UM Professor Talks Turkeys On NPR Today

Richard Buchholz will talk about his research of the mating habits of America's favorite Thanksgiving bird

University of Mississippi Associate Professor of Biology Richard Buchholz will talk about the mating habits of wild turkeys on today’s NPR Science Friday. His segment is expected to air between 2:50 and 3 p.m. (Central).

The research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, was conducted at the UM field station. To hear Buchholz talk about this timely topic with Thanksgiving less than a week away, check out this list of stations that air the program.

Second Annual Egg Bowl Run Set for Monday

ROTC cadets to make the 100-mile run from Starkville to Oxford to deliver game ball

UM ROTC cadets on the first leg of the inaugural Egg Bowl Run in 2013. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

UM ROTC cadets on the first leg of the inaugural Egg Bowl Run in 2013. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

The advent of cooler temperatures signals the beginning of the holiday season and the chilly reminder that the annual Egg Bowl is right around the corner. This year, fans of the two Egg Bowl rivals have another event to look forward to before the main event’s kickoff on Saturday.

The second annual Egg Bowl Run takes place Monday (Nov. 24) as Army ROTC cadets from both the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University will cover more than 100 miles in two separate legs to deliver the game ball from Starkville to Oxford. Last year’s event was quite popular on social media. This year, members of the public may track runners’ progress in real time by visiting throughout the day, by following @UMEggBowl on Twitter or by following the hashtag #eggbowlrun on social media outlets.

2nd Annual Egg Bowl Run scheduled for Monday, Nov. 24.

Second annual Egg Bowl Run poster.

Not only is it an opportunity to honor cadets and veterans from all branches of our military during Military Appreciation Month, it’s a great way to support these programs. In fact, if you give to Ole Miss Army ROTC during the Egg Bowl Run this year, you’ll be eligible for some cool perks as well as be automatically entered to win the official Ole Miss game ball carried by cadets and signed by head coach Hugh Freeze. Other prizes include an opportunity to fire the cannon at Vaught-Hemingway during the Egg Bowl, joining the cadets and members of the Ole Miss football team during their walk through the Grove before the game and even the American flag flown over Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Check out the Ignite Ole Miss campaign site. They’ve already raised more than 15 percent of their goal, but with your help, they can easily reach $5,000 before the Egg Bowl Run kicks off early Monday morning.

If you aren’t able to give, go out and support our cadets along the route. They are estimated to arrive in front of the Lyceum around 9 p.m., and they’ll be making a quick loop around the Square before that time, so you’ll have plenty of time to grab a bite to eat before cheering them on during the last leg of their 50-mile journey.

Attractive from Coast to Coast

Engineering freshmen make UM connections

David Thomas

David Thomas

Over the past five years, the University of Mississippi School of Engineering‘s undergraduate population has doubled from roughly 700 to more than 1,400 students. While a significant number of those come from Mississippi, many others come from long distances to pursue engineering education here.

Two such students are David Thomas of Brooklyn, New York, and Richard Jaramillo of San Diego. Thomas, who was accepted into the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and hopes to become a student in the Center for Manufacturing Excellence to earn an emphasis in manufacturing. A graduate of LaGuardia High School, he was drawn to Oxford and the university because of personal connections to the region as well as the academic programs available.

“I have always liked the South and have been visiting my entire life,” Thomas said. “I have family nearby who really encouraged me to consider Ole Miss. I was definitely drawn in because of the combination of the School of Engineering and the Honors College along with the strong athletics and social scene. My official campus visit helped seal the deal!”

Although Thomas was a member of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and participated in theater productions in high school, the AP Scholar and Eagle Scout found that engineering was a great match for his interests.

“I’ve always loved solving problems and thinking of better ways to do things,” he said. “That’s exactly what an engineer does.” His favorite courses this semester are calculus and psychology.

So far, he has had a positive transition to the university because faculty and staff have been very supportive. He has decided to become a member of a Greek organization and has joined the Ultimate Frisbee team. He hopes to get involved with Engineers Without Borders.

