UM Honors Five at School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame Induction

Honorees lauded for teaching, service and leadership

The 2016 UM School of Education Hall of Fame includes (left to right): Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Suzie Adcock of Jackson; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; Jahnae Barnett of Fulton, Missouri and Cecil C. Brown, Jr. of Jackson.

The 2016 UM School of Education Hall of Fame inductees are (left to right): Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Suzie Adcock of Jackson; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; Jahnae Barnett of Fulton, Missouri; and Cecil C. Brown Jr. of Jackson.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has inducted its second class of alumni into its School of Education Hall of Fame. Collectively, the group has more than 178 years of experience, commitment and public service to education.

The 2016 honorees are Suzie Mills Adcock of Jackson; Jahnae H. Barnett of Fulton, Missouri; Charles Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; and Cecil C. Brown Jr. of Jackson. Brown received the School of Education’s first-ever service award for noneducation alumni.

“Our alumni board of directors selected our 2016 alumni award recipients for their distinguished careers as educational leaders and practitioners,” said David Rock, UM education dean. “Each of these five alumni are models for our current university students and graduates to emulate.

“We believe there is no more important or greater area of service in our state and nation than in the practice and advocacy of education.”

The ceremony was May 13 at the Inn at Ole Miss. Honorees were selected after being nominated by their peers and colleagues earlier this year.

Adcock, who graduated from UM in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, has taught in both public and private schools for more than 31 years and is still teaching. She serves as the lower elementary school librarian and media specialist at Jackson Academy.

Her service work includes the direction of “Read for Need” service projects, which have benefited school libraries that have burned and the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. In addition, she has served on the UM School of Education’s alumni advisory board in various capacities throughout the years, including the presidency.

“I’m so humbled by this honor because I know so many teachers who should be in this spot; I really do,” Adcock said. “I am a teacher because I genuinely love what I do. I do everything that I do for my students. They are my heart. They really are.”

Barnett, who earned a master’s degree in business education from UM in 1967 and a Ph.D. in higher education in 1972, is president of William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, a position the alumna has held for more than 26 years. Before her presidency, Barnett was a vice president and a department chair at William Woods.

When Barnett received her doctorate, she was only 24 years old and was the youngest individual to receive a Ph.D. from Ole Miss at that time. She was also the first female president of William Woods, an institution that has grown from a few hundred students to more than 3,000 during her tenure and grown from college to university status.

“I cannot imagine anything more rewarding that your peers, your colleagues and your academic institution saying that you’ve done exactly what you were supposed to do in your life,” Barnett said. “We just had our own alumni weekend at William Woods where we inducted some alumni into the hall of fame, and I knew exactly what that meant to them because of this honor.”

Depro, who earned a master’s degree in secondary education from UM in 1970, has taught history and social studies for more than 50 consecutive years and has taught more than 10,000 students in his career. From 1966 to 2000, he served as a social studies teacher and departmental chair at Sikeston Senior High School. He still teaches as an instructor in history at Southeast Missouri State University’s Sikeston campus, as part of a dual enrollment program with area high schools.

Among his other professional accomplishments include being named the Missouri Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year in 1988.

“This is an honor that I never even in my wildest dreams thought that I would receive,” Depro said. “There are a lot of really good teacher out there; I teach with some of them every day. I accept this on behalf of all really good teachers.”

Stewart, who is a three-time graduate of UM, earned a bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in elementary education in 1978, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 1981 and 1995, respectively. Besides serving 20 years as an elementary teacher in the Lafayette County School District, Stewart also served as an adjunct professor at UM and as the founding director of the university’s World Class Teaching Program and director of the UM Writing Project.

She and her husband own and operate Wild Rose Kennels, the much-acclaimed breeder of British and Irish Labradors.

“I knew in first grade that I wanted to be a teacher,” said Stewart. “I never changed my mind and I never wavered. My advice for future teachers is to never quit learning and to always be open to learning a better or different way to do and improve the way you teach.”

Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and mathematics from UM in 1966, has been a public and private sector leader in Mississippi for more than 25 years. A Certified Public Accountant and the owner of his own accounting firm, Brown’s public service includes a stint at Mississippi State Fiscal Officer and a 16-year tenure as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served as the chairman of the House Education Committee for seven years.

More recently, Brown was elected to serve as the state Public Service Commissioner in 2016.

“I’m very thankful for this award,” Brown said. “My hope is that somehow children will continue to benefit from the work that I have been able to contribute in service to education. They are the most important thing.”

The School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2015, when UM inducted its charter class of three alumni: Milton Kuykendall of DeSoto County, Judith Reynolds of Clinton and Jerome Smith of Jackson.

UM College of Liberal Arts Launches New Minor in Society and Health

Interdisciplinary program is collaboration with the Center for Population Studies

John Green Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain

John Green Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain

OXFORD, Miss. – A new academic minor with an emphasis on society and health is available at the University of Mississippi.

Housed within the College of Liberal Arts and directed through the Center for Population Studies, the interdisciplinary academic program consists of 18 credit hours. The minor was created in association with the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College to build a broader social and cultural understanding of the context of health outcomes and health care through perspectives from the individual to population levels.

