Frizzell Named to SEC Community Service Team

Second consecutive honor for Ole Miss junior

Ole Miss Women's Basketball vs Alabama on January 11th, 2015 in Oxford, MS.

Ole Miss Women’s Basketball vs Alabama on January 11th, 2015 in Oxford, MS.

BIRMINGHAM— Ole Miss junior Gracie Frizzell (Little Rock, Arkansas) was named to the SEC Community Service Team it was announced on Thursday by the Southeastern Conference office. It is the second consecutive year the Little Rock, Arkansas native has represented Ole Miss on the team.

Frizzell and her teammates have taken the idea of service to new heights this season and spent lots of time in the fall volunteering throughout the greater Oxford and Lafayette county communities.

Along with her teammates Frizzell has done Reading With the Rebels, an annual program that takes place in conjunction with Ole Miss’ student-athlete development area, going into elementary schools in Oxford-Lafayette County and reading to elementary school classes to promote education and literacy. Frizzell has also teamed her teammates to play bingo and other games with residents at Oxford’s Graceland Care Center while also spending an afternoon in the fall helping to build walls on a house under construction with the Oxford – Lafayette County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Frizzell and her teammates, in conjunction with the Ole Miss athletic department, helped with tornado relief efforts for Columbus, Miss, which was hit with deadly tornadoes over the holiday. Frizzell’s dedication to service also extends to the summer months as she helped with basketball clinics with the Horizons Learning Program on the Ole Miss campus, to promote summer learning and retention for local Oxford youth.

This marks the 17th year for the SEC Community Service Team for women’s basketball as well as for men’s basketball. All league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men’s and women’s sports being chosen from 1999-2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.

Honorees from other institutions include: Nikki Hegstetter, Alabama; Joey Bailey, Arkansas; Tra’Cee Tanner, Auburn; Brooke Copeland, Florida; Erika Ford, Georgia; Bria Goss, Kentucky; Ann Jones, LSU; Savannah Carter, Mississippi State; Morgan Eye, Missouri; Elem Ibiam, South Carolina; Cierra Burdick, Tennessee; Tori Scott, Texas A&M; Kendall Shaw, Vanderbilt.

Ole Miss closes out the regular-season home schedule tonight against LSU at 6 p.m. The team will honor seniors Tia Faleru, Danielle McCray and Amber Singletary. The Rebels close out the regular season on Sunday with a trip to Starkville to take on the No. 11/13 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m., and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net.

For women’s basketball ticket information, go to or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).

For all Ole Miss women’s basketball news and information, go to, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB and on Instagram at Ole Miss_WBB.   Fans can also follow Ole Miss women’s basketball head coach Matt Insell on Twitter at @minsell.

Fantastic Fantasia Coming to Ford Center

'American Idol' and Grammy winner expected to wow her UM fans with March 5 show

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Fantasia will perform at the Ford Center on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Fantasia.

OXFORD, Miss. – As University of Mississippi electrical engineering student Michael Simeon continues to rise on the popular “American Idol” competition show, former winner Fantasia Barrino is preparing to perform on the Ole Miss campus.

The Grammy-winning singer and third season winner of “American Idol” performs March 5 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $75 to $100 for the general public, but a 25 percent discount is available. UM student tickets are $30.

Fantasia is renowned for her charismatic, energetic style onstage that is rooted in the traditions of gospel music. The North Carolina native takes her audiences to church even when she’s singing her own R&B/pop hits or those made famous by others. Add in some colorful costumes, lighting and stage moves and concert-goers get a memorable evening of entertainment.

“The American Idol who went on to become a best-selling recording artist and acclaimed Broadway star in the musical ‘The Color Purple’ will kick off the Black Alumni Reunion weekend in style with her 7:30 p.m. performance,” said Julian Gilner, assistant director of alumni affairs. “Knowing how Fantasia performs, it should be a fantastic show!”

To purchase tickets, go to or call the UM Box Office at 662-915-7412. To buy online, users must create an account or log in to see the seating chart. At checkout, use the coupon code BAR2015 to receive a 25 percent discount.

Panhellenic Community Donates $40,000 to Baptist Memorial Hospital

Check to be presented Feb. 23 during Lady Rebels game

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Members of the Oxford-Lafayette community and Panhellenic sororities participate in C.A.R.E. Walk 2014.