Jaramillo, a member of the Provost Scholars program, has also enjoyed his first few weeks on campus. Although he admits to missing family and the weather back home in California, he has found the adjustment to Ole Miss easy.

“People are really nice, and it has been easy to make new friends here,” Jaramillo said. “Also, the staff at the Center for Manufacturing Excellence are willing to help you in any way that they can. The CME provides a one-on-one experience stronger than any of my other classes.”

He has started discussing cooperative education program opportunities (co-ops) for a future semester.

A graduate of Scripps Ranch High School, Jaramillo visited campus before a home football game and was introduced to the CME by a current engineering student. He believes the emphasis in manufacturing will allow him to engage in his areas of interest, since he has always considered a career in engineering.

“From a young age, I liked to fix things,” he said. “I have rewired rotary phones and worked on classic cars. I love to make things work, better them or create something new.”

Jaramillo’s favorite course this semester is Manufacturing 250, which involves Creo 3D modeling. He has become involved in a Greek organization and spends free time playing intramural sports. Jaramillo hopes to become involved with the internal combustion industry.

Both Thomas and Jaramillo encourage any high school students who are considering engineering to take time to visit the university.

Engineering’s ‘O’Reilly Factor’

Auburn alumnus Andy O'Reilly joins faculty in geology and geological engineering

Andy O'Reilly

Andy O’Reilly

Andrew “Andy” O’Reilly may not have attended the University of Mississippi, but the new assistant professor of geology and geological engineering is more than pleased to be part of the UM faculty.

“Ole Miss has a growing, respected ABET-accredited program in geological engineering that allows me to combine my broad engineering/design skills from my civil engineering background and my expertise in the hydrological and geological sciences developed at the U.S. Geological Survey,” said O’Reilly, a product of Auburn University and the University of Central Florida. “Additionally, the collegiality and breadth of expertise of the faculty in the department and the emphasis on student engagement, both in teaching and research, were very attractive.”

O’Reilly taught ENG 645 (Contaminant Transport) this fall. In the spring, he will teach GE 503 (Environmental Geochemistry) and assist in teaching GE 421 (Geological Engineering Design). Previously, he was a teaching assistant at Auburn and a USGS hydrologist for 21 years before entering academia.

“While at the U.S. Geological Survey and as a Ph.D. candidate at UCF, I was closely involved in the development of a new storm water best management practice,” O’Reilly said. “The new BMP utilizes an innovative storm water infiltration basin and biosorption activated media, a functionalized soil amendment to reduce inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus to groundwater.”

The jointly funded, collaborative effort combined the unique expertise and contributions of academia with those of federal, state and local science and resource management agencies. The new BMP is continuing to effectively reduce nutrient loading to groundwater and has served as a model for additional applications of similar nutrient reduction technology.

“The study was particularly meaningful to me because it linked research and application, culminating in the design and construction of a functioning facility,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly is a welcome addition to the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, colleagues said.

“He brings two decades of experience with the U.S. Geological Survey out of Florida, where he worked with regional groundwater models and efforts to protect the state’s water resources,” said Gregg Davidson, chair and professor of geology and geological engineering. “The addition of Dr. O’Reilly strengthens our areas of expertise in hydrogeology and engineering.”

O’Reilly said his professional goals include continuing his geoenvironmental subfield research, focusing on processes in shallow, heterogeneous geologic environments in Earth’s critical zone that govern aquifer recharge and groundwater quality.

“I endeavor to use knowledge gained from my research to develop and implement engineering solutions for maintaining and enhancing groundwater quantity and quality while fostering sustainable development within a wide range of geoenvironmental challenges facing society,” he said.

O’Reilly and his wife, Kelli, have a daughter, Felicity. He enjoys bonsai and amateur astronomy.

He summed up his ultimate goal for his UM tenure as follows:

“I want to provide opportunities for young engineers and scientists to achieve their full potential by passing along what I have learned in my experiences within and outside academia in an effort to always link research and application via teaching and societal engagement.”

