Ole Miss Announces 2014 Racial Reconciliation Week Activities

Second Annual Events Will Take Place Sept. 22-27

The Chucky Mullins statue stands in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Chucky Mullins statue stands in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Department of Athletics and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation have announced a slate of activities for the 2014 Racial Reconciliation Week, which runs Monday through Saturday (Sept. 22-27).

Racial Reconciliation Week began in 2013 with a week of events dedicated to promoting racial equity and encouraging dialogue on the topic.

Highlights from the week include the first on-campus screening of the “SEC Storied: It’s Time – Chucky Mullins, ” which details the story of former Ole Miss football player Chucky Mullins, and a campus panel discussion of race and pop culture. Additionally, the Winter Institute will celebrate its 15th anniversary.

The week kicks off Monday with a showing of the movie “Come Hell or High Water: The Battle of Turkey Creek” at 6 p.m. at Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics auditorium. The movie documents the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Evans and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians, and face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.

Several dedications are planned throughout the week, including the Chucky Mullins Drive dedication on Friday. The university is renaming Coliseum Drive as Chucky Mullins Drive in memory of the late Ole Miss football player. The dedication will take place on the School of Law courtyard at 2:30 p.m. All 25 winners of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award have been invited to attend.

“Partnering with the Winter Institute for a week of reconciliation is an honor and privilege for Ole Miss athletics,” Athletics Director Ross Bjork said. “Our commitment to giving back to the community through our core values stands strong each day, and events like this further strengthen our purpose.

“This year has special meaning as we honor the legacy and spirit of Roy Lee ‘Chucky’ Mullins and all that he has contributed to the university and athletics. We are humbled to be a small part of the never-ending crusade of respect and dignity for all humankind.”

The Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement also will have a dedication on Wednesday, and the M-Club Hall of Fame will induct six new members on Friday.

Jennifer Saxon, assistant athletics director for student-athlete development who has played a huge role in helping spearhead the second annual slate of Racial Reconciliation Week events, said she is pleased with the ability to engage in positive conversation regarding the issue of race.

“I am thrilled that for a second year we can continue this week of impactful activities that showcases our relationship with the William Winter Institute,” Saxon said. “The institute’s work, not only locally, but nationally, speaks volumes about the progress we have made as we continue to educate in an effort to heal. We were able to create programming opportunities for the campus and Oxford community that highlight campus resources while engaging positive conversation.”

The observance culminates with the Ole Miss vs. Memphis football game on Saturday. During the game, both Racial Reconciliation Week and the Winter Institute will be recognized on the field, and the Nathaniel Northington Groundbreaker in Athletics Award will be presented to former Ole Miss head football coach Billy Brewer and former Vanderbilt football player Brad Gaines.

Northington, who participated in the inaugural Racial Reconciliation Week in 2013, was the first African-American football player in the SEC. Northington broke the “color barrier” by becoming the first African-American to play any sport in the SEC when Kentucky played Ole Miss in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1967.The author of “Still Running,” Northington received the inaugural Groundbreaker in Athletics award.

“I cannot express what a great symbiosis is being created between athletics and the Winter Institute,” said Susan Glisson, executive director of the institute. “We’re already doing so much good work together, both on campus and off, and we’ve only just begun.

“Ross Bjork had a great idea to launch Racial Reconciliation Week last year and it lifts up our partnership to a level that folks can see. I’m thankful that we’re having a second Racial Reconciliation Week this year and I look forward to many more, symbolizing a long and fruitful partnership. ”

The university’s Winter Institute works in communities and classrooms, in Mississippi and beyond, to support a movement of racial equity and wholeness as a pathway to ending and transcending all discrimination based on difference.

The week’s full schedule includes:

Monday, Sept. 22

  • Movie: Come Hell or High Water: The Battle of Turkey Creek
    • Location: Overby Center Auditorium
    • Time: 6 p.m.
    • Moderator: Reilly Morse, president and CEO, Mississippi Center for Justice

Tuesday, Sept. 23

  • Campus Panel Discussion: Race and Pop Culture
    • Location: Overby Center Auditorium
    • Time: 6 p.m.
    • Moderator: Melody Frierson, youth engagement coordinator, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

Wednesday, Sept. 24

  • Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement Dedication & Reception
    • Location: Stewart Hall (Center)
    • Time: 2 p.m.
  • Integrated Community Service (Optional)
    • Location: Paris-Yates Chapel
    • Time: 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

  • Redefining the Welcome Table: Inclusion and Exclusion in American Foodways

Southern Foodways Alliance and William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

