Pavilion Parking Garage Offer Open to Faculty, Staff

The Pavilion Parking Garage will be available this summer as a free trial for UM faculty and staff. Photo by Innovative Construction Management.

The Pavilion Parking Garage will be available this summer as a free trial for UM faculty and staff. Photo by Innovative Construction Management.

The Pavilion Parking Garage opens this summer, and faculty and staff members have an opportunity to participate in a free trial before permits are purchased for the fall semester.

The first 300 faculty and staff members to contact can park in the garage free of charge during the summer sessions before new permits become available in July.

Those purchasing permits for the Pavilion Parking Garage will have the right of first refusal in future years. Vehicles with permits for the garage will be restricted to parking there between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All questions about the process can be directed to When an exact opening date is determined, the Department of Parking and Transportation will notify the individuals selected to participate in the free trial.

Interactive Campus Map Packed with Information, Cool Features

There are many unique features within the new campus interactive map.

There are many unique features within the new interactive campus map.

When you’re trying to locate a building or find information about a campus location, there are several ways to go about it. You could try awkward folding printed maps or ask nice Southern gentlemen and ladies walking to class for help. But the most efficient and easiest method to finding your way around campus is in your hand (or on your laptop).

The Ole Miss interactive map features customized 3-D models of campus buildings, including high-resolution imagery, 360-degree panoramic exterior views and a narrated virtual campus tour that assist in telling our unique story. The map allows you to search for college buildings and facilities by name and through the use of categorized map markers. And the custom image map created from actual renderings makes individual buildings easy to identify.

The white-paneled navigation tool allows users to select categories for an “at-a-glance” view of venues in relation to landmarks, such as the Grove or the Lyceum, along with detailed information about each location. New freshman can identify academic buildings, residence halls and offices around campus, while upperclassmen and staff can view information about campus events, parking, safety and accessibility. Also, visitors can view the virtual campus tour from anywhere and get a sense and feel of Ole Miss. The map is accessible on mobile devices and easy to use, so giving directions to family or guests should be easy.

Here are five features/layers on the map that you should check out:

Ole Miss Video Tour – You can take a virtual tour of the “Most Beautiful Campus” and not only view important locations, but hear from students about the history that makes Ole Miss unique.

Construction Areas – Having trouble getting through campus because you aren’t sure if you will get hung up by construction? Click on the bottom layer for the most up-to-date information about road closures and building construction to map out your drive.

360-Degree Panoramas – Have you ever stood on the field turf at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium? If you’d like to see what that looks like, you can, along with 25 other locations that give you a really cool 360-degree view.

Services – Having trouble finding an ATM, a quiet place to study or a bus stop? Click this link to find useful information along with important accessibility information. “Heart defibribulator? Check Hume Hall.” “Lactation room? There’s one in Peabody.” See? Easy.

Commencement – Need a one-stop location to find student lineup info, parking instructions or shuttle stops? Check your phone. Hungry waiting for your school’s ceremony? Go to and click the “Commencement” link and check it out.

NFSMI Director Accepts Presidential Appointment

Katie Wilson takes role with USDA

Dr. Katie Wilson

Katie Wilson

OXFORD, Miss. – Katie Wilson, executive director of the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, has been appointed by President Barack Obama as deputy undersecretary of food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The role includes a variety of responsibilities, including oversight over the development of dietary guidelines and nutrition programs across the country.

“I have partnered with the USDA a number of times over the years,” Wilson said. “I’ve taken part in many of their expert panels on nutrition, so the connection has always been there.”

Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, contacted Wilson in January about the possibility of becoming deputy undersecretary. She accepted the job earlier this month.

“Katie has had a wealth of experience in school nutrition, serving in a variety of positions,” Concannon said. “She has testified before Congress and served in leadership roles in the School Nutrition Association. Her clear and lifelong passion for improving the health of schoolchildren and her vast experience in this field make her a perfect choice to hit the ground when she joins us later this spring.”

Wilson has served as NFSMI’s executive director since 2010. Established by Congress in 1989, the institute is the only federally funded center dedicated to education, training and technical assistance for child nutrition programs.

“I love NFSMI. It’s a passion of mine,” Wilson said. “We have developed a wonderful staff that’s very capable of doing their jobs. It’s sort of a sweet sorrow, but I’m not worried. The institute is in good hands.”

Velmer Burton, dean of the School of Applied Sciences, praised Wilson’s appointment, noting that she did an exemplary job as the institute’s director.

“Katie will truly be missed as she leaves for Washington, D.C.,” Burton said. “However, we are very excited for her in this new role, which naturally reflects well on Dr. Wilson, the talented NFSMI staff and the initiatives she has established as director here at the University of Mississippi.”

Wilson begins her new position May 1 at USDA, where she expects to begin discussions about national nutrition standards in schools.

“I believe children should have the highest quality of food in their schools,” she said. “We should be serving meals based on the science of nutrition.”

Meet Melissa Graves, March’s Staff Member of the Month

Melissa Graves

Melissa Graves

Melissa Graves, associate director and instructor at the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, has been selected as Staff Council’s Staff Member of the Month for March. To help us get to know her better, Graves answered a few questions for Inside Ole Miss.

IOM: How long have you worked at Ole Miss?

Graves: Since October 2008

IOM: What is your hometown?

