barbour’s U.S. Senate race in 1982 and served as the executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party for three years. In 1988, he served as Southern political director for Bush’s presidential campaign. In 1989, Griffith was sworn in as special assistant to the president, serving as Bush’s liaison to governors and other statewide elected officials.

In 1991, Bush nominated Griffith to be assistant secretary of education. Griffith’s work for the Bush family continued with his role as national chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2000 Entertainment Task Force and entertainment coordinator for the 2001 Bush Inaugural. He later served as a ranger and as a member of the Bush 2004 National Finance Committee.

English is executive chef-owner of Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis and executive chef of Magnolia House in Biloxi.

After graduating from Ole Miss and the Culinary Institute of America, he returned to New Orleans in 2004 to cook under the auspices of Chef John Besh in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants before moving to Memphis and opening Restaurant Iris in 2008. Two years later, he was named a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, appeared on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and earned Memphis Restaurant Association’s “Restaurateur of the Year” award.

English has been featured in Food & Wine magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Bon Appétit, Garden & Gun and the cookbook “Wild Abundance.” He was recognized in 2013 with the Thomas A. Crowe Outstanding Alumnus Award by the UM School of Applied Sciences.

Indiana Professor to Discuss Growing Influence of African Languages

Linguist Antonia Schleicher to present 54th Christopher Longest Lecture

Anotonia Schleciher

Antonia Schleicher

OXFORD, Miss. – Indiana University Professor Antonia Schleicher will discuss “The Growing Impact of African Languages in the United States” Oct. 27 at the University of Mississippi for the Department of Modern Languages‘ 54th annual Christopher Longest Lecture.

The lecture is slated for 5:30 p.m. in Bondurant Hall Auditorium, preceded by a 4:30 reception at Paris-Yates Chapel. Admission to both events is free to the public. Donald Dyer, UM chair of modern languages, said the department is looking forward to yet another great Longest Lecture.

“This year’s speaker will deliver the first talk on African languages in the 54-year history of the endowed series, a talk which will be particularly relevant for our community given the university’s initiation this year of basic language instruction in Swahili,” Dyer said. “Dr. Schleicher is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar and pedagogue who works tirelessly to advance the field of African-language study in the United States. We will be extremely proud to welcome her to Oxford.”

Schleicher, professor of African Studies at Indiana University, is also the founding executive director of IU’s Center for Language Excellence and the director of the U.S. National African Language Resource Center. Before assuming her new position at IU in 2012, she was a professor of African linguistics for 23 years at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2012, she was inducted into the Nigerian Academy of Letter. In 2010, she received the UW-Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages Walton Award for a Lifetime Distinguished Career in support of less commonly taught languages.

Schleicher has authored eight textbooks and four multimedia CD-ROMs for the learning of Yoruba and has co-authored numerous textbooks for other African languages such as Swahili, Shona and Pulaar. She co-authored “African Language Pedagogy: An Emerging Field.” She has edited more than 20 other books and six journals and has authored nearly two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals.

She has degrees from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and the University of Kansas, both in general linguistics, and much of her work deals with pedagogical issues in foreign and second language acquisition. She is president of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association, which publishes the Modern Language Journal. She also serves as executive director of NCOLCTL and the African Language Teachers Association.

Schleicher was awarded the U.S. President’s Gold Level Volunteer Service Award for more than 500 hours a year of devoted and unpaid service to the cause of promoting less-commonly taught languages and cultures in the United States. She served a three-year term on the board of directors of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

“After reading about the amazing career of Christopher Longest and the caliber of outstanding speakers that have been selected to speak each year, I felt truly humbled and at the same time greatly honored to be a part of this series,” Schleicher said. “More so that I will be the first to present on African languages. I am really looking forward to being a part of the celebration of the life of this great scholar and administrator.”

The Christopher Longest Series was created by Ann Waller Reins Longest to honor her husband and also enrich the university. The series, which began in 1961, is named for the former UM chair and professor of modern languages.

Christopher Longest, a native of Pontotoc County, graduated from UM in 1900. He first taught English at Johns Hopkins University, where he completed his graduate degree in 1908. He earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1915 and a doctor of law degree from Mississippi College in 1950.