“The minor in society and health arose partially as a result of changes in the medical school entrance exam, shifting expectations for the education of health professionals and recognition of the need for interdisciplinary approaches to address health problems,” said John Green, professor of sociology and anthropology and director of both the Center for Population Studies and the new minor.

“An advisory committee comprised of faculty representing several disciplines across the College of Liberal Arts helped craft the curriculum for the minor. The Honors College, School of Applied Sciences, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and the School of Pharmacy are also represented on the committee.”

Required courses include Elementary Statistics and one of the two advanced courses: Society and Population Health or Medical Humanities. Following the completion of one of these courses, Ole Miss students can then apply to the minor program It is also recommended that students take General Psychology and Introductory Sociology to complete the general education social science requirements.

“In Society and Population Health, students learn about health disparities in Mississippi and the value of interdisciplinary and interprofessional teams in tackling these issues,” Green said. “They also make field visits to medical/nursing schools and public health programs.”

Medical Humanities is a combined readings and field experience course in a hospital setting to study the ethical, social and cultural issues in medicine. Additionally, students must take advanced elective courses.

Students must take courses from at least two different departments when completing the last requirement of 12 credit hours of advanced social science and humanities courses. They should note that the same course may not satisfy requirements for both the major and the minor.

Students who complete relative internships, special topics, study abroad or directed study courses must consult with the director before enrollment in the course for approval.

“This unique and timely minor provides a social science and humanities perspective to the understanding of health,” said Lee M. Cohen, UM liberal arts dean. “I believe such a perspective will foster an appreciation and respect for team-based problem-solving to improve the delivery of health care. The College of Liberal Arts is proud to provide this new program for our students.”

For more information about the minor in society and health, visit http://sohe.olemiss.edu or contact Lynn Woo, research associate with the Center for Population Studies, at lcwoo@olemiss.edu or at 662-915-7288.

Franklin Wins Berlin Prize, Fellowship in Germany

Author plans to use time to focus on his latest novel

NJL_1749-AYOXFORD, Miss. – Tom Franklin, a celebrated novelist and University of Mississippi associate professor of fiction writing, is a 2016 recipient of the Berlin Prize, which the American Academy in Berlin awards to scholars, writers and artists. The prize includes a semester-long fellowship in Germany.

Franklin, who has taught at UM since 2003, is among 23 recipients of the prize and will begin his fellowship this fall. He will work on a novel, which is currently titled “Country Dark,” about a rural Alabama police officer named Rick Miller who mainly investigates farm-related crimes. While probing a strange animal death, Miller, who is referred to as “The Cow Man,” uncovers something entirely unexpected, including a connection to a cultish church with an interesting past. 

The opportunity to focus on the project is much appreciated, Franklin said.

“The fellowship will give me the greatest gift of all for a writer: time,” Franklin said. “Normally, I teach full-time and direct several master’s of fine arts and Honors College theses. So when I sit down to work here, student stories and novels fill my mind.

“But, at the academy where I won’t have classes to prepare for, student work to read and critique, theses to edit, the only thing, hopefully, filling my mind will be The Cow Man, and whatever’s gone wrong in Buford, Alabama.”

The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to artists, scholars, composers and artists from the United States who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields. The prize’s fellowship includes a monthly stipend, partial board and accommodations at the academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee.

The program is designed to allow recipients the time and resources to step back from their daily obligations to work on projects they might not otherwise be able to pursue. The fellows are urged to work with the academy’s network of professionals and institutions and create connections and lasting transatlantic relationships.

The fellows will use public lectures, concerts, performances and readings, which take place at the academy but also throughout Berlin and Germany, to engage audiences.

Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke and other distinguished Germans and Americans created the American Academy in Berlin in 1994. The intent was to foster greater understanding and relationships between the United States and Germany. The academy is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan center for advanced research in a range of academic and cultural fields.

“We look forward to welcoming another group of outstanding fellows to the academy,” said Gerhard Casper, the institution’s president. “By working with their peers and partner institutions in Berlin and presenting their projects to the public, they will actively contribute to the exchange of ideas between the U.S. and Germany.”

New UM Museum Exhibit Highlights Antiquities Collection

Most Greek and Roman artifacts included have not been on display in at least six years

Gods and Men features artifacts from the UM Museum's David M. Robinson permanent collection, such as this sculpture of Emperor Tiberius.

‘Gods and Men’ features artifacts from the UM Museum’s David M. Robinson permanent collection, such as this bust of Emperor Tiberius.

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts are coming out of the vault for “Gods and Men: Iconography and Identity of the Ancient World,” the newest exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum, which debuts Tuesday (May 24) with an opening reception.

“Gods and Men” offers a preview of the extent of the David M. Robinson Greek and Roman Antiquities collection, more of which will be on display in the reinstalled Mary Buie wing of the museum.

The opening reception is set for 6-8 p.m. and will be part of the Oxford Arts Crawl. A Greek-themed menu catered by Party Waitin to Happen and Greek-inspired cocktail are available at the reception.

