Ole Miss Breaks Ground on New Arena

Facility to Officially be Named The Pavilion at Ole Miss

Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony and Reception on Thursday, July 31st, 2014 on the campus of The University of Mississippi.

Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony and Reception on Thursday, July 31st, 2014 on the campus of The University of Mississippi.

OXFORD, Miss. – Chancellor Dan Jones called them extraordinary days for The University of Mississippi, as the athletics program and university move forward together and build their shared dream of excellence.

Once a vision, the new basketball arena, which will officially be named The Pavilion at Ole Miss, became more of a reality with a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday.

“Today is ceremonial, but it also shows it’s a reality,” Athletics Director Ross Bjork said. “We have seen the construction fence, the dirt being taken out and the parking garage up, but you have to celebrate a milestone like this. Today was about the ceremony and the reality, but it was also bringing the Ole Miss community together and having our student-athletes see it firsthand.”

Once completed, The Pavilion at Ole Miss will not only be a destination point for the Ole Miss men’s and women’s basketball programs, but for the entire athletics department and university.

“We’re going to have a lot of excellence here,” Jones said. “We’re going to win a lot of basketball games. We’re going to have a lot of good convocations here for students. Parents are going to see their children graduate from this university. Students who come here to look at the university are going to have a great place to convene to begin their campus tours.”

“Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, family, friends and visitors love being on this campus, and so our vision was to create a front door along All-American Drive that would be a capstone for Ole Miss Athletics,” Bjork said. “It’s a destination point for many things that can happen on this campus, and it’s also close to the heart of the campus. The Pavilion at Ole Miss will be a reflection of its name as a large building used for public exhibit and sporting events for the Ole Miss family.”

The new arena, Bjork said, is a commitment to excellence with facilities that speaks to greatness in recruiting and fan experience and a huge statement for the athletics program that shows they’re healthy financially to continue growing and building.

“From a game day experience standpoint and all the things that you are asking from donors, we finally have the opportunity to provide them something that equates to the other sports on this campus,” men’s basketball head coach Andy Kennedy said. “From a recruiting standpoint, it gives us the opportunity to say, ‘You have everything you need to be successful as it relates to basketball.’ ”

“It’s great, not only for us, but for everyone on campus,” women’s basketball head coach Matt Insell said. “For us in terms of recruiting and walking into a new building, we go on the road and play in a lot of nice facilities and our girls are always wowed, but now teams are going to be wowed by our facilities because it’s going to be one of the best on-campus arenas in the country.”

AECOM is architect of record for the project and is providing architectural design, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, acoustic design and cost consulting. Construction on the attached parking structure has been underway since the beginning of the year. Arena construction is expected to be complete by December of 2015.

“The arena design features an intimate seating bowl for great student interaction and fan experience,” said Jon Niemuth, director of sports for AECOM. “We’re excited to create a venue that embraces the campus community and creates an environment for top-level competitive athletics.”

Bjork announced that the Forward Together capital campaign has reached the $112.5 million mark, on the way to its $150 million goal, which included the $85 million set aside for the new arena.

Ole Miss will continue to aggressively pursue adding a name in front of the word “Pavilion,” whether it’s an individual donor or a corporate sponsor, to work toward bridging the $37.5 million gap.

“Days like this help,” said Bjork of fundraising. “We can take this step, get this project going. We’re under construction and ready to be open by December 2015. It allows us to start focusing on that design process.”

As part of the Forward Together campaign, AECOM recently completed additions and renovations to the Manning Center football headquarters facility and currently is designing improvements for Vaught Hemmingway Stadium.

To learn more about donating to the campaign or securing seats in Ole Miss’ various athletic venues, fans are encouraged to go to ForwardTogetherRebels.com, or contact the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at 662-915-7159.

AECOM is an international design, planning and engineering firm with an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to complex infrastructure challenges. AECOM’s sports practice has delivered hundreds of innovative venue designs and renovations at the collegiate, professional and international level

Natural Products Center Hosts Joint Pharmacognosy, Botanicals Events

Event to bring largest crowd in Oxford Conference Center history

Guests check in at the ICSB regulatory meeting held at the Oxford Conference Center in April.

Guests check in at the ICSB regulatory meeting held at the Oxford Conference Center in April.

OXFORD, Miss. – Nearly 500 scientists from around the world will travel to Oxford this weekend to attend the joint American Society of Pharmacognosy Annual Meeting and International Conference on the Science of Botanicals.

