Mossing Left Lasting Mark at UM

Endowment celebrates and continues efforts of Susan Mossing

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Susan Mossing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UM Again ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ Finalist

Chronicle of Higher Education surveys university employees nationwide, finds high satisfaction at Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. – Continuing to establish its reputation for employee satisfaction, the University of Mississippi has again been recognized as one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

University of Mississippi has again been recognized as one of the nation’s "Great Colleges To Work For" by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The University of Mississippi has again been recognized as one of the nation’s ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

UM was cited for excellence in three categories: collaborative governance, employee confidence in the university’s senior leadership and supervisor/department chair relationship. The Chronicle has recognized “Great Colleges to Work For” for the last eight years. UM has been recognized in seven of those years.

“The University is Mississippi is once again honored to be recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a ‘Great Place to Work For,'” said Clay Jones, UM assistant vice chancellor and director of human resources. “This repeated recognition validates our commitment to treat our employees in the fairest manner possible and also strengthens our resolve to continue to make improvements to our work environment. Our entire campus community is committed to continual advancements in all areas, which certainly include a better work place for all of our employees.”

UM’s repeated success is directly caused by its committed faculty and staff, who work hard to make the university a great place to work, said Noel Wilkin, interim provost.

“Every day, I interact with people who live our creed, who genuinely care about our success, and who use their talents to make our university one of the best in the world,” Wilkin said. “These efforts are reflected in this ranking.”

2015GCWF_4CsingularThe full results of the survey of employees at universities and colleges across America will be featured in the Chronicle’s Academic Workplace Special Issue, which debuted today on the Chronicle of Higher Education webpage. The print edition of the award recognition program will be published and mailed soon thereafter.

Earlier this year, the university participated in the survey, which is designed to recognize institutions that have built great workplaces. The surveys designed specifically for higher education were sent to a sample of each institution’s full-time faculty, administrators, and exempt and non-exempt staff.

Survey answers were submitted anonymously. Questionnaires were processed by ModernThink LLC, an independent third-party company.

The recognition comes at a time when many universities across the nation are dealing with budget struggles, while at the same time trying to keep tuition costs as low as possible for students. The head of the company that handled the Chronicle survey said those institutions that were able to keep employees happy during tough times deserve extra credit.

“It’s easier to be a great workplace during good times, but it’s when times are tough that the commitment to workplace quality really gets tested,” said Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner of ModernThink. “And those institutions that measure up during times of economic hardship reinforce their already strong cultures and put even more distance between them and their peer institutions for whom they compete for talent.”

Search Committee Expects New UM Chancellor by Year’s End

Campus listening session brings call for new leader to recruit and think globally

OXFORD, Miss. – The committee charged with finding a new University of Mississippi chancellor expects to have a preferred candidate selected before the end of the year, the group’s members said at an on-campus listening session with alumni, faculty, staff and students.

Board Search Committee chair Alan Perry speaks during a Listening Session conducted by the committee. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Board Search Committee chair Alan Perry speaks during a Listening Session conducted by the committee. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

The UM Board Search Committee is tasked by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning to find the next chancellor through a nationwide search. The UM Campus Search Advisory Committee is assisting. The R. William Funk and Associates firm is helping with the search, and the group is also taking candidate suggestions from the public.

Alan Perry, a UM graduate who chairs the UM Board Search Committee, said he expects very high interest in the opening.

“Ole Miss is a destination job,” Perry said. “We think it’s a good enough job that we can attract very, very good applicants.”

The UM Board Search Committee met with the UM Foundation and UM Alumni Association boards of directors Tuesday (July 14), and along with the UM Campus Search Advisory Committee, held listening sessions with alumni, faculty, staff and students. Those meetings were all open to the public. All voices will be heard and the committee truly wants as much input as possible, Perry said.

“We want to hear the characteristics you are looking for in your next chancellor,” Perry said. “We do not assume that we know everything.”

The committee will hold more listening sessions during the process. Those sessions will be Aug. 20 at the UM Medical Center in Jackson and another Oxford campus session on Aug. 27.

