UM Physician Selected to SEC Medical Review Committee

Dr. Marshall Crowther helps certify officials' fitness to officiate conference sporting events

Dr. Marshall Crowther, medical director of the University of Mississippi Department of Health and Sports Performance and a physician at Student Health Services, is among four doctors serving on the Southeastern Conference Medical Review Committee.

The committee is responsible for performing annual fitness exams and clearing officials to participate in SEC games.

Crowther said he considers it an honor to be selected for the committee in a conference that has long been proactive in ensuring the health and safety of all participants.

“A lot of times people don’t realize what the officials go through during a game,” he said. “We hope these screenings will help prevent health issues on the field and provide them a service for their long-term health.”

The committee convenes in Birmingham each July to review medical histories of current and prospective football officials, give recommendations for further testing and administer physical fitness exams. Once the testing is completed, the SEC clears candidates to officiate for the upcoming season.

Other physicians serving on the committee are from Auburn University and the universities of Alabama and Georgia.

Before arriving at Ole Miss in 2014, Crowther served as team physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He chose to accept his position at Ole Miss because of the unique model, in which athletics and University Health Services partner to bring services for athletes to the entire campus population. This partnership includes having two full-time physical therapists on staff to provide services for the student body, athletes and employees.

UM is one of a few universities in the South that follows this model of student care, said Dr. Travis Yates, director of University Health Services.

“We are proud of this model and the camaraderie between student health and athletics in helping support a model that benefits everybody,” Yates said. “Having Dr. Crowther on our staff has improved the scope of practice that we provide.”

Student Health Services can treat minor fractures, concussions and other athletic injuries, thanks to the expertise of Crowther, who treats athletes from 7:30 to 9 a.m. weekdays at the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center. He works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Student Health Services.

“This model works because of his dedication and constant availability.” Yates said. “This requires a significant time commitment, but he enjoys what he does. We are fortunate to have him on our team.”

William Winter, Leland Speed to Receive Geographic Visionary Awards

Mississippi Geographic Alliance honoring leaders for their connections to global economy

William Winters

William Winters

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Geographic Alliance at the University of Mississippi will honor former Gov. William Winter and business mogul Leland Speed in September for their efforts to connect the state to the global economy.

The annual MGA Geographic Visionary Awards ceremony is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. The award honors a Mississippi business or civic leader who recognizes the importance of global understanding and awareness for Mississippians and/or promotes understanding about Mississippi in other parts of the world.

Previous recipients include Ambassador John Palmer (2013), George Schloegel (2014) and U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (2015).

“I have a special interest in and appreciation for the work of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance and feel greatly honored to be the recipient of this award,” Winter said. “From my earliest experiences as a schoolboy, I developed a deep affection for the study of geography and was fascinated by the wonders of the world that I read about.

“I have since had my life enriched by the travels I have enjoyed to so many different places, including some 36 countries and all 50 states. Because this award is about geography, it has great significance for me.”

MGA officials said Winter is most deserving of the honor.

“William Winter is a role model and moral leader for those seeking to improve education in the state,” said Carley Lovorn, MGA assistant director. “Gov. Winter served in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War, and he was also a member of the Mississippi National Guard.

“He has served Mississippi in the state Legislature, as state treasurer, as lieutenant governor and as governor of the state. Thanks to his visionary leadership, the 1982 Mississippi Education Reform Act was passed, establishing public kindergartens and other improvements to state education.”

Winter was also a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race and is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“There is no one in the state of Mississippi more deserving of this award than Gov. William Winter,” said Andy Mullins, UM chief of staff to the chancellor emeritus and an MGA board member. “Considering his many contributions to education over the length of his legendary career, it is most appropriate for him to join the list of previous Visionary Award recipients.”

Leland Speed

Leland Speed

Speed has worked to position Mississippi to thrive in the global economy through state-level business leadership in both the private and public sectors, Lovorn said.

Being honored with the former governor took Speed by surprise.

“At the tender age of 84, you don’t expect things like this,” Speed said. “It is truly an honor having my name associated with a Mississippi icon like William Winter.”

Speed grew Mississippi-based real estate businesses to national proportions and kept that business right in Mississippi.

“He is in the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame and was the 2008 recipient of NAREIT’s Industry Leadership Award,” Lovorn said. “Mr. Speed has twice served his state as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority and has served as chairman of Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce and Goodwill Industries, as well as other organizations.”

Speed is dedicated to improving education in Mississippi and has served as chairman of the Jackson State University Development Foundation.

The Jess McKee Award for Distinguished Service to Geography Education will also be presented at a noon luncheon to Barbara Boone of Petal. Top sponsors of the event include National Geographic Society and Southern Pipe and Supply.

“Barbara Boone spent decades in the classroom and countless hours outside of the classroom with groups like 4-H and the Boy Scouts of America,” Lovorn said. “Over the past five years, Ms. Boone has dedicated her considerable talents to improving geography education at the state level.”

