UM Accountancy Professor Wins SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Dale Flesher is active in research, mentoring next generation of accountants

Dale L. Flesher is a respected researcher and teacher in the field of accountancy. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Dale L. Flesher, the Roland and Sheryl Burns Chair and Professor in the Patterson School of Accountancy, is the 2017 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award honoree for the University of Mississippi.

“What an honor it was to be selected from among top-notch faculty at an R1 institution,” Flesher said. “Receiving this award has provided me with more enthusiasm and energy to continue pursuing my research interests.”

To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, an individual must have achieved the rank of full professor at an SEC institution, have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.

“Most of my previous honors have been awarded by organizations in the field of accounting, and it is humbling to be recognized by colleagues in your discipline,” Flesher said. “However, this award is most special because I will have the opportunity to represent all of the faculty across campus at the University of Mississippi, where I have devoted the last 40 years of my career.”

A graduate of the University of Cincinnati and Ball State University, Flesher joined the faculty in 1977. When Flesher was presented the 2005 Thomas J. Burns Biographical Research Award at the Academy of Accountant Historians Hall of Fame Conference, it was noted that “Dr. Flesher has done more biographical research and publishing than anyone in the field of accounting.”

Flesher has authored more than 400 articles in more than 100 professional journals. He has also written 50 books in 91 editions.

His numerous history books include the 50th anniversary history of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the 75th anniversary history of the American Accounting Association, as well as books on the history of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. He has had five tax books published by Commerce Clearing House, and he published a book on the history of the Ole Miss accountancy program.

Flesher has enjoyed an extraordinary 40-year career with the Patterson School of Accountancy and receiving the SEC Academic Achievement Award is a well-deserved honor, Dean Mark Wilder said.

“Dr. Flesher has served on the dissertation committees of 48 of our Patterson School Ph.D. graduates, chairing half of these dissertations,” he said. “He has made a tremendous impact on the profession through his mentorship of these doctoral graduates, many of whom are in leadership positions in academic institutions across the nation and world.

“Dr. Flesher has played a key leadership role in the successes of the Patterson School over the years and in our ability to have one of the top accountancy programs in the nation. We are honored that he has been selected for this prestigious award.”

Flesher is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Institute of CPAs, Mississippi Society of CPAs, American Taxation Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, Association of Government Accountants, Institute of Management Accountants, American Accounting Association and the Academy of Accounting Historians, which he served as international president in 1988. He served as editor of The Accounting Historians Journal from 1989 through 1994. He previously edited the Accounting Historians Notebook for 10 years.

He has received outstanding educator or outstanding researcher awards from the American Institute of CPAs, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Academy of Accounting Historians, the Mississippi Society of CPAs and other organizations.

Flesher’s stellar reputation helped bring the American Institute of CPA’s library to the Oxford campus, creating one of the world’s best and largest accounting research resources. He was also instrumental in establishing the university’s Tax History Research Center, Electronic Data Processing Auditing Archival Center and the McMickle Rare Book Library.

The 2011 recipient of UM’s Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, Flesher said he is dedicated to training the next generation of accountancy professors by mentoring graduate students in the field. The 2011 recipient of the AICPA National Outstanding Educator Award, Flesher is among only five accounting faculty from SEC institutions to receive this award throughout its 32-year history. He is associate dean of the UM School of Accountancy and coordinator of all its graduate programs.

“For 40 years now, Dr. Flesher has helped define excellence at the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “This award is another recognition of his role as an outstanding academic leader, an empowering mentor, a committed teacher and one of the most prolific contributors in his field.

“Dr. Flesher’s selection for this award contributes to the national standing of the School of Accountancy and reflects the university’s commitment to learning, discovery and engagement.”

Interim Provost Noel Wilkin agreed.

“It is a great honor for Dr. Dale Flesher to be named our recipient of the SEC Faculty Achievement Award,” he said. “This recognition is a testament to his outstanding contributions to the academy.”

Selected by a committee of SEC provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference.

SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners get a $5,000 honorarium from the conference and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The Professor of the Year, to be named in April, receives an additional $15,000 and will be recognized at the SEC Awards dinner.

Flesher listed three possible uses for his honorarium, two of which involve donating the funds to the university.

