UM Museum Readies Major Exhibition Honoring Kate Freeman Clark

Curators hope to broaden awareness of painter's works and raise support for conservation

University Museum workers hang a portrait for the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The largest exhibit in more than two decades featuring works by acclaimed Mississippi painter Kate Freeman Clark is set to debut March 28 at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark” includes more than 70 paintings from the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery and several artifacts from the Marshall County Historical Museum to illustrate different times and aspects of the artist’s life.

The exhibition was developed by Guest Curators James G. Thomas Jr., associate director for publications at the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Annette Trefzer, UM associate professor of English.

“The fact that there was an accomplished and prolific female artist in our neighborhood whose name I had never heard before was the magnet that drew me first to the Holly Springs museum,” said Trefzer, also owner of Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley.

“And visiting there, I was overwhelmed by the quality and depth of her work: hundreds of canvases of landscapes, portraits and still lifes reside in the little museum. What a treasure and what a story!”

The exhibition is a major event for the University Museum and for art lovers across north Mississippi, said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“The University Museum is honored and thrilled to have developed this major exhibition of the work of Kate Freeman Clark, in partnership with our guest curators, the Holly Springs lending institutions and our donors who so graciously provided the required funding,” Saarnio said.

“The compelling story of this exceptional artist and the beauty of her work will captivate audiences and inspire a renewed appreciation for one of Mississippi’s artistic treasures.”

A colorful garden scene from the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28 at the University Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

A Holly Springs native, Clark spent many years in New York City, where she studied under teacher, mentor and well-known American impressionist William Merritt Chase. She produced hundreds of paintings and had major exhibits at the Boston Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Corcoran Gallery, Carnegie Institute, New York School of Art, National Academy of Design and the Society of American Artists.

After 27 years of painting and following the deaths of Chase and her mother and grandmother, Clark stored her entire collection in a New York City warehouse in 1923 and returned to Holly Springs, where she remained until her death in 1957. She left her collection and estate to the city.

“I was first drawn to Kate Freeman Clark’s fascinating life story, and as I examined her vast body of work, she became all the more intriguing to me,” Thomas said. “How could a person with such great talent and obvious drive to create, and who had achieved a not inconsiderable measure of success, suddenly abandon her passion?”

An opening reception is set for 6 p.m. March 28 in conjunction with the Oxford Arts Crawl. The city’s double-decker busses will stop at the museum every 20 minutes for guest convenience. The event is free and open to the public.

A landscape from the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28 at the University Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“The main concept of our show is to highlight her work as that of a woman artist,” Trefzer said. “We also want to show the variety of work in terms of styles, themes and media that she created as a student. We call the show ‘Lasting Impressions’ because we want the viewer to confront her ‘impressions’ of the world around her, a domestic life largely dominated by her mother and grandmother, and her love of the landscapes, both cultivated and natural, that she painted.”

Only a fraction of Clark’s paintings have been exhibited for many years, so the exhibit represents a rare opportunity for art lovers to view the works, Thomas said.

Both Thomas and Trefzer expressed special thanks to Walter Webb, director of the gallery in Holly Springs, for his assistance in developing the exhibit. They also hope the showing will boost support for continued conservation of the artist’s works, Trefzer said.

“These canvases have lasted more than 120 years, and we hope that with ongoing restoration efforts, more of them will be preserved for the future,” she said. “This is why we are also showing unrestored work. We want to make the public aware of this woman’s tremendously accomplished work so worth preserving and of her unique story that should be included in books of art history.”

A panel discussion on “The Art of Kate Freeman Clark” is slated for 1:30 p.m. March 30 at the museum, as part of the Oxford Conference for the Book. A reception will follow the discussion.

Panelists include writer, editor and scholar Carolyn Brown, who published award-winning biographies of Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker, as well as “The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark” (University Press of Mississippi, 2017). She will sign copies of the book at the reception.

Other panelists are Thomas, Trefzer and Beth Batton, an art historian and executive director of The Oaks House Museum in Jackson.