Longest held several Spanish and Latin teaching positions from 1908 until he became the chairman of the Department of Modern Languages in 1947, serving until 1951. He also served as acting chancellor in 1930, registrar in 1929 and 1930 and also director of the university’s summer session from 1920 to 1934. He managed the alumni fund from 1912 to 1951. After retiring from teaching, Longest became president of First National Bank of Oxford.

Activist Deepa Iyer to Visit UM Oct. 14-16

Winter Institute, Department of Public Policy Leadership co-sponsoring scholar's public appearances

Deepa Iyer

Deepa Iyer

OXFORD, Miss. – The founder and executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together is making a series of appearances Oct. 14-16 at the University of Mississippi.

Scholar-activist-lawyer Deepa Iyer lectures Wednesday (Oct. 15) at the Overby Center Auditorium and Thursday (Oct. 16) at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 1090. Both events start at 5 p.m. and are free to the public. Iyers is also the noon brown bag luncheon speaker Tuesday-Thursday at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, on the third floor of Lamar Hall.

Iyer’s appearances are co-sponsored by the Winter Institute and UM’s Department of Public Policy Leadership. Topics she plans to address include “America’s New Racial Landscape,” “The Politics of Being Brown: Legal and Policy Frontiers,” “Asian Americans and Radical Identities in the South,” “Racial Anxiety and Solidarity in a Majority-Minority Nation” and “Community-Building in South Asian Communities.”

“Deepa Iyer’s presence on campus is extremely important,” said Jennifer Stollman, events coordinator for the Winter Institute. “In addition to complicating the nation’s black-white racial paradigm, her work as an activist and scholar highlights the experiences, challenges and strengths of South Asian communities.”

Iyer is a prominent spokesperson and adviser regarding policy and issues related to South Asian communities. She has written widely on post-9/11 backlash, immigration reform, racism and law enforcement, and access to political, social and economic benefits.

“Her experience founding, developing and directing SAALT demonstrates to the University of Mississippi the ability to identify a void in the American racial landscape, illuminate issues of inequity, and develop awareness, policies and solutions impacting South Asians,” Stollman said.

“By complicating America’s racial landscape, Ms. Iyer allows for a more reflective and nuanced approach to infrastructural, systemic and interpersonal racism. Such an approach encourages the faculty, staff and students to be more aware of the complexity of racism, how it impacts our structures and relationships and illuminates solutions that can sustain change and the push for equality.”

Iyer said she is honored and privileged to be spending a week with UM students and faculty.

“During my week at the University of Mississippi, I hope that we can collectively generate ideas and conversations about issues at the heart of our country’s changing racial landscape: race relations, immigration, post-9/11 America and solidarity among communities of color,” Iyer said. “The University of Mississippi, grounded in a history of civil rights resistance, is an ideal place to wrestle with these issues and move toward solutions that will bring about greater racial equity.”

For more about the Winter Institute, visit For more about Deepa Iyer, visit For more information about SAALT, go to

Living Blues’ October Edition Highlights Blues Tourism

Double issue provides a guide for adventurers traveling the Mississippi Blues Trail


Living Blues started as the first blues publication in Chicago in 1970 and is the nation’s longest running blues magazine. The Center for the Study of Southern Culture publishes it bimonthly.

OXFORD, Miss. – Blues tourism in Mississippi is highlighted in the special October double issue of Living Blues magazine. Focusing on more than 180 Mississippi Blues Trail markers, the issue spotlights the people, places and themes of the blues in Mississippi with hundreds of destinations including clubs, museums, festivals and restaurants.

The issue is underwritten with a grant from Visit Mississippi.

“We have decided to revisit the blues in Mississippi and provide readers with a travel guide to the markers and some of the many exciting experiences visitors can have while driving the back roads of Mississippi,” said Brett Bonner, editor.

This is the second-largest issue of Living Blues ever, and the second time Visit Mississippi has collaborated with the magazine to produce a Mississippi-themed issue. Founded in Chicago in 1970, Living Blues was acquired by the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture in 1983.