“The UM Museum’s summer exhibition ‘Gods and Men: Iconography and Identity in the Ancient World’ represents a significant moment in the history of the museum’s internationally-renowned Greek and Roman antiquities collections,” Director Robert Saarnio said. “The ‘Gods and Men summer exhibition represents a tip-of-the-iceberg view into the 2,000-object collection and is a perfect opportunity for potential supporters to familiarize themselves with the exceptional range and depth of these university cultural treasures.

“We expect this show to be a catalyst that will deepen the interest of our Oxford and campus communities in new and meaningful ways, as we plan for the exciting future that the reinstallation project represents.”

The temporary exhibit from the permanent collection vault highlights more than 200 artifacts, including terra cotta mythology lamps and figurines, coins, Roman surgical instruments, inscriptions, and sculptural heads and busts. Most of these items have not been on display for at least six years.

These items differ vastly from the Greek and Roman antiquities on regular display, and this exhibit includes narratives and anecdotes with each piece to provide historical context for it.

“This exhibit has been an opportunity to show the diversity of the collection in material and learning potential while also providing a preview of the visual look and reinterpretation that has been in development behind the scenes,” said Melanie Munns, the museum’s antiques collection manager and exhibit curator.

Munns said she hoped by displaying these smaller items along with magnifying glasses, viewers would be encouraged to look more intently at the artifacts.

“What many people don’t realize is that the coins and lamps also contain these rich narratives and beautiful illustrations,” Munns said. “I hoped that by isolating these smaller objects into groups set in wider spaces, that it will encourage viewers to look closer and stay longer.”

Planning for this exhibit has been a universitywide effort. Munns worked closely with the Department of Classics and student interns for three years to study and reinterpret the items in this collection.

UM faculty members Aileen Ajootian, Brad Cook, Jonathan Fenno, Hilary Becker and Jeffrey Becker and students Sarah Sloan, Libby Tyson, Alicia Dixon, Chelsea Stewart, Hali Niles and Zac Creel assisted with research to provide accurate historical context to these pieces.

Sloan, a May graduate from Madison with a bachelor’s degree in English and art history, has interned with the museum for two years to learn collections management, exhibition planning and curating. She assisted in researching, writing text for the artifacts, determining paint colors and organizing the exhibit.

“As an aspiring curator, my experience working on ‘Gods and Men’ has been invaluable,” Sloan said. “While working on ‘Gods and Men,’ I felt like my opinion was valued in the planning of this exhibit and that is something you do not always get with an internship. I feel like my hand was in ‘Gods and Men’ and that is immensely exciting for someone who is just out of undergrad.”

The exhibit includes the technology of an interactive iPad kiosk and would not be possible without the moral and financial support of Friends of the Museum, said Rebecca Phillips, the museum’s coordinator of membership and communications.

All visitors to the exhibit are encouraged to take photos and share them with the hashtag #UMGodsandMen and even take selfies with the bust of the Unknown Roman using hashtag #HadriansJohnDoe

The museum is continuing fundraising efforts for the installation of the Mary Buie wing, which is slated to house more items from the Robinson Collection. The first gallery there will showcase items in the near future as fundraising continues for the rest of the project.

Gifts in support of the reinstallation can be made on the museum’s website.

The museum will also host programs later this summer to highlight the exhibit. Eta Sigma Phi and the Vasari Society will partner with the museum Aug. 19 for a toga trivia night, moderated by Ole Miss art history and classics professors.

On Aug. 24, the museum will host a panel discussion that focuses on the exhibition as well as the permanent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. Former museum director and retired classics professor Lucy Turnbull will be the guest of honor. Turnbull assisted in moving the Robinson collection from Bondurant Hall to the museum in 1977.

University Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free to most exhibits. More information about the University Museum and its exhibits can be found at http://museum.olemiss.edu.

O’Bannons Writing a Script for Student Success

Couple creates scholarship to support students in the UM School of Pharmacy

Linda and Chuck O’Bannon at home in Parsons, Tennessee.

Linda and Chuck O’Bannon at home in Parsons, Tennessee.

OXFORD, Miss. – On any given day, a visitor to Chuck O’Bannon’s home in Parsons, Tennessee, might find the retired pharmacist planting a garden, making preserves from blackberries and muscadines he grows or feeding the two canine “fur babies” who have adopted him and his wife, Linda.

You might just as easily find him painting and installing chair rails or hauling a load of walnut and cypress lumber, while Linda can probably be found working in her herb garden or tending to the many flowers and plants in their yard. Much of this is part of ongoing renovations to the countryside home on 20-plus wooded acres that the O’Bannons have enjoyed together for 17 years.

“We are busier now than we were before we retired,” said Linda, who’s not even really retired; she still works as a pharmacy consultant for nearby long-term care facilities. “Some days, Chuck will say, ‘What do you want to do today?’ and that’s just the most wonderful thing in the world to hear because that means we don’t have anything already planned.”