Funding for the exhibition was provided by Lester and Susan Fant III, Tim and Lisa Liddy, David B. Person, the Bank of Holly Springs, Ellis Stubbs State Farm Insurance, First State Bank and Tyson Drugs Inc.

The museum, at Fifth Street and University Avenue, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Pulitzer Winner Jon Meacham to Give UM Commencement Address

Presidential historian to address graduates May 13 in the Grove

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Jon Meacham will give the University of Mississippi’s 2017 Commencement address May 13 in the Grove. Photos courtesy Royce Carlton.

OXFORD, Miss. – Pulitzer Prize-winning author, presidential historian and one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals Jon Meacham will deliver the University of Mississippi’s 164th Commencement address May 13 in the Grove. 

Meacham, a former editor of Newsweek and a contributor to Time and The New York Times Book Review, speaks to graduates and their families at 9 a.m.

Also a regular guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he is respected for his great depth of knowledge on current affairs, politics and religion. He possesses a rich understanding of the way issues impact American lives and also why each event’s historical context is important. 

Having Meacham on campus for such an important event in the lives of students and their families is a “tremendous honor” for the university, Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. 

“It is an amazing opportunity for our graduating students to hear from a person of his caliber – a highly accomplished, prize-winning author and renowned presidential historian,” Vitter said. “Mr. Meacham joins a long list of distinguished Commencement speakers who have graced our flagship university with their insight and knowledge over the years. We look forward to welcoming him to Ole Miss and Oxford.”

A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Meacham earned an English literature degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He serves as a distinguished visiting history professor at his alma mater and also a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University.

He has written multiple New York Times bestsellers and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” (Random House, 2008). His most recent presidential biography, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” (Random House, 2015), debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. 

Meacham has also written other national bestsellers on Thomas Jefferson, the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and on the Founding Fathers and the role of their relationships with God during the creation of the nation. He is working on a biography of James and Dolly Madison. 

“The Long View” column in The New York Times Book Review, which “looks back at books that speak to our current historical moment” and being a contributing editor at Time keep Meacham busy these days. He also was Newsweek’s managing editor from 1998 to 2006 and editor from 2006 to 2010. He is “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business,” according to The New York Times. 

He appeared on Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” and Fox News Channel aired an hourlong special on Meacham’s “Destiny and Power” in 2015. He has appeared on various other current affairs TV programs and news shows. 

The World Economic Forum named Meacham a “Global Leader for Tomorrow,” and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians and chair of the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. 

Noel Wilkin, UM interim provost and executive vice chancellor, said he looks forward to hearing the respected author and historian speak. 

“Commencement is a significant event for our students that commemorates their accomplishments and the development that they have experienced while at our institution,” Wilkin said. “I am pleased that Jon Meacham will be with us to celebrate this occasion and share his perspectives and insights on this significant day.”

Saturday Collaborations Unlock Possibilities for Marks Students

Weekend program brings middle schoolers to UM campus for tutoring, mentoring and fun

Ole Miss student-athletes mentor a group of fifth- to eighth-grade students from Quitman County Middle School during the weekend sessions on the UM campus.

OXFORD, Miss. – Most students regard Saturday school with dread and contempt, but a group of middle schoolers from the Delta community of Marks looks forward to its weekend tutoring sessions at the University of Mississippi.  For some of these students, the sessions have become life-changing.

For six Saturdays between February and April, 53 students from Quitman County Middle School travel nearly an hour by school bus from Marks to the Ole Miss campus for a day of tutoring and fun activities.

Bryce Warden, the AmeriCorps VISTA working in the UM School of Education, coordinated the initiative after attending a meeting last fall about the Marks Project, a 501c(3) organization dedicated to restoring the Marks community. He previously had helped launch a program that pairs college students with North Panola High School seniors to help them apply for college.

“I saw the benefit of those interactions, where students – many of them potential first-generation students – could find out what college life was really like and I was eager to create such an environment for the kids from Marks,” Warden said. “Now, these middle school students get to receive tutoring on a college campus, which they may have never seen.”

The students, ranging from fifth to eighth grades, were chosen for the program based on test scores and their need for additional learning assistance.