Among her contributions, Boone has served as a teacher consultant for the Mississippi Geographic Alliance, a member of the MGA Steering Committee, an alumnus of the Geo-literacy Leadership Institute, faculty member of MGA’s Pre-Service Conferences and program director of the MGA Giant Traveling Map program.

She also develops materials for elementary classrooms and created a summer enrichment program for at-risk students.

Mississippians export billions of dollars in products to more than 100 different countries each year. The MGA at UM, part of National Geographic Society’s Alliance Network, helps prepare Mississippians to interact with the world around them by increasing geographic literacy through geography education services, including outreach to civic leaders and policymakers, awareness raising among the general public and professional development for K-12 educators.

All proceeds from the MGA Geographic Visionary Luncheon will help fund MGA programs in the state, including giant map programs for students and professional development for teachers.

Sponsorships at multiple levels are available. For more information on sponsorships and registration go to or call the MGA office at 662-915-3776.

Neilson’s Department Store Donates Historic Records to UM Library

Ledgers, correspondence and account data offer insights into Oxford community over the years

The Department of Archives and Special Collections is now home to a collection of accounting ledgers and other items from Neilson’s, dating back to 1872.

The Department of Archives and Special Collections is now home to a collection of accounting ledgers and other items from Neilson’s, dating back to 1872.

OXFORD, Miss. – The first day of October 1962 was tense in Oxford, with soldiers patrolling the streets and smoke lingering in the air. But the day after historic riots at the University of Mississippi was a solid one for downtown businesses, according to ledgers from the J.E. Neilson Co. department store.

“It was a pretty good day of business,” said Neilson’s owner Will Lewis Jr. “I don’t know why – they still had troops around the Square. I guess people were curious and came in and bought something.”

Lewis has donated a collection of handwritten accounting ledgers, correspondence and daybooks from the store to the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library. The oldest continuously operating store in the South, Neilson’s began computerizing its sales and account information in the 1980s, so the yellowing ledgers and other records weren’t needed anymore.

They had been stored in a basement for years before Lewis, recognizing their value, offered them to the library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections. The 63 volumes, dating from the 1870s to the 1990s, offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of Lafayette County and Oxford.

“The documents themselves are a good indicator of the financial conditions of the town and county,” he said.

The collection will be of interest not only for its local history but also as a significant resource for scholars, especially historians seeking insight into a Southern town from Reconstruction through the end of the 20th century, said Jennifer Ford, head of the department.

“This significant donation will greatly supplement the department’s archival holdings relating to the history of Oxford and Lafayette County,” Ford said. “We are all sincerely grateful to Mr. Lewis and his family for this gift.”

The items detail transaction history and buying trends, which include how much local residents were able to spend at the time. For example, researchers can track the area’s economic downturn through sales at the beginning of the Great Depression, Lewis said.

Neilson’s also served a number of customers well known around town and, in some cases, worldwide. The Faulkner/Falkner family had customer accounts at Neilson’s, and William Faulkner is listed in several entries, including a $5 purchase – a large sum for the day – in 1928, not long before “The Sound and the Fury” was published.

Many University of Mississippi administrators and professors also had accounts at the store. Ledger entries chronicle Chancellor Robert Fulton, who served from 1892 to 1906, buying buttons and supplies for classes, for example.

Records also reveal that the store once had a thriving confectionery shop, although its inventory might seem odd by modern standards. Sales of cigars, oysters and oranges rivaled receipts for candy and other sweets.

William Smith Neilson of East Tennessee founded Neilson’s department store in 1839 after deciding to move to the former Chickasaw territory that had recently been opened to settlers. He briefly considered establishing his store in Memphis before deciding Oxford would be the best place.

The general store opened as a log cabin on the north side of the Courthouse Square, selling groceries, hardware and a variety of other items – even coffins – far different from the high-end clothing lines popular with modern customers. Neilson converted his money to gold before the Civil War, so when the store was burned along with much of Oxford in 1864, he was able to rebuild.

Besides ledgers and sales records, the collection includes ink blotter copies of personal and business correspondence between Neilson and his suppliers.

The store reopened in 1866 and has been open for business for 150 straight years.

It was passed down through the Neilson family to grandson David Neilson. Seeking to retire, he sold the business to Lewis and his sister, Olivia Lewis Nabors, in 1964. Their father, William Lewis Sr., worked at Neilson’s from 1912 to 1989.

The donated materials are a treasure trove of information about the community and the families who have lived here, Ford said.

“The collection will be much more usable for researchers once processed and indexed by our staff,” she said. “There are so many potential uses for the ledgers.

“I would love to see them used not only for academic research but by local families tracing their own histories.”

For more information about the Department of Archives and Special Collections, visit

UM Accountancy Programs Maintain Top 10 Standing

Undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs continue string of elite rankings

Conner Hall Photo by:UM Brand Photography

Conner Hall Photo by: UM Brand Photography

OXFORD, Miss. – All three degree programs at the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy are among the top 10 in the 2016 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the journal Public Accounting Report.

