UM Student Passes His Way to a $100K Scholarship

Jarrius Adams wins grand prize in the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway in Indiana

UM sophomore Jarrius Adams holds the $100,000 check he won during the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway football throw-off in Indiana. Submitted photo

UM sophomore Jarrius Adams holds the $100,000 check he won during the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway football throw-off in Indiana. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Throwing winning touchdown passes is always gratifying, but for Jarrius Adams on Saturday (Dec. 3), lobbing the football also proved to be very lucrative.

The University of Mississippi sophomore successfully threw 11 15-yard passes into a target to win the $100,000 Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway scholarship. The 30-second throw-off against another finalist was televised live during halftime at the Wisconsin-Penn State Big 10 Conference championship.

The windfall is a welcome surprise for the Hattiesburg native, who is majoring in public policy leadership and political science at Ole Miss.

“It’s a truly wonderful blessing,” the 19-year-old said Monday, still giddy from the prize-winning weekend. “I worked really hard to get to reach this level, but honestly, it’s hard to believe it really happened.”

Adams’ journey to the winner’s circle began in August, when he ran across an ad for the competition on his Facebook page.

“Years before, I’d watched another Ole Miss student I knew win second place in this same competition,” he said. “I told myself then I would one day enter it myself, but forgot about it until I saw the ad. That’s when I decided to enter the contest.”

The soft drink company contest invites students ages 18 to 24 to submit 350-word essays on how they would use their education to change the world. Social media users vote for the entries, and those whose entries receive a minimum of 50 votes each record 1-minute videos to gain even more votes.

To see Adams’ video, go to

Company officials then select 16 finalists who compete in preliminary throw-offs before appearing at ACC, Big 10, SEC and PAC-12 college conference football championships. Other institutions with finalists included Texas A&M University, Cornell University, George Fox University, Oklahoma City University and the universities of Georgia, Northern Colorado and Southern California at Santa Cruz.

Students from the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, Enterprise State Community College and Bristol Community College were also finalists in the competition.

“Tuition costs are rising year by year,” Adams said in his video. “The No. 1 financial crisis for this nation for years to come is college students’ debt. The nation must make a commitment to alleviate the pressure on millenials.

“Financial constraints create unbearable obstacles, but I thank Dr Pepper for disabling those barriers for so many students.

Before Saturday’s telecast, Adams rehearsed throwing footballs alone with a friend.

“I really wasn’t nervous, but being on live television in front of thousands of people was a bit distracting at first,” he said. “Once the whistle blew and I started actually throwing the balls, I focused on winning. Only after it was over and I was being presented the check did I realize that I’d won. It felt so good!”

The runner-up got a $20,000 scholarship.

Since his winning moment, Adams has received hundreds of thousands of congratulations via his social media, emails, texts and phone calls. UM Chancellor Jeffery S. Vitter was among those who praised him for his winnings.

“I am so thrilled for Jarrius,” Vitter said. “He is such a deserving student who will use his college education to achieve great things and change lives. This prize money will certainly go a long way toward helping him reach his goals.”

A UM orientation leader, Adams is the son of Taquanna and Yahmani Adams of Hattiesburg. His siblings include a brother and a sister.

“To not have to worry about college tuition anymore is such a huge blessing for me,” he said. “I really hope that my good fortune inspires others to seek such opportunities in the future.”

He shared his short- and long-term goals for his unexpected funds.

“There are two issues that I hold dear to my heart: education and voter registration,” Adams said. “With my degree, I will work to rebuild the current educational system to ensure that all students have access to a free and adequate public education. I will continue to be an advocate for voter registration, making sure that it is more feasible for all citizens to participate in the voting process.”