“Ten years ago, we partnered with Living Blues, but that was before the state embarked on the Mississippi Blues Trail marker program, before the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened its doors and before festivals like Juke Joint and Mighty Mississippi were making waves internationally,” said Malcolm White, director of Visit Mississippi. “We here at Visit Mississippi felt like it was high time to revisit the partnership with Living Blues, the nation’s quintessential blues publication, during our 2014 Year of the Creative Economy campaign.”

The magazine’ writers, researchers and photographers have worked with Visit Mississippi on the Mississippi Blues Trail since its inception, so it was only natural to help share the story of one of the state’s greatest tourism assets, White said.

Living Blues received a Mississippi Blues Trail marker from the state in 2009, which is located outside Barnard Observatory on the UM campus. The magazine was also honored as a past recipient of the Blues Foundation’s prestigious “Keeping the Blues Alive” award.

“With the generous support of Malcolm White and Visit Mississippi, I once again tapped my dynamic blues duo of writer Scott Barretta and photographer Bill Steber to tackle the project,” Bonner said.

The effort of several months of hard work, 5,000 miles, 40,000 words and thousands of photos, the issue is a user-friendly guide for adventurers traveling the Mississippi Blues Trail. Using the Mississippi Blues Trail Markers as anchors, the guide identifies hundreds of destinations throughout the state, including museums, juke joints, festivals, famous gravesites and more than 100 places to eat great Southern food.

This issue of Living Blues is also available as a digital edition, with songs available to correspond with each region. Downloads are available on the Living Blues Facebook page. For more information, visit

Symposium Explores Transition to College Writing

Department of Writing and Rhetoric hosts annual event this weekend at UM

OXFORD, Miss. – High school and college teachers from Mississippi and the Memphis area will gather to explore new ideas about writing instruction and share strategies to help prepare students for their transition to college writing this weekend at the University of Mississippi.

The Transitioning to College Writing Symposium, an annual event hosted by the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, is set for Friday and Saturday (Oct. 10-11). Registration, at $30 for one day or $50 for both, remains open for the program.

“The fourth annual symposium brings together keynote speakers from varied locations, including the Mississippi Department of Education, Jackson State University, Itawamba Community College and the University of Sydney, Australia,” said Joanne Mitchell, communications specialist in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric. “Digital composition, academic writing, student engagement and developing secondary and post-secondary writing centers are some of the topics that attendees will learn more about as they discuss strategies to enhance writing instruction in their schools.”

The symposium opens at 8 a.m. Friday in the university’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence. It moves to Lamar Hall for the afternoon sessions, which run through 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s sessions run from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Lamar Hall.

The program includes a keynote address by Frances DiLauro, of the Writing Hub at the University of Sydney. Other featured speakers include Amber Jensen, of Edison High School in Fairfax, Virginia; Lawrence Potter, of Jackson State University; and Vinnie Segalini, of the Mississippi Department of Education. Other activities include workshops and roundtable discussions between attendees.

For more information on the Transitioning to College Writing Symposium, visit To register for the program, call 662-915-2121 or email

Building Bridges Lecture to Examine Slavery and the Holocaust

Beverly Mitchell to discuss finding a common theme

OXFORD, Miss. – Focusing on slavery and the Holocaust, the University of Mississippi’s Critical Race Studies Group welcomes historical theologian Beverly Mitchell, of Wesley Theological Seminary, to speak Thursday (Oct. 2) evening on campus.

Mitchell, who specializes in systematic theology and church history with an emphasis on issues of human rights, has authored two books, including “Plantations and Death Camps: Religion, Ideology, and Human Dignity.” Her lecture will inquire about opportunities for human dignity and honor in view of grave historical and societal inhumanity, such as that exhibited during U.S. slavery and the Holocaust.

The lecture is slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 2) at Overby Auditorium, followed by a reception. Both events are free and open to the public.

This program is made possible by the Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project, directed by the Association for Jewish Studies. Support for the LHJSP is provided by the Legacy Heritage Fund Ltd.

“This is the second year that the AJS-LHJSP has funded public programming at the University of Mississippi,” said Willa Johnson, co-chair of the Critical Race Studies Group. “The Critical Race Studies Group is pleased for their support, and we anticipate that Dr. Mitchell will further the conversation about race on our campus and in our communities.”