The undergraduate program is ranked No. 7, the master’s program is No. 8 and the doctoral program is No. 7. The master’s and doctoral programs lead the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the SEC. Each of the three degree programs has ranked first in the SEC for three of the past four years.

The Patterson School has become a mainstay on the national scene, with its programs ranked in the top 10 nationally for six consecutive years, and among the top 20 in the nation for nine straight years. The PAR has been ranking accounting programs for 35 years.

The rankings are based on a survey of accounting professors in the United States. Other undergraduate SEC programs ranked in the top 25 are Texas A&M, at No. 5; Alabama, 8; Florida, 10; Georgia, 11; Missouri, 14; and Tennessee, 23.

Among the highly ranked master’s programs are Alabama, at No. 9; Georgia, 10; Texas A&M, 11; Florida, 13; Missouri, 15; and Tennessee, 21. The doctoral rankings include Alabama, No. 8; Texas A&M, 9; Georgia, 12; Florida, 16; and Missouri, 20.

In other results, a new ranking category was established this year, which was a ranking by region.

“In the South region, we ranked No. 1 for both undergraduate and master’s programs, and would have also ranked No. 1 for doctoral programs had they been included,” Wilder said. “The South region, which constitutes 30 percent of the approximately 1,000 PAR votes in 2016, includes 10 states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.”

Undergraduate and master’s program rankings for 2016 were also compiled based only on votes by professors who did not vote their own schools No. 1 in the survey. Ole Miss fared extremely well in these rankings, coming in at No. 3 nationally for both the undergraduate and master’s program. The top schools in these rankings are Texas and Brigham Young.

More than 1,000 schools in the United States offer accounting programs, and around 500 of those, including UM, are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business as being among the best accountancy and business programs in the world, said Dale Flesher, associate dean and holder of the Burns Chair of Accountancy. PAR voters who determine the rankings are influenced by several other factors that set the Patterson School apart.

“Many voters, some of whom may not know much about Ole Miss, know that the university houses the AICPA Library, the largest accountancy library in the world,” he said. “Also, a recent study showed that we are the only university of our size in the country that has every accounting class taught by a professor with CPA designation.

“The main criterion for the undergraduate and master’s rankings is success of graduates in public accounting. Therefore, having every class taught by a CPA makes it easier for students to identify with the needs of the profession.”

UM also has hosted a number of faculty from other schools in recent years, whether to visit the AICPA Library or to present their research to Ole Miss faculty and doctoral students, Wilder said.

“For example, these faculty come from places like the universities of Texas, Illinois, North Carolina and also from Ohio State and Duke,” he said. “Invariably, they all leave impressed with the quality of our faculty, students and program. They are also impressed with the collegiality of our faculty and the beauty of our campus.”

Wilder credits the school’s faculty, students and alumni for having a positive impact on its reputation.

“We have an outstanding faculty of top teachers and researchers that are also very much focused on serving and mentoring students,” he said. “Our faculty all work together toward our common goal of having one of the top accounting programs in the nation.

“The Patterson School is also fortunate to have outstanding students who go on to have phenomenal careers. The academic profile of our accountancy student body gets stronger every year, a fact that is certainly being recognized in the marketplace.”

Wilder also noted the importance of private support in the school’s successful equation.

“The successes we are enjoying are directly attributable to the loyalty and generosity of our alumni and friends,” he said. “Their support helps us to offer scholarships to attract outstanding students, to reward our faculty and to strengthen our program.

“We are grateful for their loyalty and willingness to give back to the school. It is absolutely a difference-maker for us and allows our successes to be built upon and perpetuated.”

For more information about the Patterson School of Accountancy, visit

Dios, UM’s New K-9 Cop, to be Sworn in Sept. 6

Dog's value to UPD goes far beyond his ability to detect narcotics and other contraband

Rosa Salas pets University Police K9 Dios during Coffee with a Cop on the Union plaza. The University Police Department's new K-9 officer, Dios, will be sworn in Sept. 6. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Rosa Salas pets University Police K9 Dios during Coffee with a Cop on the Union plaza. The University Police Department’s new K-9 officer will be sworn in Sept. 6. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Police Department is getting a well-trained, sociable new officer, but this one isn’t typical. He has four feet, is covered in fur and is only a year old.

Dios, the university’s new K-9 officer, will be sworn in at a campus ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6 in the Lyceum. The Belgian Malinois from Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, was certified Aug. 12 and is already working on campus.

He can handle tight spaces and large crowds, is sociable and has expert detection skills. The dog will spend about 80 percent of its time working with the community with his designated handler, Officer Justin Watson, UPD Chief Tim Potts said. Only about 20 percent of Dios’ time will be spent on training and response to police calls.

“As far as our department, we are excited for the K-9 team to return to campus,” Potts said. “While Dios will certainly provide the ability to detect narcotics where humans fail, Dios and Officer Watson will do so much more for the university.