For more information about the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway, visit

UM Professor Shares His ‘A’ Game

Ken Sufka creates scholarship with book royalties

UM professor Ken Sufka (left) and his wife, Stevi Self, have established a scholarship from royalties received from the publication of Sufka's book. UM Provost Morris Stocks (right) was instrumental in making the book required reading for all entering students. Photo by Bill Dabney

UM professor Ken Sufka (left) and his wife, Stevi Self, have established a scholarship from royalties received from the publication of Sufka’s book. UM Provost Morris Stocks (right) was instrumental in making the book required reading for all entering students. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Ken Sufka, professor of psychology and pharmacology at the University of Mississippi, wants students to achieve academic success, so much so that he’s given them a guide that centrally involves bringing their “A” game to every class.

During Sufka’s 25 years-and-counting at Ole Miss, an increasing number of students have sought his counsel on improving their performance on assignments and exams.

“From interviews with students, I discovered a set of bad student habits and poor study skills that hinder academic performance,” Sufka said. “At the same time, I kept up with a growing body of scientific literature on student learning.

“It was interesting to see how well this research dovetailed with many identifiable problems that interfered with mastering coursework.”

His solution? Publish a list of study strategies that would give students a written roadmap to success. Sufka’s book, “The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades” (Nautilus Publishing, 2011) is given to every Ole Miss student at enrollment.

From the book’s increasing royalties, the professor and his wife, Stevi Self, have established the Kenneth Sufka Undergraduate Scholarship in Psychology Endowment.

“I originally wrote this book of study tips to help my students succeed in their coursework,” said Sufka, who was named the Elise M. Hood Outstanding Teacher in 1996. “Now, with the book’s proceeds, we can help fund a scholarship to make college a little more affordable so that students can focus more on their academic success.”

The scholarship is available to full-time junior or senior psychology majors with financial need and who maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average.

“I’ve had the privilege of observing Ken’s outstanding teaching and the way he inspires students to be the very best that they can be,” said UM Provost Morris Stocks, who invited Sufka to speak to the Provost Scholars during the program’s first year.

“I saw the reaction our students had to Ken about achieving excellence, and it sparked our interest in making his book available to all our students. When students put into practice Ken’s nine rules, they are empowered and equipped to meet the challenges and rigor of college academic life.”

Self witnessed the book’s transformative effect when a student approached her husband to say that the advice offered in “The A Game” enabled him to be admitted into the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“It was so sweet,” she said. “It took us totally by surprise.”

The Kenneth Sufka Undergraduate Scholarship in Psychology Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655 or visit

For information on establishing scholarship endowments, call 662-915-5944.

UM Students Share Hospital Shadowing Experiences

Students followed health care professionals at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi

UM Center for Population Studies Director John Green (left) chats with Assistant Professor of Religion Sarah Moses and BMH-NMS Chaplain Director Joe Young during the Medical Humanities students reception.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

UM Center for Population Studies Director John Green (left) chats with Assistant Professor of Religion Sarah Moses and BMH-NMS Chaplain Director Joe Young during the Medical Humanities students reception.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – After spending several weeks shadowing area health care professionals, University of Mississippi students interested in similar careers shared highlights of their mentorship experiences this week.

The Tuesday (Nov. 29) reception for those enrolled in the fall 2016 Medical Humanities course was held in Bryant Hall gallery on the Oxford campus. Members of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi who mentored the group joined UM administrators, faculty, staff and students for the event, which featured five of the 12 enrolled students making brief presentations.

“Our goal was for the students to gain a better understanding of how various factors shape the human experience in illness and in medicine,” said Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion and course instructor. “Creating this class took lots of work, but hearing these students’ reflections today shows it was well worth the effort.”

John Green, professor of sociology and director of both the Center for Population Studies and the new Society and Health minor in the College of Liberal Arts, agreed.

“Listening to these students share their reflections is very rewarding,” he said. “We are definitely committed to making this course in the society and health minor a long-term investment.”

Medical Humanities, one of two advanced course requirements for the minor, is a combined readings and field experience course in a hospital setting to study the ethical, social and cultural issues in medicine. Additionally, students must take advanced elective courses.

“While only 12 students were able to take the course this fall, I already have 25 students on the waiting list for Medical Humanities in fall 2017,” Moses said.

Each of the presenters said that being in the course was more like a transformative “life experience” than a class.

