UM Economics Instructor Wins Excellence in Teaching Award

Yan Li honored for dedication to students, curriculum and instruction

Yan Li

Yan Li

OXFORD, Miss. – Yan Li is the recipient of the University of Mississippi’s 2015 Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching Award.

Li was recognized during the doctoral hooding ceremony Friday (May 8) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to being presented a trophy and $1,000, Li’s name is being added to the perpetual plaque displayed in the J.D. Williams Library and posted on the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning website.

“I was ecstatic,” Li said upon learning of her recognition. “When I teach and help students to make progress, it’s like I make a difference every single day. Hence, I find teaching to be very fulfilling.”

A native of China, Li earned her bachelor’s degree from Nanchang University in China and her master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. A fifth-year economics doctoral candidate at UM, she graduates this summer.

“I have taught principle of microeconomics for six semesters at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “My passion for teaching not only comes from the content of the course, but mostly stems from the interaction with students. I believe all my students, with effort, can make great achievement.”

Li is considering multiple job offers after graduation, including one from the Mississippi Department of Education.

“I have given this offer a lot of consideration,” she said. “It would be an exciting experience joining the MDOE to continue my passion for students and education. It would be very rewarding to impact the younger generation on education by utilizing my Ph.D. training in economic research.”

Colleagues said she is most deserving of the accolade.

“Ms. Li is a highly regarded and effective instructor that is always willing to go an extra mile for her students,” said Joe Moen, chair and professor of economics. “She consistently obtains some of the highest teaching evaluations in the department.”

“Approximately 90 percent of her students recently ranked her as superior or excellent,” said Walter Mayer, professor of economics and graduate program coordinator. “Her effectiveness is also supported by department faculty who have attended and reviewed her classes.”

For more information about UM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, go to cetl@olemiss.edu or call 662-915-1391.

Three Faculty Members Receive Liberal Arts Teaching Awards

UM announces annual honors at graduation ceremonies

2015 College of Liberal Arts Teaching Award Recipients.  (from left): Cora Lee Graham Outstanding Teacher of Freshman: Hilary Becker, Outstanding Teacher of Year: Kathryn McKee,Outstanding Instructor of Year  Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

2015 College of Liberal Arts Teaching Award Recipients. (from left): Cora Lee Graham Outstanding Teacher of Freshman: Hilary Becker, Outstanding Teacher of Year: Kathryn McKee,Outstanding Instructor of Year Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi recognized three faculty members Saturday (May 9) for their excellence in teaching.

The Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher of the Year award went to Kathryn McKee, McMullan associate professor of Southern studies and associate professor of English. Hilary Becker, assistant professor of classics, was given the Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. The Liberal Arts Outstanding Instructor of the Year honor was presented to Karen Forgette, core instructor for the Department of Writing and Rhetoric.

Each recipient was recognized at the college’s commencement ceremony and received a plaque and $1,000. Their names were also added to an award plaque in the dean’s office.

“We commend this year’s recipients for their outstanding dedication to teaching and service to our students,” said Rich Forgette, interim dean of liberal arts. “These awards symbolize the importance of teaching excellence to the college’s mission.”

Each recipient reflected upon the meaning of her selection for the prestigious honors.

“I was delighted,” McKee said. “Many fine colleagues and good friends have won it in the past, and I’m humbled to join their company. Teaching well is the most important part of my job; class is the most important part of my workday.”

Becker said she is pleased and honored that her students and the college had chosen to recognize her commitment to teaching.

“While at the University of Mississippi, I have been able to create many opportunities for students to learn about the ancient world in context, whether that is taking students to Rome to excavate, taking students to museums and galleries in New York City or providing opportunities in different classes for students to work with Greek and Roman objects from our University Museum,'” Becker said. “Whether those encounters take place locally, nationally or internationally, they contribute to what’s happening in the class but also contribute to the students’ intellectual growth.”

Winning her teaching award makes Karen Forgette, who joined the faculty 10 years ago, feel more connected than ever to the university and those who have walked its halls in the past two centuries.

“UM has so many outstanding teachers, and I am delighted to be associated with them,” she said. “This honor is especially gratifying to me because I truly enjoy my job. Working with young writers is like having a window into the future, and I am continually delighted and often amazed at the creativity and innovation of the next generation.”

