Memphis Businessman Pledges $2 Million to Journalism, Business Schools

John Glass pays tribute to his 'Pop' through faculty chair in Meek School

Longtime UM donor John Glass, center, holds a photo of his father, the late William Quintard Glass. John Glass is paying tribute to his father’s influence with a named faculty chair in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. On hand to thank Glass for his support are UM Foundation President/CEO Wendell Weakley, left, and School of Business Administration Development Officer Adam Lee. Part of Glass’ gift also will benefit the business school. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Longtime UM donor John Glass, center, holds a photo of his father, the late William Quintard Glass. John Glass is paying tribute to his father’s influence with a named faculty chair in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. On hand to thank Glass for his support are UM Foundation President/CEO Wendell Weakley, left, and School of Business Administration Development Officer Adam Lee. Part of Glass’ gift also will benefit the business school. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – When businessman John D. Glass talks about his father – a hard-working business owner of a printing company and publisher of a newspaper – the love and respect can be heard each time he recalls a memory.

A longtime benefactor of the University of Mississippi, Glass has established two new endowments, including a named faculty chair to pay tribute to his father’s life. The William Quintard Glass Chair of Journalism in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is a nod to his father’s long career at the helm of Glass Printing Co. and The Newbern Tennessean newspaper in Dyer County.

John Glass of Memphis, Tennessee, has committed a planned gift of $2 million to establish the faculty chair and to create the John D. Glass Endowment for Business Excellence in support of the university’s School of Business Administration. Previously, Glass funded a faculty support endowment in his name and a speaker series in his father’s name, both for the business school.

“I have always loved my father and the University of Mississippi,” Glass said. “I could not think of a better way to remember both. Think about it – his name will be linked forever to Ole Miss. I am proud to make this gift. I remember when Pop and I were hugging each other for the last time, he whispered into my ear, ‘Son, I love you, and have you said your prayers?’ These are the words I hold dear.

“My Pop only had a fifth-grade education. His father died when he was young, leading him to quit school and work to help support his family. Even with this background, he was a great believer in college and always encouraged me to give my best efforts. As a result, I have earned undergraduate, master’s and law degrees, all because of him.”

While $500,000 of his new planned gift is directed to the business school, where Glass earned his undergraduate degree, the remaining $1.5 million secures a named chair-level faculty position in the journalism school. Building faculty support continues as a top priority for UM, which boasts the largest student enrollment among Mississippi’s public universities and needs to add around 215 faculty members over the next three years, Ole Miss leaders have said.

Named faculty positions offer prestige and salary supplements needed to recruit top faculty members.

Will Norton, dean of the journalism school – an academic unit experiencing rapid growth with undergraduate enrollment soaring 26.6 percent, from 1,044 students in fall 2014 to 1,322 this year – expressed appreciation for Glass’ decision to fund and name a faculty chair for his father.

“It means a great deal to the Meek School and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics when an accomplished professional makes a significant donation to pay tribute to a longtime journalist,” Norton said.

“John Glass is not only honoring his father, but he is also helping assure that future students benefit from outstanding professional instruction. We are deeply grateful for this tremendous gift and feel that Mr. Glass’ father would be proud to have his name permanently linked with the preparation of future journalists.”

Glass hopes the holder of the William Quintard Glass Chair of Journalism can mentor UM students, as his father mentored him. After an almost-50-year career in the trust area of banking with Union Planters, First Tennessee and Morgan Keegan, Glass and a business partner formed Sentry LLC, a private wealth management firm in Memphis.

“Because of Pop’s guidance, I chose to pursue a banking career from 1960 to 2009 in the trust department,” he explained. “He told me this area was the best way to learn how to make and manage money; that turned out to be very good advice.”

Ken Cyree, dean of UM’s School of Business Administration, saluted Glass for sharing his resources.

“John Glass continues to enjoy an incredible career and stands as an excellent role model in ‘giving back,'” Cyree said. “He doesn’t take his successes lightly, maintaining a strong belief in ‘paying it forward’ to express his dedication to a father, who passed on valuable life lessons, and to his alma mater, which prepared him for his career.

“The impact of Mr. Glass’ investments in the business school will be far-reaching, helping to assure students are taught to be business leaders and visionaries.”

Glass grew up in Newbern, Tennessee, and joined the Ole Miss student body, where he says he learned, in addition to academic study, “to get along with people and how to conduct myself in public.”