“Being in this course made me a more well-rounded person,” said Josh Law, a senior religious studies and pre-med major from Birmingham, Alabama. “Ultimately, I believe I will be a more well-rounded health care professional in the future because of it.”

Sarah Robinson said she discovered how important addressing nonmedical needs and communication are to an ailing patient and his or her family members.

“Being in this course helped me to see both patients and those who work with them in various ways as whole people,” said the junior Spanish and pre-med major from Covington, Louisiana. “That understanding is critical to the effective treatment and care.”

Miller Richmond, a senior international studies and pre-med major from Madison, said Medical Humanities proved to be a perfect followup to his study abroad experience last spring.

“Being immersed in a different culture broadened my understanding of people as human beings,” he said. “Medical Humanities continued to expand my thinking. I now more fully understand that patient care goes much farther than physiology and medicine.”

Other student presenters were J.R. Markos, a senior from Jackson, Tennessee, who is majoring in public policy leadership, and Cayla Scott, a senior religious studies major from Mendenhall.

Green is slated to teach Society and Population Health, the other mandatory advanced course option for students entering the minor, during the spring 2017 semester.

“In Society and Population Health, students learn about health disparities in Mississippi and the value of interdisciplinary and interprofessional teams in tackling these issues,” Green said. “They also make field visits to medical/nursing schools and public health programs.”

Following the completion of Elementary Statistics and one of the advanced courses, Ole Miss students can apply to the minor program. It is also recommended that students take General Psychology and Introductory Sociology to complete the general education social science requirements.

Students must take courses from at least two different departments when completing the last requirement of 12 credit hours of advanced social science and humanities courses. They should note that the same course may not satisfy requirements for both the major and the minor.

Students who complete relevant internships, special topics, study abroad or directed study courses must consult with the director for approval before enrollment in the course.

“This unique and timely minor provides a social science and humanities perspective to the understanding of health,” said Lee M. Cohen, UM liberal arts dean. “I believe such a perspective will foster an appreciation and respect for team-based problem-solving to improve the delivery of health care.”

For more information about the minor in society and health, visit or contact Lynn Woo, research associate with the Center for Population Studies, at or at 662-915-7288.

North Mississippi VISTA Project Seeks Recruits

Sixth year of community-building program begins in January 2017

nmvp-logo-copyOXFORD, Miss. – The North Mississippi Volunteers in Service to America, or VISTA, Project is recruiting members interested in helping community organizations that combat poverty across the region for the coming year, its sixth year of operation.

The VISTA Project, which is overseen by the University of Mississippi’s  McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, sponsors 15 community-based organizations and has funding for up to 25 full-year VISTA members to serve throughout north Mississippi and the Delta. 

The McLean Institute is a natural home for the North Mississippi VISTA Project, which previously was administered by the university’s College of Liberal Arts, said Albert Nylander, a professor of sociology and McLean Institute director.

“The McLean Institute’s mission of advancing transformative service and fighting poverty through education in Mississippi is bold,” Nylander said. “This initiative will continue establishing and fostering beneficial partnerships and programs that advance education in underserved communities across the state.”

Prospective applicants must be motivated, reliable team players who are 18 years or older and have earned at least a high school diploma or GED. Interested individuals can visit for application instructions. The deadline for applications is Dec. 12.

North Mississippi VISTA Ellen Olack (left) helps with Food Day activities at the Ole Miss Student Union. Submitted photo

North Mississippi VISTA Ellen Olack (left) helps with Food Day activities at the Ole Miss Student Union. Submitted photo

“The work of our VISTA members has been exemplary,” said Stephen Monroe, UM assistant dean of liberal arts and founder of the North Mississippi VISTA Project. “Across Mississippi, VISTAs have strengthened vital nonprofits and schools; they have written and received dozens of grants; they have organized national days of service; they have increased our flagship university’s capacity to connect meaningfully to neighboring communities.

“All of this work has shared the singular purpose of fighting poverty through education. We are proud of our previous VISTAs and excited about the future.”