Co-sponsors for the lecture series are the UM Lecture Series, College of Liberal Arts, the African-American Studies Program, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

UM Student Wins First-Ever Study Abroad Film Festival

Senior Alexa Penton spent five months studying and working in Beijing

Alexa Penton

Alexa Penton

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi student has won top honors at the first-ever study abroad film festival. Alexa Penton, of Orlando, Florida, will be honored in October at the Institute for the International Education of Students Abroad Annual Conference in Chicago.

Penton, who also lived in Poplarville for several years, attended Timber Creek High School in Orlando, where she studied Chinese for four years. A senior enrolled in the UM Chinese Language Flagship Program, she is pursuing a double major in Chinese language and culture and art history. From early January to May, she studied in China at the Beijing Foreign Studies University with IES Abroad.

Her film was selected from 54 submissions to win the IES Abroad film contest. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize.

“Studying abroad enables you not only to learn about the culture of another country, but perhaps more importantly, to learn about yourself,” Penton said.

The IES Abroad film contest was open to all IES Abroad students and alumni. The films were to be under 25 minutes in length and were asked to “represent the spirit of study abroad.”

IES Abroad selected a group of semifinalists from the initial 54, then an international jury selected three finalists. Facebook users were invited to view and vote for their favorite film from Sept. 1 to 15. Penton’s film won with 56 percent of the votes.

Penton also interned at the Today Art Museum and worked for The Princeton Review, teaching reading and SSAT prep classes to elementary and middle school students in Beijing. She visited Bali, Indonesia, and backpacked through Thailand and Cambodia for two weeks after her Study Abroad program ended.

Penton urges Ole Miss students to consult with an adviser at the Office of Study Abroad about the possibilities of international study. Students should consider their major course of study, language skills and finances when deciding on a program, she said.

“Studying abroad is much more feasible than many students realize,” Penton said. “Living in another country enables you to test your own limits, develop your independence, reexamine your customs and beliefs against the backdrop of a foreign culture, deepen your global understanding, cultivate empathy and perhaps even improve your foreign language skills.

“More pragmatically, studying abroad can set you apart from other applicants for future career positions or higher education programs. It can also be a great way to network. I made several great connections while abroad that I still keep in touch with.”

Ten UM Freshman Awarded Prestigious Honors College Scholarships

McDonnell Barksdale and Doris Raymond awards are among the university's most exclusive

Bottom row (L to R)—Megan McLeod, Sidney Scott, Kellie Shannon, Samuel Palmer, Jacob Thrasher; Top row, (L to R)—Hailey Knight, Elizabeth Hasley, Alexis Smith, Sara Porcheddu

Bottom row (L to R)—Megan McLeod, Sidney Scott, Kellie Shannon, Samuel Palmer, Jacob Thrasher; Top row, (L to R)—Hailey Knight, Elizabeth Hasley, Alexis Smith, Sara Porcheddu

OXFORD, Miss. – Ten standout incoming freshmen accepted into the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi have been awarded two of the university’s most prestigious scholarships.

Of the 10, six were awarded the Doris Raymond Scholarships, and the remaining four received the McDonnell Barksdale Scholarship, which both provide $8,000 per year for up to four years.

Barksdale Scholarship recipients are Hailey Knight of Tupelo, Katarina Pittman of Clinton, Elizabeth Hasley of Myrtle and Alexis Smith of Picayune.

Raymond Scholarships recipients are Sara Porcheddu of Hurst, Texas, Jacob Thrasher of Birmingham, Alabama, Samuel Palmer of Ridgeland, Sidney Scott of Clarksville, Tennessee, Megan McLeod of Littleton, Colorado, and Kellie Shannon of Madison.

“These scholarship students set the bar high for both their peers and for professors,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “It is a joy to teach such high performers.”

“Ole Miss boasts a long lists of accomplishments and offers me numerous academic opportunities,” said Shannon, who said she was surprised to receive her award notification. “However, my biggest reason for coming to Ole Miss is that it feels like home.”

“I believe the Honors College will shape my college experience by affording me unique opportunities to broaden my perspective, providing classroom settings and resources that encourage discussion with peers and more personal attention from professors, and an environment that will push me to grow academically and socially,” McLeod said.