“My wife and I have set up an endowment with the University Foundation that supports scholarships for worthy accountancy students, so some of the money may go into that endowment,” he said. Flesher’s wife, Tonya, is also an accountancy professor and a former dean of the School of Accountancy.

“Another option is to donate some of the funds to the university’s Friends of the Library program, of which my wife and I are both life members. I have been a longtime supporter of the J. D. Williams Library, perhaps even more so since it became the ‘National Library of the Accountancy Profession.’ Ole Miss has the largest accountancy library in the world, and I want to be sure it stays that way.”

Flesher said he also has considered holding out a portion of the funds to travel to work with coauthors and to visit sites with primary data sources to help enhance his research.

Ole Miss Insurance Symposium Tackles Critical Issues

Risk Management and Insurance program hosts 22nd annual meeting of industry leaders

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (left) and Andre Liebenberg (right), associate professor of finance, congratulate Bill Bryson of Jackson, a member of the first class of Ole Miss risk management and insurance graduates in 1947, at the Ole Miss Insurance Symposium. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Key industry issues, including the Affordable Care Act and catastrophe management, were examined in depth at the annual Ole Miss Insurance Symposium, hosted for the 22nd consecutive year by the University of Mississippi’s risk management and insurance program.

The event, held March 22-23 at The Inn at Ole Miss, continues to attract industry leaders to campus and is one of the hallmark events of the School of Business Administration.

Andre Liebenberg, associate professor of finance and the university’s Gwenette P. and Jack W. Robertson Chair of Insurance, praised the Ole Miss Insurance Advisory Board for developing this year’s program.

“We are proud to host over 200 industry guests on our beautiful campus and to showcase our nationally ranked program and, more generally, our exceptional university and town,” Liebenberg said. “In addition to being our largest fundraiser, the symposium provides us an opportunity to serve the industry by providing continuing education.”

Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration, praised the dynamic lineup of presenters.

“We are thrilled that the RMI program is able to attract first-rate speakers (and) attendees and provide such an extraordinary experience for leaders in the insurance industry,” Cyree said.

Leigh Ann Pusey, president and CEO of the American Insurance Association, opened the symposium with a discussion of critical issues facing the industry in 2017. She noted the need for talent in the insurance industry and commended the RMI program on the strength of its students.

“Life is full of ethical dilemmas, and we have to make decision,” said Lance Ewing, executive vice president of risk management for Cotton Holdings Inc., who led the large audience through a myriad of situations where their judgement would be called into action.

Using leadership examples of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler, along with corporate policies of Caesars Casino and Wal-Mart, Ewing weaved through complicated situations and philosophies RMI industry professionals deal with often.

“We are in the business of ethics,” he said. “Our word is our bond.”

Introduced by his daughter, Isabelle, a sophomore from Southlake, Texas, David Repinski, CEO for the Americas of Cunningham Lindsey and a self-admitted “claims guy,” discussed catastrophe management.

“Plan when the skies are blue,” Repinski said. “Make sure your team knows what to do when a cat happens.

“Run drills. Find out who is available to be on site when it happens, and who is around to rapidly process 5,000 claims if necessary.”

The worst catastrophes of the past 15 years were the 2011 flood in Bangkok, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, followed by Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. in 2005, Repinski said.

Cunningham Lindsey is the second-largest insurance concern of its kind in the world, with offices in 63 countries and annual revenue of nearly a billion dollars.

In a concurrent session, Aaron Sisk, president and CEO of Magnolia Health Plan, spoke about the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the implications of the potential changes in health insurance legislation for insurers and citizens of Mississippi.

“The two biggest challenges in our industry are lack of human capital and technology,” said Glenn Spencer, COO and president of Lockton U.S., who spoke to a packed room of industry practitioners and Ole Miss students.

“If we aren’t growing, we can’t award and retain our people. We want to be the best place in the world to work.”

In an address to the group, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter congratulated the insurance program on its 70th anniversary and recognized alumnus Bill Bryson, a member of the first class of graduates in 1947.  He acknowledged the program’s high job placement rate for graduates and noted that its rank has risen to the ninth-largest RMI program in the country.

“It is a common will and drive to always get better,” Vitter said. “Nothing is more important than higher education. It inspires innovation and allows people to improve their lives.”