Graves: Fort Worth, Texas

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss memory?

Graves: This past weekend, when my team carried out the Days of Intrigue. It’s a practical exercise that we run for students and it includes participation from the CIA, DIA, FBI, NSA, NGA, State Department, and the White House. We had 85 students from eight different universities participating. It was the most complex exercise we’d ever run, as it was our seventh time to run one of these. We finally had the process of being “game creators” down. The weekend couldn’t have gone better, and I savored every single second of working with my colleagues. We had such a good time, and I loved working alongside some of my favorite people!

IOM: What do you enjoy most about your position or the department in which you work?

Graves: Working with students and seeing their success.

IOM: What do you like to do when you are not at work?

Graves: Read! I’m a big reader.

IOM: What is one thing on your bucket list?

Graves: Travel to Africa.

IOM: What is your favorite movie?

Graves: Too many to list. My husband is a filmmaker and so I’m constantly seeing new movies, which I love, but I’m terrible at picking favorites.

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss tradition?

Graves: The flowers that bloom each spring. I anxiously await the cycle of flowers that pop up like clockwork each year.

To nominate a colleague for the Staff Member of the Month, email with the name of the individual you’d like to nominate as well as why you feel he or she should be recognized.

UM Physical Plant to Become Facilities Management Department

Health and Safety, Facilities Operations and Facilities Services divisions created in reorganization

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has announced the Physical Plant Department has been reorganized and renamed the Facilities Management Department, which will consist of three divisions. The change takes effect Wednesday (April 1).

The Facilities Management Department will continue to be led by Director Ashton Pearson, but it will include Health and Safety, Facilities Operations and Facilities Services divisions.

“This reorganization and renaming brings the university’s facilities organization more in line with that of our Southeastern Conference peers and provides greater emphasis on current customer service to the University of Mississippi,” Pearson said.

The department’s workforce remains intact through the restructuring process. 

Ed Movitz will continue in the role of health and safety officer and he will direct the Health and Safety Division. Its primary mission is to reduce the risk of illness or injuries at UM by developing, implementing, enhancing and improving programs. This will be done through training, guidance, technical expertise and support services to all campus activities and programs. The division’s aim is to ensure campus facilities and programs operate in compliance within the spirit and letter of health, safety and environmental regulations.

“Health & Safety will strive to be recognized as a division of the Facilities Management Department that fosters excellence through honest communication, technical expertise and teamwork,” Pearson said.

Russ Buchholz will lead the Facilities Operations Division with the title of associate director. This change reflects the utility services, infrastructure and energy management work that has been the mission for the staff that operates within this division. Automated control systems, interconnected digital metering, variable frequency drive systems, and high-efficiency central heating and cooling systems are being installed campuswide by this division. The work will help keep UM capable of meeting 21st century demands.

“The Facilities Operations Division will continue to provide work that will reflect a spirit of building for the future of the university while maintaining a high standard of delivery of the various trade services to the campus community,” Pearson said.

Donna Mooney will take charge of the new Facilities Services Division as associate director. This division provides a variety of services, including daily cleaning, campus event setups, vehicle fuel and maintenance services, departmental moves and the administration of Facilities Management work orders. The division will oversee personnel services for the Facilities Management Department, including human resources, information technology requests, safety, training and accounting.

The Facilities Services Division will also manage the university’s “building mayors,” a program that establishes a primary contact person in each building to be responsible for coordinating and submitting work requests for maintenance operations and cleaning services. This person also serves as the building liaison for infrastructure matters and campus communication.

“The restructuring to include the creation of the Facilities Services Division of the Facilities Management Department allows a greater emphasis to be placed on customer service,” Pearson said.

Additional information about the new Facilities Management Department can be found on its website.

Q&A: UPD Chief to Retire May 31

Calvin Sellers discusses his career and brushes with the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Lenny Kravitz and others

University Police Chief Calvin Sellers

University Police Chief Calvin Sellers

OXFORD, Miss. – University Police Chief Calvin Sellers will retire May 31, closing the books on a more-than-30-year career in law enforcement that included leading efforts here to become the safest school in the Southeastern Conference and one of the safest in the country.

Sellers, 62, of Oxford, plans to spend more time reading, golfing and skeet shooting. He wants to ride his Harley Davidson up the Pacific Coast. He’s also engaged to be married to Mary Watts, a local nurse. Though he has many plans for retirement, leaving UM won’t be easy, he said.

“You know, it’s not a place you can just walk away from,” Sellers said. “That’s going to be the hardest part, I think. Coming to work every day is not hard. Not coming to work every day is not going to be the problem, but not being involved in something that you care so much about – the department and the university. That’s going to be difficult.”

He prides himself on building a diverse department of officers, who play a large role in crime prevention through educating students about safety. He also leads efforts to keep campus safe during many high-profile events such as the 2008 presidential debate, concerts and many big-time sporting events. Being at those events also allowed him to meet many famous musicians, writers and athletes during his 25 years as an Ole Miss officer.

Sellers answered some questions for Inside Ole Miss about his time here. Here’s a portion of that interview:

IOM: How did you get your start in law enforcement?