All three honorees have degrees from the University of North Carolina. Becker was a 2004 Fulbright Scholar and received a research fellowship at Ohio State University last summer. McKee won the Cora Lee Graham Award and the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year award for the UM campus in 2001.

Criteria for the awards include excellence of class instruction, intellectual stimulation of students and concern for students’ welfare. Administrators praised the commitment and expertise of all the honorees.

“Dr. McKee is a consummate English professor who received the highest accolades from her students, and who has the respect and admiration of her colleagues in the English department,” said Ivo Kamps, chair and professor of English. “She is well-known for teaching rigorous, well-organized classes in 19th- and 20th-century American literature that inspire graduate students and undergraduates alike.”

Molly Claire Pasco-Pranger, chair and associate professor of classics, said Becker is one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated teachers she’s ever worked with.

“She is unstintingly generous in giving extra attention to those who are struggling, but spends just as much time encouraging and mentoring those who are thriving to push themselves to places they didn’t know they could go,” Pasco-Pranger said. “It goes without saying that she knows her stuff, and knows it well. She has taught at least a dozen different classes in her three years at the university and is as strong a teacher of Latin as she is of her specialty courses in Roman and Etruscan art and archaeology.”

Similar praises for Karen Forgette came from Robert E. Cummings, director and associate professor of writing and rhetoric.

“Students are asked to work hard in her classes, and she pushes them to find new writing capabilities,” Cummings said. “But the fact that they see the benefit and realize their gains quickly enough to record their gratitude at the end of the semester is a testament to her dedication and effectiveness. Students leave her classroom motivated and inspired to continue their development as college writers.”

Established 30 years ago by Cora Lee Graham of Union City, Tennessee, the Graham award was established to help retain better professors who teach freshman classes in the College of Liberal Arts. Criteria for this annual award also include excellence of class instruction, intellectual stimulation of students and concern for students’ welfare.

Founded in 1848, the College of Liberal Arts is the university’s oldest and largest academic division. For more information, visit http://libarts.olemiss.edu.

Charles Hussey Named 2015 UM Distinguished Researcher

Chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry honored for achievement, creativity

Dr. Charles Hussey accepts the University of Mississippi's Distinguished Research Creative Achievement Award. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Charles Hussey accepts the University of Mississippi’s Distinguished Research Creative Achievement Award. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Whether or not it’s true that good things comes in threes, that’s certainly been the case for Charles L. Hussey, who received the University of Mississippi’s 2015 Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award on Saturday (May 9).

The UM chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry was presented the prestigious honor, which includes $7,500 and a personal plaque, during the university’s annual Commencement ceremonies in Tad Smith Coliseum. Hussey also received the Electrochemical Society’s Max Bredig Award in Molten Salt and Ionic Liquid Chemistry last October and the Southeastern Conference’s Faculty Achievement Award in April.

“I think this is the most important of the three because it recognizes a lifetime of scientific achievement at UM resulting from hard work, sacrifice, as well as a bit of good luck,” Hussey said upon learning of his third accolade this academic year. “There are many deserving researchers/scholars on this campus, and I was very fortunate and humbled to be chosen from this pool of very accomplished people.

“I have been very privileged to work with a number of outstanding colleagues across the U.S. and Europe, as well as great doctoral and postdoctoral students. And most importantly, I have a very tolerant family who put up with my extra hours at work, many business trips and military reserve duty, too.

Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, said Hussey is most deserving of the award.

“In Dr. Hussy’s prolific career, he has produced more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, including several that have been cited more than 100 times and a seminal article leading to the birth of ionic liquids that has been cited more than 1,500 times,” Clark said. “He has an impressive track record of extramural competitive funding and his lab was recognized recently by R&D Magazine for developing a novel aluminum plating system that was considered to be one of the 100 most technologically significant products in 2014.

“His many accomplishments demonstrate his leadership in the field, his scientific creativity and his instinct for innovative thinking.”

Hussey, who holds a doctorate in chemistry from UM, joined the faculty in 1978 after serving a four-year active duty term as a military scientist at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Frank J. Seiler Research Lab. For more than 30 years, he has researched the electrochemistry and transport properties of ionic liquids and molten salts, an outgrowth of the work he began at the Seiler Lab.

He has authored or co-authored more than 140 refereed journal articles, book chapters, patents and government technical reports. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Alcoa, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense. He is technical editor of the Electrochemical Society journals.