In the morning, 19 Ole Miss students from the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program work with the students for two hours in reading, language and math.

Kendall Kern, a freshman in the METP program from Lewisburg, tutors the students in language arts. She was eager to become involved in the program when she heard about it.

“I went down to Marks and really got to see the school and realized I needed to give back,” she said. “If I can do anything for them and provide a positive impact, that’s going to mean so much.”

Kern added that she’s learned from the experience, as well.

“Getting to have our own classroom time with them has really helped me with my teaching experience,” she said. “We’re able to teach interactive lessons and experiment with different teaching methods. I love all the amazing opportunities that METP and the School of Education provide us with.”

Although the educational component is the core of the program, Warden realized that the students needed activity time, too. He sought additional partnerships with Ole Miss Campus Recreation and the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for afternoon activities.

Each group is providing programming for three Saturdays, including physical activities in the Turner Center, student-athlete mentorship and a tour of the Field Level Club at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the Manning Center.

Middle school students from Quitman County visit the UM campus as part of a spring program that provides academic tutoring and activities with student-athletes and Ole Miss Campus Recreation.

The Freeze Foundation, a charitable organization started by football Coach Hugh Freeze, has acted as liaison between the School of Education and the athletics department to provide student-athlete mentorships for the group. Alice Blackmon, the foundation’s executive director, serves as Marks Project co-chair of the tutoring and mentoring program.

After Freeze learned about the economic, educational and community issues in the Mississippi Delta, he wanted to become involved, Blackmon said.

“These issues weighed heavily on his heart,” she said. “He wanted to invest time in serving the children through building relationships and encouraging them in hopes of making a positive impact.

“We have served internationally in Haiti and Africa, but he was really passionate about shining a light into the communities that are right in our backyard in Mississippi.”

The program has been a double-sided ministry, also making a positive impact on the athletes, she added.

The Marks Project is an umbrella organization of all the volunteers within the Marks community. Jaby Denton, co-founder of the project with Mitch Campbell of Taylor, is working to revitalize the largest town in Quitman County by providing educational and recreational opportunities.

Denton, who owns a farm in Quitman County, moved back to the community from Oxford in 2015. He started a youth group that year and realized many students were behind academically.

“Marks was a town where a wagon pulled by mules led the Poor People’s Campaign in D.C.,” Denton said. “It was the epicenter of the civil rights movement.

“Dr. (Martin Luther) King visited Marks, saw extensive poverty and realized something had to be done. 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the mule train, and we are doing everything we can to fulfill Dr. King’s dream to provide opportunities for residents and students.”

Cortez Moss, an Ole Miss alumnus and principal of Quitman County Middle School, identified educational needs and approached the Marks Project for assistance in recruiting teachers and tutoring students.

When Moss became principal in August, he recognized that students at the school, which received an “F” rating last year, lacked exposure and academic support, he said.

“Our school’s motto is ‘Our Education is Freedom,’ and I knew I needed to give them liberating experiencing that would make our vision come true for scholars and families,” Moss said. “My original intent was for academic support; however, in the planning process I realized that my scholars needed exposure.

“This truth was evidenced one Saturday (at UM) when one of the scholars did not recognize an elevator and found joy in just being able to ride an elevator.”

After only a few trips to the Ole Miss campus, Moss has seen improvement in his students.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with our scholars – socially, emotionally and academically,” he said. “Many of our scholars come back from the Saturday experience seeing Ole Miss as an opportunity. Ole Miss and college is now their goal. Many of them feel empowered by the experience.”

UM Engineers Without Borders Returns to West Africa

Following successful crowdfunding campaign, team advances infrastructure project in Togo

UM geology and geological engineering professor Bob Holt (seated) consults with graduate student Vera Gardner (standing, left) about soil samples during a 2016 Engineers Without Borders trip to Togo. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Entering its sixth year of helping people of the West African nation of Togo build a sound infrastructure, the University of Mississippi chapter of Engineers Without Borders is continuing its work to help drill and complete a deep water well for a rural village.

Two faculty and six students are in the impoverished country through March 20, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign on Ignite Ole Miss last year. With help from more than 100 donors, the group surpassed its $20,000 goal for the effort.