CE Alumnus Manages Jackson’s Department of Public Works

Charles E. Williams Jr. credits Ole Miss foundation with his impressive career success

Charles Williams Jr.

Charles Williams Jr.

As a solid infrastructure is essential for a populated area’s establishment, growth and survival, so was Charles E. Williams Jr.’s education at the University of Mississippi School of Engineering vital to his successful academic endeavors and professional career.

“I appreciate Dr. (Waheed) Uddin giving me the foundation during my understudies at UM that has helped me be successful both professionally and academically,” Williams said. A 1996 civil engineering graduate, he is the acting managing engineer of public works with the city of Jackson. Before, he worked in the Materials Division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

“Charles is an exceptionally talented graduate,” said Uddin, civil engineering professor and founder-director of the UM’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology. “You will not find such positions commonly filled by a graduate degree holder.”

Williams completed his doctorate in civil engineering at the University of Alabama. He also earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Belhaven College.

“Again, he is one of the few CE alums who have achieved these significant academic milestones at such a relatively young age,” Uddin said.

Williams said he enjoyed all of his professors within the Department of Civil Engineering.

“The classes were very challenging,” he said. “My education from Ole Miss has provided me with a foundation built on solid fundamental engineering principles to exceed higher than I personally ever expected to achieve.”

In his position, Williams is responsible for the oversight and management of six divisions comprising 500 employees and an annual budget of $398 million. He also implements and manages a $400 million sewer consent decree.

Williams grew up in west Jackson but his family moved to Clinton, where he graduated from Clinton High School. Though he originally planned to attend engineering school and play football at Mississippi State, he decided to play football at Hinds Community College in Raymond. After one year, Williams transferred to Ole Miss to play for the Rebels.

“My football career ended early due to multiple injuries, but I am glad my pathway led to Ole Miss,” he said. “I enjoyed my time attending the university, and met a lot of great people.”

A licensed professional civil engineer in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, Williams holds memberships in the American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers/Mississippi Engineering Society and Chi Epsilon Engineering Honor Society. He considers being named the 2012 City of Jackson Public Works Department Engineer of the Year to be his most meaningful professional honor/achievement.

“It felt good to be recognized by my work peers who respect my work ethic and leadership,” said Williams, who is also a 2013 graduate of Leadership Greater Jackson.

Being inducted into Chi Epsilon at the University of Alabama was also a great accomplishment, he said. “Knowing that my name will always be displayed on a plaque honoring my academic achievement is most rewarding.”

Williams and his wife, the former Alix Davis, have two sons: Cameron, 9, and Graham Warren, 5. He enjoys spending time with his sons, who are completing football and soccer seasons. Williams also participates in various programs at Wells United Methodist Church that provide community service to low income residents living within the Jackson Metro area.

Williams is scheduled to return to UM next spring as a guest lecturer for a graduate seminar class and a transportation class. He finds it a pleasure to share his experiences with present engineering students.

“You have to give back by mentoring,” Williams said. “I was able to tutor my senior year through a partnership with NSPE Mathcounts and the Clarksdale Public School District. I drove over to Clarksdale once a week to help mentor elementary school kids struggling in math. The mentoring experience in college allowed me to continue to mentor over years through various programs at work that outreached to local high schools and colleges within the Jackson metro area.”

UM Alumnus Discusses Intelligent Transportation System

MDOT engineer Acey Roberts emerges as leader with innovative safety technology

UM alum Acey Roberts (second from left) shares the ITS Hall of Fame award with (from left) John Gilligan, MDOT Traffic Management Center Operations Manager, Jim Willis, MDOT Assistant State Traffic Engineer, Melinda McGrath, MDOT Executive Director, James Sullivan, MDOT State Traffic Engineer and Mike Stokes, Former ITS Program Manager (Retired).

UM alum Acey Roberts (second from left) shares the ITS Hall of Fame award with (from left) John Gilligan, MDOT Traffic Management Center Operations Manager,
Jim Willis, MDOT Assistant State Traffic Engineer, Melinda McGrath, MDOT Executive Director, James Sullivan, MDOT State Traffic Engineer and Mike Stokes, Former ITS Program Manager (Retired).