VISTA members commit to one year of service within community-based organizations. VISTAs work to manage and recruit volunteers, create opportunities for low-income youth, build social entrepreneurship, write grants and increase access to higher education.

“Service has long been a part of my life,” VISTA leader Sara Baker said. “The opportunity to serve as a VISTA has allowed me to develop the skills to ensure that our campus and community partners create sustainable systems to further their missions to alleviate poverty.”

The NMVP serves several organizations based on the Ole Miss campus or in Oxford, including Good Food for Oxford Schools, the Horizons summer program, the Lafayette County Literacy Council and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. Positions outside Lafayette County are available at Crenshaw Elementary School in Crenshaw, North Panola High School in Sardis and Youth Opportunities Unlimited in Marks.

In the next year and beyond, the NMVP will continue to develop host sites around north Mississippi, cultivating projects and placing VISTAs with community partners that fight poverty through education. In the 2016-17 program year, the VISTA project will bring more than $650,000 to the region.

North Mississippi VISTAs Liam Clements and Chelsea Herbert (right) work the United Way booth in the Grove at the University of Mississippi. Submitted photo

North Mississippi VISTAs Liam Clements and Chelsea Herbert (right) work the United Way booth in the Grove at the University of Mississippi. Submitted photo

Examples of VISTA projects include the creation of College Corps, programmatic and fundraising collaborations for LOU Excel By 5 and many other nonprofits in the community, the Traveling Trunks program at the UM Museum, and a mobile farmers market that offered fresh, local produce to residents of low-income housing developments.

Most VISTAs have been recent graduates of UM programs, such as the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Sylvia Stewart, who graduated from UM in 2014 and served as a VISTA with the United Way before becoming a North Mississippi VISTA leader, is studying poverty alleviation at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

“For me, the most fulfilling aspect of serving with the North Mississippi VISTA Project was being part of the movement to make Mississippi a better place,” Stewart said. “I feel truly privileged to have had the opportunity to meet and work alongside the intelligent, caring and passionate people involved in the struggle to alleviate poverty in our community.

“The friendships and professional relationships I formed will forever impact my life. I found my calling working with VISTA, but I also gained the skills to make my professional aspirations a reality.”

Many other VISTAs have followed a similar path, going on to graduate programs at Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University, Stanford University and the University of Georgia.

“Community partnerships inspire the work of the McLean Institute,” said Laura Martin, assistant director of the McLean Institute. “We are thrilled to support VISTA members as they build capacity among our campus and community partners to impact quality of life in Mississippi.”

The association with the McLean Institute will help sustain and expand the VISTA Project, Nylander said.

“The goals and mission of NMVP and the McLean Institute align perfectly, and we look forward to NMVP’s future growth and continued success,” he said.

For more information on VISTA service opportunities, contact VISTA leaders Sara Baker and Shannon Curtis at or 662-915-2397.

Saudi Arabian Student Organization Hosts National Festival

Attendees enjoy an evening of Saudi culture and tradition

The Saudi Arabian Student Organization at Ole Miss hosts the Saudi National and Cultural Festival at the Ford Center. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

The Saudi Arabian Student Organization at Ole Miss hosted the Saudi National and Cultural Festival at the Ford Center. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts was filled with the sounds, sights and aromas of the Middle East recently as the University of Mississippi’s Saudi Arabian Student Organization hosted a cultural exhibit featuring traditional Saudi dance, cuisine and culture.

“The purpose of our event was to represent our cultural theme through a documentary film, Saudi traditional dance, a Saudi heritage exhibit and cultural fair with complimentary Arabic coffee and food to share with the UM community,” said Bjad Almutairy, the festival’s executive director and SASO president.

The documentary was an original film created by Almutairy and Abdullah Alotaibi, the group’s director of social and cultural affairs. In another video directed by Ammar Nahari and edited by Mohammed Al-Harthy, American students at Ole Miss shared perspectives about Saudi Arabia.

For the event, the committee members wore traditional Saudi attire. The exhibit also featured special decor and an Arabic reception that represented the nation’s culture. The group also conducted activities such as learning to write your name in Arabic and a henna tattoo station.