“The 55th annual ASP meeting will showcase a number of disciplines relating to natural medicines, including the discovery, characterization, synthesis, biosynthesis and mechanism (of action) of natural product chemicals with druglike properties from a diversity of natural resources, including plant botanicals, which is the focus of ICSB,” said Bradley S. Moore, ASP president. “By joining these conferences, we hope to synergize these two natural product communities that naturally overlap and foster new research opportunities.”

Hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, the Aug. 2-6 conferences will be held at the Oxford Conference Center. Hollis Green, the conference center’s general manager, said the event will be the venue’s largest.

“We are delighted to host this joint conference,” Green said. “I speak for the city of Oxford when I say that the number of people being brought in will certainly impact our tourism taxes. It’s exactly the type of event (for which) this facility was built.”

Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR assistant director, is looking forward to the event.

“This is our third opportunity to gather scientists from the U.S. and abroad to share their discoveries and new challenges,” Khan said. “The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Contribution of Natural Products to Human Health, Agriculture and the Environment.’ We will have prominent speakers from each respective field who will discuss past achievements and where we should go from here.”

Khan hopes that visitors will enjoy the conference while learning more about the university and pharmacy school.

“This event will have a major impact,” he said. “Our school is renowned in natural products research, and this is an opportunity to show off our facilities and the kinds of research we can do here. Additionally, our campus is beautiful, and people who visit always talk very positively about their experience.”

To register for the event or for more information, visit http://asp2014.org/.

High School Students Study Chinese at Ole Miss

Mississippi StarTalk introduces prospective students to the Chinese Language Flagship Program

Students attended

Students participating in the 2014 StarTalk program

OXFORD, Miss. – Exceptional high school students from 13 states recently received intensive instruction in Chinese through the Mississippi StarTalk program at the University of Mississippi during summer session 2014.

Each of the 29 high school sophomores and juniors selected were given full StarTalk scholarships to delve into a cultural program that introduced them to China, its people and the culture.

While earning six hours of college-level Chinese credit, students were introduced to Ole Miss’ premier undergraduate Chinese Language Flagship Program, one of only 12 such programs in the United States. They also had the chance to sample the college experience.

Adam Jackson, a sophomore at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, Arkansas, took Chinese 101 this term and enjoyed studying the language while taking the illustrative glimpse into college life.

“I’m glad I got to get a feel for college and learn Chinese,” Jackson said. “I’m starting to look at colleges now and it was helpful to experience living in the dorm and experiencing other aspects of college, like time management.”

StarTalk was created eight years ago to meet the United States’ economic competitiveness and national security needs in learning critical languages. The program can take a student interested in learning the language and teach them enough to enroll in a Chinese language program in college, said Alex Kynerd, program coordinator and 2007 participant.

“It’s a rewarding experience getting to see new students learn the language,” Kynerd said. “Many of them start the class knowing zero Chinese and leave with the ability to talk about their family, friends, hobbies and write diaries in Chinese.”

Jackson had studied Chinese at various camps, but lauded Mississippi StarTalk as the most fulfilling experience to date.

“I had a really good teacher here, and I learned a little more than I expected,” said Jackson.

He intends to submit an application to participate in Mississippi StarTalk next summer.

Other participants in Mississippi Startalk 2014 included: Vincent Bolfer of Edmond, Oklahoma; Jacob Crossno of Hernando; Amira Coger of Olive Branch; Tina Guo of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; Andarion Hawkins of Coldwater; Kristin Howitt of Perkinson; Taylor Jackson of Rogers, Arkansas; Haley Jones of Mandeville, Louisiana; Elizabeth Keefer of Jacksonville, Florida; Jacqueline Knirnschild of Brunswick, Ohio; Ashleigh Moore of Ocean Springs; Saloni Nahar of Buffalo Grove, Illinois; Alessandra Otondo of Starkville; Kayla Owens of Oxford; Lance Pagel of Edmond, Oklahoma; Thomas Ramsey of Huntsville, Alabama; Hunter Reid of Valdesse, North Carolina; John Russel of Valley Park, Missouri; Jack Sauls of Carriere; Gunner Spahn of Senatobia; Emily Spencer of Newville, Pennsylvania; Jake Stewart of Ocean Springs; Jasmine Stoudemire of Clinton; Carmen Stowe of Birmingham, Alabama; Matthew Travers of Chesterfield, Missouri; Sidney Wester of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Katherine Williams of Hattiesburg; and Hanson Zhou of Dry Ridge, Kentucky.