Sellers: I started in Water Valley, Mississippi. I knew some of the people there. I knew some of the firemen there, knew a good many of the policemen. They had a job opening, and back in those days – that would have been 1984 – it wasn’t that hard if you knew the chief or you knew the mayor. Now, you just – you almost have to have some sort of experience to ever get in a field of work. Then, I started to work for Water Valley. They sent me to the police academy, and I had some friends who worked here. I hadn’t finished college and I wanted to. And it was just one of those things I didn’t think I could do. I probably couldn’t have done it financially. It was difficult.

So I came here a couple years after, in 1986. I wanted to come here and I wanted to finish school. So it’s 1986, and in 1998, I got that degree. It was very difficult working. I worked nights and we’d work from 11 p.m. until 7 in the morning. Sometimes you just didn’t feel like staying and going to a class. It got to a point that I just (thought), “I can’t do this anymore.” You didn’t get but one class or two classes a semester, so it took a long time. I quit there for a while. I got moved off of nights onto the afternoon shift and it made it a lot easier to go to class, so I got back into it. Mike Stewart was a chief here at that time, and Chief Stewart would push you to get that degree. He pushed me and I kept going. I finally got it and I’m proud of it. If you have to take that many steps to get it, it’s a little more special, right?

IOM: Was there a moment in time when you decided that working in public safety on college campus was the job for you? Talk about that.

Sellers: I really can’t say that when I started here, that was a goal. I started here with the ambition to get my degree. But, then after I got here and started working on a college campus, and worked with the students, I realized this was my place. This is where I needed to be. I enjoyed – I still enjoy – interacting with the students. They keep you young. I mean, I don’t look young, but they make your ideas younger. The ideas on a campus are different, you know. I worked at Ole Miss from 1986 till I got my degree in 1998. Then, a couple years after that, I went to Mississippi University for Women. I had worked my way up to captain here and MUW had an opening for a chief. I applied and was fortunate enough to get hired and I went to “the W.” I stayed at “the W” for eight years. Ole Miss had an opening for a chief and I applied and was fortunate to get to come home. I’ve been here since 2008. So altogether, from Water Valley, then Ole Miss, to “the W” and back to Ole Miss, I’ve got 30 years, you know, doing this job, and 28 of those have been on a college campus. 

IOM: We’ve had some pretty high-profile incidents on campus while you were here. Would you care to mention some of those and talk about your approach as chief during those times when we’ve come into a national media spotlight?

Sellers: The (2008 presidential debate) was big, but racial incidents, the one with the Meredith statue, probably got me interviewed by more people and more different agencies. It’s just something about Ole Miss and a racial issue that makes CNN. You know. It’s just automatic. I was interviewed by folks from The New York Times and the LA Times and I even got a call from someone in London, you know? My approach is I don’t try to hide anything. I try to be, as the word nowadays is, “transparent.” But my word for it is “honest.” I try to be as honest as I can. Now, there may be things that I’m told or things that I know that I can’t tell you. You know, I can’t tell you we’re looking at Joe Blow. We think he did it. You know, I can’t say that, but I can tell you we’ve got somebody we think did it. I just try to be honest. I’ve always been that way about dealing with the media. Whether it’s the school newspaper or The New York Times, I just try to be honest. I hope I have been. I feel like I always have.

When we’ve had these incidents, being a police chief is kind of like being a member of the media. You try to stay separate from that and not let your feelings about it get caught up in the situation when something terrible has happened here.

IOM: What do you feel might be some of your greatest professional accomplishments as UPD chief – the things you’ll look back on and take great pride in?

Sellers: I take pride in Ole Miss hosting the 2008 presidential debate and that going off (without incident). There was so much planning that went into that and us working with all the different agencies. It was a successful event and I think that our department had a lot to do with that being a success.

We’ve also become an accredited police department, and that’s not easy to get. It’s not something where you fill out an application and they do it, you know? Your department is audited by independent people who come from all over the country. They see you’re filing standard practices and protocols in law enforcement. We’re one of the small percent. I think Mississippi State’s also accredited and since that time, maybe Southern Miss. I’m proud of that. That that was an accomplishment, for not me particularly, but for the department, because everybody here worked on that. You just had to have somebody that just kept pushing. That’s where you get to be the leader of the department. … You have to push folks to their potential, you know, and I think we’ve done that.

I think we’re very diverse. That’s a point of emphasis. I think that’s important. I think that our department probably has more African-Americans in leadership positions than any department around. We have more females in leadership positions on this floor. There’s a chief and assistant chief. The captain in charge of our investigations, and then there’s two more captains. Out of all those folks – we’ve got three captains – two of them are females. And one of those is an African-American female. My other captain is a black male. That’s important to us. We have more women working on patrol out on the street than any other department in our area. It’s so easy to let that just float away, and the next thing you know, you look around and all your African-Americans are gone or you don’t have any females working anymore. We try to keep that balance, you know, but it’s difficult. I’m proud of the fact that we are a diverse department and we are represented by males and females, black, white and Latino.

IOM: What about something that still haunts you. Were there situations you were involved in here, things you responded to, that stick with you?

Sellers: Early in my career, I may have been the patrol officer on midnight shift. I got called out by the city. They asked me to come help because a student had committed suicide, shot himself in the head. His dad was a federal judge, or a judge of some type. I won’t ever forget that one.

IOM: Was that on campus?

Sellers: No. It happened in apartment complex, but off of campus.