The interview process for candidates will be private. Ideally, the group would have a preferred candidate chosen by the end of the fall semester and that candidate would be available for public forums with the university community before being hired, Perry said. The new chancellor could take over in the spring 2016 semester, if all goes as planned, he said.

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, Dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, speaks during a Campus Listening Session conducted by members of the Board Search Committee. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, Dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, speaks during a Campus Listening Session conducted by members of the Board Search Committee. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Faculty, staff members and administrators told the committee Tuesday they want the next chancellor to build on UM’s strong reputation as a research institution. They also want someone who has a strong academic background and fundraising acumen. This candidate should also be chosen from a diverse pool of applicants, the board was told. Perry agreed those items were all important factors in the committee’s decision.

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, said he feels the next leader needs to have worked at a university and also be able to understand the needs of tenured faculty. He also noted the importance of someone who has fundraising capabilities.

But the next chancellor must also understand UM competes with the world for students, faculty and resources, he said.

“Our competition is not Mississippi State. Our competition is not Jackson State,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “Our competition is coming from Beijing. It’s coming from Berlin and it’s coming from Buenos Aires. It’s coming from New Dehli. That’s the world we live in. We have to get out of this monolithic vision that this is a zero-sum game and look at the broader picture and choose a leader that is thinking that way.”

Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, serves as chair of the Campus Search Advisory Committee. She said she’s honored to be a part of the process and feels the committee is an outstanding group of professionals with the best interest of the university at heart.

“The university is at a position of unprecedented success and we’re on a tremendous upward trajectory with momentum,” Clark said. “We expect to identify a leader for the university that will take us forward and capitalize on our current success. What we want is great leadership and the vision and ability to inspire people to greater heights.”

Nomination letters, applications (including a letter of interest, resume/CV and references) or expressions of interest can be submitted to the R. William Funk and Associates firm through email to Other contact information is available at Candidates may apply until Sept. 1 for best consideration. To track progress on the search or get additional information, visit or see the Twitter account @UM_Search

Cohen Named Dean of UM College of Liberal Arts

The former Texas Tech psychologist will lead university’s largest academic division beginning Aug. 1

Lee Cohen

Lee Cohen

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has hired Lee Cohen, professor and chair of Texas Tech University’s psychological sciences department, to become the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He is set to begin his new post Aug. 1. 

Cohen, who will also teach psychology, said he’s excited and humbled by the selection and looks forward to beginning his work at UM.

“I know that the appointment of a new dean is an important decision and I very much appreciate being given the opportunity to lead the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi,” Cohen said. “I am excited to get to work and learn all I can about the college as well as the traditions, legacies and history of Ole Miss.

“I am also very much looking forward to building upon existing relationships and forging new ones within the college and across the university and local community.” 

Cohen has demonstrated exemplary personal and professional qualities as a leader and an educator, and the university’s faculty and administration look forward to his arrival, said Morris Stocks, UM acting chancellor. 

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Lee Cohen will be joining the University of Mississippi,” Stocks said. “He has excellent qualifications that will serve him well as he leads the College of Liberal Arts into the future. Dr. Cohen will bring a deep understanding of the values of a liberal education, as well as focused energy and enthusiasm for the continued transformation of our university.”

Acting Provost Noel Wilkin touted Cohen’s success as an administrator and also his distinguished career as a faculty member. 

“Dr. Cohen understands the important roles that faculty play on our campus and brings with him valuable experience that will serve him well as he assumes leadership of our largest academic unit on campus,” Wilkin said. 

Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of California at San Diego. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from Oklahoma State University. For the past 15 years, he’s been a faculty member at Texas Tech. There, he has also served in administrative roles, which includes director of the nationally accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology, in addition to serving as chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences.

He has taught both undergraduate and graduate-level classes, and also has been involved in important research on nicotine addiction. He established a research program that explores the mechanisms that contribute to nicotine use, withdrawal and dependence. He said he has mainly been interested in identifying healthy alternative behaviors that complement smoking cessation efforts.

His wife, Michelle, is an occupational therapist and an assistant professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The couple has three children: Ross, 12, Rachel, 9, and Rebecca, 3.

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 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

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


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