You Really Should See Bryant Hall

Built in 1911 and renovated in 2006, Bryant Hall has an interior that many haven't seen

The fancy ironwork entrance to Bryant Hall faces the Lyceum Circle. Photo by Michael Newsom

The fancy ironwork entrance to Bryant Hall faces the Lyceum Circle. Photo by Michael Newsom.

Many Ole Miss students, alumni and fans have probably walked past the high steps leading to an impressive ironwork entrance at Bryant Hall and never thought to go inside. Until recently, I was one of those poor souls.

Readers of this blog may remember my cheesy, sentimental writing in a previous post about how the beauty of Ole Miss inspires me to Instagram it. Inspiration struck me again on a recent trip to Bryant Hall, so I went back to get some photos to post to my profile.

The sort of imposing building just west of the Student Union on the edge of the Lyceum Circle is one I don’t remember ever entering when I was a student here (Class of 2005). But I went there recently to interview someone for a story and after strolling around for a few minutes, I decided Bryant Hall is one of my favorite places on this beautiful campus.Read the story …

Business Strengthens Study of Cultural Identity

Cathead Distillery supports UM's Southern Foodways Alliance

Cathead Distillery owners Austin Evans, left, and Richard Patrick have committed support to undergird the efforts of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

Cathead Distillery owners Austin Evans, left, and Richard Patrick have committed support to undergird the efforts of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

OXFORD, Miss. – Cathead Distillery has committed long-term support to the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi, as the company recognizes food as a powerful cultural product of the American South.

Based in Jackson, Cathead Distillery is a longtime supporter of music as an important aspect of cultural identity and plans to provide similar funding to the SFA.

“The SFA is honored to partner with Richard Patrick and Austin Evans of Cathead Distillery,” said John T. Edge, SFA director. “They’re great corporate citizens, committed to investing deeply in the South’s culinary and cultural capital.”

Evans and Patrick founded Cathead Distillery in 2010, as Mississippi’s first legal still since the state repealed Prohibition in 1966. They share a love of Mississippi’s music, folk art, literature and food, and, along with distiller Phillip Ladner, produce a number of vodkas, including several seasonal flavors.

“We’ve known about and worked with the SFA folks for a long time,” Patrick said. “We value their mission to tell stories through food and drink. We see meaning in what the SFA does and the impact they’re making, so supporting them in a larger way was a no-brainer.”

Funds from Cathead Distillery’s investment will help strengthen SFA’s ongoing oral history and film work.

An institute of the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the SFA recently joined with the College of Liberal Arts to endow a professorship in the growing academic study of foodways on the Oxford campus. The study of foodways provides another important facet for UM students to explore in understanding the world around them. In addition, this scholarly study offers a different avenue for students to gain a heightened sense of various cultures.

Together, Cathead Distillery and the SFA will continue to draw chefs, writers, eaters and drinkers from across the country to the state of Mississippi.

For more information on the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, go to http://southernstudies.olemiss.edu/. For more information on the Southern Foodways Alliance, go to www.southernfoodways.org. For more information on Cathead Distillery, contact Melany Mullens at melany@polishedpigmedia.com or 540-314-8089, or Ashley Zink at ashley@polishedpigmedia.com.

UM Students Get Hands-on Experience Digging in Rome

Classics department takes seven students on five-week dig at site dating to circa 600 B.C.

UM students Shiloh Spears, a junior English major from Olive Branch (left); Laura Dona, sophomore anthropology and classics major from Monroe, Louisiana; and Juliana Norton, a junior classics and linguistics major from Tupelo, work at the S. Omobono field school in Rome. Photo by Hilary Becker.

UM students Shiloh Spears, a junior English major from Olive Branch (left); Laura Dona, sophomore anthropology and classics major from Monroe, Louisiana; and Juliana Norton, a junior classics and linguistics major from Tupelo, work at the S. Omobono field school in Rome. Photo by Hilary Becker.

OXFORD, Miss. – A group of seven University of Mississippi students recently participated in an educational trip of a lifetime, five weeks of learning in Rome and helping with an archaeological dig at a site that dates to about 600 B.C.

Hilary Becker, UM assistant professor of classics, took the students to the Area Sacra di S. Omobono archaeological field school.

The multi-year excavation project is organized by the University of Michigan and the University of Calabria, under the aegis of the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale. During the program, UM students were introduced to the methods of field archaeology, including excavation techniques, artifact processing and the latest in documentation technology, including three-dimensional modeling.