2014 Graduate Student Conference

  • Location: The Depot
  • Time: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • SEC Storied: It’s Time – Chucky Mullins
    • Location: Weems Auditorium, School of Law
    • Time: 6 p.m.
    • Moderators:
      • Deano Orr, Ole Miss linebacker (1990-1993) and executive director of IP Foundation
      • Micah Ginn, associate athletics director for sports production and creative services, Ole Miss Department of Athletics

Friday, Sept. 26

  • Redefining the Welcome Table: Inclusion and Exclusion in American Foodways

Southern Foodways Alliance and William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

2014 Graduate Student Conference

  • Location: The Depot
  • Time: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Chucky Mullins Drive Dedication
    • Time: 2:30 p.m.
    • Location: School of Law courtyard
  • Winter Institute 15th Anniversary Celebration & Open House
    • Time 4 p.m.
    • Location: Lamar Hall, Third Floor, Suite A
  • M-Club Hall of Fame Induction Reservations Required
    • The Inn at Ole Miss, Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom
    • Time: 6 p.m.

   Saturday, Sept. 27

  • Ole Miss vs. Memphis Football Game
    • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
    • Time: 6:30 p.m.

-UM-

Media Contact:

Jessica Poole

Jepoole1@olemiss.edu

662-816-3877

UM Chemistry Professor, Postdoc Win R&D Magazine Top 100 Award

Collaborative research with ORNL yields breakthrough aluminum plating technology

Dr. Hussey with one of his students.

Dr. Charles Hussey with postdoctoral research associate Li-Hsien Chou.

OXFORD, Miss. – A revolutionary aluminum plating process developed at the University of Mississippi has been recognized as one of the most technologically significant products of 2014.

The Portable Aluminum Deposition System, or PADS, invented in the laboratory of UM chemistry chair and professor Charles Hussey, is a winner in R&D Magazine‘s 52nd annual R&D 100 Awards. The international competition recognizes excellence across a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, optics, high-energy physics, materials science chemistry and biotechnology. The award is considered to be the “Oscar” for inventors.

The work in Hussey’s lab is part of a larger project and carried out in collaboration with Sheng Dai and other scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the United Technologies Research Center. At UM, Hussey worked closely with postdoctoral research associate Li-Hsien Chou to develop PADS. This aluminum plating technology is expected to replace hazardous coatings such as cadmium, thereby potentially strengthening the competitiveness of American manufacturing companies worldwide and cutting the cost of aluminum plating by a factor of 50 to 100.

PADS allows manufacturers to safely conduct aluminum deposition in open atmosphere for the first time. Aluminum cannot be plated from water or most other solvents, so a special electrolyte that enables the safe plating is a critical part of the device.

“As basic scientists studying fundamental process and phenomena, so much of what we do is not immediately useful or obvious to society,” Hussey said. “Here, we have made something unique and obviously useful. This is very satisfying.”

Chou, who earned her doctorate under Professor I-Wen Sun at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, is Hussey’s “academic granddaughter” because Sun is one of Hussey’s first doctoral graduates, having earned his Ph.D. at UM in 1989.

Winning the R&D award is a dream come true for Chou.

“Every scientist dreams one day to develop a useful product with their name on it, and we did,” Chou said. “I am so happy we can bring this recognition to Ole Miss.”

Hussey said he is pleased with his Chou’s contributions to the project.

“I am very proud of her and hope this will benefit her career,” he said. “After all, this is really what we do or should be doing in academia, developing people and helping them to be successful in their careers and lives.”

The judges were impressed by the development of a process to use air-sensitive ionic liquids in the open atmosphere to make an air-stable plating system.

“The availability of air-stable plating systems allows the technology to be used in the field, giving PADS a competitive advantage,” said Paul Livingstone, senior editor of R&D Magazine. “The technology’s lower cost of use and prospect for displacing toxic corrosion protection alternatives were additional factors that contributed to the selection of this winning technology.”

Research on the technology was stimulated by a research contract from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense to UM through ORNL. Plated aluminum is a protective coating and offers corrosion protection to any underlying metal.

Hussey has worked on ionic liquid projects for many years, including various U.S. Department of Energy projects involving the development of ionic liquid-based processes for the treatment of spent nuclear fuel.

The 2014 R&D 100 Awards banquet is set for Nov. 7 at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit http://www.rdmag.com/award-winners/2014/07/2014-r-d-100-award-winners. For more information about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, go to http://chemistry.olemiss.edu.

Origin of Universe Topic of Sept. 23 Science Café

Postdoctoral researcher working at LIGO is speaker

Science Cafe

The September Science Cafe is set for Sept. 23.