The chancellor emphasized the UM community’s commitment to service locally and around the globe.

“We focus on the people and resources of our state to make a difference around the globe,” Vitter said.

Hank Watkins, president of North American operations for Lloyd’s of London, presented a brief history of the company, which was founded by Edward Lloyd in 1688, and explained that few new insurance companies are being launched because start-up costs and risks are intimidatingly high.

Many new industry professionals use Lloyd’s as a start-up incubator to grow their own businesses underneath the Lloyd’s umbrella. The firm has a franchise board to make sure compliance issues are met, he said.

The symposium concluded with a panel featuring Mike Chaney, Mississippi insurance commissioner, and Joel Wood, senior vice president of government affairs for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers.

Chaney and Wood led the audience through a lively discussion of insurance concerns in Mississippi under the Trump administration, regarding flood issues and the low tax rate the state receives. They examined efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which failed the day after the symposium concluded.

The UM School of Business Administration was established in 1917 and the insurance major was introduced in 1947. For more information on the RMI program, go to http://www.olemissbusiness.com/rmi/.

UM Student Wins Phi Beta Kappa Writing Internship

Kathryn James will submit articles for academic honor society's online newsletter

Triple major Kathryn James is a 2017 Phi Beta Kappa writing intern. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Kathryn James may not make a penny on any of the articles she writes for The Key Reporter, Phi Beta Kappa’s online newsletter, but the University of Mississippi student is grateful to have been awarded a writing internship from the prestigious academic honor society.

“I was surprised, as I didn’t know the position existed, honored that Dr. (John) Samonds thought of me to represent the university in the competition, and humbled to be chosen,” said James, a senior triple majoring in public policy leadership, economics and Southern studies from Mandeville, Louisiana.

“While I do not endeavor to write professionally, earning this position testifies to my ability to engage with other nationally recognized undergraduates.”

PBK’s writing internship program is primarily for juniors and seniors majoring in liberal arts or sciences who attend institutions where chapters are sheltered. Interns must make a five-month commitment to the program and prepare a minimum of six publishable articles for The Key Reporter.

Interns write and conduct research from their home campuses. Besides being good writers, interns need to be able to work independently and meet deadlines with a minimum of oversight and supervision. They must accept assigned topics and/or pitch their stories to the editor for approval before a completed article is submitted.

“I submitted my first piece on March 1 and have submitted two more since,” James said. “My writing has, thus far, profiled members of Phi Beta Kappa who break barriers in their membership, scholarship and/or professional lives.

“I have profiled the first African-American woman to gain membership in Phi Beta Kappa, a recent graduate and national scholarship winner – Truman and Mitchell scholarships – working in racial opportunity gaps, and a woman pioneer of computing language.”

James’ first published article is available at http://www.keyreporter.org/PbkNews/PbkNews/Details/2202.html.

The organization does not guarantee that every submitted article will be published. But even with no pay or guarantee of publication, it is an honor for James to have been chosen as an intern, said Luanne Buchanan, UM instructional associate professor of Spanish and secretary-treasurer of the campus PBK chapter.

“Kathryn earned the honor,” Buchanan said. “Dr. (Sandra) Spiroff encouraged her to apply for it.”

Spiroff, associate professor of mathematics and chapter vice president, was made aware of James’ writing talents by John Samonds, associate dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“After she expressed interest in the internship, I solicited writing samples from her, offered some small critiques and put her name forward to the society,” Spiroff said. “I was very impressed with Kathryn’s writing ability.

“I was hopeful that she would receive the internship since I have rarely seen a student write so well, engaging the interest of the reader.”

Each intern receives full credit for his/her work. Those who complete the program receive a formal certificate from Phi Beta Kappa and may request a letter of recommendation from the program.

“I see this opportunity as an extension of the honor that is Phi Beta Kappa,” James said. “It speaks to the confidence my university community has in my academic ability.”

For more information about the Phi Beta Kappa writing internship program, visit http://keyreporter.org/PbkNews/PbkNews/Details/912.html or email Spiroff at spiroff@olemiss.edu. The next deadline for applications is April 21 and the chapter is seeking interested students.