“When I arrived on campus, I felt as though I was ‘home.’ If you love home, you always come back,” said Glass, who also has a home in Oxford and attends athletics and other events. “I’m thankful for everything – every opportunity – that I was given. I want to bless Ole Miss for what it’s done for me.”

When giving credit to Ole Miss and his father, Glass also makes a point of thanking God.

“My Heavenly Father has blessed me more than I could ever imagine. He has been more than abundantly good to me. Everything I have comes from Him for reasons known only to Him. I want to give back to Him what He has graciously given me. It is much better to serve than to be served.”

Glass hopes his gifts provide educational opportunities that students embrace. When asked what he would tell today’s college students, he said, “Make good grades and persevere – never think about quitting. College is a real opportunity; try diligently and stay with it.”

Glass said his father encouraged him to do the same by using a unique illustration: “When I graduated from Ole Miss, Pop took me into the kitchen and turned on the water. He said, ‘This is you in college.’ Next he turned off the water. ‘This is you out of college; get a job and get off my payroll.’ As you can see, both the University of Mississippi and my Pop have blessed me over and over again. I am giving back to them because they graciously gave to me.”

Glass’ planned gift gives him membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university opened its doors. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts. For more information, call the UM Foundation at 800-340-9542 or 662-915-5944, or visit

CEED Effort Focuses on Community Service

UM students address business needs, poverty issues

The McLean Institute's Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development cohorts 1 and 2 on the steps of the Lyceum with Albert Nylander, director, and J.R. Love, CEED project manager. Photo by Robert Jordan

The McLean Institute’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development cohorts 1 and 2 on the steps of the Lyceum with Albert Nylander, director, and J.R. Love, CEED project manager. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The 2014-2016 cohort of the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development initiative provided 14 University of Mississippi students opportunities to engage in community service projects in Tallahatchie, Calhoun, Coahoma and Lee counties over the past year.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, the students immersed themselves in the mission of the university’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, which is to fight poverty through education by transformative service, said J.R. Love, project manager of the CEED initiative.

Social problems such as education, health care, asset building and poverty are all components of the CEED program. The students addressed these issues either by creating a business plan, drafting the framework of a nonprofit organization or authoring an academic/policy paper, he said.

“We recognize the significant challenges that our state faces in the areas addressed by the CEED program, but we also acknowledge that these challenges can be met with tangible solutions,” Love said.

Specific locations of the transformational service by the students included: the CREATE Foundation and North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo; the Tallahatchie Wellness Center in Charleston; the TriCounty Workforce Alliance and the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale; the smART program in Vardaman; Insight Park in Oxford; the Mississippi Development Authority in Jackson; and the Tutwiler Community Center in Tutwiler.

For students such as Caitlin Brooking, who worked with the TriCounty Workforce Alliance, these service projects have allowed them to expand their knowledge with real-world experiences and get to know people they probably never would have met had they stayed within the confines of campus.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet Josephine Rhymes and Dennis Dupree Jr., two very well-respected staff members of the TriCounty Workforce Alliance who are already making a big impact on Coahoma, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Bolivar and Sunflower counties, and learn from them the priorities of the community and how to best get things done,” Brooking said.

“I’ve also been able to lend my own experience in developing programs that fight poverty in Mississippi, and knowledge from my master’s work in sociology to help them expand their reach and implement new programming in the community. The CEED program is a unique opportunity to learn by doing in an academically supportive environment, and it provides the necessary support system to engage directly with communities and organizations, conduct research and pilot strategies to affect change.”

The students in the 2014-2016 cohort include four Innovation Fellows (UM graduate students): Brooking of Methuen, Massachusetts, Mary Blessey of Biloxi, Daniel Fudge of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Ashley Smith of Mount Pleasant, North Carolina.

The 2014-2016 cohort also includes 10 Innovation Scholars (UM undergraduate students): Chris Beard of New Albany, Michael Davis of Kilmichael, Lorin Dawson of Salt Lake City, Brittany Fields of Houston, Mississippi, Elizabeth Kelley of Newport Beach, California, Elizabeth Robinson of Flowood, Samuel Russell of Pontotoc, Katelyn Sackett of Canadian Lake, Michigan, Ryan Snow of Summerville, South Carolina, and Camille Walker of Tupelo.

In spring 2016, each student will share his or her solutions as a part of their two-year commitment to the CEED program.

“The McLean Institute is uniquely positioned to address the structural inequities that are a part of many rural communities,” Love said. “Since the founding of the McLean Institute over 30 years ago, the notion of local people addressing local problems has been a hallmark of our institute. These UM students are a key component in working with local people to help address the needs in rural communities in Mississippi.”