OXFORD, Miss. – The origins of the universe is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s second meeting of the Oxford Science Café is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Shivaraj Kandhasamy, a UM postdoctoral research associate working at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, facility in Louisiana, will discuss “The Big Bang and Its Cosmic Messengers.” Admission is free.

“If the universe started with a big bang, traces of the primordial explosion should be observed in the form of electromagnetic radiation, gravitational waves and neutrinos across the sky,” Kandhasamy said. “The next generation of gravitational wave ground- or space-based detectors may directly detect these gravitational waves.”

Kandhasamy’s 30-minute presentation will review the beginning of the universe’s expansion, or “explosion,” often called the big bang.

“In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that most of the galaxies are receding with velocities proportional to their distances from the Milky Way,” he said. “This observation suggests that the universe was once very small in size and has expanded ever since.

“The cosmic (microwave) background of electromagnetic radiation was first observed by Penzias and Wilson in 1964. Recently, the BICEP2 experiment reported some indirect evidence for the presence of cosmological primordial gravitational waves.”

Kandhasamy earned his doctorate in physics from the University of Minnesota, master’s from Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, and bachelor’s from the Vivekananda College of MK University in Madurai, India.

His research interests include the detection of gravitational waves using LIGO data. Particularly, his research focuses on the search for stochastic signals, the combination of gravitational waves from sources across the sky that are too faint to observe individually, as well as long-duration transient gravitational wave signals, which may last longer than 10 seconds.

For more information about Oxford Science Café programs, go to http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-5311.

Music of the South Concert Series Continues Sept. 17

Cajun French band Feufollet to perform at Ford Center Studio Theater

Feufollet

Feufollet

OXFORD, Miss. – Cajun roots-rock band Feufollet gives listeners a taste of Louisiana Sept. 17 at the Music of the South Concert Series at the University of Mississippi.

The concert is set for 7 p.m. in the Studio Theater of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The venue has a capacity of 150 people. Tickets are available for $10 through the UM Box Office, 662-915-7411, and at the door.

Feufollet is a Cajun French band deeply rooted in the Francophone soil of their hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. They first came together and recorded in 1995, when they were all in their early teens or younger. Though famous for their renditions of heartbreaking songs and rollicking tunes, the group features original songs that draw on deep roots tempered by a cutting edge of contemporary life.

“Three members of Feufollet came to the Music of the South Symposium in 2013,” said Ted Ownby, director of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “The topic that year was experimentation and innovation, and the band members told some intriguing stories about how, as children, they played music considered traditionally Cajun, and how they have experimented with those traditions while listening to and feeling the influence of all sorts of music. We’re excited to have them performing at the Ford Center.”

The name Feufollet translates to “swamp fire.” Band members Philippe Billeaudeaux, Kelli Jones-Savoy, Chris Stafford, Mike Stafford and Andrew Toups sing and even compose in French, and their music is a blend of modern sounds and ancient styles, mixing zydeco, rock, rhythm and blues, and country.

Billeaudeaux, who plays bass, said he is looking forward the show.

“At the Music of the South Conference last year, we had a great time talking about our musical influences and our creative process, and had the ability to present examples to an interested audience,” he said. “We’re very happy to be asked back, this time with the band.”

The band has been hard at work on its forthcoming album “Two Universes,” which will be its first with new singer-guitarist-fiddler Jones-Savoy and now-full-time keyboardist Toups.

“With the addition to our new members, our sound has helped us move forward,” Billeaudeaux said. “Kelli is rooted in old-time and country music as well as Cajun and Creole, while Toups’ keyboards add new colors to our repertoire.”

Recently, the group won the 2014 Gambit Weekly’s Big Easy Music Award for “Best Cajun Artist.”

The Music of the South Concert Series, which highlights intimate evenings with Southern performers, is a partnership between the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Ford Center that began in 2012. Previous performers include Caroline Herring, Randall Bramblett, Valerie June, Blind Boy Paxton and John “JoJo” Hermann.

UM Enrollment Tops 23,000 Students for Fall Semester

State's flagship university sees improvement in freshman ACT scores, GPAs

Students gather for class outside of Holman and Connor Halls.

Students take advantage of beautiful weather by gathering for class outside Holman and Conner halls.

OXFORD, Miss. – Enrollment at the University of Mississippi surged this fall for the 20th consecutive year, making history with more than 23,000 students across all its campuses for the first time.

Preliminary enrollment figures show a total unduplicated headcount of 23,096, largest in the state. That’s up 805 students from last fall, or 3.6 percent. The figures include the largest freshman class ever for any Mississippi university, a class that sports the highest ACT scores and high school GPAs in Ole Miss history.