Porcheddu graduated from Grapevine Senior High School. She was the founder and president of the Grapevine High Young Democrats Club and a Parent Teacher Student Association Student Representative. A member of the school golf team, Porcheddu made first team all-district as well as Freshman of the Year. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Arabic Club and the National Charity League. Her volunteer activities include delivering meals to homebound senior citizens through Meals on Wheels, and serving Relay for Life and a local food pantry. She is interested in international studies, Arabic language and political science.

Knight, a homeschooled student, received an award for the top short story at Veritas Press Scholars Academy and the gold cup for her solo piano performance for the Mississippi Federation of Musicians. She also opened for violinist Gil Shaham during a performance at the Canon Center in Memphis. Her community service activities include playing violin for Martha’s Manor and other nursing homes, and her interests include foreign languages, physics and cinema production.

Pittman, also a homeschooled student, was a member of the Ballet Mississippi student company, with a leading role in the annual “Nutcracker” and spring performances. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, placed second in Mississippi Mock Trial Competition and was a participant in the Lott Leadership Institute Summer College Program. A volunteer with the Book Buddy program at local public schools, Pittman is majoring in international studies.

Thrasher graduated from Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, where he served as vice president of the Jefferson County IBC’s National French Honor Society, president of the National Technical Honor Society and chair of events of the National Art Honor Societies. He was a Questbridge Scholar as well as a Superintendent Super Scholar. A volunteer with Sawyerville Day Camp, he is interested in biology, chemistry and French.

Hasley graduated from West Union School. She is a member of the Beta Honors Club and was recognized for her academic achievements in public speaking, accounting and anatomy and physiology. Her service activities include volunteering at the Betty McNeely Myrtle Library, Baptist Memorial Hospital in New Albany and LeBonheur Hospital in Memphis. She is majoring in psychology with a focus towards medicine.

Palmer graduated from Ridgeland High School, served as president of Mu Alpha Theta and was the drum captain of the RHS Marching Band and Indoor Percussion Ensemble. A member of the National Honor Society, he was selected as one of Portico’s 25 Students Who Will Change the World and a Blitz 16 Scholar. Palmer’s community service includes Operation Christmas Child, Webster Animal Shelter and Stewpot Ministries. His interests include biology, chemistry and molecular biology.

Scott graduated from Clarksville High School. A Tennessee Scholar, she received the highest academic honors award, graduating with distinction and on the All-A Honor Roll. A member of the cross-country/track and field, she participated in the Hope Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She volunteered as a translator with Pennies from Heaven and was a youth leader with Back Yard Bible Club. Her interests are secondary education, mathematics and Spanish.

Smith graduated from Picayune Memorial High School as a Superintendent Scholar on the All-A Honor Roll. She served as president, vice president and representative in the Student Council and was a member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. Her community service includes senior mentoring, service projects for the elderly and helping with cleanup after Hurricane Isaac. Her interests include international studies, Spanish and sociology.

McLeod graduated from Heritage High School and was a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. She received the academic excellence award and was selected as a National Merit recommended Scholar and student of the month in English. A member of the Liberty Belles varsity dance team, she was selected as the Universal Dance Association Drill Down Champion and All-American. Her volunteer activities include working at Littleton Adventist Hospital NICU and Pediatric Emergency Car and as a Race for the Cure volunteer. She plans to pursue a career in medicine.

 Shannon, a National Merit Finalist, graduated from Madison Central High School, where she was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction for having the highest average in AP chemistry, AP English III, AP U.S. History, AP World History, Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. A member of the National Honor Society, Interact Club and Beta Club, she was selected as a National Merit Semifinalist and she received the Citizenship Award and the Scholastic Art & Writing Award. Her community service activities include Relay for Life, Angel Tree and His Heart turkey delivery. Her interests include engineering, pharmacy and business.

For more information about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit

Incoming Freshmen Survive Biology Boot Camp

bio_2bio_1bio_4bio_5bio_3Biology Boot Camp is a five-day intensive program for incoming freshman enrolled in BISC160 at the University of Mississippi. The program is designed to prepare students for the rigor of collegiate courses. In these photos, Boot Camp Director Lucile McCook and Laura Cline, junior and recruiting coordinator for the UM American Medical Student Association chapter, gave students interested in medical school a glimpse of what to expect.