I went to one (crime scene) one time of a girl who had gotten raped and beat up so bad you couldn’t recognize her face as a face. I never have forgot that one because I arrested that guy. I was on foot patrol at that time. I was probably just an officer, not a supervisor. There was a kid that I had stopped here. He was riding around on a dirt bike out there in the middle of the night, a loud, little motorcycle. I went up and stopped him. The back tire was flat and he had run it completely off the rim. He was all dressed up, or had on a white shirt, but it had blood on it. I said, “Have you been in a fight?” He said, “I don’t know what happened.” I said, “You need to go up to your room. You need to go park that motorcycle and go to your room.” And I said, “What room do you live in? I’m going to come by and check on you.” I wasn’t, but you know. I said, “What’s your name?” And he told me his name and he went on up to his room.

Then I got a call to go to the hospital, because that girl was down there that’d been raped and she was all beat up. Man I’m telling you. Really, you could not look at her and say that was a face of a human. And she couldn’t talk, but she could just whisper a little bit. And I talked to her, and talked to her and talked to her. And I finally asked her, did she know who did this to her and she told me. It was the name I had written down just a few minutes ago. The boy was out riding a motorcycle after he had beat the hell out of this girl. I just never forgot that.

IOM: When was that?

Sellers: Oh that would have been ’87 or ’88. Not long after I started here.

IOM: Other memories?

Sellers: There’s been a lot of stuff over the years though. We make contact with a lot of famous, very important people. I guess one of the biggest memories for me is B.B. King. He did a concert. They put a fence around a parking lot and they also had Bobby Blue Bland and all these others. Good concert. A lot of people came. At the end of the night, B.B. King sat in a folding chair at the door of his bus and he signed autographs until there was nobody left who wanted an autograph. I stood there just to make sure that nobody acted stupid. He got through and he looked at me and said, “Is there anybody else, officer?” And I said, “No sir, I think you’ve satisfied everybody.” He said, “Well I’m going to get on the bus, won’t you come in?” I said, “Yes sir.” So I went in B.B. King’s bus and sat there and talked to him for probably 30 to 45 minutes. I’m a blues fan. And B.B. King was playing some music in his bus and he could tell I was listening to it and he said, “That’s just an old blues man right there.” I said, “Yes sir, I know who that is. That’s Lightnin’ Hopkins.” He said, “How did you know that?” I mean I got to sit and have a conversation with B.B. King. You know you can’t replace that. That’s definitely one of those perks that you don’t realize that you’re going to have sometimes.

Charlie Daniels came. He was playing out in the Grove, and his manager came and said, “Charlie Daniels won’t admit it, but he can’t see very good. Would some of y’all come over here and have a flashlight and make sure he gets on the stage without falling?” So I did. And he got off his bus and it wasn’t like B.B. King where I went in and sat down. We had a 30-minute conversation. I just told him that when I was a younger man, the Charlie Daniels Band played a concert with the Rolling Stones in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, and I went to it. And I told him, I said, “Do you remember that?” He said, “I sure do.” He said, “We didn’t play with the Rolling Stones much, so I do remember the day.” I said, “It was a July 4th.” He said, “Yep, they played that afternoon. Got on a plane and flew – and played Willie Nelson’s 4th of July show.”

As far as famous musicians, we’ve had a lot of them here, and athletes. I remember when Shaquille O’Neil came to our gym as a freshman. I thought that was the biggest man I’d ever seen in my life. And then he went on from there to gain about 50 pounds.

We saw a bunch of them. A bunch of famous musicians. We don’t get the big name musicians anymore.

We had the Allman brothers. These are people from my generation. Dickey Betts (the Allman Brothers’ guitarist) and I stood at the side of the stage and watched a crowd before they went on. I got to talk to him. We tried to swap hats, but his cowboy hat was too little for my head.

The one thing I wished I’d have done is taken more pictures with some of these folks. Back in those days you had to have a camera. Now, everybody’s got a cell phone, you know, and, you’ve got a camera with you at all times.

We’ve also had dignitaries here. We’ve had kings and princesses, princes and, of course, governors from all the states. We’ve had the Texas governor here in the last two (football seasons). We get the Louisiana governor.

We have famous writers. John Grisham. Stephen King was here for a writer’s symposium one time. I knew Barry Hannah very well. Barry was a night person, you know, he slept all day, I guess, and was out all night.

There were presidential candidates. I met President Barack Obama (when he was a candidate in 2008). I didn’t meet (2008 presidential candidate) John McCain. I had met Obama when I was at MUW, actually.

As far as big name bands, we used to have – we used to get these bands right on the edge when they were just about to get big.

We had the Smashing Pumpkins. I never heard of those folks, you know. I remember them. We had R.E.M. here and I’d certainly never heard of them. They went on to do wonderful things in music. Widespread Panic, we had them once, and Better than Ezra. If I start naming them all, I’ll miss some.

We also had country acts like Hank Williams Jr. and Randy Travis and Alan Jackson.

We had Lenny Kravitz. That was a good show. If you enjoy music like I do, and I enjoy a lot of different types of music and I enjoyed getting to work that concert and be backstage with some of these folks. Lenny Kravitz had a female drummer. I got to talk to her.