“We are very pleased that students and families across Mississippi and throughout America continue to recognize the quality education and outstanding college experience we offer at the University of Mississippi, all at a very competitive price,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “Our faculty and staff work very hard to deliver the very best academic programs for students, and it’s truly rewarding to see those efforts being acknowledged with extraordinary interest in attending our university.”

The incoming freshman class swelled to 3,814 this fall, up 6.5 percent from 3,582 last year. Student retention also remains near record levels, with preliminary reports showing 84.6 percent of last year’s freshmen have returned to campus this fall, the second-highest retention rate in school history.

“While we’re very happy with the endorsement of so many new freshmen this fall, we’re particularly pleased with the success of the first-year programs we have in place to help freshmen adjust to the rigors of a world-class university,” Jones said. “Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college, so we try to give them all the tools they need to be successful during their time on campus and then as they launch their careers.”

Nearly two-thirds, 61.2 percent, of Ole Miss students are from Mississippi, including students from all the state’s 82 counties. The university also attracts students from across the nation and world. Overall, the student body includes representatives from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 92 foreign countries.

Ole Miss By the Numbers.

Ole Miss by the Numbers.

This year’s freshmen are better prepared for college course work, with an average ACT score of 24.3, compared to an average of 24.1 last fall. Their high school GPA increased too, from 3.46 to 3.49. Both measures have increased every year since 2010.

This year’s freshman class includes 57 class valedictorians, 52 salutatorians, 73 student body presidents, 83 Eagle Scouts and 10 Girl Scouts who achieved the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

“Student leaders are an important component of our campus community,” said Morris Stocks, UM provost. “The University of Mississippi has a long history of attracting top students with demonstrated leadership skills. We have the wonderful opportunity to provide a leadership training ground and to influence these young people for a short but important period of time. We are thrilled that this freshman class is filled with future leaders.”

Minority enrollment totaled 5,488 students, or 23.8 percent. African-American enrollment is 3,285 students, or 14.2 percent of overall enrollment.

The student body also is diverse in age and national origin, ranging from four 15-year-old students to an 87-year-old pursuing a bachelor’s degree in French. Two of the 15-year-olds are dually enrolled at Oxford High School and the university. One of the other students, from Vietnam, has not declared a major, and the other is an international studies major from Lee County. The youngest graduate student is an 18-year-old from China who is pursuing a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences.

The university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College continues to expand, enrolling 1,210 students this fall, a more than 15 percent increase since fall 2012. The acclaimed Honors College has a record 373 incoming freshmen, with 54 percent being Mississippi residents. This fall’s honors freshmen have an average ACT of 30.2 and an average high school GPA of 3.93. The college’s facility on Sorority Row is undergoing a major expansion and renovation to accommodate its larger student body.

The university’s undergraduate schools of Accountancy, Engineering, Nursing, and Journalism and New Media all enjoyed double-digit growth. The number of undergraduate students in accountancy hit a record of 962, up from 869 last fall, and enrollment in the School of Journalism and New Media topped 1,000 for the first time – 1,044 this fall, compared to 886 last year.

Students travel across campus in between classes.

Students travel across campus between classes.

In the School of Nursing, based on UM’s Medical Center campus in Jackson, enrollment is up by 18.4 percent this fall, from 685 to 811 students. That follows a 28 percent spike last year. The dramatic growth reflects the school’s emphasis on lifelong learning, from the undergraduate level through its doctoral programs, said Marcia Rachel, the school’s associate dean for academics.

“Faculty members in the School of Nursing have worked hard to make sure all programs are current and relevant, and that the classroom and clinical experiences are distinctive, dynamic and engaging,” Rachel said. “We have excellent pass rates on national licensure and certification exams, and our reputation in the community is solid.

“In short, we are committed to our mission – to develop nurse leaders and improve health through excellence in education, research, practice and service.”

After seven consecutive years of growth, the UM School of Engineering ranks as one of the nation’s fastest growing. The undergraduate enrollment, which topped 1,000 for the first time in 2012, is 1,419 this fall, up from 1,285 last year.

“The UM School of Engineering has always been somewhat of a hidden treasure with small classes and personable faculty,” said Alex Cheng, the school’s dean. “But lately, more and more students from across the country and around the world are discovering just what we have to offer: a first-rate engineering education with the added liberal arts element, preparing our students for leadership positions in their careers.”

The numbers of students majoring in mechanical engineering, geology and geological engineering, and chemical engineering have more than doubled in the past five years. During that time, the school renovated many classrooms and laboratories, and moved its administrative offices into the renovated Brevard Hall. The university also added the Center for Manufacturing Excellence to complement and enhance existing engineering programs.