But those days are few and far between. The O’Bannons are accustomed to hard work; in fact, they thrive on it. They’ve done it all their lives: Chuck, as a delivery boy and occasional janitor for his father’s two Jackson, Tennessee, drugstores, and Linda as one of six children who were expected to earn their keep.

Hard work, they say, is what has allowed them to establish the Charles P. O’Bannon and Linda Rucker O’Bannon Scholarship Endowment in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy with a $700,000 planned gift.

“Many of our students deal with the same challenge Chuck and Linda O’Bannon faced on campus: the struggle to maintain their grades while also having to work their way through school,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “The O’Bannons’ generous gift will help alleviate some of that stress and we are extremely grateful for empathetic alumni like these who know the importance of private support.”

The O’Bannons’ work ethic is exceptional. Linda, who was raised on meager means in Kilmichael, followed her older brother, Bill Rucker, to Ole Miss and paid her way through college working for Wade Waters, then chair of the pharmacology department and distributor of student loans. She ultimately earned her pharmacy degree in 1969 at a time when few women chose the rigorous program and even fewer made it a career.

Likewise, Chuck earned his pharmacy degree in 1969 using veteran’s assistance he received after serving in the military following high school. At age 23, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he studied three years before transferring to Ole Miss, where he was assigned Linda as a lab partner.

“Money from my family was almost nonexistent, but I received about $100 a month from a G.I. bill I had saved to use in college,” Chuck said. “I have always been so grateful for that assistance. I also worked in college to make a little extra money, but I can still tell you how many crackers you add to a pound of hamburger to make it go around.”

The O’Bannons hope their gift will help students avoid the financial pressure they experienced.

“If our gift can just give some encouragement to somebody who needs it, then it’s certainly worth it,” Linda said. “And we want what we’re giving to be ongoing support for generations of pharmacy students who may be challenged financially as we were. It’s our way of saying thank you for the opportunities our education at Ole Miss has given us.”

After college, Chuck and Linda started at what was then the bottom of the pharmacy profession’s food chain, with an annual salary between $6,000 and $12,000. Over time, they worked their way up, moving from place to place to better their standing in the field.

After six years in retail pharmacy, Chuck accepted the position of director of pharmacy in a Kentucky hospital owned by Hospital Corporation of America. He practiced there for 11 years before being transferred to a North Carolina HCA hospital. Following a corporate buyout, Chuck was transferred to a larger hospital in Nashville, where he served as director of several departments, including pharmacy.

“After a second buy-out that significantly changed patient care perspectives, I decided after 23 years as director of pharmacy to once again look at other areas of pharmacy practice, so I returned to retail,” Chuck said. “Five years later, I accepted an offer to enter long-term care pharmacy and remained there until I retired.”

Linda briefly worked as a retail pharmacist before becoming a hospital pharmacist for 13 years. In North Carolina, she became pharmacy director at a long-term care facility and has continued to work in a consulting capacity, helping long-term care facilities comply with government guidelines. She also was active for many years in the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, having served on the board of directors and as vice president of that organization, lobbying Washington on behalf of the profession.

Now, the O’Bannons enjoy their life in the country, entertaining friends in a breezy, shaded outdoor space that Linda decorated with easy chairs and slowly revolving ceiling fans. An industrial-size grill stands nearby, on which they often barbecue chickens, turkeys, ribs, beef brisket or wild game. Word has spread that Chuck has a knack for cooking meat to succulent perfection, using a method and special sauce he learned as a boy from sharecroppers on his grandfather’s farm.

Just four miles from the Tennessee River, Chuck fishes and hunts white-tail deer. The O’Bannons also enjoy traveling to Oxford, a central meeting spot for Linda’s scattered siblings, and to Canada and Alaska, where Chuck hunted big-horn sheep.

In the off-season, Chuck, a state champion marksman who was a member of the Air Force big-bore rifle team and lettered in intercollegiate small bore at UTM, indulges his love of hunting by teaching others to shoot. Among his many students was a brother-in-law of country music legend Hank Williams Jr.

Equally philanthropic, Linda volunteers to serve food to participants in the World’s Largest Coon Hunt, a wildly popular annual fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that draws hundreds of hunters to the community from across the country.

The O’Bannons’ planned gift gives them membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts.

Linda said those who inspired their career choice and ultimate gift to the university include her parents, who encouraged her to pursue a degree; her brother, Bill, also a successful pharmacist who encouraged her through college; Waters, who gave her a job in college; pharmacy alumnus Sonny Potts who was a special family friend and acted as her preceptor; Joe B. McCaskill; the late Kerby Ladner, director of the UM Bureau of Pharmaceutical Services; the late Dean Charles W. Hartman; former pharmacy professor Mickey Smith; and former development officer Sarah Hollis, who introduced the O’Bannons to the planned giving option.

“Linda and Chuck are the epitome of the Ole Miss family,” Hollis said. “They are loyal alumni who value their education and the experience they received at Ole Miss. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.