“Dr. Hussey’s research record is truly impressive, and he is a model for other faculty in the college,” said Rich Forgette, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of political science. “Chuck is a leader in his field of electrochemistry, and our chemistry department has flourished under his leadership.”

Hussey said he already has plans for how he will spend funds that come with his award.

“My three grandchildren, Olivia, Charles and Maddie, have requested another trip to Disney World,” he said. “This trip should take care of the stipend money.”

Created in 2008, the annual honor recognizes a faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and/or creative activity. Much like Hall of Fame inductions, recipients can receive the honor only once. Nominees must be an associate or full professor (including research associate professors or research professors who are not tenure-track faculty) and must have been continuously employed full-time by the university for at least five years.

Past honorees include Sam Shu-Yi Wang, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering; Larry Walker, director of the National Center for National Products Research; Charles Reagan Wilson, the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of History and professor emeritus of Southern studies, Dale Flesher, Arthur Anderson Lecturer in the Patterson School of Accountancy; Atef Elsherbeni, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of research and graduate programs in the UM School of Engineering; and Robert Van Ness, Bruce Moore Scholar of Finance and director of the Doctor of Finance program.

McCauley, Bombelli Win 2015 Frist Student Service Awards

Honorees lauded at Commencement for dedication to helping students

McCauley accepts the Frist Student Service Award on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Anne McCauley accepts the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Kevin Bain.

OXFORD, Miss. – All University of Mississippi employees contribute in some way to the overall student experience, but some faculty and staff go beyond the call of duty in their commitment to helping students. The annual Frist Student Service Awards honors those dedicated individuals.

During the university’s Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 9), Anne McCauley, UM assistant director of sustainability, and Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy, were introduced as the 2015 Frist winners.

Service is a key commitment that is asked of everyone at the university, Chancellor Dan Jones said. For this reason, the Frist award is a special and important honor.

“The Frist award recognizing service to our students is a special honor,” Jones said. “Both of this year’s recipients support the mission of the university in many ways. But the attention to the success of our students and opportunities for student engagement has been noted by many. I congratulate and thank Ms. McCauley and Dr. Bombelli for their remarkable service to students.”

The award was established 20 years ago with a financial gift from Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr., a 1930 UM graduate from Nashville. Frist is the founder of Hospital Corporation of America.

Since 1995, the Frist Student Service Awards have honored one faculty member and one staff member. The two recipients receive $1,000 and a plaque.

Both of this year’s recipients said they were humbled by the recognition.

Bombelli, who joined the faculty in 1999, said he was surprised to win the award.

“I never saw this coming,” Bombelli said. “I am extremely pleased and honored to be receiving the Frist award. I am also surprised because I know that I am just one of many members of this university whose top priority is making sure that we provide students with the best education and support we can as they prepare for their careers in an open and inclusive environment.”

One international student in the doctoral program said that when he first arrived, Bombelli went to great lengths to help him get connected with another student who became his roommate. He also sent someone to pick up new students at the airport and helped them get hotel rooms once they arrived. He is also very valuable as a mentor. 

“He always has an open office door, as well as an open mind for conversation,” the student wrote in his nomination letter. “He befriends all of the students and is aware of our concerns and passions. He genuinely cares about us as individuals and serves as a life mentor as well as an academic mentor. Students recognize this and go to him in droves for help, guidance and a friendly ear.”

Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc presents Dr. Luca Bombelli with the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Brandi Hephner LaBanc presents Luca Bombelli with the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Bombelli also listens to students’ opinions. He organized luncheons for students to get to know job candidates for two faculty positions and passed their input on those selections to the department chair.

McCauley, who joined the UM staff in 2008, said the students make her job rewarding.

“I am so honored to receive this award because working with students is the most rewarding part of my job,” McCauley said. “They challenge me and make me want to be my best self. I think I gain from them as much if not more than I give.”

Sustainability efforts on campus require lots of dirty jobs, which include sorting through mountains of recyclable materials after home football games. McCauley often works right beside her student workers to help the university meet its sustainability goals. She also has been a champion of the university’s goal to become more bicycle-friendly. Away from campus, she prepares dinners for graduating student interns.