Another area experiencing rapid growth is the university’s professional pharmacy program, which leads to a Pharm.D. degree and professional certification. The number of students pursuing their Pharm.D. after earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences grew from 232 in 2013 to 290 this fall.

“The growth in our professional program is directly related to the quality pharmacy education that we provide,” pharmacy Dean David D. Allen said. “We’re proud of our program’s accessibility and affordability for both Mississippi students and out-of-state students. Not only do we have a tuition ranked in the country’s lowest 20 percent, but our graduates also have top scores for the national pharmacy licensure exam. I think students are additionally encouraged by our high job placement rate. Nearly 100 percent of our graduates are employed by the time they receive their degrees.”

To help accommodate the growing student population, the university has opened Rebel Market, a totally new dining facility in Johnson Commons, replacing the old cafeteria, as well as several satellite eateries across campus. Construction began this summer on a new residence hall in the Northgate area of campus, and Guess Hall is slated to be demolished soon to make way for two new five-story residence halls on that site.

Construction is continuing on a new facility for the School of Medicine, which will allow the university to increase class sizes, helping train more physicians to serve the state’s health care needs. A major expansion is underway at Coulter Hall, home of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a new water tower is nearly complete near Kinard Hall. Work to renovate and modernize locker rooms and other fitness facilities at the Turner Center should wrap up by the end of the fall semester. Also, a three-year project will begin soon to expand and modernize the Student Union.

For more information on enrollment and programs at UM, go to http://www.olemiss.edu.

UM Showcases Creations of Campus Artists

Ford Center gallery features work of 11 faculty members, Meek Hall hosts graduate student art show

UM Ph.D. Student Alona Alexander, a music education major from Madison, looks at the faculty art exhibit at the Ford Center. Photo by Michael Newsom/University Communications

UM doctoral student Alona Alexander, a music education major from Madison, looks at the faculty art exhibit at the Ford Center. Photo by Michael Newsom/University Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is hosting an art show featuring the work of 11 faculty members in the gallery at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts through Oct. 24.

A reception honoring the artists of the exhibit is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Oct. 9. There’s no admission fee to view the artwork or attend the reception.

The exhibit offers the public a chance to see paintings, prints and mixed media from the Department of Art’s distinguished faculty, said Virginia Rougon Chavis, associate professor and chair of the art department, who is also one of the featured artists.

“Our faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized for their research,” Rougon Chavis said. “This is a great opportunity for the public to see the work of our faculty from the art department right here on campus. While the Ford Center and the university does a great job at bringing outside artists and performers to campus, we also have some wonderful faculty doing exciting things in the area.”

The exhibit features the work of:

  • Paula Temple, professor emeritus of graphic design
  • Robert Malone, adjunct assistant professor of art
  • Ashley Chavis, adjunct assistant professor of art
  • Virginia Rougon Chavis , chair and associate professor of art
  • Ross Turner, visual resources specialist
  • Carlyle Wolfe, adjunct assistant professor of art
  • Brooke White, associate professor of imaging arts
  • Sheri Rieth, associate professor of art
  • Jere Allen, professor emeritus of painting
  • Amy Evans, adjunct art instructor
  • Jan Murray, associate dean of liberal arts and associate professor of art

Also, Gallery 130 in Meek Hall is showing works created by graduate art students in an exhibit running through Oct. 9. A reception is planned at Meek Hall on the same evening as the Ford Center reception, but it runs 4-6 p.m. to allow visitors to attend both events in one evening.

“The graduate students play an important role in the Department of Art,” Rougon Chavis said. “The work they create is more than the acquisition of knowledge under competent instruction. These students make a contribution to the art world that is of original and independent value.”

Khayat Named UM Law Alumnus of the Year

Former chancellor started Law Alumni Chapter while a student

Photo by Robert Jordan

Photo by Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – At the annual Mississippi Bar Convention in Sandestin, Florida, Robert C. Khayat received the 2014 Law Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Mississippi Law Alumni Chapter. Since 1974, the chapter has selected one person annually to receive this distinction. The recipient must have made positive contributions to the legal profession, the law school and the university.

“Former Chancellor Khayat is an outstanding law professor, a respected associate dean and is a dedicated alumnus of the law school,” said Richard Gershon, law school dean. “He is also a great Mississippian, who has done much to help the people of our state. I am honored to work in a building named for him.”

Khayat is one of the law school’s most illustrious graduates. This is noted visibly by the name of the law school building, the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, which was dedicated in April 2011.

Khayat joined the law faculty in 1969, after a successful venture as a lawyer in Pascagoula. He served as a professor and associate dean, teaching local government law, family law, agency and partnership, federal trial practice, torts, civil procedure, and wills and estates. He helped shape generations of legal minds, including noteworthy graduates such as John Grisham.