UM Honors College to Dedicate Expanded Building Thursday

Project added classrooms, study areas and space to 'dive deep' into discussions

UM officials will dedicate the expanded and renovated Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College during ceremonies Thursday afternoon. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Students, faculty and administrators will gather Thursday afternoon (March 30) at the University of Mississippi to celebrate the dedication of the expanded and renovated home of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

The ceremony, set for 3 p.m. in the building’s great room just inside the west entrance, officially concludes a project that doubled the size of the Honors College’s physical space and renovated the existing structure.

The expansion added 15,000 square feet, including new classrooms, study areas, offices and student lounges. Moving into the new space was “a 10-year dream come true,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, Honors College dean.

“The gift of the new and renovated building provides extraordinary public spaces for our students to dive deep into the questions that challenge us all,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “Our students enjoy deep conversations, and this is a welcoming space that encourages us to take time to engage in the thorny issues of the day.”

The ceremony is to feature remarks by Marcus Thompson, chief administrative officer and chief of staff for the State Institutions of Higher Learning; Honors College alumni Dr. Marc Walker and Christin Gates Calloway; and Jim Barksdale, who helped launch the Honors College when he and his late wife, Sally McDonnell Barksdale, agreed to invest $5.4 million to expand the university’s Honors Program in 1997.

A public reception follows the program, and student ambassadors will conduct tours of the facility.

The program has grown tremendously from its initial class of 121 students in 1997 to a student body of more than 1,400 this year. The Honors College annually attracts high-performing students from across the state and country; the average ACT score for incoming scholars last fall was 30.9, and the average high school GPA was 3.97.

Praised as one of the nation’s best honors programs, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College attracts acclaim for its blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

“The Honors College is an example of the extraordinary personalized opportunities available to students at the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Across our campus, faculty and staff are dedicated to transforming lives through education and service to the community, and this program helps us attract the ‘best and the brightest’ to Ole Miss.”

The $6.9 million expansion and renovation project positions the Honors College to continue its leadership role on campus and across the region, Sullivan-Gonzalez said.

“This provides the needed infrastructure to assure that this program will be the ‘tip of the spear’ to lead the university’s academic charge for years to come,” he said.

For more information on the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, go to http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/.

Two Honors College Students Receive Barksdale Awards

John Chappell and Elizabeth Taylor each given $5,000 to fulfill dream projects

Barksdale Award winners (from left) Elizabeth Taylor and John Chappell are congratulated by Dean Douglass Sullivan-Gonzales during the Sally McDonell Barksdale Honors College’s annual spring convocation. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – With $5,000 awards to support separate creative projects, two students in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi students have been named 2017 Barksdale Award winners.

John Chappell, a sophomore Arabic and international studies major from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Elizabeth Taylor, a junior sociology major from Sherman, Texas, were presented the awards during the Honors College’s annual spring convocation earlier this month.

The Barksdale Awards were established in 2005 to encourage students to test themselves in environments beyond the classroom, teaching lab or library. Chappell and Taylor are the 21st and 22nd recipients of the honor.

“I am very proud of these two citizen scholars,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College. “They demonstrate what is possible when you confront a question with both mind and heart, and a willingness to risk failure. Good for both of them. We can’t wait to see what comes from their efforts.”

Chappell is planning a comparative study of local water politics in Morocco and New Mexico. Taylor will spend a month in Dublin, Ireland, in association with Ruhama, a nongovernmental organization that has been successful working with those affected by sex trafficking and prostitution.

“I suspect that the water politics or irrigation systems in both Morocco and New Mexico show the influence of Arab institutions,” said Chappell, who expects to graduate in May 2019 with a focus in Middle East and international governance and politics. “I hope to test this hypothesis and also to learn more about the socio-political structures at work in water-scarce environments in general.”

A Croft Scholar and the winner of UM’s 2016 Arabic Language Award, Chappell spent last summer in Morocco. There, he used his Arabic to communicate with Moroccan artisans in arranging for high-quality, fair trade art for sale internationally.

He is former president and founder of Rebels for Global Opportunity, an international advocacy group focusing on U.S.-international development policy. He is also president and board member of Rebel Global Connections, which seeks to introduce elementary students to world cultures through intercultural events in schools.

Chappell has worked as a research assistant to Vivian Ibrahim, Croft associate professor of history and international studies.