The 2015-2017 cohort has started and includes four Innovation Fellows: Will Bedwell of Hattiesburg, Rebecca Bramlett of Memphis, Tennessee, Taeisha Gambrel of Belden and Zack Grossebacher of Madison.

This cohort also includes 12 Innovation Scholars: Madeleine Achgill of Indianapolis, Audrey Dayan of Oxford, Alex Borst of Madison, Madison Gable of Diamondhead, Vera Gardner of Memphis, Terrius Harris of Eagle Lake, Alaska, Leah Gibson of Starkville, Henry Lang-VanDerLaan of Hinsdale, Illinois, Holly Pitts of Indianola, Austin Powell of Corinth, Mackenzie Poole of Olive Branch and Brittanee Wallace of Gulfport.

A $1.6 million donation from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation in 2014 provides the financial support for the CEED initiative.

For more information on the McLean Institute or the CEED program, contact Love at 662-915-8832 or

Authors to Face Off in Literary Death Match

Zany event to raise money for department's Barry Hannah Fund

posterOXFORD, Miss. – Faculty members of the University of Mississippi Department of English will compete in the first-ever Oxford rendition of a Literary Death Match on Tuesday (Oct. 13) at the Powerhouse in Oxford.

The event is set for 8 p.m., preceded at 7 by a cocktail reception provided by Cathead Vodka. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for UM students, available at the door or in advance at

“Literary Death Match takes place around the nation and around the world – Shanghai, Paris, London, now Oxford – celebrating literary talent,” said Beth Ann Fennelly, UM professor of English and director of the MFA program in creative writing. “If I had to summarize what it is, it would be a cross between a literary reading, ‘American Idol’ and a stand-up comedy show.”

Fennelly, who helped bring the concept to Oxford, is among the competitors in this inaugural event.

The match is comprised of four reading contestants who each get seven minutes to read their material. The first two readers present their material, and after the judge’s deliberation, they pick one to move onto the final round. Then the next two readers duke it out for a chance to go onto the final.

The final round pits heat one winners in a Literary Death Match Finale, which is a vaguely literary-inspired game along the lines of Pin the Mustache on Hemingway, to decide the ultimate champion.

The four readers competing will include three MFA program faculty members – Fennelly is joined by Matt Bondurant and Derrick Harriell – and UM Grisham Writer-in-Residence Kiese Laymon. Judges are Mary Miller, author of “The Last Days of California” and “Big World”; Damein Wash, a musician, conductor, composer, performer and producer; and Jim Dees, host of “Thacker Mountain Radio Hour” and author of “Lies and Other Truths.”

Many faculty members are no stranger to readings and similar events, but this one is different, Bondurant and Harriell agreed.

“It’s the only thing of its kind as far as I know. It’s a strange beast,” said Bondurant, assistant professor of creative writing and fiction. “I’ve never seen another reading/festival event that combines game show-style competition, general comedic absurdity and literary merit. It is a good way to see rather serious, self-important and introverted writers make complete fools of themselves.”

“Performing poetry is something I’ve had a passion for, but I don’t know what to expect,” said Harriell, assistant professor of English and African-American studies. “In slam, I wanted to compete, but in this instance it’s difficult to view this as a competition because I will be up against my friends. I may be swayed more to compete when I’m up there performing.”

The Literary Death Match is the brainchild of Adrian Zuniga, who developed the show and goes all over the world emceeing LDM events. The concept for the competing writers is a cross between a live reading, a game show, a stand-up routine and a slam.

“In January 2006, two friends and I were looking for a way to make readings more fun – bring in comedians, make it zany, make it a show that celebrates literature in all ways,” Zuniga said. “We were hosting 60-plus LDM events a calendar year for three years, but now we’re at 40. I host 99 percent of them, except for a London show or two every year, where my producer there does it.”

Zuniga approached Fennelly with the idea of bringing LDM to Oxford, and Fennelly saw an opportunity to help raise money for the Barry Hannah Fund, which the MFA program uses to recruit students.

“This became a great way to do something in Barry’s honor while also celebrating Oxford as a great place for literature,” Fennelly said.

Faculty members enjoy performing, and LDM provides a platform for general creative expression and genuine absurdity from the contestants, Harriell said.

“I think the Oxford community is thirsty for an artistic and competitive experience,” he said. “This type of event will showcase the continual diversification and ability of our department and faculty. We have a faculty flooded with talented writers from different perspectives, and this platform allows us to display that. We should display this as much as possible, and this may open the door to provide the town with more creative events in the future.”