“They have a genuine heart for their profession and believe in the strides that our School of Pharmacy is making in pharmacy education, clinical practice and ground-breaking research. Their legacy will be realized in the impact this gift makes on individual students and on the lives of patients when those students become capable practitioners as the O’Bannons have been throughout their careers.”

For more information about including the university in a will or other estate plans, contact the UM Foundation at 800-340-9542 or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/planning.

UM Students Win Top Honors at Undergraduate Research Conference

Group competed against representatives from USM and JSU at Pi Sigma Alpha event

UM political science professor Sue Ann Skipworth and students Connor Somgynari, Christine Sim and Katie Reid show off their Grand Champion trophy at the Pi Sigma Alpha Conference.

UM political science professor Sue Ann Skipworth and students Connor Somgynari, Christine Sim and Katie Reid show off their Grand Champion trophy at the Pi Sigma Alpha Conference.

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi students earned the title of Grand Champions recently at the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Research Conference at the University of Southern Mississippi.

In its second year, the conference for the national political science honor society was held April 16. Students from UM, USM and Jackson State University presented original research they had conducted or are in the process of conducting.

“Participation in conferences such as these provides excellent opportunities for students to network with students from other schools in the state and hear what type of research they are conducting,” said Sue Ann Skipworth, UM assistant professor of political science. “Students are able to receive feedback from discussants on how to improve their research and hopefully move forward in their research to the publishing phase.”

Katie Reid, a junior from Eaton Rapids, Michigan, presented her research on why Afghanistan was never able to build a successful state, using European failed state frameworks. Reid, who is pursuing a double major in political science and economics, is hoping to show that building a state in the Middle East is not much different from building one in the western world.

“It was an amazing learning experience for me to be able to partake in this research conference,” Reid said. “I hope it will be my first of many.”

Christine Sim, a senior from Metairie, Louisiana, presented her research on voter identification laws and their effect on voter turnout.

“It is an absolute honor to be recognized for my hard work and research I have spent over a year intensely studying vote identification laws,” said Sim, a political science major on track to graduate in May. “It’s a great joy to be able to share that research within the field of political science.”

Connor Somgynari, a senior international studies major from Lindenhurst, Illinois, presented his research on ethnic ties that influence rebel diplomacy.

“My work focuses on whom, how and when armed groups seek to lobby states and other parties for support or recognition,” Somgynari said. “Since I’m starting my Ph.D. in political science this fall at Penn State, early recognition of my research is very encouraging as I go forward into my future academic career.”

This type of recognition for research validates the hard work and effort students put forth in conducting their research projects, Skipworth said.

“As the faculty adviser for the Pi Sigma Alpha organization at Ole Miss, I was extremely proud of Christine, Connor and Katie as they not only demonstrated their exceptional capacity for research but also served as a great representation of the students at our university,” she said.

The students’ accomplishments reflects well on the entire department, said John Bruce, chair and associate professor of political science.

“We have an outstanding group of students active in our chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, and the work they presented in Hattiesburg speaks to that,” he said. “We have students that can easily compete on any regional or national stage and represent the university in an outstanding way.”

Recent UM Graduate Awarded Prestigious Health Fellowship

Research on impact of Ebola virus disease to take place in Liberia

Gigi Bastien, has been awarded a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health for her research in the African nation of Liberia.

Gigi Bastien, has been awarded a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health for her research in the African nation of Liberia.

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent graduate of the University of Mississippi’s Department of Psychology, Gigi Bastien, has been awarded a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health for 11 months of research in the African nation of Liberia.

The research will focus on both the mental health and psychosocial impacts of Ebola virus disease. Bastien, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who moved to the United States at age 8, will also study the existing strengths, resiliency and resources among Ebola survivors in Liberia.

“I am thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to contribute in some small way to the growing body of literature around evidence-based global mental health disaster/emergency response,” Bastien said. “I look forward to working with and learning from the people of Liberia, whose resilience in facing one of the greatest epidemics of our lifetime is truly inspiring.”

From a psychological standpoint, Bastien’s research will address the lack of knowledge surrounding resiliency in the aftermath of large-scale emergencies. It will help professionals understand strategies to support knowledge exchange, mental health literacy and interventions in ways that are respectful of communities.

Ebola is a virus that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans, leading to death in about 50 percent of cases. The disease was first identified in 1976 in Africa.

The deadliest epidemic of the disease since its discovery began in March 2014, when outbreaks of Ebola were reported in West Africa. From that time until January 2016, Liberia accounted for more than 4,800 Ebola-related deaths. Of all countries affected by the virus, Liberia had the most fatalities.

“The award of the NIH Fogarty Global Health Fellowship to Gigi for intervention research in Liberia is exciting and satisfying news,” said Laura Johnson, a UM associate professor of psychology. “It is an excellent accomplishment in international psychology and reflects well on our department, given the competitive nature and prestige of the Fogarty awards.”

Bastien, who earned her master’s degree in 2011 and her doctorate in 2013, both from UM in clinical psychology, has previously conducted research in similar areas. Her dissertation involved the research of disaster response and resilience following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

International research cases of this nature are rare in the clinical research field, but are increasingly valued and called upon.