Gov. William Winter reflected on Khayat’s influence in his address at the law school’s building dedication ceremony.

“Robert Khayat, with a vision of a more open and less insular society, played a major role in the enlightenment of an entire generation of young law students,” Winter said. “He helped develop in them an enhanced appreciation for the majesty of the law and their duty as lawyers to defend our legal and political system against the mindless critics who would profane and diminish it.”

Khayat received a Sterling Fellowship and obtained a master of laws from Yale University and returned to Oxford in 1981.

“The law school experience pulled together everything I had learned prior to 1963, helped me become able to read more retentively, to read more and to understand some of the complex characteristics of individuals and groups of people,” Khayat said. “I learned even more as a member of the faculty; the law school helped me receive a Sterling Fellowship from Yale which culminated in a graduate degree from one of the most respected universities in the world. I doubt that I would have been offered the chancellorship without that degree.”

As an Ole Miss law student, Khayat was articles editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and finished third in his class in 1966.

“From my first class in June of 1963, I felt that the opening of ‘my brain’ happened – I was intrigued, challenged and quickly adjusted to the extensive reading requirements,” Khayat said. “I liked the format of the classes and the interaction between the faculty and among the students. I realized that I was learning that the world is not black and white – that there were usually at least two sides to any issue.”

Khayat also started the Law Alumni Chapter, a group that continues to contribute to the school and alumni base in numerous ways. Coincidentally, his receiving the award at the convention in Sandestin marked exactly 50 years from the formation of the Law Alumni Chapter.

“We typed them on 3×5 index cards,” Khayat said of his gathering information on law graduates for the chapter. “I still remember the first, middle and last names of just about everyone who graduated from the Ole Miss law school.”

Khayat’s leadership extended beyond the walls of the law school. He was an academic All-American football player and was chosen as an All-SEC catcher for the 1959 and 1960 SEC champion baseball teams. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL and the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation.

Serving as chancellor of the university from 1995 until 2009, Khayat improved the university in many tangible ways. He increased enrollment by 43 percent and brought in research and development grants of more than $100 million. He also brought the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa chapter to Ole Miss, as well as the 2008 presidential debate.

Most recently, Khayat won a Silver IPPY for best memoir in the nation awarded for his 2013 book “The Education of a Lifetime.”

With this record, it’s easy to see why Khayat was selected, said Mike Randolph, presiding justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“I can think of no alumnus more deserving of the award,” Randolph said at the ceremony in Destin. “For those of us who were privileged to study under his tutelage, it’s difficult to think of Ole Miss without reflecting on Dr. Khayat’s positive impact on the university, its law school and the alumni of both.”

“If love is the appropriate word for an institution, I love the law school and its people,” Khayat said.

Other notable alumni who have received this recognition previously include Winter, Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Lenore Prather, Professor Bill Champion and Justice Reuben Anderson.

UM Admits 17 into Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program

Second cohort of elite education scholarship shows marked growth

The second cohort of UM's Mississippi Excellence in Teaching program hails from eight states and possesses an average ACT score of 29.1.

The second cohort of UM’s Mississippi Excellence in Teaching program hails from eight states and possesses an average ACT score of 29.1.

OXFORD, Miss. – Seventeen college freshmen gathered at the University of Mississippi’s Lyceum building recently to begin a life-changing college experience as new fellows in the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program.

The METP offers an elite scholarship for top-performing students who seek to become secondary English or mathematics teachers in Mississippi. This group marks the program’s second cohort, hails from eight states and boasts an average ACT score of 29.1.

The program’s inaugural cohort was admitted in August 2013 and included 15 students from three states, with an average ACT of 28.5. The Ole Miss METP chapter has a 100 percent retention rate.

“I’d like to thank each of you for choosing to be part of this program and our university,” Chancellor Dan Jones told the group during the Aug. 22 event. “As teachers, you’re not only going to make a positive difference in the lives of the students you will teach but also in the future of our state as a whole.”

The most valuable education scholarship ever offered in Mississippi, METP was established in January 2012 as a joint venture with Mississippi State University after the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation awarded the two institutions a $12.95 million grant to build the program. METP offers four years of full tuition, room and board, a technology stipend, professional development, study abroad and more. All fellows make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi public schools after graduation.

“This is probably the most signature, high-quality undergraduate teacher preparation program in the nation right now,” said David Rock, dean of the UM School of Education. “METP fellows are not just here for a full scholarship; they’re here for much more. Most education majors don’t start training until their junior year of college, but our fellows start right away.”

