Rioult Dance NY Performs Nov. 5 at Ford Center

Company also offers free classes and opportunities to meet the dancers

Renowned modern dance company Rioult Dance NY will take up residency at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 2 to Nov. 5, ending with a performance Wednesday night.

Renowned modern dance company Rioult Dance NY will take up residency at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, ending with a performance Nov. 5.

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned American modern dance company Rioult Dance NY will perform Wednesday (Nov. 5) at the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Campus Connection Series.

The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are available for $30 at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

Besides the performance, the 10-dancer company offers dance training to the public through classes and workshops along their tour.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring Rioult Dance NY to the Ford Center for an extended residency as part of the Dance Touring Initiative by SouthArts and the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Norman Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “Rioult is a beautiful dance company that has much to share with our community. We hope that as many as possible will join us for these activities. They are free and open to the public with no experience required.”

The public can meet members of the dance company at 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 2) at Lamar Park. At 3:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 3), Rioult will conduct a high school dance workshop at Lafayette High School’s practice gym. A free company class is scheduled for 12:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 4) at the Ford Center, followed by a free, public rehearsal at 3 p.m.

Based in New York City, the dance company was founded in 1994 by artistic director and choreographer Pascal Rioult. It quickly earned a reputation for presenting Rioult’s musical works in a sensual and exquisite manner. The company celebrates its 20th anniversary this season.

For more information about the show, visit the Ford Center’s website.

NASA Space Launch System Program Manager to Speak Oct. 31 at UM

Event co-sponsored by School of Engineering, Honors College and Trent Lott Leadership Institute

Todd May

Todd May

OXFORD, Miss. – Todd May, manager of NASA’s Space Launch System program, will discuss the agency’s activities and achievements Friday (Oct. 31) at the University of Mississippi.

May’s address, “Space Launch System: Building the Future of Space Exploration,” begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Overby Center auditorium. The public event is being sponsored by the School of Engineering, with support from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Trent Lott Institute for Leadership and Public Policy.

“This lecture is part of a NASA/SLA Day at the University of Mississippi,” said Markeeva Morgan, avionics hardware subsystem manager in NASA’s Space Launch Systems Stages Element Office and a UM engineering alumnus. “The purpose of these events is to continually provide the students with exposure to the nation’s leaders in a forum that facilitates their learning and interaction. This is a great opportunity for us to interact with, encourage and learn from the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians, explorers and dreamers.”

Ryan Upshaw, assistant dean for student services in the engineering school, said officials were thrilled when Morgan presented the opportunity to bring May to campus.

“We know that his expertise will have an impact on everyone that has the chance to meet him while he is on campus,” Upshaw said. “We are very appreciative of alumni who connect us with these types of opportunities.”

Other events include a luncheon with UM honors and engineering students and the appearance of an inflatable replica of NASA’s Space Launch System at various locations around campus.

“In the future, when we’re looking back at the beginning of deep-space travel, this will be the rocket that started it all,” Morgan said. “It is the largest, most capable launch vehicle ever built.”

Based at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, May leads the nationwide team developing America’s next heavy-lift vehicle for deep-space exploration and science. Before assuming the role in 2011, he oversaw or helped manage many robotic and human spaceflight efforts. These included the Lunar Crater Observation Sensing Satellite that confirmed the presence of ice on the moon and the Gravity Probe B, which tested Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

May earned his bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Auburn University and has completed all coursework for a doctorate in the field. His many awards include NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Senior Executive Presidential Rank Award and NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. He recently accepted the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s Stellar Award in recognition of the Space Launch System team’s many accomplishments.

Jay Watson to Deliver Annual Humanities Lecture

Teacher of the year to discuss Faulkner's observations on speed of modern life Nov. 3

Dr. Jay Watson speaking at the opening of the Faulkner Books Exhibit.  Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Jay Watson speaks at the opening of the Faulkner Books exhibit. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Jay Watson, the Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies at the University of Mississippi, has been named the university’s Humanities Teacher of the Year and will deliver an annual lecture Nov. 3 at Bondurant Auditorium.