You work with these musicians’ crews that come out, you know, they have somebody in charge of their security. And one of the things you realize real quick is you can’t judge anybody by what they look like. You know, they may have hair down to their waist and got tattoos on every part of the body you could see, but when you sit down with him and start talking about the job, he’s a professional. He knows what he’s doing.

IOM: What would you like to say about the staff that you have here?

Sellers: I’ve got some of the best people. If I have had any success at all here, it’s due to them. We’ve had success in the last few years. We were ranked the safest university in Southeastern Conference. We were ranked the safest university in the state of Mississippi. We were ranked two years in the top 10 safest universities in the country. That’s not a personal accomplishment. That’s the department’s accomplishment and that’s because I have a group so dedicated to our purpose, which is to have a safe campus.

We write goals every year. My number one goal every year, which we don’t need to write anymore, is we will be the safest campus we can be. I don’t need another goal. And that doesn’t need to change. If I accomplish that this year, than I need to accomplish it next year. You don’t reach a pinnacle and say, “You know, we’re a safe campus. We can quit.”

We interviewed two job candidates this morning. It’s not a requirement to be an officer here that you have a college degree, but we have more officers here with college degrees than any department we know of. I think that speaks a lot about our folks. A lot of them get that degree while they’re working here, just like I did. And that speaks a lot to a person that they’re just willing to keep going. You know, it’s easy to quit. It’s easy to quit. When you’ve got a job and a family and full-time responsibilities, going to school can get to be something that you just think you’re going to let go. But we have people that keep at it, while they’re working, getting that one class a semester or two classes a semester, until they get that degree. And that just speaks volumes for me about their dedication. I mean I’m not taking anything away from somebody who gets to come to school and has scholarships and financing. They can go to school for four straight years and get their degree. But that guy, or that lady, that had to work all night and then go to class that morning, that’s kind of a special person. I’ve got a lot of those working here.

IOM: This may be hard to narrow down, but I want to know your favorite experience at Ole Miss. Is there something that stands out to you?

Sellers: As far as accomplishments, I was proud that we got the presidential debate, but I don’t think I can narrow it down to one. I mean I’ve been so proud of the accomplishments of the university. I am proud of that (debate), but I don’t think that stands out as much to me as some of the accomplishments of the university that maybe the public doesn’t pay much attention to. You know, our university does some great things. From the medical down to we put such an emphasis here on acceptance, and I think we’re all learning. That never stops. You know, we continue to learn how to get along with people who are not like you, and we have to make an effort. Our university makes an effort. … And this is my opinion, and I could be wrong, but I think we do more for race relations at Ole Miss than any other university in the United States. We don’t get credit for it, but we do.

IOM: Moving on from the professional side of your time here, what does Calvin Sellers do when he’s not working? What are your hobbies, your interests?

Sellers: I shoot shotguns. I shoot trap and skeet. I ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I play a little golf, not a lot. I’m not very good, but I play. This job consumes so much of my time. From the time we start in the fall, when we start in August, I don’t get a weekend until Christmas. Every weekend we have something going on with football and when football’s not here, there’s always something else going on. I used to deer hunt, but you don’t have time.

IOM: What’s your timeline for stepping down?

Sellers: May 31.

IOM: Do you know anything about who will be your replacement? Has that been determined yet?

Sellers: No. I’m not sure they’ve even posted that job yet.

IOM: Do you have any parting words or parting wisdom – anything else you’d like to say about your time here at Ole Miss?

Sellers: I loved it. It’s kind of crazy, I guess. I think I’ve got the best job in the state of Mississippi in my field. I do. There’s not another chief of police job anywhere in the state that I’d want, but I’m going to walk away from it.

IOM: It’s probably not easy to leave, right?

Sellers: No it’s not. I think it’s time. I’ve got 32 years in, and I’m 62 years old. And I’m still basically healthy. I don’t look like it, but I want to have a few years where I can, you know, enjoy doing some things while I’ve still got the health to do it. I want to ride my motorcycle to California. I want to ride up that Pacific Coast Highway. You know, those are things that are going to take three or four weeks to do. And I want to do that while I’ve still got the health to do it. There’s also a few places I want to go.

I like to read and I like to listen to music. I’ve got a lot of books that I bought over the years that I never have read. So I could spend a long time just reading books that I bought. I’m the world’s worst. Don’t take me to a book store. I buy them and I never read them.

… There’s been a lot of changes over the years. The people you come in contact with come and go – the different chancellors and vice chancellors and university attorneys that have come through. You build these working relationships with these folks. You don’t ever forget them. And it’s been good. I hope the next guy that comes has as much fun and has as much success as I’ve had. If I’ve had success though, it’s not a credit to me, it’s to the people who work here. They’re good people.

33 Campus Construction Projects You Should Know About

Artist rendering for Residence Halls #2 and #3  located at the former site of Guess Hall.

Artist rendering for Residence Halls #2 and #3 at the former site of Guess Hall.

The University of Mississippi campus is constantly improving and growing to accommodate our increasing student population. Over the next few years, several construction projects will enhance student life and transform the campus.

Here’s a list of current and upcoming projects:


Coulter Hall Additions and Renovations

Renovations to Coulter Hall began in 2013 and the four-story east addition includes research laboratory space and support offices. The single-story north addition added a 200-seat auditorium, lobby and food service installation. Two existing laboratories are being renovated and will serve as teachings labs. Construction is estimated to be completed in May 2015.