Zuniga said that bringing LDM to Oxford is “a home run,” not just for Ole Miss but the community as a whole.

“It’s a huge win for us because seven amazing people are going to do the show and fall in love with the sweet, hyper way we bring literature to the masses,” he said. “And the Oxford community will see, ‘Oh, literature can be presented like this.‘ It’s eye-opening, it’s exhilarating and it will be one of the most fun nights of everyone’s life.”

Fennelly said she is excited about the prospects.

“It is a chance to help raise money for the Barry Hannah fund and honor the MFA program and students, but also it’s a fun and different way for the Oxford and university community to interact with the program and faculty,” she said.

University to Host Hispanic Heritage Series

Series of lectures and films offers insights into diverse Hispanic American societies

The Hispanic Heritage Series begins Thursday, Sept. 17, with events continuing through Nov. 12.

The Hispanic Heritage Series  continues through Nov. 12.

OXFORD, Miss. – In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the University of Mississippi Department of Modern Languages is hosting its first-ever Hispanic Heritage Series of lectures and films. The series continues Thursday (Oct. 15) with a lecture by Luanne Buchanan at 6 p.m. in the Turner Center, Room 205.

The lecture, “The Dirty War in Argentina,” will be followed by the movie “Clandestine Childhood.”

Organizers Diane Marting, Irene Kaufmann and Karma Sanchez, all faculty members in the department, hope to provide insights into the diverse Hispanic American societies in our community and abroad. The series will explore contemporary issues such as religion, gender and immigration.

“We want to facilitate enriched understanding of our global community,” said Sanchez, an instructor of Spanish.

All events are free and open to the public. Each event takes place in the Turner Center Auditorium, Room 205, with a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. preceding the 6 p.m. lectures and screenings. Campus parking is free to guests after 6 p.m.

The lectures, delivered by UM professors, reflect upon history and current events in the Hispanic world and are followed by contemporary films from Spanish-speaking countries. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles, and the screenings end with question-and-answer sessions.

“We are really lucky to have speakers available about so many different areas of Latin America – and the films,” said Marting, associate professor of Spanish. “They are brand-new, commercially released ones, unlikely to ever be shown in Oxford in the theater.”

The lecture series is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council. The Spanish Film Club series is made possible by Pragda, SPAIN Arts and Culture and the Secretary of State for the Culture of Spain. The reception is made possible by the UM College of Liberal Arts.

Click here for a complete list of events, or contact Marting at for more information.

Alumni Association to Honor Seven Distinguished Graduates

Group to be lauded at Friday reception and on the field at Saturday's Homecoming game

Mary Ann Strong Connell

Mary Ann Strong Connell

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association is awarding its highest annual honors to seven distinguished alumni as part of Homecoming 2015 activities.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2015 are Mary Ann Strong Connell of Oxford, Dr. Alan Partin of Baltimore, Billy Van Devender of Jackson and Thomas D. Wallace Jr. of Bakersfield, California. Lee McCarty will be posthumously recognized with the Alumni Hall of Fame award.

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their country, state or the university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

Suzan B. Thames of Jackson will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Hunter Carpenter of Dallas will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Friday (Oct. 9) in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows the reception at 7 p.m.

Connell is a 1959 graduate with bachelor’s degrees in history and English. She earned her Juris Doctor from Ole Miss in 1977 and practices law with Mayo Mallette PLLC in Oxford. She served as UM university attorney from 1982 to 2003 and as school board attorney for the Oxford School District from 2003 to 2013.

As a faculty member, Connell taught courses in higher education law, school law, legal research and writing, business law and employment law. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of College and University Attorneys; the Distinguished Service Award from the Lafayette County Bar Association; the Thomas S. Biggs Jr. Award for leadership, integrity and service in the legal profession and the higher education community from Stetson University Law School; the NAACP Freedom Award for lifelong service in the area of education and civil rights; the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association’s Outstanding Woman Lawyer in Mississippi Award; the UM Chancellor’s Award for outstanding contributions toward increasing diversity; and the Mortar Board Award for outstanding teacher of the year.

Connell is a member of the Vestry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford. She received her Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School.

Lee McCarty

Lee McCarty

McCarty is the co-founder of McCartys Pottery. Born in 1923, McCarty grew up in Merigold, and after earning a bachelor’s degree in education from Ole Miss, he and his wife left for Columbia University in New York, where he received a master’s degree in education. The couple then returned to Oxford, where McCarty taught science at University High School.