“John possesses proven research, language and interpersonal skills,” Ibrahim wrote in a letter of recommendation. “He is dynamic. More than that, he is genuinely inquisitive.”

The first person to receive a Barksdale Award through the Honors College’s junior entry program, Taylor transferred to Ole Miss after completing her associate’s degree from Grayson College in Denison, Texas, graduating summa cum laude. She was president of the Grayson Honors College, a delegate to Model UN, a Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Scholar and a District Two Hall of Honor member.

Taylor was also an All-USA Scholar, Pierce Scholar, Guistwhite Scholar and a New Century Scholar.

“By creating an organizational ethnography of Ruhama, I want to figure out how to create similar nonjudgmental social, psychological and infrastructure support in the U.S.,” she said.

Taylor understands firsthand about food pantries, being hungry and surviving sexual assault.

“By the age of 9, I had lost my father and both grandmothers to cancer,” she said. “My mother, who struggled with drug addiction, was in and out of prison before being diagnosed with leukemia.”

Defying the odds, Taylor continues to achieve at the highest levels. At UM, she is involved with both McLean Mentors and Rebels Against Sexual Assault. She was also 2015-16 Phi Theta Kappa International vice president of Division ll.

Taylor also worked with James Thomas, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, in exploring how water policy is formulated and how it impacts disadvantaged communities.

“Elizabeth’s proposal is bold, ambitious and has the potential to shape important social policies at the national and international levels,” Thomas wrote in a letter of recommendation. “When Elizabeth sets her mind to something, the sky is the limit for her.”

For more information about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/.

UM Pharmacy Student Accepts Internship at Mayo Clinic

Anna Crider hopes to use experience to move into critical-care role

Anna Crider, a UM senior and first-year pharmacy student, has accepted an offer to intern this summer at the Mayo Clinic in its clinical pharmacy department in Rochester, Minnesota. Photo by UM School of Pharmacy.

OXFORD, Miss. – Anna Crider, a first-year pharmacy student at the University of Mississippi, has accepted a pharmacy inpatient internship through the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences in Rochester, Minnesota.

Mayo Clinic and St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester partner to give interns exposure to clinical pharmacy while they gain a better understanding of the pharmacist’s role and intervention in the hospital setting.

“The coursework and the rigor of it at our pharmacy school have really made me confident in my ability to say ‘Yes, I can compete on a national level across all pharmacy schools,'” said Crider, a native of Brentwood, Tennessee.

During the 10-week internship, Crider will spend time collecting medical histories of patients and work under pharmacists in the central dispensing unit.

Crider’s academic and thesis adviser, Erin Holmes, credits this internship offer to the extensive education at the UM School of Pharmacy.

“The Mayo Clinic pharmacy internship is, without question, one of the most prestigious summer internship programs in the country,” Holmes said. “For one of our students to be selected for this internship validates the high standards expected in our program and quality of our training.

“Anna is truly deserving of this opportunity, as she is extremely bright, very hardworking, has a passion for learning and is always seeking ways to grow professionally.”

Crider is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, where she is working on her thesis, “Mississippi Pharmacists’ Perceptions and Knowledge of ADHD in Children.”

Aside from her role as a first-year pharmacy student, Crider works as a pharmacy technician in the Oxford community. She is also active in community service organizations such as Relay for Life and RebelTHON.

A senior, Crider is on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences in May. She plans to pursue a critical-care pharmacy role in a clinical setting after completing her residency.

“I hope to be able to serve patients and be an advocate for them in their time of need,” she said.

For more information on the UM School of Pharmacy, call 662-915-7267 or visit http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/.

UM Pharmacy Administrator Named APhA Fellow

Award honors service to the pharmacy profession

Leigh Ann Ross

OXFORD, Miss. – Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is being named a 2017 fellow by the American Pharmacists Association this weekend.

The designation honors those with a history of exemplary service and achievement in the pharmacy profession for at least 10 years. Ross will receive the award Saturday (March 25) at the APhA annual meeting in San Francisco.

Ross is also a professor of pharmacy practice and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the pharmacy school. She earned both her bachelor’s degree and Pharm.D. from Ole Miss and completed a primary care pharmacy residency at the UM Medical Center in Jackson.