“I am particularly proud that Gigi’s project in Liberia is an outgrowth of work she began as a student at the University of Mississippi, where her dissertation focused on resilience and culturally responsive interventions among displaced persons in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti,” Johnson said.

“I could not be more excited about Gigi’s upcoming project and I am also happy to have ongoing, international collaborations with a great colleague.”

UM Department of Art Receives Its Largest Private Gift

Bequest from wife of artist William Hollingsworth will provide student scholarships

Self-portrait sketch of William Hollingsworth, namesake of an endowment recently awarded to the UM Department of Art and Art History.

Self-portrait sketch of William Hollingsworth, namesake of an endowment recently awarded to the UM Department of Art and Art History.

OXFORD, Miss. – William Hollingsworth had an innate love for art and a volume of work that belies his brief life. A bequest from the estate of his late wife ensures that his legacy of talent will continue as generations of University of Mississippi students receive scholarships bearing his name.

“Hollingsworth is a fixture in the pantheon of Southern art,” said Hunter Cole, author of “William Hollingsworth: An Artist of Joy and Sadness.”

Inspired by French impressionist painters Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Henri Matisse (1869–1954), many of Hollingsworth’s paintings depicted the lives of African-Americans in Jackson during segregation. He also painted the Mississippi landscape, sunsets and sunrises and won prizes from the Chicago Arts Club, Southern States Art League and the National Watercolor Society.

Nearly 300 of Hollingsworth’s originals were bequeathed to the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, where they are included in the museum’s permanent collection.

“William Hollingsworth just had a capacity to render life in Mississippi – people and places in urban and domestic scenes – with great sensitivity,” said Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art. “He also influenced many artists in his day and is still revered among collectors nationwide.

“When we have visitors who are not from Mississippi and who may even be international visitors, Hollingsworth’s work is one that really captures their attention. They always want to know more about him. He stands out because of the quality and skill he demonstrated as an artist.”

Tormented by frequent bouts of deep depression throughout his life, the prize-winning artist killed himself at the age of 34 before realizing his dream of becoming a recognized original.

“Since his death, he has been rediscovered repeatedly as new appreciators are enchanted by his paintings,” Cole said. “The multitude of watercolors and oil paintings that he produced in the short span of a decade is an astonishing achievement. In select art collections, mostly in the South, his works are cherished as unique and masterly.”

Bradley agreed: “Had he lived and continued painting, his reputation would have only grown. He had already received significant awards for his work. He was about to turn the corner to really being recognized nationally when he died.”

Upon her own death, his wife, Jane Oakley Hollingsworth, left a $238,000 bequest from her estate to establish the William Robert Hollingsworth Jr. Art Scholarship Endowment, which will provide financial support to full-time students in the UM Department of Art and Art History.

This is the department’s largest private gift to date and will be awarded to students studying painting, drawing or sculpture primarily.

“We offer smaller scholarships in the amount of $500 and $2,500, but this is going to be really exciting because we can now offer a full tuition waver,” said Ginny Chavis, chair and associate professor of art. “We have never before been able to compete for students who may be eligible for higher scholarships elsewhere. Now, we will be able to attract some of the top art students in the country.

“This is an opportunity that we are so grateful to have. We will be forever grateful to the Hollingsworth family for including us in this endowment. We know it’s very generous and an appropriate honor for William Hollingsworth because it seems so fitting to pass on the knowledge of art to another student and to keep that knowledge going. This is a way to carry his legacy forward, and we’re really happy to be a part of that.”

Lee Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, echoed Chavis: “It’s rare that specific departments within the College of Liberal Arts receive private support, much less a contribution of this magnitude. We believe it will be game-changing with respect to our ability to recruit the best and brightest art students. And that’s so important to our mission to be a great public university.”

Jane Hollingsworth would be pleased to know that her gift is appreciated, said longtime friend and legal counsel Dan Singletary, an Ole Miss law graduate who treasures a framed portrait of William Hollingsworth sketched on letterhead by the artist himself; the drawing is prominently displayed on the wall just outside Singletary’s office.

“Her bequest to the art department at Ole Miss was because of her love and adoration for her late husband, who had attended Ole Miss for a couple of years,” Singletary said. “He later honed his artistic skills at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met and fell in love with Jane who was from Illinois.

“Because both she and William were art students together, and that’s the way they met, I believe she wanted to help young developing art students further their education and training in some meaningful way.”

Interestingly, an if-then stipulation in Jane Hollingsworth’s will might have kept Ole Miss from receiving the endowment at all.

According to Cole, Jane Hollingsworth’s hometown was Moline, Illinois, and her outlook was Northern; William Hollingsworth’s was decidedly Southern. However, drawn together in their discussions of art, they grew close, fell in love and married. A year later, their son Billy was born.

The late Billy Hollingsworth grew up in Jackson and inherited his parents’ talent for art. He was a cartoonist, a self-taught pianist with a gift for jazz improvisation and the lead performer in a dance band he founded.

As a youth, he became an Episcopalian and, at age 24, he was received into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church. At 27, he entered Saint Joseph Abbey in Louisiana and made profession as a monk.