While in Oxford, the couple took pottery classes in the university’s art department. The McCartys created their first studio in the garage of their small home on South Eighth Street and set about developing their glazes and style that would later serve as the foundation for McCartys Pottery.

In 1996, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters awarded the McCartys a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, the Mississippi Arts Commission honored McCartys Pottery with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution inducted the gardens at the studio into its Archives of American Gardens.

McCarty’s wife, Pup, passed away in 2009. McCarty continued working in the studio with his godsons, Jamie and Stephen Smith, until his death Sept. 7. He was 92.

 Dr. Alan Partin

Dr. Alan Partin

Partin is a professor of urology, oncology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His areas of clinical expertise include prognosis prediction and surgical treatment for men with prostate cancer. He has served as the urologist-in-chief for the Department of Urology since 2005.

Partin earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Ole Miss, achieving the honor of Academic All-American and varsity letter recognition for two years in football. He graduated summa cum laude in 1983 and went on to receive his M.D. and Ph.D. in pharmacology and molecular systems from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also completed his residency in urology and surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Billy Van Devender

Billy Van Devender

A starting defensive back on the 1970 Sugar Bowl champion football team, Van Devender graduated from UM in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He received his MBA in 1973 from Southern Methodist University and then joined the Central Intelligence Agency. After four years with the CIA, he moved back to Mississippi to begin his business career.

Van Devender’s career began in the oil and gas industry, followed by investments in real estate development and the forest product industry, where his family is primarily involved in timber management and lumber manufacturing.

He has served as commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality since 1998 and joined the board of the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1997. Van Devender served on the board of Mississippi’s Young Life organization and the Mississippi Baptist Health System. He is a member of First Baptist Church of Jackson.

Thomas D. Wallace Jr.

Thomas D. Wallace Jr.

Wallace is vice president for Student Affairs at California State University at Bakersfield. Before that appointment in 2012, he held administrative and faculty positions at UM and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He served as vice chancellor for student affairs and associate professor of education at UM.

He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Ole Miss, in 1978, 1980 and 2002, respectively. Wallace was named Northwest Mississippi Community College Alumnus of the Year in 2008 and the UM School of Education Alumnus of the Year in 1998. During that same year, he was presented with the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Minority Award of Distinction.

The state College Board named Wallace the Black History Month Educator of the Year in 1999. In representing Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Wallace presented the idea for the Chucky Mullins Courage Award to Ole Miss Athletics.

Suzan B. Thames

Suzan B. Thames

Thames, the Alumni Service Award recipient, is retired from the practice of audiology at the Jackson Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic in Jackson. A 1968 graduate of Ole Miss, she received her master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Tulane University and studied in behavioral disorders at the University of Wisconsin.

Her volunteer career with the UM Medical Center began in the early 1980s with fundraising efforts, in concert with the Junior League of Jackson, which resulted in the opening of the Junior League of Jackson Children’s Cancer Clinic. Fundraising for Mississippi’s only children’s hospital then began under the leadership of Friends of Children’s Hospital, the support group Thames chaired for 20 years. With support from the group, the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children opened in 1997.

Thames is a member of the UM Foundation board of directors, the Ole Miss Women’s Council, the school of Applied Sciences Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for Communicative Sciences and Disorders.

Hunter Carpenter

Hunter Carpenter

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient, Carpenter is a partner of RedBird Capital Partners, a New York- and Dallas-based principal investing firm, where he is responsible for natural resources and industrial related investment activity. Carpenter’s responsibilities over the course of his career have spanned the full life cycle of private investments. The majority of his investing experience involved backing entrepreneurs to help them grow as well as navigate the challenges of scaling over longer term hold periods.

Carpenter is a board member of the UM Foundation and chairman of its investment committee. He was named one of Oil & Gas Investor magazine‘s “Top 20 Under 40” in Energy Finance in 2014 and one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by Arkansas Business Magazine in 2011.

A four-year letterman in men’s basketball at Ole Miss, Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in accountancy in 1999, his master’s in 2000 and his Juris Doctor in 2003.

For more information about the Ole Miss Alumni Association, visit

UM Honors College Creates Mississippi Water Security Institute

Program will help students learn to protect resources while supporting economic development

Clifford Ochs

Clifford Ochs

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi has established the Mississippi Water Security Institute to help students understand the delicate balance between promoting strong economic development and protecting natural resources.

