OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy will honor Charles Overby, a champion of the First Amendment and the free press, with the 2015 Legacy Award this spring at the University of Mississippi.
Overby will receive the Legacy Award, presented by C Spire, at a dinner April 18 at Carrier House, home of Chancellor Dan and Lydia Jones on the Oxford campus.
“We are thrilled to honor Charles Overby with a tribute to the cities he has impacted through his professional, personal and philanthropic endeavors,” said Karen Moore, OMWC chair. “This event will be a sellout, so we are encouraging the Ole Miss family to get their tickets quickly.”
For 22 years, Overby was chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation that educates people about the press and the First Amendment. His service as CEO of the Newseum spanned 1997 to 2011, during which time he supervised the building of the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. He also served as CEO of the Diversity Institute, a school created in 2001 to teach journalists and aspiring journalists while increasing diversity in newsrooms.
The dinner will be prepared by a culinary team based on locales important to Overby: Oxford; Nashville, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C. The trio of chefs will be led by John Currence, founder of the City Grocery Restaurant Group.
Currence opened his first restaurant, City Grocery, in 1992 in Oxford. Since that time, the City Grocery Restaurant Group has celebrated a number of openings, including Nacho Mama’s, Kalo’s, Ajax Diner, City Grocery’s catering company the Main Event, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast and Snackbar.
Recipient of 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South, Currence was honored as Restaurateur of the Year and Chef of the Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association in 1998. In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Guardian of Tradition Award and won the 2008 Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans.
Executive Chef Tyler Brown, recently named one of Esquire magazine’s Four New Chefs to Watch, leads Nashville’s acclaimed Capitol Grille restaurant. A farm-to-table enthusiast, Brown strives to serve cultural sustainability by paying homage to cooking practices of the past. During Brown’s tenure, the Capitol Grille has earned the coveted Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond designations, was voted one of America’s best restaurants by Gourmet magazine, appeared on the Food Network and was recognized at the James Beard House.
Scott Drewno serves as executive chef of The Source, the first Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group restaurant in the nation’s capital. Since opening, the restaurant has been honored with numerous accolades including three-star reviews from both The Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington awarded The Source “New Restaurant of the Year” in 2008 and “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” in 2011; Drewno received the coveted “Chef of the Year” prize in 2010. In 2012 and in 2013, Drewno was a semi-finalist for the “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” James Beard Award.
The Legacy Award of the Ole Miss Women’s Council recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions as philanthropists, leaders and mentors and brought about definitive, positive changes in the University, state and nation.
“This is a huge honor, and I am grateful to the Women’s Council for its exceptional philanthropic work,” Overby said. “My idea of perfection is sitting down with friends and enjoying a good meal and good conversation. Being at the chancellor’s home with these incredible chefs will provide a memorable evening for all involved.”
Overby earned a bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss and has been presented honorary doctoral degrees from Mississippi University for Women and Millsaps College. He is a member of the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame and has been inducted in both the student and alumni halls of fame at UM.
The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics was established at Ole Miss with a $5.4 million gift from the Freedom Forum to honor Overby’s extensive professional contributions. He continues his involvement with Ole Miss students as an adjunct instructor for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
The Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy recognizes that meaningful lives and careers in and beyond college rely on strong relationships and nurturing support. Mentorship, therefore, is the cornerstone of OMWC scholarships, and almost 100 students have blossomed under this program. OMWC’s endowments total nearly $11 million, and each new scholarship is recognized in the Rose Garden near the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
C Spire is the presenting sponsor for the 2015 Legacy Award. FedEx Corp. is the platinum sponsor, and gold sponsors are FNC Inc. and Kimberley Fritts. Sanderson Farms, Two Rivers Ford, RJ Young, the Freedom Forum and the Mississippi Press Association are silver sponsors.
Previous Legacy Award recipients include Netscape president-CEO and education visionaries, Jim and Donna Barksdale; “The Blind Side” mom and co-founder of the Making It Happen Foundation, Leigh Anne Tuohy; the heart and soul of America’s first family of football, Olivia Williams Manning, who has nurtured sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli Manning to be servant-leaders; and Mississippi’s “education governor,” champions for improved race relations and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, William and Elise Winter.