The money enables members of EWB and School of Engineering faculty members to spend 18 days in Africa supervising the drilling of a well to provide clean water in the village of Akoumape. Rotary International is funding the project.

“Although the drilling project has been well planned, it may face some challenges,” said Cris Surbeck, associate professor of civil engineering and faculty adviser for Ole Miss-EWB. “Last year, there were equipment issues. There is also the uncertainty of what may be buried underneath the surface once the drilling is underway.”

This year’s team includes Robert Holt, professor of geology and geological engineering; Paul Scovazzo, associate professor of chemical engineering and construction guru; Vera Gardner, a senior in mechanical engineering from Memphis; Zack Lepchitz, a graduate student in geological engineering from Keswick, Virginia; Luc Rebillout, a graduate student in computational hydroscience from France; Zach Bray, a senior in geological engineering from Iuka; Karl Brandt, a senior in civil engineering from Beverly, Massachusetts; and Benton Schenck, a senior in geological engineering from Earlyville, Virginia.

“Dr. Scovazzo, the grad students and I are going over first to assist the drillers at the site for the well,” Holt said. “In addition to supervising the drilling and making field adjustments to the well design, we will be collecting geological samples, monitoring the drilling of the borehole and casing installation, and conducting a pumping test to determine the aquifer properties.”

The well will be between 270 and 300 meters deep when it is completed.

“When it will actually be finished is uncertain,” Holt said. “Parts break. Repairs take time. We never know exactly what will happen during a drilling operation until it happens.”

The well will provide drinking water to a children’s hospital, which is being built by a nonprofit organization. EWB-Ole Miss is committed to drill the well and consult on the building of two water towers, a distribution pipe and a public tap stand.

Togolese driver Sewa (left) pumps water from an existing well while UM EWB team members (from left) Zack Lepchitz, Paul Scovazzo and Cris Surbeck read the label on the pump during last year’s EWB trip. Submitted photo

“It’s going to be an expensive effort requiring professional construction crews and electricians,” Surbeck said. “Several Rotary Clubs in Mississippi and Tennessee raised more than $100,000 for this particular project’s expenses.”

 The EWB-Ole Miss team made a long-term commitment in 2012 to work with rural villages in Togo to improve community infrastructure and health care. With five productive trips completed since that time, the EWB-Ole Miss team has built a school that provides a safe setting for dozens of children to learn and build better futures.

“All of these travelers, and countless other chapter members, have invested time, money and deeply committed efforts to see this project through to completion,” Surbeck said. “Faculty members donate all of their travel time without compensation.

“Participants are passionate about seeing this children’s hospital have clean water, which, in turn, will help health care workers care for sick children.”

The undergraduate students on this trip plan to write both a report for the national EWB organization and an article for publication in related academic journals, Holt said.

Former Chancellor Khayat Chosen for 2017 Dick Enberg Award

Honor recognizes passion and support for education

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat has been named this year’s recipient of the Dick Enberg Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat, leader of what has been called a “renaissance” at the University of Mississippi during his 14-year term, has been chosen as the 2017 winner of the Dick Enberg Award, presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Khayat, who served as chancellor from 1995 to 2009, will receive the honor June 11 at the eighth annual CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame Ceremony in Orlando, Florida, at the organization’s annual convention, which will be part of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention for the fifth straight year.

The award, named for the legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg, is presented annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America Teams Program and/or student-athletes while promoting the values of education and academics. The award was created in part to recognize Enberg’s passion and support of the Academic All-America program, and more importantly, his dedication to education for more than four decades.

“Robert Khayat has been a champion for change throughout his distinguished career in higher education,” Enberg said. “The decisions he made for the future of the University of Mississippi were difficult, but time has shown that his passion, character and courage were rewarded in building a world class institution that embodies so many life-changing student opportunities.

“Chancellor Khayat is widely respected among his peers as one of the outstanding educators of our time, and I’m extremely honored that he has accepted this year’s Enberg Award. He truly has been a ‘Rebel with a cause.'”