 A $258,000 grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation is funding the institute, which is an educational project geared toward undergraduates. Students will study the various facets of how to best support and encourage a flourishing business environment while maintaining high water quality and availability.

“The term ‘water security’ can connote different images and meanings,” said Clifford Ochs, a UM biology professor and the institute’s director. “For us, water security refers to the challenges inherent in promoting and linking strong economic development with community health with natural resource protection.”

In May 2016, 2017 and 2018, the institute plans to offer a two-week summer workshop for rising college sophomores and juniors to explore water security in Mississippi. Those students will meet with and learn from representatives in multiple fields and also hear from the stakeholders: the business community, agriculture, law, urban planning, engineering and conservation.

The workshop promises to be “a fascinating, rich opportunity for interdisciplinary student education,” Ochs said. It also will allow students to visit sites that are caught up in the debate over how to promote and link economic development with water security.

“The workshop will include superb guest speakers from around the state,” Ochs said. “It will also include travel to representative sites where water security issues can be clearly defined and addressed. Most importantly, there will also be the opportunity to be a member of a vigorous team of students and teachers dedicated to applied and practical interdisciplinary research on water resource management in Mississippi.”

Students from all honors programs across the state are encouraged to apply, Ochs said. Only 10 spots are available for those students, but they will receive free on-campus housing for the two-week period and full board, plus a $500 per week stipend. 

Douglass Sullivan-González, dean of the Honors College, will serve as principal investigator and Debra Young, associate dean, will serve as coordinator.

“Dr. Ochs and his team of exceptional students will confront the problems of ensuring water quality and quantity to meet the needs of attracting business and industry while supporting community development and environmental stewardship,” Sullivan-González said. “The Honors College is once again proud to set the terms of debate not only for Ole Miss but also for the state of Mississippi.”

Applications for the Mississippi Water Security Institute will be available online in October. Those who are accepted will be notified by January. Application windows will be set and announced for the May 2017 and 2018 workshops at a later date.

For more information, contact Debra Young at

Greg Tschumper Honored with Faculty Achievement Award

Professor of chemistry and biochemistry is respected scholar, educator and mentor

Dr. Gregory Tschumper. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Gregory Tschumper. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Greg Tschumper, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, is the 2015 recipient of the university’s Faculty Achievement Award.

Since receiving his doctorate 16 years ago from the University of Georgia, Tschumper has been a significant contributor to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the entire university. As a teacher, he has the reputation of being extremely challenging and highly effective.

Tschumper said one of the things that motivates him is the respect he has for his colleagues.

“It is very humbling when you look at previous recipients of this award, and I certainly do not feel like my name belongs on that list,” Tschumper said. “This award says more about the amazing environment in which I have the privilege of working than it does about me.”

Tschumper said he is passionate about research and teaching, and considers himself fortunate to be at a university that places a high value on both.

“Every day I get to interact with outstanding students, not only in the classroom but also in the research lab,” he said. “All of my research at Ole Miss has been accomplished with the help of the bright minds and hard work of our graduate and undergraduate students. Any success I’ve had as a teacher or a scholar stems from the talented people around me and being in an atmosphere that fosters the growth of that talent.”

The Burlington Northern Award was established in 1985 to honor superior teaching faculty who were also active researchers. This award evolved into the Faculty Achievement Award, which is given annually to recognize unusual effort in the classroom, involvement with students, active scholarship and service to the university.

One student wrote of Tschumper’s courses: “His teaching style relies on self-study quite a bit. You’ll have to work for this class, for he is determined to make his students the best chem students on this campus.”

Another evaluation letter stated that he is “probably one of the most challenging professors on this campus, but he is always willing to work with you to get better.”

Tschumper joined the chemistry and biochemistry department in 2001 after working as a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich in Switzerland and at Emory University. He has also provided service to the university, including his contributions on the University Research Board and the Faculty Senate.

In the area of scholarship, Tschumper’s achievements are remarkable, and he has established himself as an expert in physical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, computational chemistry, non-covalent interactions, hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces. He has published an average of four-plus peer-reviewed journal articles per year since joining the UM faculty. Tschumper has also received more than $3 million in federal grants for research and student support.

Tschumper’s other professional honors and awards include the 2009 Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. He has served as the Computational Chemistry Research Focus Group Leader on an EPSCoR award from the National Science Foundation that has brought in more than $20 million to the state of Mississippi for research and STEM education.

Tschumper is also the principal investigator on a major research instrumentation award from the NSF for a GPU supercomputer housed at the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research on campus.