“Should he leave a monastic life, all trust funds shall be paid over to him and the trust shall be terminated,” Jane Hollingsworth stated in her will. “If, at the time of his death, my son is still a member of the monastic order, I direct that the Trustee shall pay the then existing corpus of this trust over to an education institution in the State of Mississippi for the establishment of one or more scholarships in the name of my late husband for students of (art).”

Brother Anselm Hollingsworth – Billy – remained a monk until his death, leaving the door open for a Mississippi institution of higher learning to become one of the beneficiaries of his mother’s estate at a time when private support is critical to providing a margin of excellence in academics.

When UM graduate Kathryn Simmons, vice president and trust officer with Trustmark Wealth Management, realized that Jane Hollingsworth’s wishes were not specific to one institution, she contacted friends at UM to determine how Ole Miss could benefit from the bequest.

“The art department at Ole Miss seemed most appropriate since William Hollingsworth attended the university and also because Mrs. Hollingsworth specifically wanted to provide scholarships for art students,” Simmons said, adding that a portion of the bequest is also shared by the Mississippi Museum of Art, where it is being used to support a fellowship.

Besides scholarship support, the art department needs private funds to support graduate stipends, faculty research, faculty and student travel, student-run organizations and visiting artists to campus, Chavis said.

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Hollingsworth Art Scholarship Endowment or to other areas of the UM Department of Art by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contacting Denson Hollis at 662-915-5092 or dhollis@olemiss.edu.

New Parental Rights Legislation Designed by UM Law School Team

Law addresses concerns highlighted in landmark case, helps provide better results for children

Members of the TPR Study Group with Gov. Phil Bryant. (L-R): Randy Pierce, Mississippi Judicial College (MJC) director; Patti Marshall, Miss. Attorney General’s Office; Bill Charlton, MJC staff attorney; Gov. Phil Bryant; Carole Murphey, MJC staff attorney; David Calder, associate clinical professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law; Judge John Hudson, Jurist in Residence; and Judge Tom Broome, Rankin County Court judge. Photo by Beverly Kraft, PIO of the Mississippi Administrative Offices of the Court.

Members of the TPR Study Group with Gov. Phil Bryant (from left): Randy Pierce, Mississippi Judicial College director; Patti Marshall, Miss. attorney general’s office; Bill Charlton, MJC staff attorney; Bryant; Carole Murphey, MJC staff attorney; David Calder, associate clinical professor at the UM School of Law; Judge John Hudson, jurist in residence; and Judge Tom Broome, Rankin county court judge. Photo by Beverly Kraft/Mississippi Administrative Offices of the Court

OXFORD, Miss. – On April 18, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Termination of Parental Rights Act, a piece of legislation proposed by the Termination of Parental Rights Study Group and designed by a team assembled by the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The Parental Rights Study Group was convened at the suggestion of Chief Justice William Waller Jr. and chaired by former Associate Justice Randy Pierce, who is director of the Mississippi Judicial College, a division of the UM School of Law tasked with educating and training Mississippi judges and court personnel.

“After the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision in the Chism v. Bright case, it became necessary for the Legislature to modify the then-existing statutes to provide a workable framework in termination cases,” Pierce said. “I was on the court when Chism was handed down and agreed with that decision, as did a unanimous court.

“However, the case magnified a need to study the TPR statutes. Chief Justice Waller asked me to chair a study group and to invite various stakeholders to participate.”

Chism v. Bright essentially reversed a judgment by the Union County Chancery Court that took away parental rights from a father, saying all the prerequisites had not been met to do so. It also upheld the idea that there should be strict standards to apply when terminating the rights of parents.

The study group members included David Calder, UM law professor and director of the school’s Child Advocacy Clinic, and MJC staff attorneys Bill Charlton and Carole Murphey. In addition to resolving the concern raised in Chism, the study group sought to clarify other aspects of TPR cases and improve the fairness and efficiency of those proceedings.

Based on the study group’s recommendations, Charlton worked closely with Calder and Murphey to draft the proposed legislation. Calder provided a practitioner’s viewpoint in shaping the procedures and definitions included in the bill. Murphey assisted in organizing the overall structure of the legislation.

“David Calder, our child advocacy clinical professor, has been a tireless advocate for children for over 20 years,” Said Deborah Bell, dean of the School of Law. “His expertise, research and advice played an important role in the passage of this important legislation.”

The passage of the legislation helps Mississippi take a step toward becoming a model child welfare state, Charlton said.

“It was a special honor serving with the distinguished members of the study group who likewise share that goal, and Justice Pierce’s leadership as chair made it happen,” he said. “All the members of the study group played a significant role in the drafting process. I’m proud that House Bill 1240 passed in both the House and Senate by clear majority votes and with bipartisan support.”