Khayat is the 21st recipient of the Enberg Award, joining a distinguished group that includes a U.S. president, the winningest Division I coaches ever in football and men’s and women’s basketball, business and academic leaders, and a member of the U.S. Cabinet.

“For many years, I have admired Mr. Enberg not only for the charisma that he projects through a microphone or a television screen, but for his enthusiastic support of the academic mission of universities, colleges and athletics programs,” Khayat said.

“It is truly humbling to be included among the prior recipients of this recognition, and I have accepted the award on behalf of all the people who have worked hard to make Ole Miss the great university it is today.”

Khayat has been part of Ole Miss family for most of his life. As a student, he excelled in the classroom, earning both undergraduate and law degrees. He earned Academic All-America honors as an offensive tackle and kicker for Johnny Vaught’s Rebels in 1959 and was a two-time all-Southeastern Conference selection as a catcher for the Ole Miss baseball team.

He was a place-kicker for the NFL Washington Redskins for four seasons, earning a spot in the Pro Bowl during his rookie campaign in 1960.

In 1998, he was the recipient of the NFL’s Alumni Career Achievement Award, an honor also bestowed upon previous Enberg Award recipients Roger Staubach and Alan Page as well as Academic All-America Hall of Famers Byron White and Merlin Olsen. Khayat also received the National Football Foundation’s Distinguished American Award, presented annually to an individual exhibiting superior scholarship, citizenship and leadership, in 2003.

He returned to UM in 1969 as a faculty member in the School of Law and was named the university’s 15th chancellor in 1995.

The university that existed at his appointment in 1995 would not be the one Khayat left when he retired in 2009. Under his leadership, student enrollment increased by nearly 44 percent, and the university’s operating budget grew from less than $500 million to nearly $1.5 billion annually.

During Khayat’s tenure as chancellor, major new programs were founded, including the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Croft Institute for International Studies, Lott Leadership Institute, Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

He also helped attract millions in private support and transformed the campus through renovation and new construction, including adult and children’s hospitals at the UM Medical Center, Paris-Yates Chapel, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.

He was instrumental in helping the university achieve its long-held goal of sheltering a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The defining climax of his term came in 2008 when the university was selected to host the first presidential debate between then-Sen. Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Khayat said he is grateful for the continued efforts of “faculty, staff and students who remain so committed” to making the university the best academic and research institution it can be.

“My name is on this, but it’s really an award for the University of Mississippi,” he said.

The College Sports Information Directors of America was founded in 1957, making it the second oldest management association in intercollegiate athletics. Its 3,000-plus members include sports public relations, communications and information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada.

Previous recipients of the association’s Dick Enberg Award include Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (2001); the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame (2005); President Gerald R. Ford (2006); Pat Summitt, former women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee (2007); and Roger Staubach, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2016).

Researchers Study Effects of Weather, Distance and Running on Athletes

Analysis of World Cup performance has implications for future host sites, players in other sports

The heat index at soccer matches, such as between Ole Miss and Northwestern in 2016, can adversely affect running performance, according to a recent study by UM professors. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Amid discussions of the possible effects of global warming, University of Mississippi professors have determined that extreme heat can greatly affect players’ performance in the world’s premiere international soccer competition.

Nick Watanabe and Grace Yan, both assistant professors in the UM Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, joined Pamela Wicker of German Sport University Cologne in studying the effect of weather conditions, travel distances and rest days on running performance. Their results are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Sport Management.

“Our research finds that heat does decrease performance, and thus could have potential issues with the 2022 World Cup scheduled to be hosted in Qatar, where the weather is rather warm even in the winter months,” Yan said. “We think that with the World Cup qualifying about to start up again soon for the 2018 World Cup, the present study has implications for policymakers regarding the choice of future host countries.”

The group of researchers used data gathered from Matrics, a high-tech player tracking technology that FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, used to measure distances and speeds run by players during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The Matrics technology helped capture extensive data in real time from soccer matches, including heat maps, attacking zone, the number of sprints for individual players and the exact distance each player ran. From this, the researchers were able to observe the performance at both the player-level (1,644 of the total 1,777 player appearances during matches) and the team-level (128 observations over 64 matches).