One student intern sang McCauley’s praises in his Frist nomination letter. He said he wasn’t treated like an intern; rather, he was treated as an important part of the team. This allowed him to learn a lot about the workings of an institution of higher learning, which will serve him well in his career.

“I was most inspired by Anne’s resilience when situations didn’t go as planned,” he wrote. “She never wavered from working hard to achieve her project goals. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to serve as one of Anne’s interns. It taught me countless skills and provided me with real-world experience that I believe would otherwise be rarely encountered by a college undergraduate. I know she will always be there for me with advice as I move forward with my future endeavors.”

UVA President Challenges UM Graduates to Become Problem-Solvers

Teresa A. Sullivan shares trials and triumphs during university's 162nd Commencement

Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Acknowledging national and global crises, University of Virginia president Teresa A. Sullivan challenged University of Mississippi graduating seniors Saturday (May 9) to remain engaged, improve themselves and their communities and shoulder responsibilities.

“In a world full of problems, this University of Mississippi Class of 2015 is a well-educated, highly-trained team of problem-solvers,” Sullivan said during her address at the university’s 162nd Commencement ceremony in C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum. “In fact, we expect spectacular, groundbreaking, earth-shattering things from you. We expect you to solve the difficult problems that have confounded us in our time.”

Since taking office in 2010, Sullivan has led UVA through a period of significant progress. In fall 2012, she launched an effort that produced a new strategic plan for the university, the Cornerstone Plan. Sullivan also oversaw completion of a $3 billion capital campaign that will help ensure the institution’s stability and spur innovation in a period of significant financial pressure in higher education.

“Dr. Sullivan is perhaps best known nationally for her leadership on two key issues in higher education,” said Chancellor Dan Jones, who introduced the speaker. “First, the relationship between the publicly appointed boards of public universities and the institutional academic leadership and, second, the merging issues of sexual assault, alcohol use and Greek life on university campuses.”

After Rolling Stone published an account of an alleged sexual assault at a UVA fraternity house last year, sparking a national scandal, Sullivan demonstrated remarkable leadership in her measured, but firm, response and her dedication to providing a safe environment for all students, Jones said.

“Though Rolling Stone has since withdrawn the story and apologized publicly for misreporting, Dr. Sullivan did not dodge the opportunity to evaluate campus policies and practices to assure student well-being,” he said.

Sullivan, in turn, praised Jones as one of the strongest models of values in action.

“Through his ethical leadership, through his personal integrity, through his commitment to pursue the best interests of the University of Mississippi – even at considerable cost – Chancellor Jones has provided a living lesson for all of you,” Sullivan said. “I hope that you will remember his model of exemplary leadership and exceptional humanity as you prepare to assume positions of leadership in your own careers and communities across the nation and around the world.”

Showers forced university officials to move Commencement from its planned location in the Grove. Individual school ceremonies were also shuffled to the coliseum and other rain locations across campus. This is the last graduation for the coliseum, which will be replaced late this year by the new Pavilion at Ole Miss, under construction nearby.

Before Sullivan’s speech, Grady Lee Nutt II of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the 2015 senior class, announced the creation of the Chancellor Dan Jones Endowed Service Scholarship. Following a lengthy standing ovation, Jones, visibly moved by the many supportive remarks, said serving as UM chancellor for the past six years has been the highest era of his professional career. His tenure ends in mid-September per a decision by the State Institutions of Higher Learning board of trustees not to renew his contract.

Referencing humanitarians such as Robert F. Kennedy, Walt Whitman and Martin Luther King Jr., Sullivan acknowledged the progress that has been made in human equality and envisioned future evolution in societal attitudes.

“We have come a long way from the days of segregation and the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, but we still have a long way to go, as recent crises in cities across the nation have shown us,” Sullivan said. “I hope you will apply the knowledge and training you have acquired here to continue bending the arc of history toward justice, and equality and harmony among people of all races.

“As you leave here, remember to carry with you the values that you have learned – values of honor, hard work, respect for others, civility and reconciliation. In those moments when you are put to the test, you may be tempted to compromise your values. Resist that temptation.”

This year’s graduating class included nearly 2,800 spring candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees, plus more than 1,200 August graduates.

Among the attendees, William and Angela Dykeman of Forest came to watch their son, Matthew, graduate with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

“This is a great experience for us,” William Dykeman said. “Thirty years ago, I earned my degree in electrical engineering from here. Our daughter, who is graduating from high school later this month, is planning to enroll here this fall.”

