David Rockefeller Jr. and Bruce Levingston Set for UM Performance

Distinguished friends unite Wednesday for evening of words and music

David Rockefeller Jr.

David Rockefeller Jr.

OXFORD, Miss. – Conservationist and philanthropist David Rockefeller Jr. and longtime friend and pianist Bruce Levingston, Chancellor’s Honors College Artist-in-Residence and holder of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, are teaming up onstage this week for an evening of words and music.

The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 28) at Nutt Auditorium. Limited seating is available by calling Penny Leeton at 662-915-7266.

Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr., serves as director of Rockefeller & Co. and formerly served as board chair of the Rockefeller Foundation, recognized for promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world since 1913. He is a leading conservationist of the world’s ocean and water resources and an avid sailor.

Also a passionate supporter of music, Rockefeller has sung as a chorister with Boston’s Cantata Singers for more than 40 years. His most recent performances have focused on narration, performing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Lexington Symphony, and the Handel and Haydn Society.

Rockefeller will combine his love of sailing and song as he and Levingston perform Tennyson’s poem, “Enoch Arden,” the heartbreaking love story of a sailor lost at sea, set to music by Richard Strauss.

Bruce Levingston

Bruce Levingston

Rockefeller said he is looking forward to both his visit and his performance with Levingston.

“Mississippi has produced many wonderful artists, writers and musicians, including my good friend Bruce Levingston,” Rockefeller said. “I am eager to get to know this unique state.”

Levingston was named the inaugural recipient of the Lester Glenn Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi, which was made possible by a generous gift by Lester “Ruff” Glenn Fant III. Fant made the gift in memory of his father and grandfather. Fant and Rockefeller, graduates of the same law school class of the Harvard Law School, are also friends.

Levingston said he is pleased to introduce Rockefeller to Mississippi, adding to a growing list of prominent figures he has brought to the university, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and international ballet dancers Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo.

“David Rockefeller and his remarkable family have been inspiring global leaders in philanthropy, conservation and medical research for well over a century,” Levingston said. “It is a distinct honor to have this wonderful friend visit our state and our beloved university.”

For more information, contact Penny Leeton at pleeton@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7266.

UM Communiversity to Offer Fall Child Safety Series

Free social media safety course for parents coming up Oct. 4

Oxford area residents are invited to participate in the free UM Communiversity class 'Social Media: Is Your Child Safe' coming up Oct. 4 in Lamar Hall. The class is part of the 'Child Safety Series' of courses offered by the program this fall on the Oxford campus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Oxford area residents are invited to participate in the free UM Communiversity class ‘Social Media: Is Your Child Safe’ coming up Oct. 4 in Lamar Hall. The class is part of the ‘Child Safety Series’ of courses offered by the program this fall on the Oxford campus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Communiversity program is offering a free course for parents and others who are interested in understanding more about keeping their children, grandchildren or students safe on social media.

“We have had a lot of people asking questions about the different social media platforms and how their children and teens can be affected,” said Vanessa Cook, assistant director of marketing for the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education.

“In this class, we will share with you some strategies for deterring bullies and internet predators, as well as suggestions on how to educate children and monitor the online activity of minors.”

Cook’s class “Social Media: Is Your Child Safe?” is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in Lamar Hall, Room 207. The course is free, but participants are asked to register to reserve their spot.

UM’s crime prevention coordinator, Jeff Kellum, will offer a new course this semester on “Personal Safety” to share intellectual and physical components for staying safe. The class will meet in Lamar Hall, Room 207 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 19, and the cost is $10.

Participants will discover the early warning signs of danger, ways to use their voices and body language to prevent harm, and simple, effective physical skills to disable an attacker long enough to escape. Individuals and families are invited to attend.

If your teenager would like to help care for other children, the “Safe Sitter Essentials for Kids Ages 11-14” course will prepare them with lifesaving skills and the confidence to handle any situation that may arise while babysitting.