“I’m very proud of their contributions,” Becker said. “It’s a testament to their abilities that they arrived with basically no knowledge of field archaeology, but during the program they developed the skills and experience that allowed them to understand all the different facets of work at an archaeological excavation and also how to handle the different jobs. Sometimes, it’s hard to learn these skills out of a textbook, but being on site allows students to make lasting connections between the technique and the materials.”

The students dug near the Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill. The excavation site, which dates to 600 B.C., was utilized as a Roman sanctuary that remained in use for more than 800 years. It was eventually transformed into Christian churches, the latest of which still stands.

Since the site has been active for such a long time, there is a rich accumulation of artifacts and remains of many building phases. As a result, excavators have to dig to a depth of about 21 feet to reach some of the earliest materials.

“To able to see remains of the sixth century B.C. in Rome is difficult because the city is a continually occupied place,” Becker said. “Millions of people still live there and one cannot simply destroy what’s on top in order to see what lies beneath. There are only a few areas where archaeologists have been able to go that deep. We were extremely lucky to be working there.”

This is the first year the UM classics department has conducted any faculty-led trips abroad, said Molly Pasco-Pranger, associate professor and chair of classics who also brought six students to Rome for a 10-day course earlier this summer.

“We can give them a very strong foundation in the languages and in the history and the art and archaeology here on campus, but both getting to the site in Rome and seeing its topography and the remains in person is incredibly valuable,” she said. “Learning the theory of archaeology is one thing, but getting the dirt under your fingernails is another.”

Several students received financial support for their trip from the Mike and Mary McDonnell Endowment in Classics. They kept an Internet blog that chronicled their work in words and photos.

Laura Dona, a sophomore anthropology and classics major from Monroe, Louisiana, said being there was like “being able to reach behind the glass in a museum.”

“We were able to learn hands-on how archaeology is performed alongside amazing teachers,” Dona said. “It was an irreplaceable experience that taught me more in five weeks than I have learned in years.”

Zack Lawrence, a junior classics major from Tupelo, said, “S. Omobono taught me to understand what lies just below our feet and to probe what evidence there is in search for context, and I brought away a willingness to explore the unknown and to be unafraid to explore new ideas in search of answers.”

Juliana Norton, a junior classics and linguistics major from Tupelo, said she learned more about the different areas of archaeology, including stratigraphy, zooarchaeology, topography, bioarchaeology, surveying and other skills. But the trips around Rome to other important excavation sites, as well as museums, were also inspiring.

“Overall, it was an unforgettable experience that I’m very glad I participated in,” Norton said. “Not only did I learn a lot more about archaeology and Roman history than I ever could in a classroom, I was able to get some real experience working in the archaeological field and found out it’s something I would like to continue doing.”

Andersen Marx, a senior history and classics major from Oxford, said the experience opened his eyes to possibilities in the field.

“The dig at S. Omobono taught me that one can interpret history not only through primary literary sources, but also through actual physical evidence,” Marx said. “After our stint at the excavation, I came to realize there is still more archaeological work available in Italy. There are still ruins and artifacts left to discover.”

The professionalism the UM students displayed while working at the site made an impression, said Mahmoud Samori, a doctoral student in ancient history at Brown University who was the field school’s area supervisor.

“I realized one morning towards the end of the field school that I’d felt all for the last hours as if I’d been digging with colleagues instead of students,” Samori said. “The student-teacher dynamic had evaporated, leaving only a handful of archaeologists excavating with a deadline. It was a great pleasure to excavate with the team from Ole Miss and I was proud to watch them transform from cautious students into confident archaeologists.”

Rome Group shot

UM students, from left: William Hudson, a junior chemical engineering and classics major from West Point; Andersen Marx, a senior history and classics major from Oxford; Juliana Norton, a junior classics and linguistics major from Tupelo; Zack Lawrence, a junior classics major from Tupelo; Shiloh Spears, a junior English major from Olive Branch; Mackenzie Breeland, a junior international studies, French and classics major from Ocean Springs; and Laura Dona, sophomore classics and anthropology major from Monroe, Louisiana. Photo by Hilary Becker.

 

 

Booneville Native Reaping Benefits of Summers in Oxford

Warren prepares for college, earns scholarships and course credit through UM Pre-College Programs

Jontae Warren of Booneville has spent the last five summers in Oxford taking courses and preparing for college through several different programs geared for students in 8th- 12th grades.

Jontae Warren of Booneville has spent the last five summers in Oxford taking courses and preparing for college through several different programs geared for students in eighth-12th grades.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Most high school students look forward to sleeping in during the summer months. Many get a part-time job or spend time lounging by the pool, but Jontae Warren of Booneville has chosen to spend his past five summer breaks a little differently.