SASO teamed with the Ole Miss Department of Theatre Arts to present a play called “Saudi Student Journey to The U.S.” This original production written by Almutairy, Alotaibi, Nahari and Mohamed Suaib and directed by Austyn Davis and Riette De Jager.

The play took a humorous approach to focus on the experiences of Saudi and other international students, facing the challenges of language barriers and cultural differences.

Guests for the evening include Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and his wife, Sharon; Brandi LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs; UPD Police Chief Tim Potts; and Donald Cole, assistant provost and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs

“Sharon and I had a wonderful time at the Saudi National Festival,” Vitter said. “We truly treasure that we can have these amazing international experiences from our Oxford campus. It is an important part of university life to offer global opportunities and a rich multicultural climate for our students, faculty, and staff.”

The festival provided an entertaining glimpse into the culture of another country, LaBanc said.

“We tasted wonderful food and drink and learned about all aspects of the Saudi culture,” she said. “I am very appreciative of the efforts of SASO to bring their culture and country to our campus – there is so much fun in exploring and celebrating cultural difference.”

The event also helped advance the university’s goal of providing students with an international perspective, Cole said.

“These events are so valuable to our institution because we realize that not every one of our students will go abroad and programs such as this can help give our students a more global perspective that they would otherwise not receive,” Cole said. “It was impossible to attend this event and not learn.”

UM Alumni Embark on 300-Mile Bike Ride for United Way

Cyclists plan to travel from Ole Miss game with Vanderbilt to Egg Bowl in Oxford

Charlie Wildman and Adam Vinson will ride their bikes from Nashville, Tennessee to Oxford, Mississippi over a six-day period to raise money for United Way. Submitted Photo

Charlie Wildman (left) and Adam Vinson plan to ride their bikes from Nashville, Tennessee, to Oxford over Thanksgiving week to raise money for United Way. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi alumni embark this weekend on a 300-mile bike ride in support of United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County.

After Saturday evening’s Ole Miss-Vanderbilt football game, Adam Vinson and Charlie Wildman plan to ride their bikes from Nashville, Tennessee, to Oxford, arriving in time for the annual Egg Bowl matchup with Mississippi State University on Nov. 26. The two are raising money to assist families in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community during the holidays.

They plan to ride down the Natchez Trace Parkway, which has always been a goal of theirs. Once they realized an opportunity to make this a charitable event while supporting the Rebels, they decided to make it a reality.

“I noticed there were two games separated by about 300 miles over Thanksgiving week,” Vinson said. “I asked Charlie if he was interested in cycling from one to the other, because he has done rides like this before, and he said he was absolutely down!”

The work began to make this a charitable adventure, and the friends decided that United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County would be the best beneficiary.

The donation breaks down to just 10 cents per mile, so Wildman and Vinson are encouraging the LOU community to contribute to the United Way via or text RebelsRide to 71777. Donations will benefit families in the Oxford and Lafayette community.

“We’re really excited that they are Ole Miss alums and care about this area,” said Ben Strassman, an AmeriCorps VISTA working in the United Way chapter. “They spent their formative years in Oxford and want to make sure the money directly affects our county and our city to make it the best it can possibly be.”

Strassman added that 99 cents of every dollar donated will stay in the LOU community.

This will be Vinson’s first ride of this distance, but Wildman is a veteran of charitable journeys. He and a friend organized and completed a 25-day, 2,000-mile ride from Cumberland, Maryland, to Telluride, Colorado, during the summer of 2015 and raised $11,000 for a New Orleans-based disabilities charity.

Vinson and Wildman met in 2004 as members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon social fraternity at Ole Miss.

Vinson, an Oxford native, graduated from UM in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology. Upon graduation, he served with Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta. He earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 before moving with his wife, Katherine Bensel, to New Orleans, where he is pursuing a graduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of New Orleans.