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi civil engineering alumnus Thursday (Oct. 30) shared details of an internationally recognized intelligent transportation system he helped design with others in the traffic control industry.

Acey Roberts, intelligent transportation systems engineer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, moderated and presented during the daylong active traffic management workshop at the Inn at Ole Miss.

MDOT, in conjunction with the states of Arkansas and Louisiana, designed an ITS system on four shared Mississippi River bridge crossings. The project received the Best New Innovative Practice – Partnership Deployment award at the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress last month in Detroit.

“We installed traffic sensors, cameras and message boards to communicate with surface roadway traffic and river traffic to communicate any potential impacts to travelers,” said Roberts, president of the Gulf Region Intelligent Transportation Society. “This project won the international award for the Americas in 2014. It was a great opportunity to represent our state on the same stage as other international traffic systems winners London, England, and New Zealand.”

The award goes to the organization with projects that can demonstrate specific and measurable outcomes and show innovation by establishing a “new dimension” of performance.

Roberts, who also earned graduate hours at Mississippi State University and Northwestern University, has been with MDOT since 2008. His group plans and implements roadway sensors and computer networks to help make the interstates safer and reduce traffic congestion.

“Our website,, highlights the video and communication systems we have in the state to allow the traveling public to make better decisions on traveling around and through construction zones, traffic accidents scenes or other incidents they may encounter,” he said. “All of this work is focused on reducing accidents and injuries and improving your travel times on the state highways and interstates.”

About 40 people representing public and private sectors of the transportation systems industry attended the workshop. Participants praised Roberts’ leadership of and service to the organization.

“Acey was part of the steering committee, served as treasurer and ascended through the ranks by volunteering his personal and professional time,” said Chris Hilyer, ALDOT operations manager and immediate past president of GRITS. “This organization wouldn’t be where it is without his contributions.”

Roberts acknowledged Waheed Uddin, UM professor of civil engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology, as playing a pivotal role in his career trajectory and success.

“Dr. Uddin was one of the professors I worked with the most, and I still work with him today,” he said. “He allowed me to work for him in research and in the classroom, so I got a little taste of what engineers did for a living.”

Uddin remembers Roberts as one of the top students in his transportation course who was destined to excel in his profession.

“Early on, he was willing to take challenging assignments,” Uddin said. “He demonstrated this when he worked on my NASA/Mississippi DOT-funded project in his senior year to evaluate airborne laser terrain survey technology for highway design. He worked with professional survey teams who collected topographic survey data that I later used for ‘ground truthing.'”

The UM School of Engineering is also indebted to Roberts, Dean Alex Cheng said.

“He has been instrumental in bringing MDOT equipment that includes a high-speed fiber optic line, a TV wall and other equipment into Dr. Uddin’s transportation lab that allows the real-time monitoring of traffic throughout the state wherever there is a traffic camera,” Cheng said. “The facility can be used not only for Dr. Uddin’s research, but by the university to monitor game day traffic around Oxford.”

Roberts said he is grateful for all his UM engineering education has helped him achieve.

“I really believe in the benefits of ITS systems and it was very fulfilling to get recognition for the work we do in Mississippi,” Roberts said. “Even though Mississippi doesn’t have the largest population and the worst traffic problems, we provide a big safety benefit to our commercial and local commuters in the region, not to mention it is a very cost effective solution to traffic problems.”

For a view of the MDOT project, go to

UM Artist-in-Residence Creates Unique Opportunities for Students

Bruce Levingston

Bruce Levingston

In 2013, concert pianist Bruce Levingston, who was serving as the chancellor’s special adviser on the arts, was approached by University of Mississippi administrators to develop a program in which Ole Miss students would experience the art of classical music.

Levingston invited students to attend his performances around the country to get a behind-the-scenes look at how concerts are staged, to meet key players at each venue and to act as ambassadors for the university in each city.