“This course will help future babysitters to feel comfortable and prepared in a variety of situations that may occur when caring for a child,” said Mary Leach, UM director of non-credit programming and Safe Sitter course instructor.

The workshop is slated for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Insight Park HR Training Room. The fee is $65.

“CPR and First-Aid Training” is one of Communiversity’s most popular classes. New parents, health care assistants, childcare workers, church staffs, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and entire university departments have learned to save lives by enrolling in this course.

“CPR and First-Aid Training” will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Insight Park HR Training Room. The cost is $75, which includes materials and American Red Cross Certification.

“The classes in this series include some of our most popular offerings that community members continue to recommend to their friends and family,” said Sandra Sulton, UM Communiversity coordinator.

To find out more about these and the full fall slate of Communiversity classes, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/communiversity.

Symposium to Highlight Eggleston Exhibit at UM Museum

Panel discussions to examine photographer's influence and experiences

Eggleston’s work is now on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.

Eggleston’s work is on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit ‘The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.’

OXFORD, Miss – “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston” presented by the University of Mississippi Museum features 36 works from the fine art photographer in an exclusive exhibition of the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition, sponsored by Friends of the Museum, runs through Jan. 14, 2017. The public is invited to an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

To further highlight Eggleston’s remarkable color and black-and-white photographs, the museum will host a symposium Oct. 7 at UM’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, featuring notable panelists across different disciplines.

“The University of Mississippi Museum and the Friends of the Museum are exceptionally pleased to present this convening of distinguished panelists and scholars, offering an exploration of the career and influence of the extraordinary William Eggleston,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director.

The first panel at 10 a.m. will feature William Ferris, Maude Schuyler Clay and Megan Abbott, with Lisa Howorth as moderator. The second panel, at 2 p.m., with Ferris as moderator, will feature Emily Ballew Neff, Richard McCabe and Kris Belden-Adams.

The morning panel will approach Eggleston and his work from a perspective of those who have known him personally and have been significantly influenced by his images, Saarnio said.

“Enriched by anecdotes and personal reflections, the panel’s content will include consideration of formative influences and experiences, career highlights and the longitudinal development of an artist, as evidenced by this particular life in visual art and image-making,” he said.

“The afternoon panel will focus on the body of work across Eggleston’s career, with content including the influence of the work on the field of photography, its influence on other artistic and creative fields, the evolution of critical reception to Eggleston, how the work has had shifting meaning over time, and the meaning of the work today to contemporary audiences and contemporary practitioners.”

Howorth, a native of Washington, D.C., has called Oxford home since 1972. She and husband Richard Howorth opened Square Books in Oxford in 1979. After earning master’s degrees in library science and art history, she worked at Ole Miss as a reference librarian and an associate professor of art and Southern studies. She is editor of “The South: A Treasury of Art and Literature” and other books on Southern culture, writes for Garden & Gun and Oxford American magazines, and published “Flying Shoes,” a novel, in 2014.

Ferris is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South and a history professor at the University of North Carolina. He is also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at UM, where he served as a faculty member for 18 years. A longtime friend of William Eggleston and a collector of his work, Ferris donated all pieces that are on display at the UM Museum. He has written or edited 10 books and will sign his new photography book, “The South in Color,” inspired by Eggleston, at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at Square Books

Acclaimed photographer, first cousin and Eggleston protege Clay served as a consulting adviser for the exhibition. In 2015, Clay’s own photography collection of portraits titled “Mississippi History” was produced by German photo book publisher Steidl. The publisher discovered her photographs while working with Eggleston on the multivolume set “Chrome” (2011) and “Los Alamos Revisited” (2012). Clay was the 2015 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Visual Arts.

Detroit native and author Abbott also guest curated the exhibition. As the former John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence, she has drawn her own inspiration from Eggleston’s work. Abbott is an Edgar Award-winning author for her novels “Queenpin,” “The Song Is You,” “Die a Little,” “Bury Me Deep,” “The End of Everything” and “Dare Me.” Her latest novel, “The Fever,” was chosen as one of the best books of the summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the best books of the year by several media outlets.