Kenny Lindsay of Cape Girardeau, Missouri said he and his wife, Roxie, were excited to watch their granddaughter, Megan Lynn, graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English.

“We’re as proud as we can be that she’s graduating from Ole Miss,” said Kenny Lindsay, who was in Oxford with other family members. “Neither one of us ever had more than a high school education, so this is a huge achievement within our family.”

Louis Shivers of Natchez came to see his friend, Lewis Bridges of Grenada, receive his specialist degree in curriculum and instruction.

“I’m so proud of him for his diligence which led to this accomplishment,” Shivers said. “As an older student, he had to financially support himself. Even through his illness, he really did wonderfully.”

Following the general ceremony, the College of Liberal Arts and the Oxford campus’ eight schools held separate ceremonies to present baccalaureate, master’s, Doctor of Pharmacy and law diplomas. Sports talk broadcaster Paul Finebaum was the speaker for the Khayat School of Law, Federal Express executive Rose Jackson Flenorl addressed the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and entrepreneur Edith Kelly-Green spoke at ceremonies for the Patterson School of Accountancy.

Recipients of doctoral degrees were honored at a hooding ceremony Friday evening in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, where three awards were presented by the Graduate School. The Group Award for Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education went to the Department of Civil Engineering. Chancellor Jones received the Individual Award for Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education. John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry, was presented the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Robert Brown, professor of political science, was honored as the recipient of the 2015 Elise M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, presented annually to the campuswide outstanding teacher.

Charles L. Hussey, chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was named the recipient of the university’s eighth Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

The university also recognized the winners of this year’s Frist Student Service Awards: Anne McCauley, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability, and Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy.

Summer Research Program Focuses on Concussion Prevention for Athletes

Grant will get high school students involved in wiring Vaught-Hemingway to aid in impact awareness

ConcussionResearch

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

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – A University of Mississippi engineering professor is helping tackle the risks of head injuries in athletes engaged in contact sports, particularly football, and is inviting bright high school students to help with the project this summer.

Matthew Morrison, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, is using high-tech sensors to monitor the forces on athletes’ heads during practice and game conditions. He plans to work with rising high school juniors and seniors this summer to broaden the project, with a goal of aiding early detection and possible solutions to the critical problem of concussion injuries.

The inaugural “Heads in the Game” research program will take place June 28-July 28 on the Oxford campus. The program is made possible by a $200,000 grant from X2 Biosystems and is a partnership with the Ole Miss Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the UM Center for Health and Sports Performance and the UM Summer College for High School Students.

“We wanted to find a way to demonstrate to Mississippi high school students the importance of math and science research and show them how the study of these disciplines helps people every day,” Morrison explained. “We know high school students are interested in sports, so we hope that our research using state-of-the-art technology with UM athletes will be a way to pique their interest.”

Students from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee are eligible to apply for 16 spots in the program. Besides participating in Morrison’s ongoing research concerning concussion management for contact-sport athletes, they will explore the fundamentals of biomedical science, computer science and engineering.

“Through this generous grant from X2 Biosystems, we hope not only to develop tools that can be used by Ole Miss athletics to continue improving the health and well-being of student athletes, but also to give area high school students a chance to improve their own skill set and resume,” Morrison said.

HEADS IN THE GAME from UM Division of Outreach on Vimeo.

Since 2010, X2 has pioneered the development of wearable impact-monitoring devices and assessment tools to enable more accurate diagnoses and comprehensive management of concussions in sports, military and industrial environments. The National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer have all adopted X2’s Integrated Concussion Evaluation, or ICE, solution for baseline neurocognitive testing, post-injury evaluation and return-to-play progress monitoring of their athletes.

“X2 was founded to improve concussion safety for the millions of young athletes who benefit from participating in sporting activities, but at the same time are exposed to all manner of physical impacts,” said John Ralston, X2’s CEO. “Helping Ole Miss engineering and athletic performance researchers to instill an appreciation of the underlying science and technology in high school students is a fantastic opportunity to combine athletics and academics in the development of creative young researchers.”

Morrison applied and received an educational research grant from the company in the fall of 2014. In conjunction with the Ole Miss Athletics Health and Sports Performance Center, he began using the X2 impact sensors and ICE software during spring football practice to document head impact during plays. During the Grove Bowl spring football scrimmage last month, players and trainers gathered enough information from immediate readings to implement in-game techniques to ward off potentially damaging hits to the head.