He is the father of two daughters, Kate and Anne Paige.

UM and Belhaven University Partner for Dual Degree Program

Students gain pathway to degrees from both institutions in minimum amount of time

UM Acting Chancellor Morris Stocks (seated, left) and Belhaven University President Roger Parrott sign a dual degree program agreement between the two institutions. UM staff and faculty observing the proceedings were (standing, from left) Noel Wilkin, acting provost; Jacob Najjar, chair of civil engineering; Dwight Waddell, associate professor of electrical engineering; John O’Haver, chair and professor of chemical engineering; James Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Alex Cheng, engineering school dean; A.M. Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering; Maurice Eftink, associate provost; and Ellen Lackey, professor of mechanical engineering. Dennis Watts, BU associate provost; (far right) was also present. (Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services)

UM Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks (seated, left) and Belhaven University President Roger Parrott sign a dual degree program agreement between the two institutions. UM staff and faculty observing the proceedings are (standing, from left) Noel Wilkin, acting provost; Jacob Najjar, chair of civil engineering; Dwight Waddell, associate professor of electrical engineering; John O’Haver, chair and professor of chemical engineering; James Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Alex Cheng, engineering school dean; A.M. Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering; Maurice Eftink, associate provost; and Ellen Lackey, professor of mechanical engineering. Dennis Watts, BU associate provost; (far right) was also present. Photo by Robert Jordan, UM Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences at Belhaven University signed an agreement Wednesday (Sept. 30) to create a new dual degree program for undergraduate students.

The partnership offers students an opportunity to simultaneously earn a degree in biology, business, chemistry, mathematics or physics from Belhaven, a private, Christian liberal arts college in Jackson, and an engineering degree from UM, the state’s flagship public university.

The dual degree program does not guarantee students will earn two degrees, as each student must fulfill the degree requirements for each university to earn its degree.

“We are pleased to partner with Belhaven University on this important initiative,” said Morris Stocks, UM interim chancellor. “By joining our resources with those of Belhaven, we will be able to generate more STEM majors – a distinct need of the state of Mississippi. Our partnership will serve to benefit both universities, our region and state.”

“A partnership at this level is unique in higher education, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Ole Miss in providing such a high-quality engineering degree for our students,” said Roger Parrott, Belhaven president. “For these graduates to receive a diploma from both institutions makes them especially well-credentialed for the marketplace.”

A student pursuing the dual degree can be admitted to both universities. He or she will spend the first two to three years at BU pursuing a specified degree along with available pre-engineering and engineering courses. Upon satisfactory completion at BU, the student will enter UM’s engineering school to complete the remaining courses required for the engineering degree. Courses taken at UM that are suitable for the bachelor’s degree will be transferred back to BU.

The dual degree curricula will be created and agreed upon by both universities to ensure that students can complete the degrees on time.

“We are pleased to have this agreement with Belhaven,” said Noel Wilkin, UM acting provost. “It will facilitate the smooth transition of their students into our engineering program. As the first engineering school in the state, we are pleased to take steps that will give good students opportunities to earn their engineering degree at the University of Mississippi.”

“Following graduation, students will have a strong foundation in liberal arts and a broad-based engineering education that will enable both institutions to continue the proud tradition of placing alumni in positions of leadership in Mississippi and around the world,” said Dennis Watts, Belhaven associate provost.

Dean Alex Cheng said the UM School of Engineering looks forward to its collaboration with Belhaven.

“We are very pleased to work with this fine university in providing a pathway for STEM students to earn their engineering degree,” Cheng said. “Engineering has had a presence at the University of Mississippi since its founding and is the first professional school of engineering in the state.”

For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit For more about Belhaven University, go to

UM Honored with Attendance Award at SEC Symposium

Graduates and undergraduates traveled to Atlanta to participate

Clay Wooley stands beside his exhibit displayed at the SEC Symposium.

UM mechanical engineering student Clay Wooley stands beside his exhibit at the SEC Symposium. Photo credit

OXFORD, Miss. – A diverse group of University of Mississippi students, both graduate and undergraduate, traveled to Atlanta Sept. 20-22 for this year’s SEC Symposium. This year’s theme was “Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” and UM represented each of these areas at the event.

The university received the Excellence in Student Attendance Award, which is given to the university with the most students at the symposium. In recognition of the honor, the SEC will make a donation to the university’s general scholarship fund.

From engineering backgrounds to fine arts and everything in between, the UM team included nine undergraduate students, eight graduate students and two alumni.