“The School of Pharmacy is very proud to call Dr. Ross one of its leaders,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “She has served the profession and the school extremely well for many years, and I applaud her on this honor.”

Ross previously served as the director of the university’s Pharmaceutical Care Services from 2000 to 2008, during which time the pharmaceutical care clinics won a Best Practice Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. She went on to be the chair of the school’s Department of Pharmacy Practice from 2008 to 2016.

Besides her service to the school, Ross is director of the Community-Based Research Program which implements direct patient care services in community pharmacies and clinics in the Mississippi Delta. She served as a policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran on health care, labor, housing and economic development after completing a two-year congressional fellowship.

She also has held leadership positions in many state and national pharmacy organizations.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by APhA as a fellow,” Ross said. “I’m most appreciative of the mentorship that has been provided and the friendships that have been developed through my involvement in APhA. I look forward to many more years of service in APhA and pharmacy.”

Center for Manufacturing Excellence Receives Gifts from Milwaukee Tool

Wisconsin-based manufacturer delivered tool sets, equipment for UM students' use

UM engineering students Ashley Irons (left) and Vera Gardner (right) enjoy opening Milwaukee Tool packages as Satoka Watanabe (center), adjunct associate professor, shares the moment. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi received a generous gift Thursday (March 23) from Milwaukee Electric Tool Co.

Three representatives from one of the nation’s leading power tool manufacturers delivered more than a dozen toolboxes, power tools and accessories to the CME. University administrators and students welcomed the visitors and thanked them for the donations.

“The CME team is honored and humbled by this most generous gift from Milwaukee Tool,” said Scott Kilpatrick, CME associate director of internal operations. “We are thankful to the company leadership for their commitment to supporting our students and this manufacturing program.

“These tools will provide an outstanding environment for our students to use on a daily basis, and will hopefully be just the first step of many forms of collaboration between the university and Milwaukee Tool.”

A Brookfield, Wisconsin-based subsidiary of Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., Milwaukee Tool is a manufacturer and marketer of professional, heavy-duty power tools and accessories. The company has three facilities in Mississippi: manufacturing operations in Greenwood and Jackson, and a distribution facility in Olive Branch.

Jack Bilotta, director of the company’s Greenwood plant, was accompanied by Chris Greer, continuous improvement manager at Greenwood, and Dale Russell Sr., manager of human resources at Greenwood.

“Our objective is to recruit the best talent possible and preferably people with Mississippi ties,” Bilotta said. “The addition of the CME and their growth strategy aligns very well with what our business needs. There is no question that Ole Miss is turning out some of the very best every year.”

Discussions leading to Thursday’s donation began last fall when company officials visited the center.

“Some members of the Milwaukee Tool leadership team visited the campus and immediately recognized the value in partnering with the university,” said William Nicholas, director of economic development at UM’s Insight Park.

“The donation of power tools and equipment helps cultivate brand awareness among students and provides Milwaukee Tool a great opportunity to hire some of our best and brightest after graduation. They provide an innovative company culture that will appeal to many of our students.”

The company’s engagement is not intended to be a one-year involvement, but to build a partnership that grows over the years, the representatives said.

The donation of tools will be crucial in supporting various labs and course projects that are part of the center’s program, Kilpatrick said.

“For example, when senior capstone teams are working on their final projects, they will be using the best tools available on the market,” he said. “From a functionality standpoint, it is hard to quantify how immensely helpful that will be.”

Additionally, from a cultural viewpoint, the Milwaukee Tool brand will be present in the minds of Ole Miss students, Kilpatrick said.

“This is a company that is a global leader in their industry but also has a very strong presence here in Mississippi,” he said. “This will certainly send an encouraging message to students about potential future professional opportunities with the company, as well.”

“We want the CME to have the very best of what is available in Mississippi,” Bilotta said. “A world-class facility should only have world-class equipment.”