The select group includes Mary Kathryn Barry of Charlotte, North Carolina; Ryley Blomberg of Belleville, Illinois; Meaghan Combs of Englewood, Ohio; Marjorie Cox of Tallulah, Louisiana; Rachel Ford of Siloam Springs, Arkansas; Drew Hall of Pearland, Texas; Taylor Huey of Long Beach; Shelby Joyner of Horn Lake; Charlie Kemp of Sarah; Paula Mettler of Hernando; Dillon Moore of Gautier; Elijah Peters of Hernando; Lindsay Raybourn of Long Beach; Laurel Reeves of Birmingham, Alabama; Abygail Thorpe of Gulfport; Anna Traylor of Brandon; and Gabrielle Vogt of Metairie, Louisiana.

Nine of the fellows will study English education and eight will study mathematics education. The program’s initial focus on English and mathematics was designed to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards. The program also hopes to help change the perception of teaching as a career choice for the best and brightest incoming freshmen with the valuable scholarship.

“Our second cohort is an exceptional bunch and we’re excited to have them join our program,” said Ryan Niemeyer, the university’s METP director. “Our goal is to make METP a nationally competitive scholarship that brings the very best students to our university and to public education in Mississippi.”

Up to 20 fellows can be selected annually, but only the best incoming students are chosen at UM. Competition to gain admission into the program is expected to become increasingly fierce in coming years, Niemeyer said.

“The thing that attracted me to METP was the fact that this scholarship was specifically designed for future teachers,” Reeves said. “There aren’t many programs that give full scholarships to aspiring teachers. Becoming a fellow means that I have to set high standards for myself and be willing to achieve those standards when I become a teacher in Mississippi.”

While most education students begin teacher education coursework and field experiences after sophomore year, METP fellows are immersed in educational issues and theories from their first semester with specialized seminars. Also, METP students from both Ole Miss and MSU come together each semester for cross-campus learning activities at both campuses, allowing them to learn from faculty at both institutions. This spring, UM’s first cohort will take a special trip to Washington, D.C., to tour the White House, U.S. Department of Education and meet members of Congress.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to my community and to change people’s lives for the better,” Moore said. “I have had some amazing teachers, teachers who have shown me that being a good teacher can change the lives of hundreds for the better. A lot of people say ‘It only takes one person who cares.’ It’s my aspiration to be that one person who makes others better by caring and teaching them.”

Hastings’ Donations Support Summer Geology Camps

Gifts were given to support benevolent faculty in creating student programs

The Hastings Family Fund is comprised of John, his wife Sarah, and sons Harrison, and  Andrew '16.

The Hastings Family Fund  was created by John Hastings (left), son Harrison, wife Sarah and son Andrew, a senior at UM.

When it comes to generosity toward the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, the Hastings family of Houston, Texas, is a shining example.

The Hastings (John, his wife, Sarah, and sons Harrison and Andrew) made an initial unrestricted gift of $15,000 for the greatest need within the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Recently, the couple donated an additional $5,000. Both gifts were made through their Hastings Family Fund.

With these two gifts, geology department administration and UM Foundation staff collaborated to create the Department of Geology Faculty Support Fund specifically to address anticipated teaching needs and opportunities. The financial support has already enhanced tailor-made classes and programming for the department and the engineering school.

“For more than two decades, we have relied on a consortium of universities organized by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to conduct the traditional field camp experience for our students,” said Gregg Davidson, chair and professor of geology and geological engineering. “A year ago, the faculty decided that in order to meet the particular needs of our students, we needed to start our own field camp.”

This decision required two GE faculty members, Terry Panhorst and Robert Holt, to invest several weeks of their own time in Oklahoma and New Mexico to develop field exercises.

“The timing of the Hastings gift was perfect, as it allowed us to offset the cost of their travel and to compensate the instructors for their time.” Davidson said. “They gave $15,000 that has gone toward the development of our own summer field camp program.”

Two camps were held: an introductory one and a more advanced camp.

“The introductory camp (GE 301) required two sessions because of the large number of students needing to take it,” said Panhorst, an assistant professor. “The first session ran the second half of May, and the second session was the first half of June. Both sessions were held in the Arbuckle Mountains of south central Oklahoma, which is about midway between Oklahoma City and Dallas.”

Thirty-eight students attended the first session, and 21 students were in the second session.

The advanced camp (GE 401) will be operated by Holt, an associate professor. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the camp runs during the first half of August. About 35 students attended the inaugural session.

“The camps are designed to give the students experience in the field with basic geologic procedures, such as measuring and describing rock units, creation of geologic maps based on field observations and application of engineering fundamentals to evaluating sites for development,” Panhorst said.

