USA Today Editor Honored with Silver Em

Fred Anklam Jr. worked on landmark series examining Mississippi schools, covered U.S. House for national paper

Fred Anklam Jr.

Fred Anklam Jr.

OXFORD, Miss. – Fred Anklam Jr., a senior editor at USA Today, has been chosen to receive the 2015 Samuel Talbert Silver Em Award from the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

The award will be presented at a dinner April 8 at the Inn at Ole Miss, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available by contacting Paula Hurdle at 662-915-7146 or

The school’s highest honor in journalism, the award dates to 1958. Recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi – or both, which is the case with Anklam.

Though born in Kentucky where his father was an Army officer, Anklam spent his formative years in Vicksburg, where he graduated from St. Aloysius High School in 1972. After a year at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he completed his college degree in journalism, with minors in anthropology and English, at UM. He was a staffer of The Daily Mississippian student newspaper and a member of Sigma Delta Chi, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

For six years after graduation, Anklam was a reporter for The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger where, as part of a team in 1982, he worked on a six-month investigation of Mississippi schools and a related special legislative session that led to a Pulitzer Prize.

“Of all the students we’ve had in journalism, he’s one I am so impressed with because of how humble he is. He didn’t let success go to his head,” said Will Norton Jr., dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “He uses his reporting ability for the betterment of his community.”

Anklam has many additional awards, including a 1981 first place from the Education Writers Association for investigative reporting on unsafe schools. Two more awards came from that group in 1982, followed by a Roy W Howard Public Service Award in 1983.

His career with Gannett News Service and, later, USA Today, began in Washington. In 1986, he was the first USA Today reporter assigned full time to cover the U.S. House. Starting in 1988, Anklam was tapped as an editor for the national newspaper. He has had roles as night national news editor, White House editor, news/international editor, news/chief operations editor and news editor.

Those roles led to his current position, where he supervises USA Today coverage at night and during the early morning hours, oversees production of the domestic editions and local inserted editions as well as the Tropics edition. He serves as backup to the Page 1 editor and directs coverage on all USA Today platforms, digital and print.

Charles Overby was executive editor of The Clarion Ledger when the Pulitzer was won. He was later a top executive for the newspaper’s parent company, Gannett, before being named CEO and chairman of the Freedom Forum.

“Fred has this great ability to be a nice guy, but a tough reporter,” Overby said. “He knows the right question to ask.”

Anklam’s spouse, Cissy Foote Anklam, is an independent museum consultant and is also an Ole Miss graduate. They have three adult children.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media was founded in 2009, funded with an endowment gift by Ed and Becky Meek. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in both journalism and integrated marketing communications on the Oxford campus and in coordination with satellite campuses. Because of the increasing variety of media careers, enrollment continues to rise in the Meek School, which has nearly 1,200 undergraduate journalism and IMC majors.


1958 – George W. Healy Jr.

1959 – Turner Catledge

1960 – Kenneth Toler

1961 – John Oliver Emmerich

1963 – George McLean

1964 – William B. Street

1965 – Purser Hewitt

1966 – Hal C. DeCell

1967 – Paul Pittman

1968 – Hodding Carter Jr.

1969 – Willie Morris

1970 – T.M. Hederman Jr.

1971 – Joseph R. Ellis

1972 – Wilson F. Minor

1973 – Mark F. Ethridge

1975 – H.L. Stevenson

1976 – William Raspberry

1977 – Joe L. Albritton

1978 – James A. Autry

1979 – James Nelson

1980 – Mary-Lynn Kotz

1981 – Curtis Wilkie

1982 – Harold Burson

1983 – John O. Emmerich

1984 – Hazel Brannon Smith

1985 – Charles Overby

1986 – W.C. “Dub” Shoemaker

1987 – Charles Dunagin, Larry Speakes

1988 – Edward Fritts

1989 – Rudy Abramson

1990 – Hodding Carter III

1991 – James L. McDowell

1992 – Rheta Grimsley Johnson

1993 – Dan Goodgame

1994 – Robert Gordon

1995 – Jere Hoar

1996 – Gregory Favre

1997 – Stephanie Saul

1998 – Lerone Bennett

2000 – Jerry Mitchell

2001 – Bert Case

2002 – Ira Harkey

2003 – Jim Abbott

2005 – Otis Sanford

2006 – Dan Phillips

2007 – Stanley Dearman

2008 – Ronnie Agnew

2009 – Stan Tiner

2010 – Terry Wooten

2011 – Patsy Brumfield

2012 – Greg Brock

2013 – W. Randall Pinkston

2014 – Fred Anklam Jr.