Wildman graduated from UM in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering. He has worked at firms in Dallas and New York City, where he worked onsite during construction of the Second Avenue Subway and served as the president of the Ole Miss Club of New York. He lives in New Orleans and is working on a master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of New Orleans.

To contribute to Vinson and Wildman’s cause, visit To keep up with their journey, follow them on Facebook and Twitter through #RebelsRideUnited.

Chancellor Vitter Oversees Pass in Review Ceremony

Annual event was first for UM's new chief executive

Members of UM Army ROTC Program marched past the Lyceum during the Pass in Review ceremony Thursday. Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services

Members of the UM ROTC Program march past the Lyceum Thursday during the Pass in Review ceremony. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter conducted his first inspection of University of Mississippi ROTC programs, including Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force, Thursday (Nov. 17) on campus.

The annual Pass in Review ceremony began at 3 p.m. in the Lyceum Circle. Vitter, who became chancellor in January, also delivered the keynote address.

“It is an honor to be standing here today amongst a group of heroes, our students who have put aside their personal interest for the sake of serving something larger than themselves,” Vitter said. “The University of Mississippi and our ROTC programs have a long and proud heritage of service to our university, state and nation. I applaud you – cadets and midshipmen – for upholding that proud legacy.”

Vitter also thanked all veterans present who answered the nation’s call in a time of need.

“All the cadets, midshipmen and Marines who graduate and receive a commission from the University of Mississippi are extremely well prepared to lead in our nation’s military,” he said. “With a commission from the university comes unsurpassed academic knowledge and military training.”

A military Pass in Review is primarily used during change-of-command ceremonies, formal events bringing together large formations of troops and parades, said Lt. Col. E. Scott Walton, UM chair and professor of military science and education.

“It generally incorporates a senior officer or dignitary, in this case Chancellor Vitter,” he said. “Numerous senior administration officials, veterans, retired general officers and alumni also attended.”

Historically, the review of unit readiness and discipline incorporates an inspection. The formation marched past a reviewing stand where VIPs and the senior officer or dignitary were seated.

“Our Army ROTC program has 80 Hall of Fame inductees, 15 of which are general officers,” Walton said. “Other key alumni include 2nd Lt. and 2016 Olympics bronze medalist Sam Kendricks (2015) and U.S. Congressman Trent Kelly (R-Miss.).”

Army ROTC alone has commissioned some 1,740 officers since its inception at Ole Miss in 1936. Many of them have fought honorably through six wars, including World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the university’s Navy/Marines ROTC program, about 400 midshipmen have been commissioned since the unit’s inception, including U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Rear Adm. and former Commander of Navy Personnel Command Edward Masso, and U.S. Secretary of the Navy and former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus.

Since assuming command in June 2015, Capt. Brian Goszkowicz has supervised the commissioning of seven midshipmen.

The Air Force ROTC program has commissioned more than 375 graduates. Lt. Col. Theresa Beaver leads the 430th Cadet Wing at UM. Distinguished graduates include Lt. Gen. James E. Sherrard III, retired commander of the Air Force Reserve Command and chief of the Air Force Reserve; Gen. Paul V. Hester, retired commander of the Pacific Air Force Command; and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The Pass in Review has a long history in the military and at UM. The campus event had been conducted annually since the inception of the ROTC programs, running through the late 1990s. ROTC was established at the university on March 11, 1936.    

On Aug. 6, 1964, a distinctive unit insignia was authorized for wear by UM ROTC cadets. The insignia consists of a shield of red and blue and a bend of gray. A likeness of a rifle, a magnolia blossom and the Lyceum identify the unit with national defense, the state of Mississippi and the university.

For more information about UM’s ROTC programs, visit for Army, for Navy/Marines and for Air Force.