“I guess you would say I’m a Type A personality,” Warren recently commented.

Warren is known as one of the responsible ones in his family. He encourages his three younger brothers to stay on top of their schoolwork, and he helps his grandfather’s construction business with paperwork and billing whenever he can.

Because Warren is so focused on staying on top of his responsibilities, it is no surprise that he has already gotten a head start on career goals by participating in the JumpStart program for incoming freshmen, one of several pre-college summer programs offered on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford.

“I’m impressed by Jontae’s work ethic,” said Matthew Deloach, UM Jumpstart Program director. “He is really taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow and prepare himself for a successful future. I think the extra effort he has put in each summer here at Ole Miss is only going to help him stand out academically and become a leader on campus. He has a bright future ahead of him.”

This summer, Warren was also tapped by Ole Miss to participate in the new Grove Scholars program that works to acclimate science, technology, engineering and math majors into their first year of college. As a Grove Scholar, Warren was awarded a scholarship to take two Ole Miss courses and participate in the JumpStart program. This gave him a chance to get a boost on his classes at Ole Miss while getting to know other students in his major.

“I’m living in the residence hall this summer with students who are going to be in some of my same classes this fall,” Warren said. “I already feel like I am part of a community. We have some of the same courses together, study together and go out to eat. It’s like starting freshman year early.”

Warren’s responsible nature has also helped him to earn financial assistance at Ole Miss when he officially begins his full-time studies in August. He earned scholarships and grants that will help pay for tuition, room and board. He has even lined up a part-time job on campus to help pay for extra expenses.

“I think being a part of the JumpStart program this year is going to give me an edge as I start the competitive pharmacy program at Ole Miss in the fall,” Warren said. “I have a chance to knock a few of my courses out this summer while I’m getting adjusted to life as a college student. We manage our own time and come and go as we please, but the main goal is to do well in our courses.”

Summers at Ole Miss aren’t a new experience for Warren. He has been participating in the university’s programs since he was in middle school. He started with the UM Summer Academy program for eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders. In eighth grade, he studied environmental science; in ninth grade, he was a member of the Lott Leadership program examining American Democracy; and in 10th grade, he participated in an intensive ACT prep course that he credits with helping him earn an ACT score strong enough to qualify for several UM scholarships.

Once he started taking summer courses at Ole Miss, Warren was hooked. He came back in the summer after his 11th-grade year to participate in the Health Programs class and completed his first college biology course and lab.

“I’ve gotten to experience so much already,” Warren said. “We had fun in class, but we also had fun outside of class. We took trips, completed the Ole Miss ropes course and played basketball at the Turner Center. There was always something fun to do.”

Warren graduated with honors from Booneville High School last month. He says he will miss his family and friends but is excited to start his college career.

“I think I’ll be ready for the hustle and bustle of my first full semester in Oxford,” Warren said. “I’ve learned my way around the library and how to schedule study time each day.”

As usual, Warren continues to think ahead about his future.

“I’m considering taking business classes to go along with my pharmacy program,” Warren said. “I want to be prepared own my own pharmacy one day.”

Warren is the son of LaSonya Shumpert and John Warren, both of Booneville.

Ole Miss’ Saiz Helps Spain to Silver Medal at U20 European Championship

Ole Miss Men's Basketball vs LSU on Wednesday night, January 15th, 2014 in Oxford, MS.

Ole Miss Men’s Basketball vs LSU on Wednesday night, January 15th, 2014 in Oxford, MS.

HERAKLION, Greece — Ole Miss sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds, as Spain fell 65-57 to Turkey in the gold medal game at the FIBA Under-20 European Championship Sunday.

Saiz and Spain claim the silver medal, its eighth-consecutive podium finish, and finished with a 7-3 record at the tournament, having won a bronze medal and finished with a 6-4 record at last year’s competition, where Saiz also represented Spain.

The Madrid native appeared in all 10 games, starting the last six and logging 21.2 minutes per game. He was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 7.3 points per game, and second in rebounding, averaging 6.9 rebounds per game.

Saiz recorded two double-doubles with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a 60-58 second-round win over Greece and 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 63-61 semifinal win over Croatia. He also scored 10 points in a 65-53 first-round win over Germany and grabbed a personal-best 14 rebounds in a 76-59 second-round win over Great Britain.