Using this and other data from the World Cup website, the team found that the heat index – combining temperature and humidity – significantly decreased running performance.

The next two World Cups have been awarded to Russia and Qatar, initiating discussions about temperature and travel distances related to the game, including whether some countries may have environmental conditions that make them unsuitable to host mega-events such as the World Cup.

“The results of our models, which control for factors such as travel distance and rest, find that the decreased running abilities not only affect the distance players run, but also reduces the number of attacking opportunities for teams,” Watanabe said.

“When these models are used to predict running performance at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, our projections indicate that the combination of heat and wind could hinder the performance of both players and teams and create potentially dangerous conditions for the players.”

Players in other outdoor sports, including football, baseball, track and cross country, also may potentially be affected by heat, travel times and opportunities for rest, the UM researchers agreed.

“While we cannot apply these results directly to other sports, it certainly opens the door to utilizing this type of technology and data to help better understand player and team performance,” Wantanabe said. “These findings are in line with previous research documenting that especially high-intensity running deteriorates as temperature increases.”

According to FIFA, 3.2 billion people worldwide watched the 2014 Brazil World Cup tournament.

To read the complete article, go to https://doi.org/10/1123/jsm.2016-0077. For more information about the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, visit http://hesrm.olemiss.edu.

Faculty, Students Prepare for Learning Adventures Across the Country

StudyUSA program participants take courses in a variety of cities this summer

University of Mississippi students joined biology professor Erik Hom and education professor Renee Cunningham for a StudyUSA Biology course taught in Hawaii over the 2017 Wintersession. The StudyUSA program has a full course schedule of travel learning experiences for UM students and faculty members coming up this summer. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss.­­ – This summer, University of Mississippi students will be eyewitnesses to the raising of Tappan Zee bridge in New York City, meeting with Pulitzer Prize-winning staff at The Washington Post and visiting Google’s headquarters in California.

These are just a few of the learning adventures that students have opportunities to experience when they enroll in a StudyUSA course during UM summer school sessions.

“My StudyUSA experience is hands-down one of the best things I have ever been a part of,” said Jontae Warren, a UM junior majoring in pharmacy. “I never would have thought I would get a chance to do scientific research in Hawaii with my professors.”

Warren, of Booneville, took part in Biology 380: Hawaiian STEAM: Microbes, Symbiosis and Culture in Honolulu during the recent Wintersession. Led by Erik Hom, UM assistant professor of biology, and Renee Cunningham, assistant professor of education, the class journeyed throughout the island of Oahu collecting and processing samples in hopes of finding new species and developments.

“It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something like this,” Warren said.

Housed in the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Studies, the StudyUSA program is designed to give faculty and students opportunities to learn about an academic subject firsthand outside the traditional classroom setting. These short-term domestic travel classes are typically offered during the university’s summer, winter and intersession terms. Ole Miss students can explore the United States while earning college course credit to use toward graduation requirements.

Several new classes are on the StudyUSA schedule for summer 2017. During May intersession, Chris Mullen, associate professor of civil engineering, will lead Engineering 497 to study bridge structures in New York City.

The class will meet on the Oxford campus May 17-19 and then travel to New York May 21-26. While there, students will meet with experts concerning the art and science of bridge design. They will also learn about construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of the Big Apple’s most famous bridges when they visit the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The 2016 election cycle and inauguration of a new president provides plenty of material for Marvin King’s StudyUSA course POL 389: Political Media, taking place May 21-26 in Washington, D.C.

“I’m hoping this class will help students gain a better understanding of how politics and journalism intersect,” said King, associate professor of political science. “They will have the opportunity to meet with media who cover our government in real time.

“Students can gain a greater understanding of the pressure journalists and politicians are both under when dealing with the public.”

Jontae Warren (left), from Booneville, combed the island of Oahu, Hawaii, collecting and processing plant and animal samples during UM’s 2017 Wintersession as part of the StudyUSA program. Submitted photo

In June, Jennifer Sadler will lead the new course IMC 353: Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Students will learn about digital marketing tools and strategies while meeting with entrepreneurs and start-up business leaders to explore business development and digital marketing.