“We are excited about the potential data that will be collected and may ultimately help set standards in health care and athletic performance,” Shannon Singletary, UM senior associate athletics director for health and sports performance said. “This will be a cutting edge program that will benefit high school students as well as athletes of all ages as we explore causes and treatments for sports related issues such as concussions.”

The high school students selected for the “Heads in the Game” program this summer also will help set up and test equipment in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium that athletics staff can use to monitor impact readings in real time from football players wearing X2 devices on the field.

Program participants will also be working closely with UM athletic trainers to develop a mobile device application that will track nutrition and water consumption of athletes to see if those results yield data that are useful for preventing head injuries during competitions.

“Our goal is to help the players play smarter, play safer and play longer,” Morrison said. “We think the implementation of this system will aid trainers in improving players’ form and nutrition to get them back on the field, all while improving their health and safety.”

During the program, students will present their findings during a weekly meeting of Ole Miss athletics coaches, trainers and staff.

“This unique program is definitely one of a kind and an amazing opportunity for high school students,” said Cass Dodgen, director of UM Summer College for High School Students.

Applications are available online for students who would like to be a part of the research program this summer. Each student accepted also gets a $2,000 scholarship to cover the cost of room, board and program activities for four weeks on campus.

“We are looking for motivated, hard-working students who have a love of sports and technology,” Dodgen said.

Students must have a score of 25 or higher on the ACT and at least a 3.0 high school GPA to be eligible. The application deadline is June 1. For more information, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/headsinthegame.

SFA Journal, Podcast Named Publication of the Year

'Gravy' covers Southern food in both printed and audio media

Tina Antolini, Sara Camp Arnold Milam (center) and John T Edge at the James Beard Awards in New York City. The Southern Foodways Alliance’s “Gravy” has been named the James Beard Foundation’s Publication of the Year.

Tina Antolini (left), Sara Camp Arnold Milam and John T. Edge celebrate at the James Beard Awards in New York.

OXFORD, Miss. – The James Beard Foundation has named “Gravy,” the quarterly print journal and biweekly podcast of the University of Mississippi’s Southern Foodways Alliance, as the 2015 Publication of the Year. The award honors fresh direction, worthy ambition and a forward-looking approach to food journalism.

The printed journal Gravy lands in the mailboxes of SFA members four times a year, while “Gravy” the podcast hits the cyber-airwaves every other week. Both serve up fresh, unexpected and thought-provoking stories of an American South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions and lovingly maintaining old ones.

Sara Camp Arnold Milam, Gravy’s managing editor, said it is an honor to win a James Beard Award.

“I’m pleased that the Beard Foundation recognized our multiplatform approach to storytelling – first a print magazine, and now a sister podcast,” Milam said. “I’m so grateful that we get to do our work here at the university, specifically at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. And I thank the members of the Southern Foodways Alliance for their support of our mission.”

Milam joined the SFA in 2012. She took over a publication printed in black-and-white, staple-bound and a mere 12 pages in length. Under her leadership, the journal has grown to a full-color, 60-page, perfect-bound beauty bursting with smart words, intriguing illustrations and arresting photographs.

Milam also writes for the SFA blog, works as a producer for Greenhouse films and, along with John T. Edge, serves as co-executive producer of “Gravy” the podcast.

The SFA’s quest to dig into lesser-known corners of the region and give voice to those who grow, cook and serve daily meals couldn’t be contained in a single publication. So, in 2014, SFA launched “Gravy” the podcast, which is produced and hosted by Tina Antolini, Salt Institute graduate and NPR veteran. Ten episodes in, loyal listeners anxiously await each helping, served up every other Thursday morning.

A member-supported nonprofit based at the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South.

Celebration of Achievement Honors Minorities, People of Color

Annual event begins at 5:30 p.m. May 8 in Tad Smith Coliseum

Students are honored with medals at the 2014 Celebration of Achievement

Students are honored with medals at the 2014 Celebration of Achievement

OXFORD, Miss. – As part of University of Mississippi’s Commencement activities, the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement is honoring more than 230 minority graduates who have excelled during their tenure as students.