National Center for Natural Products Research Phase II

This 96,000-square-foot building expansion includes a facility for clinical trials, an expanded botanical specimen repository and laboratories for expanding efforts to discover natural products. The project, funded by several federal grants, began in October 2012 and is virtually complete, pending a few minor items.

Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Renovation

New addition to Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College is expected to be completed by December 2015.

New addition to Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College is expected to be complete by December 2015.

In March 2014, the renovation and addition on the Honors College began. The 15,695-square-foot addition will add classrooms, study nooks, administrative offices, a conference room and lounge area. The addition is expected to open by December 2015. Existing facilities will also be renovated after the addition is completed.

Music Hall West Wing Renovation

The west wing of the music building is getting a complete renovation, which includes a new porch for receptions and events, new facades, new entrance, a renovation of mechanical systems in the west and south wings and minor HVAC modifications in the Nutt Auditorium. Construction is estimated to be complete by May 2015.

Parking Garage

The university broke ground in 2013 on the new five-story parking garage next to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Construction is ongoing on the facility, which includes 829 parking spots. Reservations are available for spots for faculty and staff. The cost is $500 annually and selections will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Pavilion at Ole Miss

Construction of the much-anticipated multipurpose arena is well underway. The new arena will includes seating for 9,500 fans, a student concourse, courtside seating, 1,500 premium seats and other amenities. It is expected to be completed for SEC basketball play at the beginning of 2016.

Artist rendering of residence hall currently under construction located on Northgate Drive between Crosby Hall and Northgate Apartments.

Artist rendering of residence hall under construction on Northgate Drive between Crosby Hall and Northgate Apartments.

Residence Hall 1

The new Student Housing building on Northgate Drive is a four-story building that will look much like Burns Hall. The building will accommodate 304 beds and should be ready for occupation by August 2015.This new residence hall, not yet named, is between Crosby Hall and Northgate Apartments.

Alpha Delta Pi House

The chapter broke ground in September 2014 on a new sorority house for Alpha Delta Pi on Rebel Drive. The chapter returned to campus in 2013, and this is the first new sorority house built on campus since the 1970s. The 18,790-square-foot house is expected to be completed by August 2015.

Residence Halls 2 & 3

Enrollment is steadily growing and so is housing. At the former site of Guess Hall on Rebel Drive, the university is building two new five-story residence halls to house 624 students. Demolition of Guess Hall finished earlier this year, and the new buildings have an estimated opening date of August 2016.

Vaught Hemingway South End Zone

An expansion of the south end zone is underway, adding 30 luxury suites and 770 club-level seats. This work is expected to be completed by the beginning of the 2015 football season. The west skyboxes are also undergoing interior renovations to improve safety and comfort. The existing seats in each of the 48 suites will be replaced, in addition to exterior sliding windows, ceilings and furniture. The public areas will get new paint and carpet.

Manning Center Practice Fields

The Manning Center practice field will receive minor renovations in the coming months, including new lights and touchups around the area.


Fraternity Drive/Rebel Drive Connection

The area where Rebel Drive meets Fraternity Row will soon change. A new road addition will extend Rebel Drive to Fraternity Row behind Guyton Hall. The street in front of Guyton, now part of Rebel Drive, will be renamed Guyton Place. This project is expected to begin later this semester and completed by August 2015.

Storm Water Corrections

Construction on Coulter Hall is estimated to be completed in May 2015.

Construction on Coulter Hall is estimated to be completed in May 2015.

The underground storm water collection system on Hill Drive near the track facility will be corrected beginning after May commencement. Problems with the underground drainage system have created issues at the track facility. The entire drainage system in that area will be replaced, with work expected to be completed by August 2015.

Student Union Expansion

After May Commencement ceremonies, the university will begin a four-year, $50 million renovation to the Ole Miss Student Union. The renovation and expansion will include a larger dining area, new student government offices, a ballroom and conference space, among other amenities. This will increase the building’s size from 97,000 square feet to 157,000 square feet. The expansion will encompass the loading dock area and parking lot. During the expansion, the existing food court will remain open. When the expansion portion is completed in about two years, a new food court will open and the existing one will close. Student Union Drive will remain open during the project, though at times it may be reduced to one lane. The entire project is expected to be completed by May 2019.

University Avenue Bridge

This summer, the University Avenue bridge near Old Taylor Road will be renovated to increase its load capacity. The bridge will remain open to pedestrian traffic and some lanes will be periodically closed throughout construction to vehicular traffic, but it will remain passable. Work is expected to be complete by August 2015.

Kennon Observatory Bus Stop

The bus stop area near Kennon Observatory will be renovated to better handle bus transportation. The renovations will accommodate growth in the transit system and provide a central campus location for drop-offs and pick-ups. The project is expected to be complete by August 2015.

Croft Institute Renovation

Following May Commencement, the Croft Institute will undergo exterior renovations to its brick facades. It is expected to be complete by October 2015.

Physical Plant Department West Addition

In efforts to keep up with a growing campus, the Physical Plant is adding space for its growing staff. A new 5,000-square-foot building will be added to the existing Physical Plant Administration Building and will include additional office and departmental space for the Department of Facilities Planning. This projected will begin in August 2015 and is expected to be complete by May 2016.