Giving to Ole Miss engineering comes naturally for the Hastings. John is a lifelong geologist and has immensely enjoyed his profession. Both sons are pursuing careers in geology and geological engineering. Andrew is a senior geology and geological engineering major at UM.

“We as a family want to help support Ole Miss and specifically the geology and geological engineering department within the university,” John Hastings said. “We are pleased to be able to help the department in their efforts to produce engineers who will go out into the world and make positive impacts through their professional passion and excellence.”

Hastings worked for Shell Oil Co. from 1984 to 1994 and for Edge Petroleum from 1994 to 2005. He is owner and executive vice president of exploration for Paloma Resources LLC. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences and from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in geology.

The Hastings’ donation has already proven very beneficial to the program, said Panhorst, who spent the week of spring break in Oklahoma attempting to find suitable places for meaningful projects where he and about 40 students could gain access.

“Altogether, I spent about 16 days in the Oklahoma field area, spread between January, March and April, attempting to generate a coherent set of projects,” he said.

Charitable gifts are the foundation for many School of Engineering activities.

“With the impending growth that has steadily become the norm at the School of Engineering, donations of any type are very well-received, especially ones for faculty support such as the gift from John and Sarah Hastings,” said Kevin Gardner, development officer for the School of Engineering. “The Hastings’ timely generosity is helping to accomplish the provision of unique prototype programs for the School of Engineering.”

Matthew Morrison Joins Electrical Engineering

Newest faculty member heading computer engineering emphasis

Matthew Morrison has proven his leadership abilities both in the U.S. Navy and at the University of South Florida. As a new assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Mississippi, the award-winning teacher and researcher is overseeing the department’s new emphasis in computer engineering science.

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison

A three-time alumnus of USF, Morrison will be teaching Advanced Digital Design this fall and CMOS/VLSI next spring. His other courses scheduled later include Low-Power Digital Design, Digital Circuit Synthesis, VLSI Algorithms and Design, Testing and Fault Tolerance, Embedded System Design, Foundations of Hardware Security and Foundations of Engineering.

“The University of Mississippi provided me with a unique opportunity to apply my teaching and research skills toward updating the computer engineering program within the electrical engineering department, and building the graduate program for both master’s and doctoral students,” he said. “I am committed to excellence in both research and teaching, and believe that improving education at all levels will lead toward enhancing the future of Mississippi and its young women and men.”

As a graduate assistant at USF, Morrison taught seven classes totaling 391 students. Awarded the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant, he implemented many of the teaching methods developed at Naval Nuclear Power School, which he found engendered greater creativity in students.

“My teaching vision is to develop one of the best computer engineering programs in the world at Ole Miss by imbuing students with world-class study habits by combining Navy teaching methods with modern engineering teaching tools,” Morrison said. “This will allow us to develop students academically, creatively and morally, and to engender ideals of integrity, professionalism and lifelong learning and teaching in order to graduate engineers who are dedicated to a career of utilizing the principles of science for humanity’s benefit.”

Morrison’s research is in the areas of CMOS/VLSI, embedded systems, low-power hardware design and hardware security.

“My vision is to help improve the security, safety, reliability and efficiency of computer architectures, embedded systems and application-specific designs for the benefit of humankind,” he added. “Additionally, I will get to work with outstanding faculty who are cordial and genuinely work well together in a positive environment.”

Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, chair and professor of electrical engineering, said he is pleased that Morrison accepted the position here after completing his doctorate in May.

“Dr. Morrison will take a lead role in revising the BSEE computer engineering emphasis curriculum and in putting together a new computer engineering emphasis within the M.S. engineering science program,” he said. “Matt is very passionate about teaching and research in the broad area of computer engineering. He has a keen interest in K-12 education and its role in preparing students to pursue an engineering major at colleges.”

Morrison won the Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award in U.S. Navy Recruit Training. The award is presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.

“I am proud of this award because I realized during boot camp that I have the potential to lead, give to my community and achieve excellence through hard work and dedication,” Morrison said. “Receiving this award marked a significant milestone in my life, and every achievement since has been the result of the same enthusiasm and discipline that I developed in boot camp.”

While a USF student, Morrison was involved with the Student Bulls Club, which is the student athletics fan group. He attended many home games for football, soccer, baseball, basketball, softball and tennis. He enjoys watching late-night comedy shows and “Doctor Who,” attending blues concerts, running and biking.

His parents, Alfred and Kathleen Morrison, live in North Venice, Florida, and are the chief scientist and chief financial officer, respectively, of Missile Systems Engineering. Morrison’s brother, James, is a project manager for Walsh Group and is working on the new U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

Morrison has authored several refereed journal articles and holds memberships in the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers and the Association of Computing Machinery.