This program is for students majoring in integrated marketing communications, journalism or business, those minoring in entrepreneurship, and anyone interested in these fields.

“I hope this class will give students a broad worldview and help them to expand their network,” said Sadler, an instructor in integrated marketing communications. “We are planning visits to Google and Facebook headquarters and will be learning more about community action plans and partnerships.”

Also new this summer in the StudyUSA program lineup will be Writing 399: Travel Writing in Austin, Texas, set for Aug. 1-7. While visiting some of the city’s popular and off-the-beaten-path attractions, writing and rhetoric instructor Jeanine Rauch will teach students to apply a range of rhetorical methods for conveying their travels through the written word. Students will spend time gathering ideas, writing and recording their experiences.

A variety of courses for various majors and interests are being offered this summer. The full summer 2017 UM StudyUSA course listing can be found at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/studyusa.

Scholarships are available. The application deadline for summer 2017 classes is April 6.

Spring Honors Convocation Features Evening of Music and Cinema

Event brings acclaimed film artists to UM

Animator Brent Green (left) performs with musicians in a production of ‘Live Cinema.’ Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – This year’s Spring Convocation for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College will bring a live cinematic experience featuring acclaimed artists to the University of Mississippi.

Titled “Live Cinema,” the event features a series of short films along with live narration and music. It includes Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Green; acclaimed animator Brent Green; Dan Nuxoll, artistic director of New York City’s Rooftop Films; and Bruce Levingston, the university’s Chancellor’s Artist-in-Residence. 

The performance is set for 7 p.m. March 8 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The free event is open to the public. 

“We are so thrilled to have these renowned artists join us for a wonderful evening of cinema and music,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “Bruce Levingston has assembled an incredible team of gifted artists for our SMBHC Spring Convocation.

“This performance will cast an imaginative light on many of the emotions just below the surface of our day-to-day lives. We are grateful to these extraordinary artists for this opportunity to explore fundamental questions through the arts.”

For “Live Cinema,” Sam Green has created what is known as a “live documentary,” where a video clip and photos are narrated live by him and accompanied by musical performances. 

“Sam Green and Brent Green, though not related, are both known for their unique performances that combine cinema, musical accompaniment and live narration,” Levingston said. “These two celebrated and incredibly innovative artists tell stories about families, rural America, the woman who sewed a spacesuit for the first dog sent into space, music legend Louis Armstrong and even the last person listed in the San Francisco phone book.”

This special collaboration also features live performances by musicians Brendan Canty, James Canty, Becky Foon and Kate Ryan, along with Levingston, in conjunction with cinematic shorts. 

“It is so elastic and so sensitive,” Sam Green said in an interview with The Observer. “If you make a movie, a traditional movie – and I’ve made a lot of them – you put it out in the world and it is done.

“The world changes and your movie doesn’t, and suddenly it just doesn’t work in the same way that it did. I like doing it this way because it is very nimble. It is a sensitive and organic kind of work.”

‘Live Cinema’ has been performed at theaters and halls across the country, including this 2016 show at the University of California at San Diego for its ArtPower Event. Photo by Alex Matthews/Qualcomm Institute/UC San Diego

Sam Green said his performances have been well-received and he feeds off the energy from the crowd, which doesn’t often happen for filmmakers. After debuting his style in 2010, he booked about 50 shows over the next two years. 

In an interview with The New York Times, Green said he discovered the live cinema style accidentally. While editing a documentary, he realized he needed more explanation for visuals. He wanted to avoid using on-camera interview clips, so a friend suggested showing it to an audience and narrating it. 

His collaborations with Brent Green and other artists have been met with tremendous critical success. 

Sam Green said he and his colleagues are looking forward to coming to Oxford for the first time and exploring the literary, musical and historical haunts of the town’s illustrious past, particularly a visit to William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak. 

University Offsets Electricity Use with Renewable Energy Certificates

Purchase allows Ole Miss to support sustainable resources and lower carbon footprint

The University of Mississippi is committed to the use of renewable energy sources, including the installation of more than 400 solar panels on the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communicationsd

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has offset a portion of the electricity it uses through the purchase of renewable energy certificates.