As a freshman, Saiz played in all 33 games with 13 starts, averaging 5.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He scored in double figures three times, including a career-high 20 points in an 88-74 overtime win over LSU. He pulled down double-digit rebounds in five games, as he finished second on the team and fifth among Southeastern Conference freshmen in rebounding.

UM Recognized Among ‘Great Colleges To Work For’

Chronicle of Higher Education surveys university employees across the nation, finds high employee satisfaction at Ole Miss

Staff members are treated to a free "desk yoga" class sponsored by RebelWell as part of Staff Appreciation Week.  Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

Staff members are treated to a free ‘desk yoga’ class sponsored by RebelWell as part of Staff Appreciation Week. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For the sixth time in seven years, the University of Mississippi has been recognized as one of the nation’s “Great Colleges To Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

UM was cited for excellence in collaborative governance, employee confidence in the university’s senior leadership, workers’ job satisfaction and also on the availability of professional and career development programs. Chancellor Dan Jones said employees are deeply committed to the university’s mission, which unites the workforce.

“We are fortunate to have a great spirit among our faculty, staff and leadership,” Jones said. “I believe it is our common commitment to our mission that is the driving force. Offering transformation of individual lives and the broader community through education, research and service binds us together.”

The full results of the survey of employees at universities and colleges across America will be featured in the Chronicle’s Academic Workplace Special Issue, which comes out July 25.

The Chronicle has recognized “Great Colleges To Work For” for the last seven years, and UM has been recognized in six of those years. In 2013, the university was recognized in nine different categories, including collaborative governance, availability of professional career development programs, quality of the teaching environment, job satisfaction and confidence in senior leadership, among others.

This year, 92 colleges across the country were recognized for having good employment environments.

Earlier this year, the university participated in the survey, which is designed to recognize institutions that have built great workplaces. The surveys designed specifically for higher education were sent to a sample of each institution’s full-time faculty, staff, administrators, and exempt and non-exempt staff. The survey answers were submitted anonymously by the employees. The questionnaires were processed by an independent third-party company, ModernThink LLC.

The spirit of UM employees also helps create a great work environment, said Clay Jones, UM assistant vice chancellor and director of human resources.

“The university is honored to once again be mentioned among other elite universities as being a great place to work,” Jones said. “We believe we offer a fantastic environment that is conducive to learning, sharing and helping others, which leads to many individuals thriving in the workplace.”

The rewarding nature of working at the university and helping with its mission of preparing the nation’s future leaders is a definite employee mood booster, Provost Morris Stocks said.

“Our dedicated faculty and staff foster an environment of excellence, creativity and respect,” Stocks said. “Our work is more than a job. It is an opportunity to have a truly rewarding professional career and a chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our students. The gratification that our faculty and staff experience as they fulfill the mission of the University of Mississippi is manifested in the quality education that our students receive.”

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

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

University to Host STEM Summit July 18-19

Meeting focuses on impact of forensic science on 21st century workforce

Students learn about forensic

The second annual STEM Summit will take place July 18-19.

OXFORD, Miss. – Representatives from governmental agencies, including the FBI and DEA, grades K-12 and higher education are scheduled to participate in a national conference this weekend at the University of Mississippi.

The second annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Summit meets July 18-19. The two-day event is being sponsored by UM’s forensic chemistry program, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of BioMolecular Sciences, the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory and the Committee for Action Program Services-Analytical Training Laboratory.

“The focus of this summit is to continue the effort to create a consortium of colleges, universities, corporations and government agencies,” said Murell Godfrey, UM director of forensic chemistry and associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “Our purpose is to address how forensic science will have an impact on the U.S. and the 21st century workforce.”

Scheduled UM speakers Friday include Godfrey; Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Project and professor of law; and Maurice Eftink, UM associate provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Other presenters are Darrell Davis, former director of the DEA South Central Laboratory and CEO/president of CAPS-ATL, and Sam Howell, director of the Mississippi State Crime Laboratory.

Friday events include tours of the university’s marijuana field and medicinal plant gardens, the city of Oxford and an agency panel discussion featuring representatives from the Army Crime Laboratory, Mississippi State Crime Laboratory, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, DEA, FBI and Aegis Analytical Laboratory.

Saturday’s session includes presentations by Christopher McCurdy, UM professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, and representatives from the UM STEM research panel, Bay Waveland Middle School, Oxford-Lafayette County schools and the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

Registration is $100 for out-of-towners and $50 for Oxford residents. For more information, contact Murrell Godfrey at 662-915-5143 or visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kZX1b7TQ4Gg0F81X_cUa8IdVkrG9xnb89c5ixElIY2o/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link.