“They will provide demonstrations and programming to our community and help to further develop the bond between our department and our community.”

The team plans presentations for the Ole Miss Department of Student Housing, as well as any other campus groups that want to learn more about the team and what it offers campus.

Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Dios and his handler will work Tuesday-Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight or 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., which is a different shift than any other UPD officer, and will also work some weekends.

The university developed a new policy on how the K-9 team will be used in residence halls, which includes collaboration with the Department of Student Housing and the university’s general counsel. The team also works with fraternities and sororities when requested.

Dios answers all drug complaints while on duty, and will be used to help assist the Oxford Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office. Routine patrols though the housing wings where students live are not planned at this time.

If a complaint is received, the K-9 unit will proceed to that specific location, but if Dios detects something on the property in another location, it will be noted and he will return after an initial investigation is complete.

The dog will visit residence hall lobbies on a frequent basis, Potts said.

The new K-9 officer will also be used during athletics events, but not for crowd control. Rather, he will be used only for detecting contraband.

Dios was purchased and trained with $17,285 from Ole Miss Family Leadership Council funds. He should be a valuable educational ambassador to students on behalf of UPD, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“Students will be drawn to him, then, in the process of interacting with him they will have the opportunity to learn about our campus polices related to drugs,” Hephner LaBanc said. “The core of UPD’s mission is to enhance safety – that begins with knowledge.

“Dios will provide a unique opportunity for his handler and other officers to talk with students about the dangers of drug use.”

For more information about scheduling a presentation with Dios, contact UPD at 662-915-7234.

Ole Miss Market Days Start This Week

Green Fund project brings fresh produce, local foods to campus

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown's Farm helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day Festival sponsored by the Office of sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown’s Farm, helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day festival sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Fresh produce and other local goods will be available for purchase during Ole Miss Market Days, a series of events scheduled throughout the fall semester at the University of Mississippi.

The markets, set for Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and Oct. 6, will take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. on the Student Union plaza.

Funded by the UM Green Fund, the project was proposed by senior civil engineering student Sarah O’Brien.

“Farmers’ markets are such a great way for people to buy locally grown food,” O’Brien said. “There are so many benefits from eating local. It’s a chance for the Ole Miss community to get a unique personal interaction with the farmers that grow their food.”

Ole Miss Market Days will feature local farmers selling a variety of produce, as well as vendors offering local honey, fresh bread and Gulf seafood. The October market coincides with the university’s annual Food Day festival.

The UM Green Fund committee selected the project because of its positive potential contribution to campus sustainability.

“As a member of the Green Fund committee, I’ve been asked several times about a campus farmers’ market by my peers who have trouble making it to the community markets,” said Grace Sullivan, a senior social work major from Madison who served on the Green Fund last year as the Associated Student Body sustainability representative.

“Since we have started following up with this proposal, it has been exciting to answer my peers with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes, it’s in the works!'”

In O’Brien’s Green Fund proposal, she noted an environmental, health and economic case for supporting farmers’ markets. The distribution and transportation of conventionally grown food is responsible for five to 17 times more carbon dioxide emissions than local or regionally produced food, according to the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems.

Farmers’ markets have been proven to contribute positively to the economy, O’Brien said, citing a 2009 survey conducted by the Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics and the National Agricultural Marketing Association. The national survey indicated that communities that hosted farmers’ markets saw a 70 percent increase in sales, a 66 percent increase in employment and a 29 percent increase in wages.

Ole Miss Market Days are open to all members of the Oxford and UM community. For more information, visit

Two UM Colleagues United by Kidney Transplant

Decades-long friendship yields lifesaving surgery, lifelong connection

Kidney transplant recipient Charlotte Pegues (right) gets a warm embrace from her living donor and friend Leslie Banahan. (Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services)

Kidney transplant recipient Charlotte Pegues (right) gets a warm embrace from her living donor and friend Leslie Banahan. (Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services)

OXFORD, Miss. – A crisis situation often reveals who one’s true friends are. University of Mississippi colleagues Charlotte Pegues and Leslie Banahan discovered the depths of their friendship recently when a health crisis for the former brought the latter to her rescue.

Three years ago, Pegues’ kidneys began to fail, eventually placing her in dire need of a transplant. Soon after hearing the news, Banahan volunteered to donate one of her own kidneys. Physicians determined the two were a match and the successful operation was performed June 9 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“I feel like Leslie is my sister,” said Pegues, assistant provost for academic affairs and registrar. “I want to repay her in some way, but she said this was a gift. It’s a God thing!”

Banahan, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, said she is grateful and honored that she was able to be there for her friend.

“I wouldn’t have done this for just anyone, but Charlotte is an amazing woman, someone I wanted to help so she could live a full, long, happy life with her husband, family and friends,” Banahan said. “We have a special connection now – sisters, really – as we have shared this journey together.”