Some students were even asked to participate in some of Levingston’s performances. Students Clarissa Brumley and Richard Culpepper both performed with Levingston in front of local schoolchildren in Lexington. The Ole Miss musicians played their instruments, trumpet and piano, respectively, and answered questions from the enthusiastic crowd.

Students also performed with Levingston at Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s event touting 2014 as the “The Year of the Creative Economy” at Power APAC Elementary in Jackson, attended a performance at the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson and visited Levingston in New York, where he invited them to his concert at Carnegie Hall.

Students also got to join Levingston as he played piano for the Boston Ballet premiere of “Close to Chuck.” Katie Shuford and Kate Prendergast ventured backstage to meet dancers, choreographers and other members of the Boston Ballet creative team. Shuford and Prendergast also visited the Boston Ballet School to see how the school was run and meet with the physical therapist who treats the dancers.

In August 2014, Levingston assumed a new role as Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College artist-in-residence and plans to continue providing students with opportunities to experience the arts.

Kenneth Sufka is Carnegie-CASE Professor of the Year

UM psychology educator received prestigious honor in Washington, D.C.

Ken Sufka lectures to one of his classes.

Ken Sufka lectures to one of his classes.

OXFORD, Miss. – A respected University of Mississippi educator and researcher is this year’s Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching-Council for Advancement and Support of Education Mississippi Professor of the Year.

Kenneth J. “Ken” Sufka, professor of psychology and pharmacology, received the prestigious honor Thursday (Nov. 20) at the U.S. Professor of the Year Awards celebration in Washington, D.C. The program salutes the country’s most outstanding undergraduate instructors and is the only national effort to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

“When I first read the letter, I was flat-out dumbfounded. I had to read it again,” Sufka said. “The CASE-Carnegie Foundation Award is by far the most prestigious recognition one can receive in this profession. For CASE-Carnegie to think that the entire body of my academic work is worthy of such recognition is both overwhelming and humbling.”

In addition to an all-expenses-paid trip, Sufka got a framed certificate of recognition. Winners were also recognized at a congressional reception and have opportunities to participate in media interviews, speaking engagements, teaching forums and other events.

The university shares Sufka’s recognition, UM administrators said.

“Dr. Sufka is a role model at our campus and is now a recognized model of excellence to the nation,” said Richard Forgette, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “We are proud to have him as a faculty member at the University of Mississippi.”

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, said Sufka sets the bar for excellent teaching and creative scholarship among students and colleagues.

“(He) has produced more final theses with our high performing Honors students than any other professor on campus,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “The ethic of excellence that guides his work and interaction with our students creates a powerful magnetic attraction to those who want to push the boundaries of knowledge and wisdom.”

Sufka is most deserving of the award, said Michael T. Allen, chair and professor of psychology.

“I immediately felt a sense of pride for him and the Department of Psychology, but I wasn’t really surprised,” Allen said. “Dr. Sufka has won essentially all of the awards for teaching and service that the university bestows, and he has been a magnificent teacher and mentor of students for many years. What makes him so special is his love of teaching and his constant effort to become better and better at it, along with his sincere desire to have students succeed in his classes.”

Sufka earned his bacheor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Iowa State University. Before joining the UM faculty in 1992, he conducted research at Drake University, Des Moines University and Duke University. Sufka is a visiting research fellow at Newcastle University and an associate member of the UM Medical Center’s Cancer Institute.

“The University of Mississippi was a good fit for me when I was offered the position and it remains a good fit more than two decades later,” Sufka said. “It offered the right balance of teaching and research I was hoping to find in a mid-sized, flagship university located in a great little college town. While the university and Oxford have grown considerably, I am still able to find that perfect balance of teaching courses in psychology and engaging in laboratory research in neuroscience.”

Sufka said he is following in the footsteps of professors who taught and mentored him.

“I think all of us can point to a teacher/mentor that inspired and nurtured us in immeasurable ways,” Sufka said. “Professor Ron Peters at Iowa State University was that person for me. His love and enthusiasm for teaching, alongside a masterful ability to convey the most complex and interesting material, made it clear that I wanted to become a brain scientist and university professor.”