Other study group members were:

  • Eugene Fair, judge of the Mississippi Court of Appeals
  • Cynthia Brewer, chancery court judge
  • Patricia Wise, chancery court judge
  • Tom Broome, county court judge
  • John Hudson, jurist in residence
  • Patti Marshall, special assistant Mississippi attorney general
  • Earl Scales, special assistant Mississippi attorney general
  • Joyce Hill Williams, special assistant Mississippi attorney general
  • Jeffrey Rimes, Taggart, Rimes & Graham PLLC
  • Caryn Quilter, staff attorney at the Mississippi Senate
  • Gwennetta Tatum, staff attorney at the Mississippi House of Representatives

“Playing a role in this endeavor was rewarding and meaningful,” Pierce said. “The Termination of Parental Rights Act work product required an enormous amount of time and effort.

“However, our goal in every case affecting a child is to have the best outcome possible. The new law will help provide better outcomes for children. And for that, I’m grateful to all who came together to get this done.”

Derek and Kelly King Honored with Inaugural Mullins Scholarship

Mississippi Teacher Corps alumni pursue graduate degrees with help from new scholarship

Derek and Kelly King stand with Andy Mullins in Lyceum at UM. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Derek and Kelly King stand with Andy Mullins in Lyceum at UM. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Just ask University of Mississippi alumni Derek and Kelly King about their students in the North Panola School District in Sardis, and the husband and wife team light up with excitement.

As the instructional coach for North Panola High School (Kelly) and the assistant principal at North Panola Middle School (Derek), the Kings can personally name more than 710 students between their two schools this year – just ask them.

“Both of us love teaching and being in the classroom,” said Kelly, who provides instructional leadership to more than 32 faculty members at her school. “Once you get into teaching, it’s really addictive. I’ve directly taught at least three-fourths (of those students) myself.”

The Kings are UM’s inaugural recipients of the Andrew P. Mullins Jr. MTC Alumni Scholarship, which supports Mississippi Teacher Corps alumni who wish to pursue advanced graduate study.

The endowed scholarship is available to Teacher Corps alumni with at least three years’ of teaching experience in K-12 education and may be awarded twice to individuals. Recipients may pursue an advanced degree in any field of their choosing on the Ole Miss campus.

Founded in 1989, the Teacher Corps has placed more than 630 new teachers in critical-needs school districts throughout the state. The alternate-route teaching program is highly competitive and has attracted recruits from 216 colleges and universities around the country. All participants receive job placement and two years of funding to earn a master’s degree in education from UM.

Derek and Kelly were selected for the honor by a committee of administrators within the School of Education and will each receive $1,500 per semester toward tuition throughout the next academic year.

“It’s an honor to receive anything with Dr. Mullins’ name on it,” said Derek, who has also served as head coach for men’s track and football at North Panola. “I think (Dr. Mullins) is proud to see Teacher Corps people who are still working in education here in Mississippi. It’s an honor to just to be a small part of what he originally envisioned for the program.”

In addition to their full-time jobs at North Panola, Derek and Kelly – who met during their first year in the Mississippi Teacher Corps – are enrolled in UM graduate programs in K-12 leadership. Derek hopes to finish a doctorate within the next two years, and Kelly is on track to claim her second Ole Miss diploma in December when she finishes a Specialist in Education degree that will grant her a state school administrator’s license.

“It warms my heart to see this scholarship awarded to two such worthy recipients,” said Mullins, Mississippi Teacher Corps co-founder and former chief of staff to the chancellor. “They have both been valuable resources to the school districts in which they have served.”

As 2010 recruits for the Teacher Corps, the Kings came from very different parts of the country before joining the program and landing their first teaching jobs at Byhalia Middle School.

Kelly, a Boston native, received a bachelor’s degree in black studies from Amherst College. Derek, a native of Fairfield, Alabama, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhodes College, where he played football and baseball and even began his coaching career as an undergraduate while working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School.

Back then, the Teacher Corps offered opportunity for the two aspiring educators to enter the classroom after college. After an intensive summer training program, Kelly took a job teaching social studies. Derek taught English and coached men’s track and football.

They did not, however, expect that it would lead to a whole new life. After dating for four years, the couple found themselves both working at North Panola High School and soon married. The couple, alongside numerous other current and former Teacher Corps members, played key roles in the school’s drastic graduation rate turnaround. Between 2010 and 2014, the school increased its graduation rate by nearly 30 percent and rose from failing to “B” status.

“This is my sixth year in education,” Kelly said. “I have been able to see how Teacher Corps has transformed (North Panola) over the years. It’s as close as you can get to a ‘Teacher Corps School.’

“There are several other Teacher Corps people at my school. One in her seventh year of teaching and one in her fifth, and before that we had other people who stayed at least four or five years. The program has made a strong lasting impact in that district.”

After their graduate studies, the Kings hope to continue pursuing opportunities in education. Kelly hopes to pursue a leadership position at the district level, helping teachers develop and coordinate curricula, and Derek hopes to one day serve as a full principal or perhaps a career in academic development for student-athletes.

“When two people are doing graduate school at the same time, it’s definitely a big investment,” Derek said. “So, it is amazing to receive this first scholarship. Any amount of scholarship helps, but to have one named after Dr. Mullins makes us both very proud.”