Neff , executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum, spent nearly 20 years as curator of American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, where she organized numerous major exhibitions. Neff also served as director and chief curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.

McCabe, curator of photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, has curated more than 30 exhibitions and is also a photographer whose work has been the subject of several exhibitions. He has also taught photography courses at Xavier University in New Orleans, the Pratt Institute in New York, Montclair State Institute in New Jersey and Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Belden-Adams, an assistant professor of art and art history at UM, earned a doctorate in modern and contemporary art history, specializing in the history of photography, at the City University of New York. Additionally, she earned an master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Belden-Adams is the editor of the book “Photography and Failure” (2017). Her scholarly work in art history and photography has been published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many journals.

Ole Miss Theatre Begins Season with ‘Clybourne Park’

Award-winning play and lecture series tackle issues of race, equity and neighborhood development

Daniel Schultz (left), Faith Janicki, Tysianna Jones and Jonathan Orange rehearse for a scene from the Ole Miss Theatre production of 'Clybourne Park,' opening Sept. 23 in Meek Hall Auditorium. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Daniel Schultz (left), Faith Janicki, Tysianna Jones and Jonathan Orange rehearse for a scene from the Ole Miss Theatre production of ‘Clybourne Park,’ opening Sept. 23 in Meek Hall Auditorium. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Department of Theatre Arts kicks off its fall season with a performance of “Clybourne Park” at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 23) in Meek Hall Auditorium.

Directed by Rory Ledbetter, “Clybourne Park” is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play written by Bruce Norris in 2010. A social satirical piece with two acts set 50 years apart in a fictional Chicago neighborhood, “Clybourne Park” portrays the evolution of racial relations from integration in the 1950s to the eventual point of gentrification a half-century later.

If you are unable to attend Friday’s performance, do not fret. Several more dates, including both evening and matinee stagings, are scheduled over the next three weeks. For the full show schedule and ticket prices, visit the Ole Miss Theatre website. Tickets are also available at the Student Union Box Office.

To encourage discussion of issues presented in the play, “Multidisciplinary Conversations Surrounding “Clybourne Park,'” a three-part “lunch and learn” lecture series has been organized with the cooperation of several different academic departments across campus. Attendees get a free lunch and the speakers will discuss topics raised by “Clybourne Park” with the hope of educating and promoting conversation in the community.

Michael Barnett, UM chair and associate professor of theatre arts, spearheaded the project.

“It is our goal to encourage an ongoing conversation around the issues that are presented in the play,” Barnett said. “Through the lecture series, the community will be able to see how these issues that are struggled with on stage are impacting people all over the country, and right here in north Mississippi.

“Through this collaboration, we hope that we will be able to reach a broader audience and expand the exploration of these themes beyond the theater.”

The first speaker is John Green, director of the UM Center for Population Studies. Green’s lecture, “Exploration of the Social and Community Factors Associated with Gentrification in Global and Local Contexts,” is set for noon Sept. 30 in Meek Hall Auditorium.

Next up is Rebecca Marchiel, a UM assistant professor of history. Her lecture, “From Panic Peddling to Gentrification: Clybourne Park in Historical Perspective,” is slated for noon Oct. 5 in Meek Hall Auditorium.

The final speaker of the series is Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the university’s William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Stollman’s lecture, “Clybourne Park and Community: A Contemporary Dialogue Around Equity and Residential Spaces,” is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Winter Institute, on the third floor of Lamar Hall.

The lectures are free and open to the public; however, space is limited. To reserve a seat, email theatre@olemiss.edu.

University Partners with USM to Expand Jumpstart

UM literacy center plans statewide expansion through collaborations

Jumpstart recruits college students from a variety of academic majors to teach language and literacy skills in pre-k classrooms. Photo by Nathan Latil- University Communications

Jumpstart recruits college students from a variety of academic majors to teach language and literacy skills in pre-K classrooms. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A new collaboration between the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi will expand Jumpstart, a national organization that helps children develop the language and literacy skills needed to excel in kindergarten.

This ongoing effort to expand Jumpstart statewide is led by UM’s Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction. Last fall, the university announced a similar partnership when CELI staff helped expand Jumpstart into the Columbus area by partnering with Mississippi University for Women.

“We have a goal of having a Jumpstart presence at all IHL campuses statewide,” said Angela Rutherford, CELI director. “The University of Mississippi will be the ‘central hub’ for Mississippi Jumpstart as we help grow the program.”

Jumpstart opened its first Mississippi chapter in 2012 at Ole Miss. The program recruits undergraduate students from all academic disciplines and provides volunteers with specialized training and placement in pre-K classrooms where students provide support to existing education centers.

“Jumpstart is a great hands-on experience, and a lot of it,” explained Olivia Morgan, CELI literacy specialist and the state program manager for Jumpstart. “The experience is not just beneficial to education majors, but anyone who wants to work with children or have children of their own one day.”

Volunteers complete at least 300 volunteer hours in an academic year between training and teaching as part of the program. Students also receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be applied toward education expenses.

“Children in Hattiesburg need this kind of exposure to rich vocabulary and social skills,” said Laura Beth Hull, the new site manager for the USM chapter and a graduate student in speech pathology there. “Jumpstart is here to help bridge that gap and our students want to be a part of it.”

As the site manager, Hull is working on recruitment and hopes to have 12 students working in two classrooms by the end of October.

Mississippi does not offer universal public pre-K education and state data suggests a significant need for it. A 2015 assessment conducted by the Mississippi Department of Education found that approximately 64 percent of Mississippi children do not possess the literacy skills needed for entering kindergarten.

As noted by Rutherford, literacy research suggests that children who experience quality early childhood education are more likely to be proficient readers by third grade.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, multiple studies show quality preschool programs can produce lasting gains in academic achievement, including gains in reading. Studies also show communities could reap an estimated $7 return on every $1 invested in public pre-K education in the form of long-term cost savings.

CELI oversees more than 35 Oxford-based volunteers at three sites in north Mississippi, and the chapter serves more than 100 children. At the MUW chapter, more than a dozen volunteers serve more than 40 children in Columbus area. The new Hattiesburg chapter is expected to be operational by mid-October.

CELI hopes to identify new partnerships for the expansion of Jumpstart in the coming year.

UM Choir Contributes to World Day of Peace

Concert singers videotaped performance, sang on live stream for global telecast

Stella Mbugua and the University of Mississippi Concert Singers take part in a worldwide performance for World Peace Day. The choir's performance in Paris-Yates Chapel was live-streamed on the internet. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Stella Mbugua and the University of Mississippi Concert Singers take part in a worldwide performance for World Peace Day. The choir’s performance in Paris-Yates Chapel was live-streamed on the internet. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – As World Day of Peace was observed around the globe Wednesday (Sept. 21), the University of Mississippi Concert Singers joined their voices as part of a worldwide choral cry for peace that live-streamed on the internet.

Led by Don Trott, director of choral activities, the 50-member group participated in a worldwide effort to promote peace through the singing of a South African song titled “Ukuthula,” which translates into “peace.”

The live performance aired at 2:30 p.m. on USTREAM under the group designated “AVoice4Peace.’ A pre-recorded performance of the UM Choir will be added to many from around the world on a website called “AVoice4Peace” at http://avoice4peace.org/#a-day-for-peace.

“The idea for this worldwide choral celebration of peace was that of Ken Wakia, the conductor of the Nairobi Chamber Chorus from Nairobi, Kenya,” Trott said. “This choir performed in the Ford Center last November as part of their USA tour and included a performance of ‘Ukuthula.’

“Ken and Kevin Fenton, choral director at Florida State University, came up with the idea to organize many, many choirs to come together in this worldwide choral cry for peace.”

“Ukuthula” (pronounced oo-goo-too-lah) is a prayer set to music. Loosely translated, the lyrics say, “In this world of sin, the blood of Jesus brings peace, redemption, praise, faith, victory and comfort.”

“It’s wonderful being a part of something so heartfelt and meaningful,” Trott said. “All the students have been very passionate about this experience, both in rehearsals and in performances. It’s really amazing to see them sing as a form of self-expression and connect in this beautiful, unique way.”

Stellah Mbugua, one of the members of the Nairobi Chamber Choir who came to UM on their tour, sang background on “Ukuthula” then. She is pursuing a Master of Music in choral conducting at UM this fall and has become the featured soloist for the UM Choir’s performance.

Mbugua, 27, said she initially was hesitant about being the soloist, even though the song’s message resonates deeply within her.

“I’ve never led this song before and was very nervous about doing so,” she said. “But as I’ve sung it, I felt this energy making me stronger and compelling me to sing.

“No matter where we are from, music truly connects us. This song brought together people from all over the Earth and turned us into once voice for world peace, which is something I really believe in.”

Besides the website, a documentary about the “A Voice 4 Peace” experience is being filmed, Trott said.

World Peace Day – officially The International Day of Peace – is observed annually on Sept. 21. It is dedicated to world peace, specifically to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Organizers hope that it will become the occasion for a temporary ceasefire in combat zones for humanitarian aid access.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67PDF document of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.

In 2001, the General Assembly adopted resolution 55/282PDF document, which established Sept. 21 as an annual day of nonviolence and cease-fire.

For more about the UM Concert Singers, visit http://choral.olemiss.edu/about-us/.

$1.9 Million NIH Grant to Fund Children’s Health Research

Medical Center will use award to build infrastructure, expand pediatric clinical trials

The team of medical experts involved in the National Institutes of Health ECHO grant to UMMC includes, from left, Dr. Richard Summers, Dr. Norma Ojeda, Dr. Rob Annett, Dr. Rick Barr and Dr. Whitney Herring.

The team of medical experts involved in the National Institutes of Health ECHO grant to UMMC includes, from left, Dr. Richard Summers, Dr. Norma Ojeda, Dr. Rob Annett, Dr. Rick Barr and Dr. Whitney Herring.

JACKSON, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Medical Center has received a National Institutes of Health grant for more than $1.9 million to support research into how environmental factors from conception through early childhood influence the health of children and adolescents.

The funds, from the NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes, or ECHO, program, will be distributed over four years to create a research infrastructure at UMMC, opening the door to increasing pediatric clinical trials in Mississippi, particularly among traditionally underserved populations.

“This will help children’s research in Mississippi step up to a new level,” said Dr. Robert Annett, professor of pediatrics and director for research and education at UMMC’s Center for the Advancement of Youth. “This will ultimately help pediatric clinical research have a positive impact upon the health of children across the country.”

The grant to UMMC is part of $157 million awarded this year for the seven-year ECHO program, which focuses on the effects of exposure to certain environmental factors – including physical, chemical, biological, social, behavioral, natural and built environments – on child health and development. The studies will target four key pediatric outcomes that have a high public health impact: upper and lower airway health; obesity; pre-, peri- and post-natal outcomes; and neurodevelopment.

Annett and Dr. Rick Barr, the Medical Center’s Suzan B. Thames professor and chair of pediatrics, are principal investigators in the project, which brings together a team of pediatric clinical researchers to address those four focus areas.

“Mississippi has many health care challenges, and they can all have a profound impact upon our children,” Barr said. “Through research, we seek to improve children’s health from the womb to adulthood, meaning future generations will have the care they need to reach their greatest potential.”

Co-investigators include Annett in neurodevelopment; Dr. Norma Ojeda, associate professor of pediatrics; Dr. Mark Majure, professor of pediatric pulmonology; and Dr. Whitney Herring, an assistant professor of pediatrics specializing in childhood obesity.

Advisory committees for the effort include, within UMMC, Dr. Richard Summers, associate vice chancellor for research; Dr. Bettina Beech, dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health; Dr. Michael Griswold, director of the Center of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics; Dr. Dan Jones, director of clinical and population sciences for the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research; Dr. Joshua Mann, Preventative Medicine chair; Dr. Gailen Marshall, Allergy and Immunology chair; Jane Reckelhoff, Women’s Health Research Center director; and Dr. James Shwayder, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

External advisers include Dr. Mary Currier, Mississippi state health officer; David Dzielak, Mississippi Division of Medicaid executive director; Theresa Hanna, Center for Mississippi Health Policy CEO; Dr. Juantina Johnson, Choctaw Health Center chief medical officer; Dr. Joe Olmi, University of Southern Mississippi psychology chair; Linda Southward, Mississippi Health Policy Research Center research scientist; and Dr. David Kimberlin, chair of pediatric diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“We are bringing together the best minds and are embracing experts from around the state,” said Annett, noting that UMMC will also be collaborating with other institutions to share data and findings.

ECHO will create a pediatric clinical trials network, leveraging existing infrastructure to address gaps in access to health care for rural children. Children’s of Mississippi pediatric clinics around the state would be a part of that system, helping connect clinical trials with children and families, Annett said.

Children’s of Mississippi is an umbrella organization that includes Batson Children’s Hospital and all UMMC pediatric care.

The program seeks to promote best practices for children’s health.

“Every baby should have the best opportunity to remain healthy and thrive throughout childhood,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH director. “ECHO will help us better understand the factors that contribute to optimal health in children.”

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, sees pediatric research as central to the Medical Center’s mission.

“What could be more important than researching how children can lead healthier lives?” she said. “Studies that can be life-changing are at the heart of our purpose, and we thank the National Institutes of Health for supporting the work of our researchers.”

Summers sees the role of pediatric clinical research as central to a healthier population.

“The National Institutes of Health ECHO grant will help us gain insights through research that will ultimately allow children and families everywhere to live healthier lives,” he said. “Through this funding, we will create the collaborative network needed for Mississippi to progress in pediatric clinical research.”

UM Archives Program Spotlights J.O. Eastland Collection

Sept. 29 event features historian David Hargrove and James Ziglar, former aide to late U.S. senator

U.S. Senator James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Photo courtesy of UM Archives and Special Collections)

U.S. Senator James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Photo courtesy of UM Archives and Special Collections)

OXFORD, Miss. – The life and achievements of legendary U.S. Sen. James O. Eastland are the topic for a Sept. 29 program at the University of Mississippi.

The Department of Archives and Special Collections will host “Mr. Chairman: U.S. Senator James O. Eastland and the Judiciary Committee” at 5:30 p.m. in the Faulkner Room on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. Open to the public, the event is approved for one hour of Continuing Legal Education and Continuing Judicial Education credit.

Historian David Hargrove will share insights he gained in the Eastland Collection on the judicial process while researching an official history of the U.S. District Courts of Mississippi. James Ziglar, who worked as an aide for Eastland from 1964 to 1971 while attending college and law school, will provide a personal perspective on the man and his role as chair of the Judiciary Committee.

“The program is designed to coincide with an exhibit of Eastland Collection material currently on view in the Faulkner Room of the Archives and Special Collections through December,” said Leigh McWhite, political papers archivist and associate professor. “The James O. Eastland Collection holds the correspondence, documents, publications, photographs, scrapbooks and recordings from his time in the Senate as well as personal papers.”

Besides documenting the Eastland’s life and career, the collection covers a broad range of topics on issues ranging from agriculture, the environment, industry and the economy to communism, civil rights and the Cold War.

“The papers are an invaluable resource on local history and public works projects within the state, and researchers can examine constituent correspondence for grassroots opinions on a wide array of international, national, state and local subject matter,” McWhite said.

David Hargrove once taught in UM’s Department of History and was a law school librarian. (Submitted photo)

David Hargrove once taught in UM’s Department of History and was a law school librarian. (Submitted photo)

Hargrove said Eastland’s collection provided invaluable insights for his book.

“My discoveries included how the state’s junior and senior senators divided federal judicial patronage, and the candidates for a half-dozen appointments to Mississippi’s federal judiciary during the civil rights era,” said Hargrove, former UM instructor of history and law library staff member who is director of the Gibson Memorial Library in Creston, Iowa.

“There was significant grassroots pressure on behalf of numerous candidates for each nomination, and while Senator Eastland made prompt and courteous replies to all supporters, he usually had a candidate in mind for each appointment. Some attorneys did not hesitate to promote their own candidacies, and to my surprise, a few undertook desperate and even underhanded measures to win the senator’s consideration.”

Ziglar’s 15-20-minute section of the program will focus on Eastland the man and how he personally influenced the Judiciary Committee and its processes.

“I worked for the senator as a very young man,” said Ziglar, whose career encompassed business, government, academia and law. “My various jobs during that period involved a lot of direct contact with Senator Eastland and I was privileged to get to know him on a very personal basis.”

“I hope to convey an image of the man I knew, an image that often is at odds with the seemingly widely-held perception of the senator.”

After law school, Ziglar clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, served as sergeant at arms of the U.S. Senate, assistant secretary of the interior for water and science, and commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He also has experience in investment banking and private law practice.

Hargrove earned his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Nebraska. He earned a master’s degree in history from UM, and in 2011 received his doctorate, having completed a dissertation on “The American School Discipline Debate and the Persistence of Corporal Punishment in Southern Public Schools.” Hargrove has been an instructor of history at the University of Memphis.

A Democrat, Eastland accepted a temporary appointment to the U.S. Senate in 1941 after the death of Pat Harrison. He then won the seat in his own right in 1943, staying in Congress until his retirement in 1978.

With the accrual of seniority, Eastland assumed chairmanship of the powerful Judiciary Committee in 1956, a post he retained throughout his career. The senator donated the papers to UM in 1978-1979.

The Eastland Collection finding aid, which offers biographical account of the senator and more information on the contents, is online at http://purl.oclc.org/umarchives/MUM00117/.

UM Student’s Drive Helps Him Accomplish Goals

P.J. Sheffield doesn't let his disability define him

Sheffield is a senior Ole Miss student and will earn his bachelor’s degree in May 2017.

Sheffield is a senior Ole Miss student and will earn his bachelor’s degree in May 2017.

University of Mississippi senior P.J. Sheffield has not missed an Ole Miss football or baseball game in seven years. He’s been to every home basketball game for five years, and every fall Friday for the last 12 years, he has been on the sidelines at Saltillo High School’s football games.

A general studies major who has minors in history, psychology and journalism, Sheffield works out every day during the summer and goes for daily walks in the Grove during the school year, while sometimes taking a course load totaling 21 hours.

Sheffield was born with cerebral palsy, which has been more of a minor inconvenience for him than a definitive identification of who he is as a person.

“I don’t see it as a challenge,” he said. “It’s just me.”

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects muscle movement and posture. When Sheffield was 5, he underwent surgery on his hamstrings to allow him more movement and the ability to sit up. Since then, he’s been unstoppable.

“I visit wellness centers and do upper body exercises all the time,” he said. “Anything that any other person can do, I can do; it just may be in a different way that takes me a little longer. It’s amazing how you can train your body to be super-strong from the waist up.”

Sheffield describes himself as a self-driven person and deciding what to do after high school was simple.

“It was either go to college or nothing,” he said.

He earned his associate’s degree in general studies in 2013 from Itawamba Community College and knew Ole Miss would be his next stop.

“It was home. I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

During his time in Oxford, Student Disability Services has assisted him in any way he’s needed: by contacting notetakers, allowing him to record lectures and allowing him extra time on tests, if needed, although he moves through much of his coursework just like any other student.

“I have had no problems with inclusion on the Ole Miss campus,” he said. “SDS has made my college career as accessible as possible and have let me know they are there to help if I need it.”

Sheffield said the “Allies for Inclusion: Ability Exhibit” hosted by SDS recently at the Inn at Ole Miss was a great way for faculty and other students to become allies for students with disabilities.

“I think when they see the drive, it makes them want to be even more inclusive,” he said. “I think they see it as motivation for themselves.”

His condition hasn’t changed since he was a child, and he tries to stay as active as possible to keep the continued use of his muscles.

And, upon the completion of his degree in May, Sheffield will have achieved all his goals at Ole Miss. After college, he hopes to pursue a career in sports by either coaching his former high school football team or becoming a sports journalist.

Saltillo High School Tiger head football coach Pat Byrd said Sheffield always finds ways to connect to his team.

“He’s very positive and he’s got the brightest outlook of anyone I’ve ever met,” Byrd said. “If he puts his mind to it, there’s not anything he can’t do.”

Sheffield’s love of the game will create a career path for him, Byrd said.

“If I push myself, there’s no stopping me,” Sheffield said. “If you want me to do something, put it in front of me and I’ll figure out a way.”

Scientist Finds New Calling at Ole Miss

Serinagaoglu is a graduate student at Ole Miss. Photo credit: Jeremy Scruggs

Serinagaoglu is working to connect with students as she works on a master’s degree at Ole Miss. Photo by Jeremy Scruggs

University of Mississippi graduate student Yelda Serinagaoglu grew up in Ankara, Turkey, with a deep love for science. She was an active student when her life suddenly and completely changed.

When Serinagaoglu was 15 years old, she was in a car accident that broke her back, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Her major injuries caused her to take a year off from school, postponing her education.

“I had to learn everything all over again and when you’re out of high school for a year, everything is a little foggy,” she said.

But there still was no question that she would attend college. In 2001, she earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and genetics from Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

“I loved science and I’m inquisitive by nature,” she said. “I want to answer questions and dig deep into things. Genetics was always one of my favorite subjects.”

So naturally, her curiosity motivated her to pursue further education. After completing her bachelor’s work in Turkey, Serinagaoglu moved to the United States to earn her doctorate from Ohio State University in 2007.

She then relocated to Memphis to work as a post-doctoral research scientist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Although she loved her work as a scientist, she also loved interacting with people.

“I realized one of the best experiences I had was interacting with graduate students,” she said. “I just wanted to be in a university environment.”

This led her to Ole Miss to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student personnel.

“I drove to the Ole Miss campus one day and fell in love,” she said. “I didn’t even apply anywhere else.”

“She has already made an impact on our campus and in students’ lives,” said Robin Yekatis, a UM disability specialist. “Her desire to connect with people is what makes her perfectly suited to be a change agent and influence positive growth and understanding on our campus.”

Through her entire educational experience, accessibility hasn’t been much of an issue. Although rules weren’t previously in place in Turkey as they are in the United States, accessibility was created for Serinagaoglu because people genuinely cared for her. Elevators and ramps were constructed in her departments at her university to allow her to easily get around.

At Ohio State, accessibility was very structured with ADA accessible residence halls and shuttles to classes. At Ole Miss, Student Disability Services has made campus completely accessible for her as well.

However, since her accident, she feels some people act differently around her, which why the “Allies for Inclusion: Ability Exhibit” is so important.

“I sometimes get a feeling that people don’t want to make eye contact with me, which I don’t understand,” she said. “There’s no special way to act around me, but I notice it’s awkward for them.”

She said the education provided by the Ability Exhibit will allow the campus community to understand how to become allies for those with disabilities.

“Knowledge is power and when you know about someone, you’re relaxed around them. That’s why we need this type of program – to get people to know each other.”

The exhibit is hosted by Student Disability Services from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Wednesday (Sept. 19-21) at the Inn at Ole Miss. Workshops will be held daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

To sign up for a workshop, contact Stacey Reycraft at reycraft@olemiss.edu. For more information about the exhibit, visit http://sds.olemiss.edu/ability-exhibit/.