Watson’s lecture, titled “William Faulkner on Speed: What the Humanities Can Teach Us about the Velocity and Tempo of Modern Life,” it will explore Faulkner and the phenomenon of modern speed. The 7 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

Faulkner’s works illustrate how the humanities can provide a window into meaningful social issues that link our era with earlier ones, Watson said. Though speed has taken new forms since Faulkner’s day, the social consequences and challenges of speed remain with us today, and many of those challenges can already be glimpsed in Faulkner’s novels and stories.

Watson added the topic directly ties into his research about Faulkner and tempo, noting that it demonstrates how the humanities can offer a window into some of these interesting social problems.

The Humanities Teacher of the Year Award is given each October, which is National Arts and Humanities Month, to faculty members who make outstanding contributions to the humanities. The award is presented in the spring at the Mississippi Humanities Council’s awards ceremony.

Watson said he is honored to receive the award.

“It was an unexpected honor and a real delight, and it’s an award that brings with it a responsibility to stay focused on students and the classroom as the real intellectual and human center of the teaching life,” he said.

Watson is deserving of the award, said Richard Forgette, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“The Humanities Teacher of the Year Lecture is a celebration of the humanities,” Forgette said. “Professor Watson is being recognized for his outstanding work and significant contributions to teaching.”

Watson has been a member of the UM faculty for 25 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Georgia and his master’s and doctoral degrees, both in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Faculty Achievement Award and nominee for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award. His articles on Southern literature and humanities have been featured in several publications, including American Quarterly, American Literature and Modern Fiction Studies.

The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

The Mississippi Humanities Council sponsors, supports and conducts a range of public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines designed to promote understanding of our cultural heritage, interpret our own experience, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, strengthen our sense of community and thus empower Mississippi’s people with a vision for the future.

The College of Liberal Arts is the university’s oldest and largest division. Visit for more information.

UM Receives Honorable Mention as Bicycle Friendly University

National designation recognizes achievements; helps lay foundation for improvements


The University of Mississippi received an honorable mention as a Bicycle Friendly University earlier this week from the League of American Bicyclists.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has been recognized for its efforts to support and improve cycling on campus with an honorable mention nod as a Bicycle Friendly University from the League of American Bicyclists.

Ole Miss is the first university in the state to receive this designation.

“The designation recognizes that we are making an effort to improve the culture of biking on campus,” said Sara Douglass, post-baccalaureate fellow in the UM Office of Sustainability who is focusing on biking as part of her yearlong fellowship. “We’re looking forward to receiving feedback from the League of American Bicyclists about how to further these improvements.”

Recent efforts on the UM campus include the opening of the newly renovated, full-service Ole Miss Bike Shop, which offers repairs and maintenance for cyclists by a fulltime bike mechanic, and the expansion of the Rebel Pedals Bike Share program, through which students, faculty and staff can rent bicycles for $25 a semester. The bike share fleet will expand this semester from 100 bicycles, all of which are rented, to 175 bikes.

“We have a waiting list for those who want bikes,” said Mike Harris, UM director of parking and transportation. “That demand is there, and we want to meet it.”

Twenty-five new bicycles will also be distributed to campus departments as part of the university’s wellness initiative, RebelWell, to promote the use of bikes among faculty and staff during the workday.

Moving forward, education for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists will be a focus of the university’s biking efforts, Harris said.

The Bicycle Friendly University program, a branch of Bicycle Friendly America, evaluates universities in five areas: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning. Universities that receive the Bicycle Friendly designation can earn honorable mention, bronze, silver, gold or platinum status. The League of American Bicyclists then provides feedback to help universities reach higher status in the program.

“Going through the process helps us identify our relative strengths and weaknesses when it comes to being a bike-friendly university,” said UM assistant professor of psychology Kate Kellum, a member of the working group that applied for BFU status and member of the Oxford Pathways Commission. “I think it’s also important to celebrate some of the successes that we’ve had on campus and in town in improving bike availability.”