Embry Legacy Continues with Latest Scholar

Killough receives 2016 award created in football player's memory

Murrell Godfrey (left), UM director of forensic chemistry, talks Embry scholar Lane Killough through the beginning stages of running a polymerase chain reaction. Forensic chemists use the PCR process to duplicate DNA until the sample size is large enough to analyze. Photo by Bill Dabney

Murrell Godfrey (left), UM director of forensic chemistry, talks Embry scholar Lane Killough through the beginning stages of running a polymerase chain reaction. Forensic chemists use the PCR process to duplicate DNA until the sample size is large enough to analyze. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – It has been 18 years since Bill and Gwen Embry of Coffeeville lost their son Joey in a drowning accident in 1998. Joey, a University of Mississippi student and an offensive tackle for the Rebel football team, was a well-respected leader on and off the field.

The same year Joey Embry died, Lane Killough was born.

Killough, an honor graduate of Bruce High School, is this year’s recipient of the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship, a fund established by the Embrys to remember their son and give back to a resident of Calhoun or Yalobusha counties.

“We have known, or known a family member of, each student who has received the scholarship,” Gwen Embry said. “Knowing their names makes it much more personal. Joey’s loss is helping people who knew him.”

In high school, Killough served as president of the Beta Club and the Youth Arts Council. He also was involved with the yearbook and newspaper staffs and was active in the drama club. Additionally, he served as head of the school’s library organization.

“Bill and I are very pleased for the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship to be awarded to such a deserving student going to the University of Mississippi,” Embry said.

Killough said he appreciates the gift and understands the significance behind it.

“I have always wanted to have this college experience,” he said. “Through the assistance of the scholarship, I can more easily accomplish my goals.”

Killough, who chose to attend Ole Miss after visiting the Oxford campus, plans to major in forensic chemistry, one of only five accredited forensic chemistry programs in the nation. He hopes to use his education to help solve federal crimes.

“I immediately fell in love with the campus and the people,” Killough said. “Everything about the environment and community drew me in.”

Students interested in applying for the scholarship should speak with their high school guidance counselor.

Individuals and organizations can contribute to the Joey Embry Memorial Scholarship Fund through the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; phone 800-340-9542; or online at

UM Named Top School for Military and Veteran Education

Listing appears in 2017 Guide to Colleges and Universities

UM Army ROTC cadets stand in formation during a Pass In Review in front of the Lyceum. Photo by Nathan Latil Ole Miss Communications

UM Army ROTC cadets stand in formation during a Pass In Review in front of the Lyceum. Photo by Nathan Latil Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For a fourth straight year, the University of Mississippi is one of the nation’s top schools for military programs and educational opportunities for veterans, according to Military Advanced Education and Transition’s 2017 Guide to Colleges and Universities.

MAE&T awarded the designation after measuring best practices in military and veteran education. The guide was released Thursday (Nov. 10), and is available online at

“I was excited to hear that this university is recognized for its commitment to honor our veterans, service members and their families,” said Lt. Col. E. Scott Walton, UM chair and professor of military science and leadership. “With a commission from the University of Mississippi comes unsurpassed academic knowledge and military training.”

This designation, coupled with the university’s designation as a Purple Heart Campus last year, reinforces the hard work done by administration, faculty and staff to assist ROTC students in the successful pursuit of their dreams, he said.

“The university, from the top down, provides outstanding support to the military,” Walton said. “Thanks to that support, all of the cadets, midshipmen and Marines that graduate and receive a commission from University of Mississippi are extremely well-prepared to lead in our nation’s military.

“I would like to thank the university – not only as the department chair of Army ROTC here – but as a service member who sees firsthand the support this university renders.”

The guide presents results of a questionnaire of the military-supportive policies enacted at more than 600 institutions, including private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, four-year and two-year colleges. The 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities arms students with information about institutions that go out of their way to give back to the country’s men and women in uniform.

In its 10th year of publishing the guide, MAE&T was the first publication to launch a reference tool of this type. This year, institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services.

Each school’s performance rating by category is represented by an easy-to-recognize dashboard. This enables prospective students to quickly target schools that follow best practices in military education, and then put these in context with other academic or career considerations.

With input from an advisory board of educational and government experts, and criteria based on recommendations from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and military services, MAE&T’s Guide to Colleges and Universities provides the foundational information a prospective student can use in framing his or her educational needs.