Aaron Shirley, M.D. posthumously receives Community Service Award

UMMC’s professor named Diversity Educator of the Year

Trustee Shane Hooper, Dr. Betty J. Crouther, Associate Professor of Art, Dr. Morris Stocks, Provost, and Trustee Aubrey Patterson, President of the Board of Trustees.

Trustee Shane Hooper, Dr. Betty J. Crouther, Associate Professor of Art, Dr. Morris Stocks, Provost, and Trustee Aubrey Patterson, President of the Board of Trustees.

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently held its Diversity celebration by recognizing campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

The late Aaron Shirley M.D., (1933-2014) received the Community Service Award for courage, commitment, persistence and humility in being a strong voice in working as an ambassador to end healthcare disparities for all citizens. Dr. Claude D. Brunson, Senior Advisor for External Affairs to the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was named the 2015 Diversity Educator of the Year.

“The Board of Trustees is honored to recognize Dr. Brunson and the late Dr. Shirley for their tremendous contributions as leaders, mentors and physicians, healing Mississippians through their medical expertise, tireless devotion and generous spirit,” said Trustee Karen Cummins, Chair of the Board of Trustees’ Diversity Committee. “Both trailblazers in the medical profession, their work to bridge health care disparities will have an impact on our state for generations to come.”

Working through its Diversity Committee, chaired by Trustee Karen Cummins, the Board selects one individual as the Diversity Educator of the Year and one individual as the Community Honoree. Other Trustees serving on the committee include Trustee Shane Hooper, Trustee Bob Owens, Trustee Alan Perry, Trustee C.D. Smith, along with IHL Staff member Pearl Pennington. Ms. Clotee Lewis, IHL staff member, has been the coordinator of the recognition program several years.

Trustee Shane Hooper, Dr. James Ke eton, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean, School of Medicine, honoree Claude D. Brunson, M.D., Senior Advisor for External Affairs to the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, “2105 Diversity Educator of the Year,” the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Dr. Morris Stocks, Provost, The University of Mississippi, and Trustee Aubrey Patterson, President of the Board of Trustees.

Trustee Shane Hooper, Dr. James Keeton, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean, School of Medicine, honoree Claude D. Brunson, M.D., Senior Advisor for External Affairs to the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, “2105 Diversity Educator of the Year,” the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Dr. Morris Stocks, Provost, The University of Mississippi, and Trustee Aubrey Patterson, President of the Board of Trustees.

The youngest of eight children, Dr. Shirley was born in Gluckstadt in 1933. He graduated from Lanier High School in 1951 and he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Tougaloo College in 1955. He received his Medical degree from Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee in 1959, and later interned at Hubbard Hospital before completing his residency in pediatrics in 1967 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. He was the first African American pediatric resident at UMMC and for many years the only Black pediatrician in the state.

Dr. Shirley began private practice in 1960 and practiced general medicine in Vicksburg for 15 years. From 1963 to 1967, he helped to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and served as chairman for Warren County. Dr. Shirley also served as director of the Mississippi Action for Progress, an organization which provided health care and education to children.

In 1970, Dr. Shirley played an instrumental role in developing the largest community health center in the state of Mississippi, Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, which is the largest provider of primary health care services to the uninsured and under-served in Central Mississippi and serves as a model for federally funded community health centers nationwide. Dr. Shirley also served as Chairman of J-HCHC.

In 1993, Dr. Shirley received the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the Genius Award, which recognizes devotion, dedication and strides’ made in one’s field. In 1995, Dr. Shirley pushed to transform the dilapidated Jackson Mall into the Jackson Medical Mall, a one-stop shop health care facility for the underserved, a plan now duplicated around the country. Dr. Shirley served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation, as well as Director of Community Medical Services and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Dr. Shirley was honored with the endowment of Chair for the Study of Health Disparities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2005. He was also elected to serve as a member of the Citizens Health Care Working Group, which was mandated by Congress to hold hearings and community meetings across the country on health care coverage and cost issues, and to produce a “Health Report to the American People.”