To learn more about biking at UM, visit

Mississippi Teacher Corps Helps Transform a School Culture

North Panola High School raises graduation rate by more than 21 percent

With 14 current or former Mississippi Teacher Corps instructors on faculty, the program has played a key role in North Panola High School's academic turnaround. Pictured (left to right): MTC Co-Founder Andrew Mullins, Emily Herrick, Kelly King, Chelsea Brock, Daniel Hart, Ryan Eshleman, Whitney Cilch, Noah Tobak, Emily Fyda, "Coach" Derek King, Hanna Olivier and Bill Darden

The Mississippi Teacher Corps has played a key role in an academic turnaround at North Panola High School, where 14 faculty members are graduates of the program. Pictured (left to right): MTC co-founder Andrew Mullins, Emily Herrick, Kelly King, Chelsea Brock, Daniel Hart, Ryan Eshleman, Whitney Cilch, Noah Tobak, Emily Fyda, ‘Coach’ Derek King, Hanna Olivier and Bill Darden.

SARDIS, Miss. – At North Panola High School in Sardis, teachers lead class with an air of confidence, a majority of seniors plan to graduate this year and, with six wins already, the Cougars are having one of the best football seasons in the small town’s recent history.

Adding to this positive energy is the Mississippi Department of Education‘s release of state test scores. As of Oct. 17, North Panola, which has 392 students, has officially risen in status from a C school to a B school. For an institution that was near failing in 2009, the result is a significant milestone in a district that came out of conservatorship in July 2014.

North Panola’s four-year principal Jamone Edwards is quick to praise his staff, especially teachers hailing from the University of Mississippi’s Mississippi Teacher Corps. More than one-third of North Panola’s 35 teachers are current or former members of the Teacher Corps, including three of the school’s instructional coaches in English, science and social studies.

“The Teacher Corps’ impact can’t be understated at North Panola,” said Edwards, who received a master’s degree in educational leadership from UM in 2010. “Every one of our subjects that are tested by MDE is staffed by the Teacher Corps. They do a fantastic job of sending us new teachers. If you bring us a new teacher who has strong content knowledge and passion, we can teach them the rest.”

While significant and lasting change often comes slowly in education, veteran teachers at the school say North Panola is a dramatically different place than it was four years ago.

Since May 2010, the graduation rate has risen from 49 percent to nearly 72 percent. In subjects such as Algebra I and U.S. History, students’ test scores surpass state averages and they’re not far behind state averages in areas such as English II and Biology I. Last year, North Panola graduates received college scholarships valued at more than $2.2 million, up dramatically from $200,000 in 2010.

Teacher Corps alumna Hannah Olivier is a five-year science teacher at North Panola. In her time, she’s witnessed a rejuvenation of the school, especially in students’ attitudes.

“Students take school very seriously now,” said Olivier, the school’s science instructional coach. “Students are interested to try new things. A lot of kids are asking questions about colleges. It’s a very different culture here then when I started. It’s really great to see kids encourage each other and compete with each other to try and break into the top 10 or top 20 spots in their class.”

Teambuilding and retaining quality teachers have been a key parts of North Panola’s advancement, Edwards said. This means setting up accountability models, supporting good teachers and creating a productive learning environment.

“In my first year here, I was a lead teacher and I saw what was and wasn’t working. … I saw that the teachers did not feel supported, student behavior and teacher practices needed addressing” he explained. “The first thing I did as principal was to draw a hard line on what is and what isn’t acceptable for teachers and students. We have to make sure the environment is conducive to teaching and learning.”

Tactically, North Panola has built itself up by establishing a series of “safety nets.” From freshman year, students identified as at-risk in reading in junior high are enrolled in an extra 40-minute remediation period during the school day. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the school offers afternoon tutoring.

Once a semester, classes are paused for a parents’ visit day to ensure that every parent has a chance to sit down with North Panola teachers. This fall, more than 200 parents came to meet with faculty on Oct. 20.

When a student fails a required test for graduation, they are enrolled in a 50-minute remediation class called Learning Strategies to focus on a particular content area. For example, when 17 students failed to pass their state English II exams in 2011, the school recruited head football coach Derek King, a Teacher Corps alumnus, to lead the remediation period. As a result, 15 advanced to pass their exams.

Founded in 1989, the Mississippi Teacher Corps is supported by the state Legislature and provides some of Mississippi’s most demanding secondary classrooms with new teachers every year. Over a quarter of a century, the program has fine-tuned a process for training college graduates to teach and succeed in critical-needs settings where high teacher turnover can be the norm.

For the last two years, the program has placed record groups of 32 new teachers into schools throughout Mississippi. To date, the program has trained more than 600 teachers, most of whom are still involved in education across nation.

The Teacher Corps has placed teachers at North Panola for the last eight years; however, the relationship between the school and program has improved greatly in the last four. The Teacher Corps’ administration seeks to place groups of teachers within schools they believe have supportive principals.

“Nothing works in a school unless you have a principal who supports teachers,” explained Teacher Corps co-founder Andrew Mullins. “That means visiting their classrooms, giving advice and backing them up. Jamone has done an excellent job in seeking out our teachers and supporting them. For first-year teachers, every day is a learning experience.”

An alternate route program, the Teacher Corps is a two-year commitment that culminates in a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from UM. Acceptance into the program is highly competitive and includes a full-time teaching job at a critical needs school and full tuition to UM.

A self-described data-driven leader, Edwards provides no guesswork as to his vision for the future of North Panola High School: the school’s B ranking is a step toward becoming an A school. He hopes to continue his relationship with the Mississippi Teacher Corps.

“Superintendent Cedric Richardson has brought great stability to North Panola,” Edwards said. “My goal for North Panola High School is to have a 100 percent graduation rate, and a 100 percent passage rate on our state exams and to be an A school.”

Lead Gift Announced for Ole Miss Science Building

Gertrude C. Ford Foundation commits $20 million for construction

A generous gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation will help ensure that the University of Mississippi continues to provide cutting-edge educational opportunities in the sciences for years to come.

A generous gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation will help ensure that the University of Mississippi continues to provide cutting-edge educational opportunities in the sciences for years to come.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s reputation for strong teaching and research in the sciences will be bolstered by the addition of a new science building, thanks to a $20 million lead gift from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation of Jackson.

The facility will be a significant addition to “Science Row” along the section between University Avenue and All American Drive. It comes on the heels of the construction of the Thad Cochran Research Center Phase II – an addition of more than 96,000 square feet that is described as the most technically sophisticated research building in the Southeast – and an expansion of Coulter Hall, adding almost 36,000 square feet.

The classroom space and technological advances offered by another science building will be critical to serve the continuing enrollment growth, UM leaders say. The fall semester opened with 23,096 students on all campuses, the largest enrollment in the state, leading The Chronicle of Higher Education to name UM among the nation’s fastest-growing colleges in its Almanac of Higher Education 2014.

Founded by the late Gertrude Castellow Ford, who came from a family of dedicated philanthropists, the Ford Foundation has already contributed $25 million for the 88,000-square-foot Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, opened in 2002 on the Oxford campus, and for several other university initiatives. Foundation board members are Anthony T. Papa, Cheryle M. Sims and John C. Lewis, all of Jackson.

“The Ford Foundation board members have been very pleased with the utilization of the private support we have provided the University of Mississippi,” said Papa, president of the foundation board. “I learned of the need for another science building on the Oxford campus and pursued a discussion with Chancellor Dan Jones. He said a gift from the Ford Foundation’s gift would inspire others to support the science building, and I do believe that will occur. The chancellor has been very effective in leading Ole Miss, as evidenced by the more than $350 million in private gifts during the last three years.

“Today the Ford Foundation announces this $20 million contribution with great confidence in the University of Mississippi’s future path. This new science building represents another exciting opportunity to serve generations of Ole Miss students.”

The projected cost for the building is around $100 million, and the size is expected to be around 200,000 square feet. UM will seek other private funding, as well as state and federal funding, and will use internally generated cash and borrow funds to cover the remaining costs. University leaders hope to see the building completed by fall 2018.

“Historically, the Ford Foundation has focused its large commitments on enriching the lives of all Mississippians through investments in the arts, medicine and the human condition in the state of Mississippi, said Lewis of the Ford Foundation. “This pledge represents our first major commitment to science and education. Building on our partnership with the University of Mississippi, we hope to be able to provide the students and faculty of the university a state-of-the-art facility that will further the education in the sciences for generations to come.”

Ford Foundation board member Sims said, “We are all very happy to be teaming up with Dr. Jones in his efforts to construct this new science building at the University of Mississippi.”

Chancellor Dan Jones expressed appreciation for the Ford Foundation’s leadership and vision.

“Our nation can continue as a global leader by encouraging more students to pursue the sciences, as well as technology, engineering and mathematics,” he said. “This state-of-the-art facility will undergird our efforts to provide outstanding facilities for teaching and research in the sciences. Ford Foundation board members possess a deep understanding of needs in higher education and believe in investing in extraordinary educational opportunities. We are profoundly grateful for their generosity.

“By partnering with us in these ambitious pursuits, the Ford Foundation is helping transform the lives of countless students and investing in our nation’s future.”

This new science facility will join others on Science Row, including Coulter Hall (chemistry), Thad Cochran Research Center (National Center for Natural Products Research, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Pharmacy), Faser Hall (pharmacy) and Shoemaker Hall (biology). Completion is nearing on the Thad Cochran Research Center Phase II, which is almost doubling the School of Pharmacy’s research space. Among the cutting-edge facility’s features are an area for clinical trials, an expanded botanical-specimen repository, laboratories for scaling-up synthesis of naturally derived compounds and laboratories for expanding efforts to discover natural products.

Papa described the outcome of the Ford Foundation’s support of UM as a “very positive experience” that has benefited the university and its students, Mississippi and the region.

“Certainly these experiences led to our decision to award another major gift,” he said. “The board members have been very proud of the way the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts is run and all the events it has drawn to campus. The first presidential debate of the last election was hosted at the center, and look at the positive attention the university and state received from that. It was a needed addition to the campus, and we have been pleased with its impact.”

The Ford Foundation also provided gifts for the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom in The Inn at Ole Miss and the Suzan Thames Chair of Pediatrics at the UM Medical Center. A partnership with the city of Oxford resulted in the Gertrude C. Ford Boulevard, providing a new north-south thoroughfare for the ever-growing Oxford-University community.

“I believe if Mrs. Ford was alive and could experience all the things on the UM campuses that have been the result of her resources that she would be very pleased,” Papa said.

About Gertrude C. Ford

Gertrude C. Ford was raised in a generations-old tradition of philanthropy, which began more than 150 years ago with a $25 donation from her family to the Andrew Female College Building Fund in Randolph County, Georgia. Mrs. Ford established the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation in Jackson with a very generous gift in 1991. Mrs. Ford died in September 1996. She and her husband, Aaron Lane Ford, who was an Ackerman attorney and U.S. congressman representing what was then Mississippi’s Fourth District, are buried in Cuthbert, a small town in southwest Georgia.

The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi became a reality in 1998 with a gift of $20 million from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation. The state of Mississippi contributed $500,000 for initial planning, followed by an appropriation of $10 million for construction, which was completed in December 2002. Since that time, the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation has contributed funds to UM for the purchase land for Gertrude Ford Boulevard and for Ford Center support staff positions and programming.

The Ford Center houses an average of 150 events annually. It is the centerpiece of UM’s cultural and scholarly mission to present the finest in the performing arts and visiting lecturers.

Kenny Loggins to Perform Oct. 30 at Ford Center

Singer-songwriter expected to perform his soundtrack hits at UM show

Kenny Loggins will perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 30.  Photo Credit: Stephen Morales

Kenny Loggins will perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 30.
Photo Credit: Stephen Morales

OXFORD, Miss. – Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Kenny Loggins will perform his Hollywood hits Thursday (Oct. 30) at the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Loggins’ four-decade career has earned him two Grammy awards and a dozen platinum albums. He’s best known for his soundtrack hits “Danger Zone” from the movie “Top Gun,” “I’m Alright” from “Caddyshack” and “Footloose” as the title song of the 1984 Kevin Bacon movie.

“Kenny Loggins is an extremely talented singer and songwriter,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “His hits from the ’80s and ’90s provided the soundtrack for many during those years. This will be a great opportunity for patrons to revisit the old hits and a chance to hear his recent music.”

The season extra event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 for orchestra pit seating, $68 for orchestra and parterre sections, $62 for the mezzanine and $58 for the balcony. The UM Box Office, in the Ole Miss Student Union, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, visit the Ford Center’s website.

UM Fraternity Recolonizes After 60 Years

Pi Kappa Phi chartered at UM in 1927, but has been inactive since World War II

Members of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity

Members of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity

OXFORD, Miss. – The options for Greek life at University of Mississippi officially grew by one earlier this month. Pi Kappa Phi fraternity recolonized Oct. 11 after a more-than-six-decade absence from campus.

The Alpha Lambda chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chartered on at Ole Miss in 1927. For 22 years, the fraternity was a prominent student group, producing many leaders in the campus community. However, when World War II affected many of the “Pi Kapp” members, the chapter was forced to dissolve. Over the next 60 years, the Alpha Lambda chapter struggled to regain a presence on campus.

In 2012, the Pi Kappa Phi national staff started conversations with a few undergraduate men who they thought might be interested in joining their brotherhood. Representatives from the fraternity traveled to the Ole Miss campus in spring 2013 to conduct information sessions and recruit students. A leadership consultant helped recruit 28 men.

“We recruited, raised money and awareness for people with disabilities through our philanthropy, stayed in the top three fraternity GPAs on campus, held fun and safe social events, and we made lifelong bonds and friendships with the men around us,” said Phillip Schmidt, Pi Kappa Phi president.

Over the course of the first year on campus, the fraternity formed an executive council, successfully participated in formal recruitment and gained a total of 67 men by December 2013 to help celebrate its first Founder’s Day.

“As a veteran of 25 years in the Army, these young men have embraced high standards that I respect and I’ve been honored to help them work through the process of colonization,” said Michael Howland, veteran and military services coordinator in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience and Pi Kappa Phi faculty adviser. “Their hard work resulted in a very diverse group of 102 young men who chartered and initiated, and that makes me proud of what they have accomplished.”

It wasn’t until Oct. 11 that the fraternity regained its charter and recolonized on the UM campus.

“Pi Kappa Phi is honored to return to the University of Mississippi,” said Mark Timmes, CEO of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. “We are proud of our newest brothers who have embraced our mission to create an uncommon and lifelong brotherhood that develops leaders and encourages service to others for the betterment of our communities. We look forward to being an integral part of the Greek system.”

The fraternity has already made a name for itself on campus through Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy, The Ability Experience, which raises awareness and money and recruits volunteers for those with mental and physical disabilities. The chapter held a 24-hour bike-a-thon called Pedal for a Push, raising $2,900. Pi Kappa Phi is the only national Greek fraternity to operate its own philanthropy.

“I am extremely proud of what we have become and the way that we have already begun to do things differently, but I know that this is just the beginning of the legacy that we are leaving with Pi Kapp,” Schmidt said. “I am so thankful to the Greek community and the university for being supportive and always willing to help and of course to our advisers and the rest of our volunteers and parents for their unwavering support.”

Alumna Reflects on Half-Century Pharmacy Career

Former drugstore owner remembers World War II, Hurricane Camille

Louise Chadwick Lynch

Louise Chadwick Lynch

OXFORD, Miss. – Louise Chadwick Lynch remembers her uncle Cornelius Herlihy’s pharmacy in Waveland as “a mystical place.”

“As a young child, I couldn’t go in the pharmacy itself where the prescriptions were filled,” said Lynch, 91. “I always wondered what was written on that little paper. That piece of paper was so important.”

Lynch soon learned the significance of those pieces of paper. After graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in 1944, she eventually owned and operated Herlihy’s store for 49 years, becoming a Waveland icon.

Ole Miss was a different place during World War II, when Lynch began pharmacy school. Living on campus, she woke up to morning reveille and heard taps in the evening, she said.

“When the war started, the number of students dropped drastically,” she said. “Empty male dormitories were filled with soldiers who received special training at Ole Miss. We had maybe 18 pharmacy students when I was a freshman, and only two of us were women. By the time I graduated, there were only three males left in our class because of the draft.”

Pharmacy students had a reputation on campus for being especially studious, Lynch said.

“There were no backpacks like today, and students didn’t use cars for travel,” she said. “We had to carry all the pharmacy textbooks we needed for the day because we couldn’t get back to the dormitory for breaks. The books were quite heavy and cumbersome; the hills on campus seemed like mountains when carrying all the books. The curriculum was very tough.”

Tougher still were the effects of the war on campus. The university would often post the names of students who were killed in action, Lynch said. Rationing was frequent, and items such as leather, sugar, gas and rubber tires were scarce.

In 1944, Ole Miss did not hold a graduation ceremony, so Lynch’s diploma arrived by train.

Upon completing pharmacy school, Lynch and her husband, Harry Lynch, who graduated from the pharmacy school in 1941, took over Herlihy’s Waveland Drugstore. Following her uncle’s tradition, the store was a place for prominent locals to discuss the news, the first stop for mothers with their newborns and a place to get an exceptional soda, root beer float, milkshake or Coca-Cola.

“It was the first air-conditioned building in Waveland,” Louise Lynch said. “I had two tables in the back with chairs and a soda fountain for a time. We made all our syrups from scratch. They were special – people still ask about our recipes.”

The Lynches raised seven daughters in an apartment above the drugstore. After Harry Lynch died in 1963, the daughters helped their mom run the store. They stocked shelves, filled coin drink machines, made home deliveries and waited on customers, among other tasks. One daughter, Amy Lynch, said that the customers were “like a big family.”

“We were interested in them, and they were interested in us,” she said. “We probably spent as much time in the drugstore as we did in our home. In fact, the drugstore felt like an extension of our home. The well-being of townspeople and serving customers became an integral part of our lives.

“When we were growing up, our family talked about health and medicine around the dinner table. When my aunt and uncle, who also were pharmacists and drugstore owners in a neighboring community, came to visit on Sundays, the topic of discussion always veered to health, pros and cons of medical treatments, and interactions of medicines. We were very fortunate to be exposed to these conversations.”

Subtle and not-so-subtle changes have ensued since Louise Lynch began her pharmacy career.

“Pharmacy was primarily a male profession when my mother began her career,” Amy Lynch said. “Most women at the time were homemakers. At first, the townspeople looked to my father for assistance, but gradually they realized that a woman pharmacist was as educated and as competent as a male. The war helped people recognize women’s roles in the workforce – a new breed of skilled professionals.”

In the 1940s and ’50s, compounding was an important part of pharmacy, Lynch said.

“It was a very time-consuming task that had to be done with precision,” she said. “The scale and weights were a pharmacist’s most prized possessions since they measured ingredients we used in compounding. It was a very exact science.”

Lynch was the go-to pharmacist for hundreds of patients. She would fill prescriptions at all hours of the night and often on holidays. She helped ease the pain of sea nettle bites, insect stings, infant teething and skin rashes. She offered credit without interest, often not knowing if the account would ever be paid.

Waveland Drug Store weathered a significant storm in 1969, when Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast. Lynch participated in the relief effort by coordinating and distributing medicine brought in by state and federal agencies.

After the hurricane, the building remained, though the only thing left inside was a penny scale too heavy to be washed away. The drugstore gradually reopened, though the soda fountain closed and business slowed because a nearby medical clinic was destroyed.

Lynch decided it was time to close her doors in 1993. That year, the Waveland board of aldermen proclaimed Dec. 31 “Louise C. Lynch Day” to honor her extraordinary service to the community.

“I think pharmacy is a very good profession for a female,” Lynch said. “It was a wonderful time in my life.”

UM Biologist’s Research Makes News

Ryan Garrick studying tortoises in Galapagos Islands

photo credit: Yale University

photo credit: Yale University

A University of Mississippi biology professor’s study of giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands is being published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Ryan C. Garrick is the lead author of the paper “Lineage fusion in Galápagos giant tortoises,” which will appear in Molecular Ecology (one of the top journals in the field of population genetics and evolutionary biology). It will be accompanied by a “News and Views” perspective article, used to draw attention to high-profile research that is likely to be of interest to the public.

“The findings are of broad interest because it focuses on a geographic region central to Charles Darwin’s synthesis of ideas about evolution and natural selection,” Garrick said. “We also present unusually clean genetic data on a phenomenon occurring in nature that is rarely caught in the act: the fusion of two long-isolated lineages, one of which is very likely doomed to extinction.”

The paper was written in collaboration with researchers from Yale University, State University of New York at Syracuse, the University of British Columbia in Canada, the University of Florence in Italy and the Galapagos National Park Service in Ecuador. Chaz Hyseni, a UM doctoral student in biology, is among the co-authors.