Sufka teaches several courses at UM, including General Psychology, Biopsychology, Psychopharmacology lab, Physiological Psychology and Teaching of Psychology seminar. A campus favorite among students and faculty alike, he has received the 1996 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, the 2005 Faculty Achievement Award and the 2006 Thomas F. Frist Student Service Award. His other awards and honors include Top 20 Psychology Professor in Mississippi, Distinguished Alumni Award from ISU’s Department of Psychology, Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association and Top 40 Under 40 Mississippian.

Sufka holds professional memberships in the Society for Neuroscience and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. With research interests in behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology, he has written more than 67 refereed papers, 10 book chapters and one book, “The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades” (Nautilus Publishing, 2011).

“I wrote that to help my students at UM to better transition from high school coursework to college level course work, or from lower division courses to the harder upper division courses,” Sufka said. “It is an academic survival guide of sorts that detail a number of bad habits commonly exhibited by students that contribute to poor grades and offers evidenced based tips/strategies that promote course learning and yield much higher grades.”

Many colleges and universities across the U.S. have used Sufka’s book for specific programs.

“Some schools, like UNLV and Washington State University, have given it out as a summer reading assignment for their incoming freshman classes,” he said. “This has led to my giving numerous faculty and student workshops on promoting students’ academic success across the country and here at UM.”

Sufka has been the principal investigator on grants and contracts totaling more than $660,000. A prolific author, he has presented more than 120 conference papers and abstracts.

Sufka has directed 12 master’s theses and eight doctoral dissertations. He is a regularly invited speaker at freshman summer orientation sessions and helped develop the initial Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College curriculum. He also volunteers with the Oxford-Lafayette County Habitat for Humanity.

CASE launched the awards program in 1981. That same year, the Carnegie Foundation began hosting the final round of judging, and in 1982 became the primary sponsor.

For more about the UM Department of Psychology, visit For more about the U.S. Professor of the Year Awards program, visit

Ole Miss MBA Program Ranked by Businessweek

New mark is highest national ranking ever for program

The University of Mississippi School of Business is located in Holman Hall.

The UM School of Business Administration is housed in Holman Hall.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s MBA program has been ranked 76th nationally by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The schools that made the ranking are considered by Businessweek to offer the strongest education and best preparation for business careers.

“We are very happy with the MBA ranking,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “This ranking reflects the hard work of our faculty and staff, as well as the board who has helped us in many ways. We are grateful for the recognition and will continue the good work to provide an excellent education and preparation to our students entering the workforce, and enhance the value of the MBA degrees for our alumni.”

MBA_76The MBA program has been ranked in the low 90s by U.S. News and World Report, but this is the highest national ranking it has ever received, said Del Hawley, the school’s senior associate dean. The program was ranked higher than other respected programs, including those at the University of Alabama, Oklahoma University and Baylor University, he said.

“The Businessweek ranking is exciting news!” Hawley said. “Clearly, our program delivers tremendous value to our students and is an increasingly attractive alternative to many larger and more costly programs.”

The rankings are based on student satisfaction, which includes school culture and academic quality; a survey from employers that hire those graduates to reflect career prep of the program; and the expertise of the faculty that administers the education, including articles published in business journals.

“This upward ranking trend reinforces what so many global employers, alumni and current students know: graduating with an Ole Miss MBA provides students with an educational cornerstone to succeed throughout their career,” said Chris Daniel, MBA Alumni Board president and a strategic buyer for Exxon Mobil in Houston.

Ann Canty, the MBA program faculty director, said she is thankful for student participation in the survey.

“We are aware that MBA students consistently tell us that school culture is important in selecting the right MBA program,” Canty said. “The unique aspects of the Ole Miss MBA program school culture were communicated very well by our students.”

The program’s goal is to increase enrollment with strong candidates and equip MBA students with the tools to succeed in a competitive workforce, said Ashley Jones, director of MBA/MHA administration.