Because becoming a living organ donor is a life-changing decision, Banahan said it was not a choice that she made quickly or without a great deal of research, prayer and consideration.

“Ultimately, my faith in God and my love for Charlotte led me to be a living organ donor,” she said.

When Pegues was referred to UMMC’s transplant team by her nephrologist in Oxford, she told them that she had a potential live donor, said Dr. James Wynn, professor of transplant surgery who performed Pegues’ kidney transplant.

“That’s the best transplant circumstances – when you can have a living donor,” Wynn said. UMMC’s procedure is to give the person in need of a transplant information to pass on to the potential donor. That person contacts UMMC to say they’d like to donate a kidney.

That’s what Banahan did. “We found that she was compatible with (Pegues) and also medically suitable,” Wynn said. “It’s great when that happens.”

Registered nurse Jessica Johnston served as Banahan’s living donor transplant coordinator. She arranged Banahan’s own surgery and pre-operative care, and made sure that she fully understood the risks – and that she could change her mind at any time.

“She was very intent on helping her friend,” Johnston said. “It’s a very selfless act to give up a kidney. There are risks to the donor, so these are pretty special people who volunteer to do this.

“It seems like a very short process, but it’s very intensive and very thorough,” Johnston said of the weeks leading up to the transplant.

The day of surgery, Banahan’s kidney was removed by Dr. Mark Earl, associate professor of transplant surgery. It was carried one operating room over, where Pegues was prepped for her own surgery. Within about an hour, Banahan’s kidney was transplanted into Pegues, Earl said.

The entire process took about three hours, Wynn said.

Part of registered nurse Mollie King’s job is to give post-surgery transplant patients emotional support and to answer their questions at any time. Pegues “always talks to me about Leslie,” King said.

“She’s nicknamed her kidney as Carlie – a combination of Charlotte and Leslie. We joke about how Carlie is doing. She’s grateful, very knowledgeable and she wants to know everything about all aspects of her care. She’s had her ups and downs, but she looks good and she feels good.

“Her transplant is working excellently. Carlie’s working well.”

Charlotte Pegues (center) talks with registered nurse Mollie King and surgeon Dr. James Wynn during a post-op exam at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where Pegues received a successful kidney transplant in June. Photo by Marc Rolph/UMMC Public Affairs

Charlotte Pegues (center) talks with registered nurse Mollie King and surgeon Dr. James Wynn during a post-op exam at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where Pegues received a successful kidney transplant in June. Photo by Marc Rolph/UMMC Public Affairs

Pegues’ nephrologist encouraged her to pursue being placed on the transplant waiting lists in December 2013. She told Banahan and her other friends at that time. She was listed at three centers since 2014, and began peritoneal dialysis treatments at home in January 2016.

“The treatment lasted for eight hours each night, and that doesn’t include time spent connecting and disconnecting to the machine,” Pegues said. “What a relief that those days are behind me!”

“Leslie is a confidant and I trust her,” Pegues said. “She is a very caring and generous person. She continually looks for ways to help people and improve upon what’s already being done.”

“Charlotte never, never complains about being sick or feeling bad, so it was a surprise when she told me that she was going to need a kidney transplant,” Banahan said.

Banahan said that she prayed that her friend would get a kidney and be healthy once again. But the kidney never came, Pegues’ kidneys failed and she had to go on dialysis.

“That’s when I first thought about the possibility of giving her a kidney,” Banahan said. “I spoke to a couple physicians and had several conversations with the living organ donor coordinator at UMMC.

“I decided not to tell Charlotte I was trying to be her donor until I had passed the first couple of medical tests. When those tests yielded encouraging results, I told her that I wanted to give her a kidney.”

Pegues was still amazed when Banahan offered the organ donation.

“I felt so grateful that she offered to give me such a generous gift,” Pegues said. “When she told me she had started the process of being tested, I was overjoyed. Even before it was determined that she was a match, I was so touched that she considered doing such a thing for me.”

The matching process took some time because of the extensive testing involved. After it was determined the two were compatible, they set a surgery date that worked with their schedules.

“My husband and family were thrilled, to say the least,” Pegues said. “My husband said that I really have a true friend.”

Before becoming a living organ donor, Banahan conferred with her family.

“I discussed the idea with my two adult children,” she said. “They were both so encouraging and supportive of my decision.”

Since the procedure, Pegues has been continuing her recovery at home.

“As one would expect, I experienced pain in the days immediately following the surgery,” she said. “I rested a lot because there was not much else I could do. Simple tasks wore me out, but I feel stronger each day.”

Banahan said her first couple of weeks after the surgery were challenging.

“There was quite a bit of pain,” she said. “Then, for me, it was a matter of regaining strength and stamina. At eight weeks after surgery, I feel good and am working full time.”

The two agreed that they received excellent care at UMMC and have learned several things through this process.

“First, there is a state law which grants up to six weeks of leave to an organ donor so that the individual does not have to use personal or medical leave,” Pegues said. “Second, there is a tax credit of up to $10,000 available to donors for expenses they incurred such as travel and hotel accommodations. Third and finally, all medical expenses (testing, hospital services) are charged to the recipient.”

“There has been no financial cost to me at all throughout this entire process,” Banahan said. “I hope our story encourages others to consider being a living organ donor.”

Live donors aren’t uncommon nationally, but it can be difficult to find good candidates in the Deep South.

“Part of our challenge is that we serve a predominantly African-American population, and diabetes and high blood pressure are very common,” Wynn said. “Even when we have family members or friends willing to donate, they frequently have medical reasons for not being able to donate.”

The main consideration, Wynn said, is that the donor and recipient must have compatible blood types.

Banahan and other live donors are advised on the front end of the risks of surgery. Both donors and recipients go through an evaluation process at UMMC to ensure that the donation is being made freely and without coercion, and that donors are doing it for the right reasons, King said.

“Facing a major operation is a worrisome thing, and a lot of our focus is to allay the fears” of both donors and recipients, Wynn said. “Because of the precautions we take, it’s the safest operation we do. There’s risk, but compared to any other major operation, it’s extremely safe.

“The more important question is, what’s the lifelong risk to the donor of having only one kidney? We know the risk is not zero, but it’s extremely small. We are careful to make sure we identify the potential donors who have problems that can put them at risk for kidney failure.”

While Pegues and Banahan made a model donation team, at least 700 people are on UMMC’s waiting list for a kidney transplant, Wynn said.

“We did 77 kidney transplants in the first six months of this year,” he said. “That shows there’s a large gap between the number waiting, and the number of donations available. Donation is a great thing.”

UMMC is making strides in growing its live organ donor program.

“It’s a beautiful gift to give upon your death, but we want to make more people aware that there’s the option of live donation,” Johnston said.

Pegues and Banahan have “such a beautiful friendship,” Johnston said. “When you are a living donor, that’s a gift that keeps on giving. Leslie will give this gift to Charlotte every day.”

Fatefully, it was a work crisis that initially brought the two Ole Miss employees together in the mid-1990s.

“Leslie was working in international programs and I was working in admissions,” Pegues said. “We were assigned to work on a very sensitive student issue.”

“The assignment required us to spend quite a bit of time together, and I was quickly impressed with Charlotte’s intelligence, professional knowledge and skills, and her no-nonsense approach to our work,” Banahan said. “We were a good team, and I knew she was someone I could trust and count on to make good decisions.”

Resolving the matter at hand, the two continued working together on various projects and committees. Both eventually served as assistant vice chancellors for student affairs, positions that afforded them the opportunity to work together on a daily basis. What began as a professional relationship developed into a strong friendship.

“Leslie is always kind and professional,” Pegues said. “Having both held positions of assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, we worked closely together for several years. We spent a lot of time working on very serious matters. From what I recall, I think we agreed on most things.”

Pegues is “a person of strong faith and personal values” who possesses a great sense of humor, Banahan said.

“I think we both are fairly optimistic people, and we both chose careers in higher education,” she said. “I’m sure we have disagreed occasionally, but I honestly can’t remember a specific disagreement. While our life stories are very different, we just connected and supported one another.”

UM Professors Earn Tenure and Promotions

Four academic departments, Croft Institute and Sarah Isom Center are under new leadership

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Four faculty members within the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi have been promoted to administrative positions, and more than 50 faculty members across campus have been granted tenure or rank promotions.

Also, Gregg Roman has been hired as chair and professor of biology, and Rebekah Smith has been hired as chair of the Department of Psychology.

Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy, has been named chair of the department, and Michael Barnett, associate professor of lighting design, is the new chair of the Department of Theatre Arts. Oliver Dinius, associate professor of history, is the new executive director of the Croft Institute for International Studies, and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies is under the direction of Jaime Harker, professor of English. All appointments became official this summer.

“I am pleased to announce the outstanding faculty that will assume these very important administrative roles within the College of Liberal Arts,” Dean Lee Cohen said. “I am confident that each of these units will flourish under their new leadership and I am excited to begin working with them.

“I would also like to thank those individuals who these individuals are following – all of whom served their respective units with exceptional leadership and resourcefulness.”

Though new to the university, Roman comes with both short- and long-term goals for the Department of Biology, which includes growing its faculty and increasing the number of high-impact research projects in diverse areas of the life sciences.

“Our team will accomplish this goal through a multipronged approach that includes improving our ability to conduct state-of-the-art research with new shared-use instrumentation facilities Roman,” said. “We are increasing our efforts at recruiting and retaining academically excellent, driven and curious graduate students. We will also increase the level of discourse with discipline specific journal club courses, a bolstered research seminar series and a departmental retreat.

These increases in research communication will help generate more innovation and provide both incentives and tools for even higher levels of multidisciplinary research, he said.

“By encouraging our faculty to work together in these tasks, we will elevate our research and develop national and international recognition for the areas of strength present in the biology department,” he said.

A member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty since 1996, Bombelli said he is fortunate to have stepped into the position at a time when the department has seen an increase in the number of regular, tenure-track faculty members.

“This has strengthened our already very active and prominent research groups, and put us in a position to attract even higher levels of funding,” he said. “We are a relatively small, friendly department, in which faculty carry out very exciting research, and we plan to use this to raise the quality and diversity of our applicant pool, in both our undergraduate and graduate programs.”

In terms of course offerings, the recent increase in faculty size has been offset by the number of sections needed to teach to serve a much larger overall student population.

“So my goal is to increase the size of the faculty further, to reach a level at which we can teach a really attractive variety of courses,” Bombelli said. “In the short term, this will require the development of a clear vision and expansion plan.”

Before coming to Ole Miss, Smith was professor and chair of psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“My goals are to provide leadership for growth in the department within the environment of UM as a leading research university by supporting faculty and students and through creative problem solving,” she said. “I am fortunate to have a strong positive foundation to build on, thanks to the work of Dr. Michael Allen, who served as department chair for 14 years and who continues to provide invaluable advice during the transition in leadership.”

Barnett joined the faculty in August 2007 and has served as assistant professor of lighting design, assistant chair of theatre arts, vice-chair of the Faculty Senate and chair of the Faculty Senate for the last four years.

“The department will work to ensure that our students have the resources to create wonderful pieces of theater, film and dance,” Barnett said. “They will learn about the artistry, professionalism and critical thinking necessary to generate substantive pieces of work and discover the ways in which they can make a positive difference in our community through the representation of our regional, national and global stories.”

Through collaboration with the other fine arts departments, the Department of Theatre Arts will serve as a cultural corridor through which the community is able to connect with the university, he added.

Dinius, who has been a UM faculty member since 2004, said his first and foremost goal is to make sure that the international studies major remains a program that stands for academic excellence as the number of students continues to grow.

“The Croft Institute now accepts 50 percent more students than it did in 2010, but its faculty has not grown, which means that we have to use our resources very wisely to give students the true ‘Croft’ experience and inspire them to perform at the highest level,” Dinius said.

“Over the next few years, I would like to reshape the curriculum in the international studies major to be more global in outlook, building on our strength in the study of four particular regions – East Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East – and finding ways to think beyond those regions.”

Another priority of Dinius’ would be to place even greater emphasis on undergraduate research, a skillset that has proven to lead to exciting careers for alumni, often in areas of the private sector that one might not immediately associate with research.

“In terms of Croft’s contribution to the university at large, I want to see us even more engaged in the internationalization of our campus,” he said. “This would include expanding the number of international events working with other units on campus, such as the Honors College, the Department of Modern Languages and the Office of Global Engagement, among others.

“Greater internationalization of campus benefits our majors, the student body at large and the Oxford community.”

Harker joined the faculty in 2003 and has been an assistant professor and associate professor of English. She was director of undergraduate studies in English, the department’s assistant chair and interim director of the Isom Center in 2014-2015.

“Our short-term goals include increasing the availability of courses in gender studies to serve the student body, creating partnerships with groups on campus and in the community regarding gender and sexual studies, and building financial support for programming and education,” she said. “We will build on partnerships with the Oxford Film Festival, the Powerhouse, the Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement, and many others within and outside of the university.”

Harker said her long-term goals are to extend the reach of the center’s educational programs through podcasts, social media and online programming, move to more accessible and visible space in Lamar Hall, and build a stronger endowment to support its educational mission.

Other faculty members earning tenure and/or rank promotions are:

  • Kim Griffin Adcock was promoted to professor of pharmacy practice and is director of faculty and academic affairs in the Department of Pharmacy Practice
  • Abbas Ali was promoted to principal scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Alan Louis Arrivee was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of theatre arts
  • Robert William Barnard was promoted to professor of philosophy
  • Edmond Boudreaux was granted tenure
  • Cecilia Botero was granted tenure
  • Qingying Bu was promoted to professor of mathematics
  • Joe Turner Cantu was promoted to professor of theatre arts
  • Tucker Carrington was promoted to associate professor of law and is director of the Innocence Project
  • Amber Jean Carpenter-McCullough was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Virginia Rougon Chavis was promoted to professor of art and is chair of art and art history
  • Allen Stanley Clark was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of modern languages
  • Svjetlana Curcic was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of special education
  • Charles Clay Dibrell was promoted to professor of management and is William W. Gresham Jr Entrepreneurial Lecturer
  • Victoria Lynn Dickinson was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of accountancy
  • Conor M. Dowling was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of political science
  • Micah Paul Everett was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of music
  • Joshua First was promoted to Croft associate professor of history and international studies
  • Laurie Warrington Fleming was promoted to clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Jennifer W. Ford was promoted to professor and is head of Archives and Special Collections at the J.D. Williams Library
  • Karen Forgette was promoted to lecturer in the Center for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Richard John Gentry was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of management
  • Kristy L. Gilliland was promoted to professor of law and is director of the Law Library
  • Bradley T. Goodwiller was promoted to research and development engineer II at the National Center for Physical Acoustics
  • Joan Hall was promoted to senior lecturer in English
  • Ralph Hugh Hamilton was promoted to instructional associate professor of management
  • John David Heffington was promoted to senior research and development engineer at the National Center for Physical Acoustics
  • John A. Holleman was promoted to clinical associate professor of higher education
  • Kate Hooper was promoted to lecturer in the Center for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Guy Krueger was promoted to lecturer in the Center for Writing and Rhetoric
  • Cecille Alista Labuda was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of physics and astronomy
  • Christopher J. Leary was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of biology
  • Theresa Hilary Levitt was promoted to professor of history
  • Soumyajit Majumdar was promoted to professor of pharmaceutics and research professor in RIPS and is associate dean for research and graduate programs and associate director of the PII Center for Pharmaceutical Technology
  • Charles D. Mitchell was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of journalism and new media and is assistant dean
  • Sathyanarayana Narasimh Murthy was promoted to professor of pharmaceutics and research professor in RIPS
  • Ahmed Mohamed Galal Osman was promoted to senior scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • James J. Pitcock was promoted to clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Charles K. Ross was promoted to professor of history and is director of African-American studies
  • Stefan E. Schulenberg was promoted to professor of psychology
  • Carrie Smith was promoted to instructional associate professor in psychology
  • Rebekah Smith was granted tenure
  • Daniel Stout was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of British literature
  • Natascha Techen was promoted to senior scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Anne S. Twitty was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of history
  • Randy Mack Wadkins was promoted to professor of chemistry and biochemistry
  • Yanhong Wang was promoted to principal scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Ivonne Whitehead was promoted to senior lecturer in modern languages
  • Kathleen Wickham was promoted to professor of journalism
  • Louis George Zachos was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of geology and geological engineering
  • Yaoxin Zhang was promoted to senior research scientist at the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering

UM Alumnus Competes on ‘Sports Jeopardy!’

Joey Odom uses passion for athletics and trivia to land spot as contestant

Joey Odom

Joey Odom

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi alumnus Joey Odom will demonstrate his sports knowledge while representing Ole Miss on an episode of “Sports Jeopardy!” airing Aug. 31.

Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Dan Patrick hosts the show, in its second season. The 30-minute quiz show follows the format of the popular game show “Jeopardy,” but with a focus on the world of sports. It airs Wednesdays on Sony’s online streaming app Crackle.

Odom, originally from Jackson, said his obsession with sports prompted him to audition.

“I decided because I absolutely love sports and trivia and thought I’d be pretty decent at it,” he said. “I always have a great time quizzing my friends and getting quizzed back.”

But getting on the show is a little more involved than that. More than 30,000 contestants have registered online, which involves a test of sports knowledge. After Odom succeeded at that portion of application, he was invited to audition in-person at a studio in Houston, Texas. He was well-liked and invited to become a contestant on the show, filmed at Sony Pictures in Los Angeles.

“It was a blast!” he said. “I had the absolute best time and all of the people there are just a delight to work with and fantastic at their jobs. From the people who took care of us backstage, Corina and Maggie, to the mike guy, Mitch, to the makeup personnel, Lisa and Sandy, I just had the best time and got to work with amazing professionals. I’m a very lucky guy who had an experience of a lifetime.”

As luck would have it, one of the questions on the show was about Ole Miss athletics.

“I kind of laughed when I was able to buzz in for that one,” Odom said.

Odom has lived in Oxford for 13 years. He earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from UM in 2007 and then completed a master’s degree in mathematics in 2010, also at Ole Miss. Odom works in IT at Mortgage Trade, a company formed from FNC Inc.

Log in to the Crackle app Aug. 31 to see how Odom faired against the other contestants. The episode will also be available for on-demand streaming after its initial airing.

Oxford Children’s Chorus Sets Open Rehearsal and Auditions

OXFORD, Miss. – Singers in grades 4-6 are invited to attend an open rehearsal of the Oxford Children’s Chorus at 4 p.m. Monday (Aug. 22) in the choir room of the University of Mississippi Music Building. Singers who wish to join are welcome to audition immediately after rehearsal.

The Oxford Children’s Chorus builds musicians through collaborative music-making. Singers build music literacy skills that will last throughout their lifetimes.

Each rehearsal includes time developing music reading and writing skills. Concerts highlight singers’ musical development and their production of beautiful, expressive singing.

Each rehearsal is planned to foster growth through fun, lively and challenging musical activities. Professionally trained musicians help young singers develop basic musicianship skills, including reading, writing, singing and harmony, under the leadership of Andy Paney, UM associate professor of music education.

The chorus rehearses 4-5:15 p.m. Mondays. Tuition for the semester is $35. There is no commitment and no cost to come to the open rehearsal Monday.

More information is available at