The annual Celebration of Achievement is set for 5:30 p.m. May 8 in Tad Smith Coliseum. The free event is open to the public.

“This event is an opportunity for family, friends and the university community to come together and honor graduating students of color and other underrepresented populations,” said Courtney Pearson, a graduate assistant and program co-coordinator. “Each honoree is invited to have an escort who will have the privilege of presenting them with a medal that honors their achievements here. We would like to increase the number of attendees that come out and support these graduates that are being honored.”

Program participants include Brandi Hephner Labanc, vice-chancellor for student affairs; Valeria Ross, associate dean of students; Charles Ross, chair and professor of African-American studies; Donald Cole, special assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs; and Julia Bussade, instructor in Spanish and Portuguese.

Chase Moore, former director of the UM Gospel Choir and associate director of the Student Activities Association, will sing the university alma mater. Student reflections will be given by Camila Versaquez, president of the Latin American Student Organization, and Briana O’Neil, president of the Black Student Union.

Begun by Valeria Ross years ago, the Celebration of Achievement program has become very meaningful to students who have been honored.

“To a first-generation college student coming from a family who thought they would never be able to afford to put their child through college, the Celebration of Achievement ceremony means everything,” said Cedric Garron of Winona, a 2014 recipient. “As a minority student, my decision to attend the University of Mississippi was questioned by my community, my classmates and sometimes by my friends. For an extended period of time I began to doubt my own choice, but I entered in the fall of 2009 with very high hopes.”

Garron said his tenure at UM was never a perfect, stress-free journey.

“I struggled academically and socially during my freshman and sophomore year, but with the help of the amazing faculty and staff members I was able to eventually fill out the first of hopefully many degree applications,” he said.

As graduation approached, Garron found himself thinking of how he wasn’t going to be recognized as an honor graduate or be the person wearing multiple cords from those prestigious honor societies so many of his classmates had joined. What he did have to look forward to was the Celebration of Achievement ceremony.

“Seeing how proud my mother was to escort me to the front of hundreds of my fellow minority graduates and place a medal of achievement around my neck created an indescribable amount of emotion,” he said. “We as a family were able to take a minute to reflect on just how large of an accomplishment my graduation was. Celebration of Achievement was not only a chance to celebrate my success, but the success of hundreds of my brothers and sisters in the Ole Miss family. That is a memory I will cherish forever.”

For more information, contact the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement at 662-915-1689 or inclusion@olemiss.edu.

UM to Hold Annual Memorial Ceremony Thursday

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Each spring, the University of Mississippi conducts a memorial ceremony to commemorate the lives of students, faculty, staff and emeriti who died during this academic year.

This year’s ceremony is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday (April 30) at Paris-Yates Chapel. The community is invited and encouraged to attend.

Honoring the lives of the loved ones lost over the last year provides an opportunity to bring the Ole Miss family together in unity, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“The most difficult aspect of our job is dealing with death,” Hephner LaBanc said. “Every year, we lose many individuals who have had an important and lasting impact on our community. Whether they have been here one semester or numerous years, they were an important part of the Ole Miss family. The memorial ceremony is our opportunity to remember their contribution and celebrate their lives.”

This year’s ceremony honors these 14 members of the Ole Miss family:

Students

John Fenton Kottkamp

Grant Womack

Luke Phillips

Tanner Chapmon

James McCastlain

 

Faculty and Staff

Andrew Stefani

Kerby Ladner

Burl Hunt

Charles Treas

Esther Sparks Sprague

Larry Taylor

Roy Sheffield

Russell Stokes

Robert Marlon Bates

UM Students Dig For Clues about Slaves’ Daily Lives

Work at Hugh Craft House yielding insights into diet and culture of antebellum Holly Springs residents

Stephanie Orsini, an anthropology graduate student from Libertyville, Illinois, left, works with UM Assistant Professor of Anthropology Carolyn Freiwald, right, beside the former slave quarters at the Hugh Craft House in Holly Springs.

Anthropology graduate student Stephanie Orsini, left, works with Carolyn Freiwald beside the former slave quarters at the Hugh Craft House in Holly Springs.

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. – University of Mississippi anthropology students are digging at a historical home in Holly Springs to get a glimpse into the daily habits and foodways of the slaves who lived there from the 1840s until the Civil War.