The purchase, which came about as a recommendation of the UM Energy Committee, allows the university to lower its carbon footprint, support the development of renewable energy technologies and practice resource stewardship, a tenet of the UM Creed.

“RECs are a simple and efficient way to immediately integrate renewables into an energy portfolio,” said Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “This is an important next step for UM that complements our long history of increasing energy efficiencies, lowering energy utilization rates and investing in renewable energy installations on campus.”

One renewable energy certificate, or REC, represents the environmental benefits associated with one megawatt-hour of energy generated from renewable energy resources.

The university purchased 3,835 RECs for $1,800, which is 0.02 percent of the overall electricity bill. This offset 3 percent of institution-wide electricity use from fiscal year 2016.

“(This) is a way to demonstrate that the University of Mississippi supports the production of electricity from clean, renewable resources,” said Ian Banner, chair of the Energy Committee, director of facilities planning and the UM Office of Sustainability, and university architect.

“As well as making a contribution to a cleaner world, we feel this is an educational opportunity to show that there are alternative ways of producing power.”

It is estimated that the university’s RECs have an environmental impact similar to growing 69,848 trees per year for 10 years or not using 6,240 barrels of oil, according to 3Degrees Inc., the company through which Ole Miss purchased the certificates.

When electricity is produced from a renewable generator, such as a wind turbine, two products are created: the energy, which is delivered to the grid and mixes with other forms of energy, and the REC. Because renewable energy delivered to the grid cannot be distinguished from electrons of nonrenewable resources, the REC is a way to track the renewable electricity – it acts like a receipt for owning the environmental benefits associated with the generation of renewable energy.

“It is not practical to set up a wind or solar farm, just as we wouldn’t build a traditional power station to provide the university’s electricity,” Banner said. “Rather, we purchase electricity from the producer, usually the local power supplier.

“By purchasing RECs, we are able to certify and verify that a percentage of our electricity is tracked back to its source. In our case, the source is a provider that produces electricity using wind turbines that do not create greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2.”

RECs allow individuals and businesses to support renewable energy development and help to make renewable energy projects financially viable while lowering carbon footprints.

Besides the REC purchase, the Ole Miss campus is home to renewable energy installations that include more than 400 solar panels on the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence and geothermal heating and cooling at Insight Park.

Graduate Student Council Hosting Annual Research Symposium Thursday

Nearly 60 students slated to present projects

The Graduate Student Council is hosting its seventh annual research symposium Thursday at the Inn at Ole Miss. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Graduate Student Council at the University of Mississippi is hosting its seventh annual research symposium from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday (March 2) at the Inn at Ole Miss.

The symposium acts as a mini-conference, allowing graduate students to discuss their research through podium and poster presentations in the categories of social sciences, education, business, accounting, physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, journalism, mathematics, computer science and engineering.

“Events like this are very important for the professional development of graduate students,” said Christy Wyandt, interim dean of the Graduate School. “It gives them an opportunity to practice presenting, to network with faculty and students outside their departments, and to receive constructive advice about their research from peers and faculty.”

The 59 students participating in podium and poster presentations will be competing for $3,000 in academic conference travel awards, co-sponsored by the GSC and the Graduate School, given to the first- and second-place winners in each category. Faculty members and postdoctoral researchers will judge presentations based on content, organization and delivery.

“By presenting, the student also gets the experience of having to explain their research, methodology and results,” said Alexandros Vasios Sivvopoulos, GSC president. “We often have a very clear idea of what a project looks like in our own mind, but explaining it to someone that does not know as much is a whole different story.”

Winners will be announced early next week.

“In February 2016, our university was included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities, and I believe research carried out by our graduate students is an important component and driver of this success,” said Yelda Serinagaoglu, director of academic and professional development for the GSC.

“Events such as ours give students an opportunity to share their research with the university community, sharpen their presentation skills, get feedback from their peers and the faculty, and network. It’s also a day away from the laboratories or classrooms to socialize with each other.”