Track Facility Restoration

Once storm drainage corrections near the track facility are completed, the track will get a brand new surface. The stands and existing building will remain. This project is expected to begin in September 2015 and be complete by March 2016.

Jackson Avenue Center Phase II Renovations

This project includes renovation of approximately 41,500 square feet of the 95,000-square-foot Jackson Avenue Center (old Wal-mart). This is the remaining area of the building that was not renovated in the 2012 project. The renovation project will provide a new location for the University Testing Center, multipurpose rooms, office space and support spaces. New HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems will be provided, and new restrooms will be constructed to accommodate the occupation of this area. The project will begin in September 2015 and expected completion is May 2016.


Vaught Hemingway North Addition

The north end zone will look completely different by the start of the 2016 football season. Construction will begin in December 2015 and the entire section will be bowled-in with a brick facade. A new scoreboard, measuring 109 feet wide by 49 feet tall, will be installed, and two smaller scoreboards, 30-by-50-feet each, will be added to the south end zone. The addition will increase stadium capacity by about 5,500 seats.

Johnson Commons East Renovation

Johnson Commons East building will receive a full exterior and interior renovation. The upper floor will continue to be used for banquet and large meeting spaces. The lower floor, formerly Human Resources Department, will be renovated to house the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2016 and be complete by spring 2017.

South Campus Recreation Facility

To accommodate a growing student body, Campus Recreation plans to build a new facility. The South Campus Recreation Facility, near Whirlpool Trails, will include renovating the old Whirlpool factory building to house about 100,000 square feet of recreation space unique to Ole Miss. This area will also include a transportation hub and parking services.

New Science Building

Last year, Ole Miss received a $20 million lead gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation for a new science building. The $100 million building will be added along Science Row between University Avenue and All American Drive, with construction expected to begin in early 2016 and be complete by August 2018. The building will include about 200,000 square feet for research and education efforts.

Chucky Mullins Drive Roundabout

Construction will begin on a roundabout to improve traffic flow on Chucky Mullins Drive in May 2016. It is expected to be complete by August 2016.

Garland, Hedleston and Mayes Renovation

Garland, Hedleston and Mayes halls were built in 1938 as men’s dormitories. These three Neo-Georgian buildings sit empty in the west-central part of campus. They are strong examples of their architectural style, but housing needs have changed, and their low floor-to-floor heights and tight structural bay sizes make them unsuitable for modern needs. Although not viable for housing, they remain appropriate for academic or administrative use. While the interiors have deteriorated, they are structurally sound. The project will completely replace the mechanical, electrical, fire protection and plumbing systems and reconfigure the space to support the needs of the School of Applied Sciences.

Gillom Center Expansion

In the planning stages, this project will eventually yield an expanded Gillom Sports Center Complex.


The University Museum is working on repairs to Rowan Oak and the Walton Young House. Rowan Oak will be repainted in areas and undergo some exterior repairs. The Walton Young House will also be repainted. Roofs will be replaced on both the National Center for Physical Acoustics and the Turner Center, and the ventilation system will be renovated in Meek Hall. All these projects are underway.

UM Employees, Let Your Voices Be Heard

Annual survey affects Chronicles' 'Great Colleges to Work For' selection

Take the Great Colleges to Work For Survey on Monday, March 16.

Take the Great Colleges to Work For Survey on Monday, March 16.

For six years running, the Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized the University of Mississippi as one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For.” Our selection has been based on a number of criteria, including positive feedback from a cross section of campus employees.

On March 16, an invitation will be distributed via email to a random sample of the university’s full-time faculty, administrators, exempt and nonexempt staff to participate in an online survey. Should you receive this invitation, please take time to respond and submit your completed form by the deadline.

“You will be representing not only yourself, but all your colleagues,” said Jessica Hughes, UM human resources generalist. “The results of the survey will be factored into the overall scoring process that will ultimately determine the institutions recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education. After the Chronicle publishes the findings in July, we will receive a report that summarizes responses to the survey questions.”

This is a confidential survey that measures the strength of certain organizational competencies and relationships that most directly affect the university’s culture. So, whether they resemble a frog’s cranky croaking or a rooster’s proud crowing, employees must make their voices heard if the quality of their work conditions is to be recognized, maintained or improved.

“Your participation and honest feedback are critical to the assessment process,” Hughes said. “To ensure the confidentiality of your responses, your survey will be processed by ModernThink LLC, a research and consulting firm focusing on workplace excellence. Our institution will not be given any information that would enable us to trace survey data back to any one individual.”

Everyone’s participation is encouraged.

“A high response rate helps ensure accurate results and demonstrates the commitment of our workforce,” Hughes said.

For more information, contact Hughes at or visit

Oxford Conference for the Book Highlights Margaret Walker

Sessions are free, open to the public

Oxford Conference for the Book scheduled for March 25-27, 2015.

Oxford Conference for the Book scheduled for March 25-27, 2015.

OXFORD, Miss. – A National Book Award winner, popular television show writers and a centennial birthday commemoration are all planned for the 2015 Oxford Conference for the Book, set for March 25-27.

Presented by the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Square Books, the 22nd annual conference is dedicated to Mississippi writer Margaret Walker, who penned the critically acclaimed novel “Jubilee” and the award-winning poetry collection “For My People.” Walker would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year.