UM administrators, faculty and students welcome representatives from Milwaukee Tool as they deliver power tools and equipment to the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Pictured are (front row, from left), UM students Ashley Irons and Vera Gardner; Sakota Watanabe, adjunct associate professor; Cris Greer, continuous improvement manager for the company’s Greenwood plant; Chancellor Jeffery Vitter; Jack Bilotta, director of the Greenwood plant; and William Gottshall, CME interim director; and (rear, from left) Scott Kilpatrick, CME associate director of internal operations; Alice Clark, vice chancellor for university relations; William Nicholas, director of economic development at Insight Park; Tyler Biggs, CME admissions counselor; UM student James Halbrook; Dale Russell, manager of human resources at the Greenwood plant; and James Vaughan, CME director emeritus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Administrators anticipate future collaborations with Milwaukee Tool, Kilpatrick said.

“From the perspective of the CME, this is the type of partnership that can benefit all parties and clearly serves the mission of our center,” he said. “One of our primary goals is to support and serve manufacturers here in Mississippi, and an essential method that we use to accomplish that goal is to provide an educational and experiential program that prepares graduates to serve as leaders in the manufacturing industry.

“So the aim here is clear; we plan to provide Milwaukee Tool with talented graduates to help lead their operations while also exposing our students to fantastic career opportunities as well.”

Several CME students present expressed their appreciation for the new tools and equipment.

“This is like Christmas in so many ways,” said James Halbrook, a sophomore chemical engineering major from Madison. “Milwaukee Tool has given us everything we need and more to do our best work.”

Vera Gardner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Memphis, Tennessee, agreed.

“These will come in very handy as we complete our senior design capstone project,” she said. “We will definitely use the equipment in the production phase.”

Milwaukee Tools officials said they are certain UM graduates can and will find employment within the company’s Mississippi plants.

“We have a year-over-year need for the top engineering talent, adding as many as 10 or more to our facility each year,” Bilotta said. “We want to be a part of keeping Mississippi talent in Mississippi. It’s a ‘win-win’ for all involved.”

The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence was established in June 2008 to provide unique opportunities for students interested in manufacturing. The opportunities developed are considered distinctive to the CME and are not available to undergraduate students at other universities in the United States.

For more information about the CME, visit http://www.cme.ms/.

For more information on the full line of Milwaukee power tools and accessories, call 1-800-SAWDUST or visit http://www.milwaukeetool.com.

UM English Major Wins Prize at Southern Literary Festival

Junior Page Lagarde took top honor in nonfiction category

Page Lagarde recently won the nonfiction category at the Southern Literary Festival. Submitted Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Page Lagarde has always aspired to write professionally. Still, the University of Mississippi junior wasn’t expecting her first entry in a prestigious regional competition to win first place.

An English and French major from Winchester, Virginia, Lagarde won in the nonfiction category at the Southern Literary Festival. Besides receiving a cash prize, she will read her story at the event, set for March 30-April 1 at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

“I was so surprised,” she said. “I found out via email while studying with friends, and they can tell you that I gasped very audibly. It was very exciting!”

Lagarde won for a story titled “To Thaw.” In the piece, the fledgling author reflects upon an Outward Bound dogsledding experience she had.

“It’s a story about faith and surrender when we’re pushed to our limits,” she said. “This is the first writing contest I’ve ever entered, so this one is particularly exciting because I want to eventually be a published writer.”

Lagarde deserves the recognition, said Ivo Kamps, UM professor and chair of English.

“Page’s win is a testament to her talents, and we like to think that the instruction she received in her English and creative writing classes also played a role,” Kamps said. “Thanks to Beth Spencer, lecturer in English, the English department has had robust student participation in the Southern Literary Festival in recent years.

“Each year, Ms. Spencer mentors some of our fine young writers and takes them to the festival, where they can meet their peers as well as a group of impressive professional writers.”

While Lagarde is still processing this honor, she already has her sights set on even bigger achievements.

“After graduation, I hope to pursue an MFA in fiction writing,” she said. “After that, I want to continue writing and also teach.”

As for her publishing dreams, Lagarde said she remains hopeful.

“Creative writing is a fairly new endeavor for me, and I know that it’s so hard to be successful in this field,” she said. “This was really encouraging.”

The Southern Literary Festival is an organization of Southern colleges and schools founded in 1937 to promote Southern literature. For more about the event, go to http://www.southernliteraryfestival.com/.

For more information about the UM Department of English, visit http://english.olemiss.edu.

 

UM Museum Readies Major Exhibition Honoring Kate Freeman Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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