“The SECU Symposium was a great opportunity for students and faculty to learn about ways to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship within and across disciplines,” Interim Provost Noel Wilkin said. “It was nice to see our students participate in the conference and engage with faculty and students from other SEC universities.”

Since students were a central focal point for this year’s symposium, each school was asked to send one undergraduate student as an ambassador. The Ole Miss ambassador, Michael Davis, is a senior majoring in management information systems. Davis helped by with assisting speakers before their speeches, registering attendees for the event and performing other tasks assigned by conference organizers.

“I got the chance to meet and network with people all across the SEC,” Davis said. “My experience was great!”

“One of the best aspects of the SEC Symposium was the opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and to work with faculty,” said Clay Dibrell, executive director for the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship,

“I know that I have personally enjoyed working with students associated with the different schools across campus and faculty outside of the business school. Once again, it illustrates the diversity of talent, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit which permeates everything we do at the University of Mississippi.”

Clay Wooley, a mechanical engineering major and a member of both the Center for Manufacturing Excellence and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, displayed a piece in the Student Applied Arts Exhibition.

Hailey Hodge (right) stands by her piece "Fragmented House" with her professor, Brooke White.

Hailey Hodge (right) stands by her piece “Fragmented House” with her professor, Brooke White.

Hailey Hodge, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree, displayed a piece titled “Fragmented House” in the Student Creative Works Exhibition.

Two Ole Miss students, Austin White and Daniel Roebuck, participated in the SEC Jazz Ensemble.

Alex Ray, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and Caleb Robinson, who earned his bachelor’s in computer science, participated in the Student Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition with their Web-based business plan for

“The judges offered a lot of great feedback for our business,” Ray said, “We now have a few ideas of where we want to take the site in the next few weeks, and I think it’ll make our future pitches a lot stronger.”

The remaining 12 students were competitively selected by the university’s SEC Symposium planning team to represent the university based on their interest or track record in creativity, innovation or entrepreneurship.

The students selected were Andres Diaz Lopez, representing MIS; Deidre Jackson, higher education; Nick Keeling, pharmacy administration; Colin Wattigney, MBA; Cary Allen, Business, Center for Manufacturing Excellence; Kristin Howitt, mechanical engineering; Ashley Irons, accountancy; Josh McGlawn, civil engineering; Michael Williams, integrated marketing communications and Chinese; Pierre Whiteside, integrated marketing communications; Dave Thomas, mechanical engineering and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence; and Valencia Lloyd, psychology.

“I’m excited to see how SEC students impact the future,” Ray said.

Christiane Surbeck Elected to Lead National Institute

Civil engineering professor begins four-year commitment as vice president in October

Cristiane Surbeck

Cristiane Surbeck

Cristiane Surbeck, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Mississippi, has been elected as vice president of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute.

The Environmental and Water Resources Institute is the American Society of Civil Engineers’ technical source for environmental and water-related issues. EWRI is one of nine ASCE technical institutes and has the second-largest membership, with more than 20,000 members.

Surbeck hopes to see the institute continue to focus on addressing members’ needs and be able to respond to their requests for the profession. She also wants the institute to become a source of information for members of the organization, the general public and to other professions.

“I think it’s when you’re able to communicate with a lot of different people (that) you can really improve society,” Surbeck said. “Our professions don’t happen in a vacuum, all alone; they impact a whole lot of other people.”

Surbeck replaces Steve Starrett, of Kansas State University, Oct. 1 as a member of the governing board.

As vice president, Surbeck will help set the strategic direction for the profession and institute by providing technical, educational and professional resources for EWRI members.

“This year will be a learning year on how the organization really works,” she said. “I get to be involved in a lot of the decisions, meet more of the members of the organization and really just serve the people.”

After one year, the vice president becomes the president-elect, then president and past president.

“You’re committed for four years, and next year someone else will be elected vice president,” she said.

Surbeck earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland and her master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental engineering from the University of California at Irvine.

She has been a member of the UM faculty since 2007 and also serves as graduate program coordinator for environmental engineering and adviser to the university’s chapters of Engineers Without Borders and Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering honor society.

Surbeck said her favorite part of teaching is giving her students a sense of what the working world is like for engineers.

“I really try to do things in the classroom that will help them once they become full-time engineers,” she said.

Surbeck was the recipient of the School of Engineering Faculty Teaching Award for Outstanding Performance in 2010, the Junior Faculty Research Award in 2014 and the Faculty Service Award in 2015.

For more information about the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, visit the website.