In 2010, Dr. Shirley founded the HealthConnect program, an idea that originated in Iran, that sends doctors and nurses to poor homes to help prevent unnecessary emergency room visits. Dr. Shirley was recognized for his uncommon fortitude and commitment to working to enhance the quality health care for African Americans and all the citizens of Mississippi. Throughout his life, he touched the lives of all who knew him and earned him  the respect and admiration of people in Mississippi and all over the world.

The 2015 Diversity Educator of the Year is Claude D. Brunson, M.D., who serves as Senior Advisor for External Affairs to the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine and Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. A member of the UMMC faculty since 1991, Dr. Brunson’s contributions to diversity and to positive relations among all segments of the Medical Center and the broader community are numerous and varied. He has been described as “an outstanding and effective faculty member, mentor and role model who is deeply committed to diversity” and one who brings “voice and action to the concept of promoting cross cultural understanding at the Medical Center and within the campus community.”

Dr. Brunson is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at UMMC and later earned a Master’s degree in clinical health sciences at UMMC. He is also a graduate of the leadership course for physician executives offered by Harvard Medical School.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Dr. Brunson became professor and chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology in 2002, the first African American chair of a department at the Medical Center. In 2009, he stepped down from this administrative role in anesthesiology to become senior advisor for External Affairs, but continues to practice one day per week.

Dr. Brunson has encouraged the advancement of diversity through his efforts to mentor rising young minority professionals at UMMC as well as Jackson State University. He is a true advocate of community involvement, as evidenced through patient building of trustful relationships with colleagues over many years. He serves as the first African American President in the 159-year history of the Mississippi State Medical Association, a post he was elected to August 2014.

In recommending him for the award, Dr. James E. Keeton, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, wrote “Dr. Brunson is a person of considerable achievement. He is an individual who is arguably one of the most influential people in our state’s health care industry, both in an official capacity and behind the scenes. He is a major force for building bridges between the white and black communities and especially within the physician community. He has also been one of the most effective people in Mississippi at building sustainable approaches to delivery of health services to the underserved. Dr. Brunson encourages in others the value of embracing diversity in thought, cultural background, experience and identity.”

Dr. Brunson was instrumental in helping UMMC get legislation passed in 2012 that enabled providers to be reimbursed for services delivered via telemedicine. This achievement opened the floodgates for telehealth to be deployed in the state, with the potential to bring more services to rural areas.

He has received numerous honors and awards for his work and has continuously been included in the Best Doctors in America listing since 1998. Last year, he was named by Ebony magazine as being among the 100 Most Influential African-Americans in the United States.

Dr. Brunson has been a leader in UMMC’s efforts to develop a Community Health Advocate Program (CHAP). This program trains lay people to be health advisors in their local communities. Many organizations, such as the United Methodist Church of Mississippi, have adopted UMMC’s program to implement among their constituents.

He has been a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Anesthesiologists since 2002, leading several committees including finance. He has also served on several expert panels of the Food and Drug Administration.

The Board honored faculty from each of Mississippi’s public universities for advancing diversity at their institutions. These honorees include:

Dr. Dovi Alipoe, Director of Global Programs and Professor of Agricultural Economics

Alcorn State University

Dr. Noah Lelek, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts

Delta State University

Dr. Brandi L. Newkirk-Turner, Interim Department Chair and Graduate Program Director for the Department of Communicative Disorders in the College of Public Service

Jackson State University

Dr. Lakiesha N. Williams, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Mississippi State University

Dr. Leslie Burger, Assistant Extension Professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Mississippi State University

Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine

Ms. Janie Shields, Life Enrichment Coordinator, Office of Outreach and Innovation

Mississippi University for Women

Dr. Xiaoquin Wu, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences

Mississippi Valley State University

Dr. Betty J. Crouther, Associate Professor of Art

The University of Mississippi

2015 Diversity Educator of the Year

Dr. Claude D. Brunson, Senior Advisor for External Affairs to the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine

The University of Mississippi Medical Center

Dr. Tammy Greer, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for American Indian Research and Studies

The University of Southern Mississippi


Free Family Law Clinic Set for UM

March 26 event provides assistance to north Mississippi residents on variety of legal matters

OXFORD, Miss. – A free family law clinic is set for March 26 at the University of Mississippi School of Law to assist self-represented plaintiffs in completing pleadings and presenting family law matters.