“Our goal is to be a dynamic resource for active service members and those who have moved from the military to their civilian careers, helping them find the school that best fits their plans for the future,” said Kelly Fodel, MAE&T editor. “We think this year’s guide is our most comprehensive to date, thanks to our newly established advisory board.

“The board evaluated the drafts of the questionnaire, made pages of notes and suggestions and helped to redefine questions for clarity. We thank them for their thoughtful edits and additions to our process.”

The 2017 guide is printed in the December issue of Military Advanced Education &Transition, and it is also published in, a searchable database online. The website made the announcement earlier to help Military Friendly Schools and Employers maximize their coverage after Election Day and in time for Veterans Day activities.

The guide gives students access to all the survey questions and answers provided by the schools, as well as explanations about critical issues such as activation and deployment policies, withdrawal policies, scholarship and financial aid information and important support information.

“While we realize that all schools are unique, we focus our annual survey on the best practices that make a true difference to service members and student veterans,” Fodel said. “These best practices have been asserted by various higher education groups and reinforced by veteran groups, and we consider our survey to be the most detailed and informative in the industry.”

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Library acquires historic volume of Shakespeare’s Second Folio

Jennifer Ford shows Shakespeare’s Second Folio to Jesse L. White, Associate Provost Noel Wilkin and Provost Morris Stocks. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Jennifer Ford shows Shakespeare’s Second Folio to Jesse L. White, Associate Provost Noel Wilkin and Provost Morris Stocks. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Thanks to a gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, the university has acquired a rare volume of William Shakespeare’s Second Folio, making it a permanent part of the university’s collection. It is on display in the Department of Archives and Special Collections in the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library.

The Second Folio, published in 1632, is an updated version of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The First Folio is a collection of 36 plays published in 1623, and 18 of those plays were previously unpublished, including “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar” and “Twelfth Night.”

This rare copy belonged to Edwin Booth, one of history’s most illustrious Shakespearean actors. His brother was John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

The acquisition was completed thanks to the efforts of Rene Pulliam, theatre arts associate professor; Rhona Justice-Malloy, theatre arts professor; Morris Stocks, provost; and Noel Wilkin, associate provost, said Jennifer Ford, head of archives and special collections and associate professor.

“This copy of the Second Folio, owned by one of history’s foremost Shakespearean actors, is a tremendous acquisition,” Ford said. “It will be an enduring resource for the entire university, as well as the general public.”

Edwin Booth was known for a more textually accurate use of Shakespeare’s works in his theatrical performances, a practice which was unusual for the 19th century. It is likely the actor consulted this volume in preparation for his lauded portrayals of characters such as Hamlet, historians say.

The Second Folio was purchased from the collections of New York’s Players Club, a social group for actors founded by Booth, which had engaged the auction house Sotheby’s to negotiate on its behalf. The book, purchased with a $150,000 donation from the Ford Foundation, had an original estimate between $300,000 and $500,000.

Justice-Malloy notified Pulliam that the copy was going to auction while visiting the Players Club in December.

“I am overjoyed that the University of Mississippi will now be a resource for theatre researchers nationwide,” Pulliam said. “This fulfills a vision of Dr. Rhona Justice-Malloy and myself.”

Pulliam and Justice-Malloy put together literature and images to begin the fundraising process to purchase the book. In January, Wilkin contacted Pulliam with news that the Ford Foundation would be a major donor and the acquisition would move forward.

“They were excited about the idea of it being at a public institution where someone would really be able to enjoy it,” Justice-Malloy said. “I am so proud to be a faculty member at Ole Miss and know that they value the importance of such a book.”

The folio will be valuable to help recruit students and scholars interested in the arts, history and literature research, Justice-Malloy said.

“It’s a big deal to be able to say we have not only the Second Folio but Edwin Booth’s copy,” she said. “It will be a point of pride for us, and scholars and students can actually use this. I would like to extend an enormous ‘thank you’ to the Ford Foundation for making this possible.”

The J.D. Williams Library Second Folio exhibit is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 662-915-7091.