Two UM assistant professors of anthropology, Jodi Skipper and Carolyn Freiwald, took their students to dig for artifacts that give clues about life at the Hugh Craft House. The house had slave quarters, with a detached kitchen area, that was built circa 1843. The 1860 Marshall County Slave Census shows nine slaves lived there. About 20 other properties in and around the town also have similar well-preserved slave dwellings.

“Holly Springs probably has more intact slave dwellings in a small area than I’ve probably ever seen in this country,” Skipper said. “This is very unique.”

But identifying those important historical houses isn’t easy to the untrained eye.

“They’re hidden in plain sight,” Skipper said. “They look like sheds, pool houses and lots of other things, but unless you know what you’re looking for, you wouldn’t be able to detect that these were slave dwellings. When I say slave dwellings, they were built for that, but these structures were occupied into the 1930s and 1940s or so by folks working as nannies, or doing other jobs, for the families who owned the properties.”

Freiwald and Skipper have students from a seminar on biological anthropology, a course on ancient foods, a Southern heritage tourism graduate class and a class on African diaspora, among others, working at the site. There’s lots of information about the daily lives of slaves that is revealed through what’s found around the home site, Freiwald said.

“The ground is telling us stories,” Freiwald said. “We just want to tie the pieces of the story together.”

Chelius Carter, an architectural historian and head of the Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc., owns the Hugh Craft House, which was occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Its slaves quarters and kitchen are heavy timber frame with batten-board siding. The home is in a well-preserved state and was part of the recent “Behind the Big House” tour of historical homes in Marshall County. The tour gives local students and the public chances to explore the homes and it coincides with the annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage, which is a tour of antebellum mansions there.

The main purpose of Behind the Big House is to tell the story of the slave structures and the people who worked and lived in them. The tour has been going on for four years and has been very successful with help from UM student volunteers, Skipper said. 

Grace Myers, a senior anthropology major from Austin, Texas, gives a presentation to a school group attending Behind the Big House tour at the Hugh Craft House in Holly Springs.

UM senior Grace Myers, left, gives a presentation to a school group at a Behind the Big House tour at the Hugh Craft House in Holly Springs.

Grace Myers, a senior anthropology major from Austin, Texas, gave a presentation to each school group attending Behind the Big House about some of the bones that have been found there. Working in Holly Springs has been extremely valuable because the unusually large number of preserved sites from the antebellum years gives students insights they can’t find in most other towns, she said.

“It’s in the backyard of Ole Miss,” Myers said. “It’s cool because Holly Springs wasn’t burned down during the Civil War, whereas Oxford was. So this is a preservation of time. We’re not going to be able to find this in Oxford, but because it’s still part of north Mississippi, we can find out about the habits and the foodways and that kind of information about people who lived in this area. That’s really cool.”

While Holly Springs students walked around and listened to presentations at different spots on the site, UM students dug around and underneath the old slave quarters, looking for bones and ceramics that might have been used for eating.

In the backyard, Stephanie Orsini, an anthropology graduate student from Libertyville, Illinois, dug a small area behind the house. Each house that is excavated seems to have a different makeup of animal bones in the ground around it, she said.

“It’s very different,” Orsini said. “A lot of articles I’ve read say it depends on the nationality of the people in the house. One house that they looked at had people living there who were French. In France, people might consider pig’s head a delicacy, whereas others might not consider that as good of a cut of meat. What the slaves got depended on what people in the big house wanted.”

Freiwald, who is interested in the diets of different groups, said she’s already been able to determine a great deal about what was eaten at the home, but the work there will continue throughout the semester.

“I can tell they were eating sheep,” Freiwald said. “We can tell how they were butchering cows and maybe they were using the bones for soup. I can see they had ribs and some pigs and a number of different domestic animals, and a lot of birds. We’re hoping maybe we can tell at some point if the household ate together. Did they separate their food at all? We don’t know if we’ll be able to answer those questions, but we’ll try to find out.”

Efforts to understand the cuisine there are only part of why the work at the Hugh Craft House is important, Skipper said.

“The dig can tell us about foodways, but it’s also one of the few records that we have of the enslaved community here,” Skipper said. “These are not folks who were writing narratives and leaving them behind. This work is very important for that reason.”

For more information on education and research programs in the UM Department of Sociology and Anthropology, go to http://socanth.olemiss.edu/.