The Family Law Legal Clinic, scheduled for noon to 4 p.m., is conducted in partnership with the Pro Bono Initiative and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project. UM holds the clinic twice a year.

Students participating in the clinic work with local attorneys to assist area residents. Types of cases handled at the clinics are divorce, child custody, child support, guardianship, adoption, name change and emancipation.

Clients who attend the clinic must be residents of Lafayette County or reside in counties within a one-hour radius of Oxford. Clients must also have incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

Potential clients must call MVLP at 601-960-9577 to determine if they are eligible for the free service. Walk-in appointments are not available.

For more information on the free family law clinic, contact Tommie Jean Brock at

Croft Lecture Focuses on Latin American Grassroots Activism

Boston University professor Jeffrey Rubin to discuss business response March 2

Jeffrey Rubin

Jeffrey Rubin

OXFORD, Miss. – The responses of private businesses to the social reforms and activism in Latin America over the past 20 years will be examined during a presentation March 2 at the University of Mississippi’s Croft Institute for International Studies.

Jeffrey Rubin, associate professor of history and research associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University, plans to discuss “Business Responses to Grassroots Activism in Latin America.” The lecture is set for 7 p.m. in the Joseph C. Bancroft Conference Room of Croft Hall. Rubin’s talk is the latest installment in the Croft Speaker Series.

“With each scholar we bring to campus, we aim to provide Mississippi undergraduates with the opportunity to engage seriously with political, economic, social and cultural issues they will encounter as citizens of the world,” said Joshua First, Croft assistant professor of history and international studies.

First and Joshua Howard, a Croft associate professor of history, selected a group of speakers with expertise in emerging social movements and problems of democratization in Latin America, China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

“Dr. Rubin is an ideal speaker to address this topic because, not only has he done extensive research in places like Mexico and Brazil, he combines his scholarly pursuits with a personal interest in social justice and activism,” First said. “In this way, he will ideally speak to how students can get involved in making the world a more democratic and egalitarian place.”

Up until the 1990s, Latin America’s private sector and other socio-political elites inflicted violent repression on progressive movements. Rubin’s research has demonstrated business responses to reform have become more open-ended as Latin America’s democracies have deepened, with repression tempered by the economic uncertainties of globalization, the political and legal constraints of democracy, and shifting cultural understandings of poverty and race.

Rubin’s lecture is based on the findings of the “Enduring Reform” project, which he directed with Vivienne Bennett, a professor at California State University at San Marcos.

Rubin, who is specializes in social movements, holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies and a doctorate in political science from Harvard University. He is the author of the book “Decentering the Regime: Ethnicity, Radicalism, and Democracy in Juchitán, Mexico” and co-author of “Sustaining Activism: A Brazilian Women’s Movement and a Father-Daughter Collaboration.” He is also co-editor of “Enduring Reform: Progressive Activism and Private Sector Responses in Latin America’s Democracies,” among other works.

His current project, “Citizen Subjectivities Reconfigured,” examines how social movements, business and religion have reshaped the ways people understand themselves as citizens and become involved in politics in Latin America’s democracies.

Madeline Fumi, a senior international studies and public policy leadership major from Chicago, said she is interested in learning about Latin America activism and also hearing about the implementation of society-based reforms.

“I am very interested to hear about the level of grassroots activism taking place in Latin America and if the international community is, in some way, supporting its efforts,” Fumi said. “Furthermore, I am eager to hear how businesses in Latin America balance economic interests with positive community engagement.”

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Frizzell Named to SEC Community Service Team

Second consecutive honor for Ole Miss junior

Ole Miss Women's Basketball vs Alabama on January 11th, 2015 in Oxford, MS.

Ole Miss Women’s Basketball vs Alabama on January 11th, 2015 in Oxford, MS.

BIRMINGHAM— Ole Miss junior Gracie Frizzell (Little Rock, Arkansas) was named to the SEC Community Service Team it was announced on Thursday by the Southeastern Conference office. It is the second consecutive year the Little Rock, Arkansas native has represented Ole Miss on the team.

Frizzell and her teammates have taken the idea of service to new heights this season and spent lots of time in the fall volunteering throughout the greater Oxford and Lafayette county communities.

Along with her teammates Frizzell has done Reading With the Rebels, an annual program that takes place in conjunction with Ole Miss’ student-athlete development area, going into elementary schools in Oxford-Lafayette County and reading to elementary school classes to promote education and literacy. Frizzell has also teamed her teammates to play bingo and other games with residents at Oxford’s Graceland Care Center while also spending an afternoon in the fall helping to build walls on a house under construction with the Oxford – Lafayette County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Frizzell and her teammates, in conjunction with the Ole Miss athletic department, helped with tornado relief efforts for Columbus, Miss, which was hit with deadly tornadoes over the holiday. Frizzell’s dedication to service also extends to the summer months as she helped with basketball clinics with the Horizons Learning Program on the Ole Miss campus, to promote summer learning and retention for local Oxford youth.

This marks the 17th year for the SEC Community Service Team for women’s basketball as well as for men’s basketball. All league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men’s and women’s sports being chosen from 1999-2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.

Honorees from other institutions include: Nikki Hegstetter, Alabama; Joey Bailey, Arkansas; Tra’Cee Tanner, Auburn; Brooke Copeland, Florida; Erika Ford, Georgia; Bria Goss, Kentucky; Ann Jones, LSU; Savannah Carter, Mississippi State; Morgan Eye, Missouri; Elem Ibiam, South Carolina; Cierra Burdick, Tennessee; Tori Scott, Texas A&M; Kendall Shaw, Vanderbilt.

Ole Miss closes out the regular-season home schedule tonight against LSU at 6 p.m. The team will honor seniors Tia Faleru, Danielle McCray and Amber Singletary. The Rebels close out the regular season on Sunday with a trip to Starkville to take on the No. 11/13 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m., and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net.

For women’s basketball ticket information, go to or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).

For all Ole Miss women’s basketball news and information, go to, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB and on Instagram at Ole Miss_WBB.   Fans can also follow Ole Miss women’s basketball head coach Matt Insell on Twitter at @minsell.

Singer-songwriter Caroline Herring Returns to Campus

Free Feb. 27 concert honors Charles Reagan Wilson

Caroline Herring will perform at Barnard Observatory on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Caroline Herring will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at Barnard Observatory.

OXFORD, Miss. – Singer-songwriter Caroline Herring returns to University of Mississippi this week for a special concert as part of the Porter Fortune Jr. History Symposium. The symposium honors the recent retirement of Charles Reagan Wilson with a series of talks and panel discussions on Southern religion and Southern culture.

Set for 7:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 27) in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory, the concert is free and open to the public. Herring’s music combines a unique voice and multiple musical influences.

She said it is her great pleasure to play a concert honoring Wilson.

“Dr. Wilson taught me when I earned my master’s in Southern Studies at UM, and I loved everything about him, including his extensive Southern kitsch collection,” Herring said. “I also went to the local Episcopal church with him and we took a yearlong Education for Ministry course together. After moving to Texas and working in El Paso with colonias communities, I came to a new appreciation of the fact that Dr. Wilson grew up in El Paso and then shifted his work and life from one deepest South to another.”

It was a natural choice to have Herring perform in honor of Wilson, a former director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, since she is a native Mississippian and 1998 Southern studies alumna.

“Charles Wilson has cared for many, many students, me included,” Herring said. “I remember introducing him to my newborn daughter – he is the kind of person whom you want to meet your kids. A lot of the songs I sing are due, in part, to his tutelage.”

Ted Ownby, director of the CSSC, said it will be fun to welcome Herring back.

“Caroline Herring does Southern studies when she writes and sings, so we’re excited she can be part of the symposium,” Ownby said. “Her M.A. thesis was on a topic in Southern religious history – she studied the religious roots of anti-lynching activists – and she deals with the intersections of religion, history and, obviously, the history of music in her performances. She’s also a good friend to a lot of people around here, and she has plenty of fans both through her CDs and her work with ‘Thacker Mountain Radio.'”

Herring released “I Will Go into the Day” in January 2014, where she sets to music the magic and wonder of childhood.

Fats Kaplin, who played on her 2012 album “Camilla” and plays more than 15 instruments, will accompany Herring at this concert. A review of that album named Herring one of the “most literate songwriters of her generation.”

“I’m thrilled Fats Kaplin likes my work because he is a busy man,” Herring said. “The last time I asked him to play a gig, he couldn’t because he was playing with Jack White in Paris. Thankfully, he’s free on the 27th.”

Listeners can hear Herring’s music at

A full schedule of the history symposium is available at It began in 1975 as an annual conference on Southern history and is named for the late Porter L. Fortune Jr., UM chancellor emeritus. Past events have examined topics such as the Southern political tradition, childhood, religion and the role of gender in shaping public power.

UM School of Law Claims Another National Championship

Environmental moot court win is fourth title in five years for program

David Case (left), Mary Margaret Roark and John Juricich

David Case (left), Mary Margaret Roark and John Juricich

OXFORD, Miss. – For the fourth time in five years, a team from the University of Mississippi School of Law has won the national environmental moot court competition.

Triumphing over 61 other law schools, Ole Miss prevailed at the 27th annual Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held Feb. 19-21 at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York. The Ole Miss law school previously brought home the title in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

This victory builds on a string of successes for the law school’s advocacy programs, which include four national championships last year alone, a top 14 national ranking for the school’s moot court board in 2014, second place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition last fall and a top-8 finish last month at the moot court national championship hosted by the University of Houston.

Collecting the trophy for Ole Miss were two second-year law students, John Juricich of Anniston, Alabama, and Mary Margaret Roark of Cleveland, Mississippi. With elimination round victories over Vermont, Montana, Florida Coastal, Penn State, Florida State and Northeastern, the pair advanced out of a tremendous field of law schools, which also included Yale, Columbia, Berkeley and Penn.

“The best experience I have had in law school, hands down,” Juricich said.

The victory, Juricich and Roark agree, happened only because of the help of many others.

“The entire school supported John and me throughout this process, and that’s simply not true for all schools with moot court teams,” Roark said. “It changes your entire frame of mind when you have a moot court program and a student body that not only strives for winning titles like these, but to a certain extent, expects it as well.”

Juricich credited the faculty coaches, David Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts, for their work honing the team for competition.

“This championship wouldn’t have been possible without the coaches,” he said. “It was an honor to make them proud at the competition by doing exactly what they taught us.”

“An accomplishment like this is the product of countless hours of work by the students and their coaches,” said Richard Gershon, UM law dean. “Our repeated success at this competition, and in our advocacy programs in general, says a great deal about the outstanding students we have at the University of Mississippi School of Law. This is the embodiment of their promise as lawyers.”

“It is an amazing feat for two second-year law students to win a national competition in a field of teams primarily made up of far more experienced third-year law students,” Case said. “Their exhaustive preparation allowed them to succeed on such a well-known and respected national stage.”

The environmental law competition is one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious, testing students on their abilities to argue a mock case before a federal appellate court. The team commenced work on the competition in October, when they started writing their brief. After filing the brief in November, they began to practice oral arguments with their coaches. In New York, the team argued in three preliminary oral argument rounds before advancing to elimination matches in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final rounds. Both Roark and Juricich garnered Best Oralist Awards at the competition.

The Ole Miss team faced a formidable panel of judges for the finals, including Patricia M. Wald, retired chief judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Malachy E. Mannion, judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and Barbara A. Gunning, administrative law judge for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The team’s faculty coaches are both national experts in environmental law. Case’s scholarship focuses on environmental regulation, and he holds a J.D. from Ole Miss and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Otts, who holds a J.D. and master’s degree from Vermont Law School, directs the National Sea Grant Law Center, a program devoted to wise stewardship of marine resources.

“Professors Case and Otts once again proved that the faculty here are amazing,” Gershon said.

The UM program’s four victories at the environmental law competition come hand-in-hand with school’s growing reputation as a leader in the specialty, Otts said.

“Ole Miss is a recognized leader in ocean and coastal law research due to the presence of the National Sea Grant Law Center and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program,” she said. “The success of our Pace team establishes the growing strength of our academic program in environmental, ocean and coastal and natural resources law.”

‘The Great Gatsby’ Comes to Life at the Ford Center

Montana Repertory Theatre brings classic to stage Feb. 28

The Great Gatsby performance will be held at the Ford Center on Feb. 28.

The Great Gatsby performance will be held at the Ford Center on Feb. 28.

OXFORD, Miss. – It was a book, a movie and now a theatrical production. “The Great Gatsby” is coming to the University of Mississippi as the Montana Repertory Theatre brings its production to the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 28). Tickets, all general admission, are $10 for Ole Miss students and $30 for the public. UM faculty, staff and retirees can get a 20 percent discount with ID. Tickets are available at the UM Box Office, inside the Ole Miss Student Union, and online at

The classic cautionary tale of the American Dream comes to life on stage with the beautiful people, decadent lifestyles and everything readers have come to know and love from the book.

“The Great Gatsby is part of our Campus Connection series and it’s a story that most students are familiar with,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “Students now have the chance to see the story brought to life. This production embodies the educational and enriching experience that we strive to provide.”

The Montana Repertory Theatre was established as a touring company in 1968 and is known for performing classic American stories such as “Death of a Salesman,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Miracle Worker.” This adaption is penned by Simon Levy.

Fantastic Fantasia Coming to Ford Center

'American Idol' and Grammy winner expected to wow her UM fans with March 5 show

Fantasia ford center ole miss university of mississippi the color purple grammy award r&b pop black alumni reunion american idol ticket box office

Fantasia will perform at the Ford Center on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Fantasia.

OXFORD, Miss. – As University of Mississippi electrical engineering student Michael Simeon continues to rise on the popular “American Idol” competition show, former winner Fantasia Barrino is preparing to perform on the Ole Miss campus.

The Grammy-winning singer and third season winner of “American Idol” performs March 5 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $75 to $100 for the general public, but a 25 percent discount is available. UM student tickets are $30.

Fantasia is renowned for her charismatic, energetic style onstage that is rooted in the traditions of gospel music. The North Carolina native takes her audiences to church even when she’s singing her own R&B/pop hits or those made famous by others. Add in some colorful costumes, lighting and stage moves and concert-goers get a memorable evening of entertainment.

“The American Idol who went on to become a best-selling recording artist and acclaimed Broadway star in the musical ‘The Color Purple’ will kick off the Black Alumni Reunion weekend in style with her 7:30 p.m. performance,” said Julian Gilner, assistant director of alumni affairs. “Knowing how Fantasia performs, it should be a fantastic show!”

To purchase tickets, go to or call the UM Box Office at 662-915-7412. To buy online, users must create an account or log in to see the seating chart. At checkout, use the coupon code BAR2015 to receive a 25 percent discount.

Music of the South Concert Series Continues with Rory Block

Monday performance at the Ford Center blends traditional and new blues with folk stylings

Rory Block will perform at the Ford Center on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy Rory Block.

Rory Block will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Ford Center. Photo courtesy Rory Block.

OXFORD, Miss. – Blues artist Rory Block performs Monday (Feb. 23) at the Studio Theatre of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as the Music of the South Concert Series continues at the University of Mississippi.

The 7:30 p.m. show is also sponsored by the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture. General admission tickets are $25 each at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union or online at

“Rory Block brings a unique style to blues and folk music,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “Her dedication to blues will delight our Mississippi audience.”

Block was born in New Jersey and spent her childhood in New York City, but has dedicated her life and career to not only preserving the Delta blues tradition, but delivering it to audiences in a new way. She combines traditional blues with an innovative new style, redefining the world of acoustic blues and folk music.

Block has been called “a living landmark” by Berkeley Express and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” by Blues Revue. The New York Times said, “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.”