The program is free and open to the public. It includes readings, panel discussions and talks by more than 40 talented writers from across the nation, bringing together fiction and nonfiction writers, journalists, poets, publishers, teachers and students. Panels explore a range of topics, including sports and race, writing with pictures, writing for television, heritage foods and foodways of the South, 21st century American wars, and the life of Elvis Presley.

“The Oxford Conference for the Book has always done a great job of serving both the academy and the community,” said Jimmy Thomas, conference director and associate director for publications at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “This is a great opportunity for Oxford residents and those who travel to Oxford and the UM campus to attend smart, engaging sessions and to visit a number of places not usually explored by visitors or members of the community.”

The March 25 welcome lunch, hosted by the University of Mississippi Library Archives and Special Collections, is set for noon on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. Distinguished professor and author of “Fields Watered with Blood: Critical Essays on Margaret Walker,” Maryemma Graham will give the keynote address at 1:30 p.m. at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. Graham and a panel of Walker scholars, including Robert Luckett, Carolyn J. Brown and Jerry W. Ward, will follow.

“I was ecstatic that the Oxford Conference for the Book chose to honor our founder this year,” said Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University. “Walker founded the Institute for the Study of the History, Life and Culture of Black People when she was a faculty member at what was then Jackson State College in 1968. Today, named in her honor, the Margaret Walker Center tries to lift up her artistic and academic legacy on a daily basis, and the Oxford Conference for the Book is a perfect and prestigious forum to do so.”

David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire” and “Treme,” returns to Oxford, presented in partnership with the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, as part of the 15th Annual Isom Student Gender Conference. His talk is set for 1:15 p.m. March 27 in the Lafayette County Courthouse.

“Simon’s diverse body of work connects so well to our conference’s theme ‘Space & Place,'” said Theresa Starkey, assistant director and instructor of gender studies. “We are proud to partner once again with the Conference for the Book for this important event.”

The Children’s Book Festival will be held at the Ford Center for Performing Arts, with more than 1,200 first-graders and fifth-graders from the Lafayette County and Oxford public schools in attendance. Sheila Turnage, author of “Three Times Lucky,” will present at 9 a.m. Monday (March 23), and Adam Rubin, author of “Those Darn Squirrels” will present at 9 a.m. March 25.

Beth Ann Fennelly, UM associate professor of English and director of the MFA program, will moderate a poetry panel, and author Jack Pendarvis will moderate a panel with fellow “Adventure Time” writers Kent Osborne, Seo Kim and Natasha Allegri.

“Thacker Mountain Radio” hosts a special Oxford Conference for the Book show at 6 p.m. March 26 at the Lyric Theatre, 106 Van Buren Ave. on the Oxford Square. Guests on the show will include authors Kent Russell, David Vann and Preston Lauterbach and self-taught artist-musician Lonnie Holley.

This year’s schedule of readings, organized with the leadership of Square Books, includes established and up-and-coming writers on book tour, such as National Book Award-winner Phil Klay, Kent Russell and John Renehan.

For a full schedule, visit the conference website at

New Freshman Interest Group Focuses on Sustainability

Applications open for first-year students interested in environmental sustainability, service and leadership

Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain

The Red, Blue & Green Freshman Interest Group will be housed in Residential College South. Photo by UM photographer Kevin Bain

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will be home to a new residential learning experience, one focusing on environmental sustainability, when the 2015-2016 academic year begins. The Red, Blue & Green Freshman Interest Group is accepting applications from incoming freshmen for its inaugural community, which will be housed in Residential College South.

A Freshman Interest Group, or FIG, is a specific community for first-year students in which they live, learn and grow together. Students in the Red, Blue & Green FIG will take a sustainability-related course and participate in field trips and service opportunities to learn and experience environmental sustainability and conservation together as a community.

“We want to provide incoming freshman an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in sustainability initiatives at Ole Miss,” said Sara Douglass, post-baccalaureate fellow in the Office of Sustainability, who helped develop the program. “Through their participation in the FIG, students will be equipped with change agent skills to create a meaningful impact on sustainability at UM.”

The Office of Sustainability, Department of Student Housing and Residential College South will host the community of about 20 students.

“Offering communities that are tailored specifically to students’ lifestyles and interests is key in realizing our vision of becoming essential in the development of each residential student,” said Jennifer McClure, assistant director of student housing for marketing. “The Red, Blue, & Green FIG is the newest of our freshman residential communities, and we are excited to partner with the Office of Sustainability to provide this experience. As we increase our focus on sustainability as a university, it is our hope that current and former Red, Blue, & Green FIG members will be the innovators and leaders of that movement, inspiring sustainable practices across our campus and state.”

All the students in the community will complete a course designed to facilitate conversation about environmental sustainability. The class will also provide opportunities to discuss common coursework and readings.

In addition to the academic aspect, students in the FIG will participate in a variety of leadership and service-related activities to help them develop an understanding of their carbon footprint, energy and water consumption, and sustainability initiatives on campus. FIG programming will range from field trips and lectures to shared meals in the residential college dining hall and work in community gardens.

Incoming freshmen can apply to live in the FIG as part of their housing applications. The application deadline is April 1. To learn more, click here or contact Sara Douglass at