“Support from our MBA Alumni Board makes our program unique,” Jones said. “The board realizes the importance of professional development and has created a series of professional development workshops to make Ole Miss MBAs stand out. Their time and dedication to prepare our students is an asset to our program.”

According to the findings, the Ole Miss business school has an average GMAT score of 550 for admitted students. The cost of the program for Mississippi residents is around $15,000 and the average salary of graduates from the program is $56,000 annually.

UM Alumnus Honored by Navy for Science and Technology Achievements

Kerry Commander receives National Defense Industrial Association Bronze Medal

UM graduate Kerry Commander, (center), is presented with the National Defense Industrial Association Bronze Medal for achievements in Science and Technology. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

UM graduate Kerry Commander, (center), is presented with the National Defense Industrial Association Bronze Medal for achievements in Science and Technology. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

A University of Mississippi graduate has earned the National Defense Industrial Association Bronze Medal for Achievements in Science and Technology.

Kerry Commander, a Clarksdale native who earned a doctorate in physics and bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from UM, as well as a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Arizona, was recently presented the award by Navy Rear Adm. Michael Jabley in Groton, Connecticut.

Commander, a research scientist and administrator in the Panama City division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, was selected for the award because of his “numerous technical achievements that have laid the foundation for several fleet programs.”

“My most significant technical accomplishment to date is leading the first successful demonstration of a synthetic aperture sonar on a fully autonomous underwater vehicle in CJTFEX04-2 by our science and technology team,” Commander said in a Navy news release. “This was a major milestone in the transition of this early S&T program to advanced development programs and the beginning of a new era in MCM (mine countermeasures).”

He has more than 29 years of distinguished service with the Navy, which began when he became a research physicist at the Naval Coastal Systems Center in Panama City, Florida. His early research led to important discoveries in nonlinear bubble dynamics, multi-phase flow and inverse scattering acoustics and had a direct application to a surface ship torpedo defense program.

But he says the award recognizes the teamwork, rather than an individual effort.

“The reward is really a group recognition award for our science and technology team that worked for years to develop advanced technology that could perform some parts of the MCM mission from an autonomous underwater vehicle, removing people and marine animals from a very dangerous job,” Commander said. “The team consisted of experts in sonar systems, signal and image processing, unmanned systems and autonomy, and of course, all the support personnel from the test and evaluation side of the lab.”

A Navy news release details his professional accomplishments.

(Commander) serves as Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division Science and Technology Department Head. Today, he is a senior leader for technical research and development initiatives of 180 scientists and engineers performing science and technology work in support of mine/undersea warfare and expeditionary warfare. Additionally, he serves as NSWC PCD’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) where he is known for demonstrating outstanding leadership in developing and implementing latest S&T trends to evolving naval requirement.

“This prestigious undersea warfare award is a tribute to Dr. Commander’s leadership and technical excellence,” said NSWC PCD Technical Director Ed Stewart, a member of the Senior Executive Service Corps. “Currently, as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at NSWC PCD and head of the Science and Technology Department, his contributions to the undersea community are many and profound.”

At NSWC PCD, Commander is personally involved with and responsible for the execution of science, technology, unmanned systems, strategic systems, and threat analysis programs supporting Navy and Marine Corps research, development, test and evaluation, homeland defense, and force protection. This also includes championing and obtaining funding for associated programs, developing sponsor relationships, and driving the technology transition and Fleet support processes.

He has published and presented his research in numerous papers and conferences, and is recognized internationally as a Subject Matter Expert in Acoustics. He was the U.S. Navy representative on the Technical Committee for the Institute of Acoustics’ International Conference on Synthetic Aperture Sonar and Synthetic Aperture Radar, held in 2010 in Lerici, Italy and again in 2014.

His professional standing within the technical community has been recognized through his election to the grade of Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). Dr. Commander currently serves on the ASA’s Technical Committee on Physical Acoustics and is a technical reviewer for the ASA’s Journal. He also continues to serve as a reviewer for the classified Journal of Underwater Acoustics and the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering.