Russian National Ballet Brings ‘Cinderella’ to Ford Center

The Russian National Ballet will perform Cinderella at the Ford Center Tuesday.

The Russian National Ballet will perform Cinderella at the Ford Center Tuesday.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Russian National Ballet Theatre returns to the University of Mississippi on Tuesday (April 21) with its production of Prokofiev’s “Cinderella.”

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The production brings to life the iconic tale of a girl who is servant to her stepfamily, but with the help of her fairy godmother, is transformed into a princess.

“‘Cinderella’ is a beloved fairy tale that appeals to all ages,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “We are thrilled to bring the Russian National Ballet to the Ford Center to perform this ballet. It should be a great experience.

This performance, with its beautiful scenery and costumes, is a delight for the whole family.

Tickets are $28 for mezzanine and balcony seating and $35.50 for orchestra and parterre seating. They are available for purchase online and at the UM Box Office in the Ole Miss Student Union.

Mathematical Probability Theory Topic of Spring’s Final Science Cafe

UM algebra professor uses dice to demonstrate unique factorization

UM math professor Sandra Spiroff uses dice to demonstrate theories of probability.

UM mathematics professor Sandra Spiroff uses dice to demonstrate theories of probability.

OXFORD, Miss. – The theory of unique factorization, with an application to mathematical probability, is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The spring semester’s third and last meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday (April 21) at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Sandra Spiroff, UM associate professor of mathematics, will discuss “Unique factorization and a roll of the dice.” Admission is free.

“Starting from the familiar factorization of integers into prime numbers, we extend the concept of unique factorization to polynomials and beyond,” Spiroff said. “In particular, we will discuss how unique factorization, or the lack of it, probably jeopardized early attempts to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem.”

Spiroff’s 30-minute presentation will also present an interesting application to the probabilities associated with rolling a pair of dice.

“If time permits, we will run some experiments and play the casino game of craps,” she said. “The mathematical difficulty of the majority of this talk is high school algebra, and many examples will be given.”

Spiroff earned her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master’s degree from Saint Louis University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. Her research areas include commutative algebra, with specialization in the topics of divisor class groups and Chow groups.

Undergraduate courses she teaches are linear algebra and abstract algebra. Previously, Spiroff held the position of VIGRE postdoctoral assistant professor-lecturer at the University of Utah.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-5311.

UM Extends Contract for Athletics Director

Deal will keep Ross Bjork at Ole Miss through 2019

2013 Signing Day Dinner.  Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

2013 Signing Day Dinner. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Athletics Director Ross Bjork have agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep him at Ole Miss through 2019 at a base salary of $650,000 with $100,000 in academic and on-the-field performance incentives.

This extension, announced Friday by Chancellor Dan Jones, adds a year to Bjork’s contract, reaching the four-year maximum allowed by the state of Mississippi.

“I’m pleased to have a renewed commitment to Ole Miss from Ross,” Jones said. “All of us are grateful for his remarkable leadership, not only in athletics but far beyond.”

Since his arrival at UM in 2012, Bjork has provided outstanding leadership to Ole Miss athletics programs. Under his direction, Ole Miss has reached new heights in athletics support, with record private donations, an increase in athletics budget to $92 million for the 2015-16 season and record-breaking attendance numbers in football, basketball and baseball.

“When I was hired in 2012, Sonya and I quickly realized what the Ole Miss family already knew: Ole Miss and Oxford make up a very special place, the perfect blend of academics, social life and athletics,” Bjork said. “Furthermore, we have been deeply moved by all of the support we have received from the Ole Miss family over the past three years and feel like we’ve been embraced with open arms every step of the way. Sonya and I are extremely humbled by the university’s confidence in athletics leadership by awarding a new contract and we look forward to hitting our stride as an athletics program.

“I am eternally grateful to Chancellor Dan Jones for not only bringing us to Ole Miss, but more importantly, his transformational leadership and unwavering support of athletics. Personally, Sonya and I will miss Dan and Lydia’s presence on campus, and we will always value their friendship. While a transition in leadership creates some uncertainty, there is no doubt the best days are yet to come for Mississippi’s flagship university. Together, we have a bright future as we continue to build on the success in academics, athletics and fundraising.”

Ole Miss student-athletes and fans have experienced immediate success in competition under Bjork’s direction. For three consecutive years, the Rebel football team has made a post-season bowl appearance, the Ole Miss baseball team made its first appearance in 42 years at the College World Series in Omaha last season and Ole Miss men’s basketball claimed the 2013 SEC Tournament Championship and has earned two NCAA Tournament appearances. Other teams to reach post-season play include soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, track and field, and women’s golf. Ole Miss pole vaulter Sam Kendricks claimed back-to-back NCAA national championships in 2013 and 2014.

In the past 12 months, UM was the only Division I university to place a team in the College World Series, a New Year’s Six bowl game and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

However, Bjork’s leadership reaches far beyond the playing field. He has placed a strong emphasis on academics, and the university’s student-athletes have responded, reaching a record average GPA of 2.96 in the fall of 2014. Moving forward, Bjork’s goal is to have student-athletes average a 3.0 GPA.

He also has been actively involved in other university activities, including the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; the Big Event, the university’s largest community service project; and RebelWell, a campaign to promote health and wellness among the Ole Miss community.

Bjork also has led efforts to expand and renovate athletics facilities with the Forward Together campaign. Construction of the new 9,500-seat Pavilion at Ole Miss is expected to be completed for SEC basketball play next season. The athletics department plans to break ground late this year on an expansion of the north end zone of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, adding 3,500 seats to stadium capacity. Other projects led by Bjork include renovation of the Gillom Sports Center, FedEx Academic Support Center and Starnes Athletic Training Center, and the restoration of the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex.

“Everyone in the Ole Miss family will continue to be asked to do their part as we take the next step towards graduating all of our student-athletes and competing for and winning championships,” Bjork said. “The journey continues. We are Ole Miss.”

Bjork and football Coach Hugh Freeze will embark on the BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip beginning April 19 in Houston, Texas. The five-state, 13-city tour will allow fans to hear what’s new and exciting in Ole Miss athletics and have an opportunity for photos and autographs. Men’s basketball Coach Andy Kennedy and women’s basketball Coach Matt Insell will join them at select stops.

For a full schedule and tickets, visit

Historic Mississippi Town Comes to Life in UM Documentary

Film will be part of judging in this weekend's Tupelo Film Festival

"Take the Mountain" by Deborah Freeland will be screened on April 18 in Tupelo.

“Take the Mountain” by Deborah Freeland will be screened on April 18 in Tupelo.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – The documentary short “Take the Mountain” by Deborah Freeland, videographer for the University of Mississippi Division of Outreach, was screened earlier this spring as part of the university’s Black History Month events.

Now the film will be included alongside 64 other independent films chosen for the 12th annual Tupelo Film Festival, taking place this weekend in Tupelo. Freeland’s 12-minute production will be screened at 6:20 p.m. Saturday (April 18) on Screen 4 at the Malco Tupelo Commons Cinema.

“This film is the backstory leading up to the founding of the Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou,” Freeland explained. “A lot of historians know about the hospital and how it figures into the civil rights movement, but what were its origins? I found this part extremely fascinating once I began to research.”

Freeland became interested in the small, historic town of Mound Bayou in 2011 when several UM departments were working together on service-learning projects in the area. Freeland teamed up with UM doctoral candidate Katrina Sims, who was writing and researching for her dissertation on the Taborian Hospital.

The hospital, founded in 1942, was one of the first modern medical facilities in Mississippi that was built, owned and operated by African-Americans.

“After learning more, my thoughts were that you couldn’t talk about the Taborian Hospital without talking about Mound Bayou, and you couldn’t talk about Mound Bayou without talking about Davis Bend,” Freeland said.

That interest led Freeland to create the film with the help of research adapted from Sims’ dissertation.

“The Bend,” as it was often called, was 20 miles south of Vicksburg and was developed by Joseph E. Davis, brother of Jefferson Davis, in the mid-1820s. The area included thousands of acres of rich farmland, located in a bend of the Mississippi River, but what made it noteworthy were Davis’ utopian ideas of a model slave community.

Freeland spent months scouring archives for information that would convey the inspiration behind the founding of this unique community and the special relationship between Davis and his most trusted slave, Ben Montgomery.

“Reading Isaiah Montgomery’s memoir about his father, Ben, in the New York World piqued my interest in the intertwining lives of the Davis and Montgomery families and the community at Davis Bend,” Freeland said. “Where did this idea of a cooperative community start? The culture at Davis Bend and its residents, who later start Mound Bayou, were so unique. Everyone took care of each other, shared the land and the corn crib was never locked.”

The intellectually gifted Benjamin T. Montgomery was a prominent leader in the slave community at the Bend. He managed all of Davis’ fields and cotton sales, and ran a store on the plantation.

Shortly after the Civil War, Montgomery purchased 4,000 acres from Davis and began to farm with the help of other freedmen from the area. Eventually the cotton business went under with the pressures of failing economic and agricultural conditions. The Montgomerys could no longer make payments on their land at the Bend. Years later, Ben’s son, Isaiah, took what he had learned at the Bend and established the new town of Mound Bayou.

“After these economic hardships, I think it was that legacy of cooperation and independence that allowed the former residents of Davis Bend and their descendants to re-establish their community as Mound Bayou,” Freeland said.

“Benjamin Montgomery was an extraordinary man and so was Joseph Davis, and I feel like they recognized that in each other.”

The documentary is stocked with original photos of the Davis and Montgomery families, the land and many of the residents of Davis Bend. Freeland found many of the photographs through extensive research in the Library of Congress and the city of Vicksburg archives.

“This compelling story comes to life through some truly amazing images,” Freeland said. “Each of the images chosen is original to the time period, and while some photographs are well-known, some may have never been published before. These decades-old photographs, often blurry and discolored with time, are both beautiful and haunting.”

The photos provide a rare look into the life of the “other” Davis brother and one of the most important sites for trade on the Mississippi River, said David Sansing, a retired UM history professor.

“This documentary gives us an insight into the community of Joseph Davis, who was probably the most influential person in the life of Jefferson Davis, the most famous Mississippian,” Sansing said. “There is not much known about Joseph Davis, and this film brings more light to his legacy and the founding by his former slaves of the cooperative community at Davis Bend. The Bend was a major trade site for Mississippi while shipping cotton up and down the river, and it was run meticulously.”

Opera Theatre Presents World Premiere of ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’

Adaptation is latest work by acclaimed UM alumnus Nancy Van de Vate

Dr. Nancy Van de Vate listens to the cast and orchestra during the Sitz Probe in the Ford Center.

Nancy Van de Vate listens to the cast and orchestra during the sitzprobe, or seated rehearsal, in the Ford Center.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Opera Theatre Ensemble will present the world premiere of “Hamlet: Prince of Denmark” this weekend at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday (April 18). Tickets are $30 for general admission, $24 for faculty and staff, and $10 for students. They are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union and from the Ford Center website.

The opera, composed by UM alumna Nancy Van de Vate, adapts the classic Shakespeare play. The production will feature faculty, staff and students on stage and in the orchestra, and the entire cast will travel to Prague to perform May 30 with the Moravian Philharmonic.

Van de Vate said Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is beautifully written and the structure is very much like an opera, allowing a smooth transition from stage play to opera theatre.

But the process of composing isn’t complete until the opera comes to life, she said.

“I can put black spots on paper, but the piece doesn’t exist until it’s performed,” Van de Vate said.

Van de Vate completed her undergraduate education at Wellesley College and came to Ole Miss to earn her master’s degree in music composition. She went on to earn a Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University.

She has composed more than 115 works in many different forms and is considered one of the world’s most accomplished female composers. She resides in Vienna, having received dual citizenship for her musical achievements and contributions to the Republic of Austria.

“I’m delighted to be back in Oxford, and I’m thrilled to work with such a fine music department,” she said.

Julia Aubrey, UM associate professor of music, serves as the production’s artistic and stage director.

“This is very much a University of Mississippi and community project,” Aubrey said. “We have faculty, students, guest artists and community members working on stage, in the orchestra pit and behind the scenes. To stage ‘Hamlet’ as a play can be daunting. To direct it as an opera is an exciting challenge. This production gives the university and Oxford an opportunity to experience something extraordinary.”

The performance will also feature guest singers for the lead roles. Tenor Ryan MacPherson will perform the role of Hamlet, UM music faculty members Jennifer and Bradley Robinson will perform as Gertrude and Claudius, and guest faculty artist G. William Bugg, of Samford University, will perform as the ghost/gravedigger.

“It’s an honor to be performing something as powerful and challenging as ‘Hamlet,'” MacPherson said. “I hope the audience finds not only a love for contemporary music and new opera, but also an appreciation of Mrs. Van de Vate as a writer.”

“We are very pleased to be producing this project in collaboration with the Department of Music’s opera program,” said Norm Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “This is a very satisfying opportunity for us to utilize our resources to yield what we hope will be highly rewarding experiences for our students, faculty and staff.

“We are profoundly grateful to the Ford Foundation, the Office of the Provost and College of Liberal Arts and donors to our Ford Center Friends program for their continuing support, without which this project simply would not have come to fruition.”

University to Celebrate Green Week April 21-24

Events include lectures, a film and annual Sustainability Fair

2014's Green Week included a "trash cube" located on campus to bring awareness of recycling.

2014’s Green Week included a ‘trash cube’ on campus to spark awareness of recycling.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Green Week April 21-24 with the goal of raising awareness on campus and in the community about the importance of environmental sustainability.

“For me, Green Week is a high point in the academic year, since it offers a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about our environment in a number of different ways, while celebrating the beautiful spring weather,” said Ann Fisher-Wirth, professor of English and director of the UM environmental studies minor. “One of its main events is our Earth Day speaker, highly acclaimed anthropologist Paige West.”

West, a professor of anthropology at Columbia University’s Barnard College, will deliver the Earth Day keynote address at 7 p.m. Wednesday (April 22) in the Overby Center. She plans to discuss the impact of current and future climate changes on the people of New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

Green Week events kick off at 10 a.m. Tuesday (April 21) with a 30-minute walk along a portion of the Ole Miss Tree Trail guided by Nathan Lazinsky, a certified arborist from Landscape Services. At 7 p.m., the Honors College Student Union will host a screening of the film “GMO! OMG!” as part of its Progressive Film Series.

The annual Sustainability Fair takes place on the Student Union Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday (April 22). It features interactive displays from campus and community groups, an on-campus farmers market and more. Participants will receive tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes, for visiting each table.

“The Sustainability Fair helps illustrate all of the resources that our campus and community has to offer,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “This year, we’ll have a display where students, faculty and staff can calculate and learn more about their carbon footprints. We’ll also have signage throughout the fair communicating the ways in which each of the different groups at the fair can help reduce that footprint. The focus is on solutions.”

Other Green Week activities include Pedal and Picnic, a group bike ride followed by a free lunch courtesy of Freshii and Ole Miss Dining, and the EcoGala Art Show, a sophisticated and sustainable showing of student artwork. Registration is required for Pedal and Picnic. Email to reserve a spot.

Green Week will conclude on Arbor Day (April 24) with a tree planting celebration in the Circle led by Jeff McManus, UM landscape services director. Attendees will receive free Ole Miss seedlings that were transplanted from the Circle earlier this year, while supplies last.

All Green Week events are free and open to the public. For more information about Green Week, visit or email


2015 Green Week Schedule of Events

Tuesday, April 21

10-10:30 a.m. – Tree Trail Walk, meet at the flagpole in the Circle

7 p.m. – “GMO, OMG!” film screening, Barnard Observatory


Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day)

10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Sustainability Fair, Student Union Plaza

7 p.m. – Earth Day keynote address by Paige West, Overby Center Auditorium

9 p.m. – Jammin’ for the Planet (Green Fund Benefit Concert), Proud Larry’s


Thursday April 23

11 a.m.-noon – Pedal and Picnic, group bike ride and free lunch from Freshii. Registration required. Email to reserve your spot.

7 p.m. – EcoGala Student Art Show, Bryant Hall


Friday, April 24 (Arbor Day)

11 a.m. – Arbor Day tree planting and celebration, Carrier Hall

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Environmental Law Lecture by Steve McKinney, Khayat Law Center, Room 2094

UM Class Analyzes New York In Film

Honors College class meets with cinema professionals, explores New York movie sites

Elizabeth Romary, a sophomore international studies major from Greenville, North Carolina, met actor Ethan Hawke at St. Bart’s Cathedral in New York where Hawke’s documentary “Seymour: An Introduction” was screened. Romary, who was in New York with her Honors College class, attended the event on her own time.

Elizabeth Romary, a sophomore international studies major from Greenville, North Carolina, met actor Ethan Hawke at St. Bart’s Cathedral in New York, where Hawke’s documentary ‘Seymour: An Introduction’ was screened. Romary, who was in the city with her Honors College class, attended the event on her own time.

OXFORD, Miss. – Few places become the backdrop for films as much as New York, and a University of Mississippi class traveled there during spring break to better understand how the city is portrayed in movies.

The 300-level class, taught by Alan Arrivée, assistant professor of cinema, and Timothy Yenter, assistant professor of philosophy, is made up of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students. The class covers the portrayal of the city, from the early days of film in the 1920s to the years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“The idea was to not only have students watch the films together, but talk about them and read what people from a wide variety of disciplines have to say,” Yenter said. “We want to see what novelists have to say, what film critics have to say and what film scholars and historians of culture have to say. We’re reading widely in order to get a sense of what others have brought to the discussion and also what we can bring to it.”

The class examines why so many films are set in the Big Apple. The representations of race and class in different genres is also part of the curriculum. The professors encourage students to reflect on whether they see themselves represented in the films and whether they see places they recognize.

“The two most obvious things that have come up in class are questions of how is space represented as being in New York City and in what way New York is represented as it was during the time of filming,” Arrivée said. “We also want to know in what way was New York artificially constructed to serve the plot, the theme and the goals of the filmmakers. Then, on top of it all, what incredible changes have taken place in the reality of the city over the course of the films we are studying.”

The Honors College provided funding for the course and the trip. It also funded another class this semester, which explored ethical issues surrounding antiquities and which also went to New York during spring break. The two special topics classes were the fruit of proposals for classes submitted by professors.

The Honors College tried the concept in 2013, and the winning proposal focused on the World Cup. Six Honors College students traveled to Brazil for the event in 2014.

Experiential classes are an excellent opportunity for students, said John Samonds, associate dean of the Honors College. 

“They not only saw New York and screened various films while they were up there, but they also met with film directors and others involved in the industry,” Samonds said. “We’re always so excited to be able to support endeavors like this. This kind of opportunity is one of many characteristics about the Honors College that we think makes this a very vibrant and attractive honors college.”

Rachael Cooper, a junior English major from Olive Branch, said the class has given her the chance to watch and analyze great films such as “On The Town” and “His Girl Friday,” which she might not have seen on her own. And the chance to see the places they were filmed has been invaluable.

“The New York trip allowed me to conduct hands-on research for my final project and also give me free time to explore the city and see some landmarks and locations from film and television,” Cooper said. “I think you develop a new appreciation for the famous and lesser known spaces in the city made famous by the films once you’ve had a chance to stand in those spaces yourself and see how huge, or tiny, they are in reality.”

Sean O’Hara, a junior computer science major from Jackson, said what stood out to him on the trip was the powerful attraction people have to the city and how that force pulls them to move there.

“For me, it was the interplay between the magnetic and idiosyncratic qualities of the city,” O’Hara said. “Almost everyone I met on the trip was from somewhere other than New York, but some unifying thread seemed to have brought them all together. I relate to that in many ways, and I think it’s just an innate quality of New York in that it embodies this perfect mess of society. It’s this ultimate icon for America’s beautifully random hodgepodge of people and culture.”

Columbia University Anthropologist is UM Earth Day Lecturer

Paige West will discuss Papua New Guinean research April 22 at Overby Center

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned Columbia University anthropologist Paige West is the featured speaker for Earth Day at the University of Mississippi.

Paige West will discuss “Imagining Pacific Futures: Climate Change, Local Livelihoods and International Environmentalist Rhetorics.” The free program is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday (April 22) in the Overby Center Auditorium.

“Dr. West’s work has broad scholarly interest,” said Robbie Etheridge, UM professor of anthropology and co-organizer of the event. “West has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development. Since the mid-1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea to understand their traditions, especially as they relate to biodiversity, and to help them figure out how to conserve their cultures, languages and environments.”

A graduate of Rutgers University, she joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, where she is a professor of anthropology.

West has published two books and is the editor of three more. Her work focuses on indigenous adaptation to climate change across the Pacific.

Honors and awards West has received include the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology and Environment Junior Scholar award, the American Association of University Women Junior Faculty Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Faculty Fellowship. She also held a Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship in 2007 and in was named a fellow by the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania.

In 2008, West founded the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research, published by Berghahn Books. She serves as editor for the publication.

In 2012, West became chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia. She also has served as the chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association.

Two years ago, West delivered the Leonard Hastings Schoff Memorial Lectures at Columbia University. She is the co-founder of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small nongovernmental organization dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea, and the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in the island nation dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and Western scientific knowledge.

For more about UM’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, visit

Amy Sara Carroll Chosen as Summer Poet in Residence

Author to work with M.F.A. classes, conduct public reading of her poetry

Amy Sara Carroll will be this year's Summer Poet in Residence.

Amy Sara Carroll is this year’s Summer Poet in Residence.

OXFORD, Miss. – Amy Sara Carroll will be this year’s Summer Poet in Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Carroll is an assistant professor of American culture, Latina/o studies and English at the University of Michigan.

Throughout her residency from June 15 to July 15, Carroll will visit with Master of Fine Arts classes in creative writing and English to discuss literature and poetry. She said she is also hoping to learn more about the culture of the South.

“I’ve only driven through Mississippi before, so I’m excited to learn more about a place that’s so important to American history,” Carroll said.

Beth Ann Fennelly, UM associate professor of English and director of the M.F.A. program, wants students to learn from Carroll’s unique poetry style.

“Amy’s work is very interesting to us and very different,” Fennelly said. “Her work tends to be more of a hybrid, using text and visuals that are grounded in politics. We feel she will enrich our summer school classes as she meets with M.F.A. students.”

Carroll’s published work includes two collections, “SECESSION” (Hyperbole Books, 2012) and “FANNIE+FREDDIE/The Sentimentality of Post 9/11 Pornography” (Fordham University Press, 2013). In 2012, she received the Poets Out Loud Prize for the latter collection.

Carroll is working on art and poetry to raise awareness of migrant deaths at the United States-Mexico border.

During the first week of her residency, Carroll will have a reading at Off Square Books, set for 5:30 p.m. June 18, following a book signing at 5 p.m.

For more information about the Summer Poet in Residence Program, click here.

D.T. Shackelford and Darryail Whittington Win 2015 Sullivan Awards

UM McLean Institute honors student-athlete and alumnus alongside Chancellor Dan Jones

University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, student Deterrian Shackelford and alumnus Darryail Whittington were named 2015 recipients fo the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

UM Chancellor Dan Jones, student Deterrian Shackelford and alumnus Darryail Whittington were named 2015 recipients fo the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi has named student-athlete Deterrian Shackelford and alumnus Darryail Whittington the winners of its 2015 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

They were honored with Chancellor Dan Jones on Tuesday (April 14) afternoon at the Celebration of Service at the Inn at Ole Miss.

The Sullivan Award is the university’s highest honor in recognition of students, alumni and community members who distinguish themselves with selfless service to others.

“Recognizing and celebrating service is crucial to the mission of the McLean Institute, which supports transformation through service,” said Albert Nylander, McLean Institute director. “The Sullivan Award is an opportunity to honor students and community members who have made our community a better place because of their humble service to others.”

Shackelford, a graduate student from Decatur, Alabama, is active in the community, often speaking to community, school and church groups. He has also helped locally in fundraising for cancer research and helped lead efforts to fight hunger.

A linebacker for the Ole Miss Rebels football team, Shackelford has led two mission trips, one to Haiti and another to Panama. He has been a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team and was the 2014 recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy, an award given to the FBS football player exhibiting exemplary community service.

Shackelford said he lives his life by trying to put other people before himself.

“It is always good to look at others before you look at yourself,” he exlpained. “That’s often missed in today’s society.”

Shackelford added that he returned from his mission trips with a new perspective.

“When you realize what America has, it’s a blessing,” he said. “I was able to see those people smile in the midst of despair and place value on the little things in life. Their joy system is on a whole other level. Now, I try to look at the joy in every situation. I expected to encourage them, but they encouraged me.”

He has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in higher education from UM and continues to take graduate courses.

Whittington has provided decades of service to the Lafayette-Oxford-University community, but helping others was ingrained in him at a young age.

“I grew up in a small community in south Mississippi,” he said. “When we saw or heard of anyone in our community who needed help, or drove by and saw that they were involved in a big project, we would stop and lend a hand.

“When my Dad was building our home, all of my uncles, cousins and neighbors would simply arrive, without being asked, ready to work. Not only were they ready to work, but when the lunch hour arrived, there would be food waiting for all, provided not only by my family, but by neighbors from around the community. There was always hard work to do, but it was working together that made our small community better.”

Whittington was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Oxford for more than 20 years, receiving the Kiwanian of the Year Award and the Legion of Honor Award. He has been a member of the board of trustees for the Oxford-Lafayette County Library for more than 30 years and a founding member of the Oxford-Lafayette Long-Term Recovery Committee, a group that provides assistance to families after natural disasters. Whittington is also a member of a similar organization, the Lafayette County Medical Reserve Corps, which provides training and education for health and environmental emergencies.

He began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity 30 years ago and has been involved in the construction of seven of the 14 Habitat homes in Lafayette County. Following his retirement from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality in 2007, Whittington also helped as local facilitator of Mothers Against Drunk Driving by scheduling speakers and volunteers to register participants who are ordered by the court to attend meetings. He was also named Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 2005, is an active member of Oxford-University United Methodist Church and is a volunteer with Interfaith Compassion Ministry.

A Jackson County native, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1971. Following his service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in freshwater biology from UM. He and his wife, Joyce, have lived in Oxford for more than 40 years.

Whittington said he is honored to receive this award and encourages others to get involved.

“If you want to become involved in our community, to feel more like you are a part of what the community is, and even to show people how important an issue is to you, you are in a perfect place to do it,” he said, adding that just talking to people can present opportunities. “You can volunteer one hour, one time, or you can volunteer consistently. Volunteering is easy. Everyone has a gift, and there are plenty of people in our town and university who can help you find it.”

Chancellor Dan Jones also was honored at the event for his vision of transformation through service and lifelong example of enhancing the well-being of others.