OXFORD, Miss. – When it comes to leadership and service, members of the University of Mississippi’s Greek community consistently demonstrate both. Such will again be the case Feb. 23 when the Lady Rebels host the University of Kentucky Lady Wildcats.

During the 6 p.m. game at the C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum, UM Panhellenic community representatives will present a $40,000 check to Baptist Memorial Hospital officials for breast cancer research. This was an increase from their $30,000 donation in 2013. The money was raised through donations from local businesses, Panhellenic sororities and those who participated in the Panhellenic Council Cancer Awareness Research and Eradication, or C.A.R.E., Walk in September 2014.

“This as a great way to showcase the work of the students giving back to their local community,” said Jenell Lanski, UM coordinator of Greek affairs. “Students, council officers and chapter community service chairs will be presenting the check to Baptist during halftime.”

Hospital officials said they are grateful for the Greeks’ generosity.

“The Ole Miss Panhellenic Council has been a great contributor to the Baptist Cancer Center over the years, and this year is no exception,” said Peter Dilatush, director of oncology at Baptist Cancer Center-North Mississippi. “These funds will go so far in fighting against breast cancer here in Oxford and the surrounding communities, and we are honored to be associated with such a great cause.”

The marketing and fan experience division is excited about the continued growth of its breast cancer awareness women’s basketball game and the partnership with Baptist, said Jason List, UM assistant athletics director.

“Over the past decade, breast cancer awareness initiatives in sports have really taken off, especially in collegiate women’s basketball,” List said. “To be able to work with such a terrific supporter in Baptist Hospital on a cause that has affected virtually everyone is not only enjoyable, but important.”

For more about fraternity and sorority life at the UM, call the Office of the Dean of Students at 662-915-7248 or visit

Recent UM Graduate Launches Business to Help Impoverished Families

Fundraising venture becomes successful company aiding women and children on two continents

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Christen Edmonds visits Swaziland to interact with and aid children in the area.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Many students dream of starting their own businesses after college, but some, such as University of Mississippi alumna Christen Edmonds, don’t waste time waiting for graduation.

And Edmonds, who completed her Bachelor of General Studies in December, didn’t stop with simply being a successful entrepreneur. She dreamed big and used her idea for a simple headband to develop a company that is helping fill the needs of women and children on two different continents.

“It’s all about helping these real people who were born into really bad circumstances,” said Edmonds, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “I never thought this small idea would become so big.”

It all started in 2010 when Edmonds went with her parents and brother to Swaziland in southern Africa.

“My dad created a website for this nonprofit organization called ‘Heart for Africa,’ and our whole family was inspired by their mission, so we joined one of their trips,” Edmonds recalled. “We spent a week working with orphans and vulnerable children to help them build a garden at their school. We just loved on them and played with them. I couldn’t believe how positive and happy they were even though they lived in such difficult surroundings and circumstances.”

Swaziland is a landlocked country bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. Due to the excessive mortality rates of those infected with HIV, Swaziland has one of the lowest average life expectancies in the world, 46 years old. Most of the children Edmonds met were orphans.

After returning home, Edmonds desperately wanted to return to help the people who had touched her heart. She weighed options for ways to earn travel money while balancing her college courses and hit upon an idea to create specialty cloth-and-spandex headbands. When she showed some friends the prototype, they immediately pulled out their wallets and her company, Bandiez Couture, was born.

“My 76-year-old grandmother, Velda, is an amazing seamstress,” Edmonds said. “I told her about my idea to make functional headbands that looked good, and she taught me and my mom how to sew cloth and elastic to create each piece. I chose some nice fabrics and got to work. My plan was to sell them to all of my sorority sisters, but before I knew it, other sororities and college girls were wanting them.”

Those word-of-mouth sales funded another trip to Africa in the summer of 2011, which in turn only piqued Edmond’s interest to make a legitimate business out of her creations.

“After my second trip, I found some ladies in my hometown that I paid to help my mom and me make more of the bands at a faster rate. After we started working with them, we had enough inventory to move into retail markets. We were selling them in boutiques and shops in Missouri, Mississippi and Texas. My dad helped me create a website and then they could be purchased online as well.”

Children of Swaziland are thankful for their new Bandiez headbands.

Children of Swaziland are thankful for their new Bandiez headbands.

Through the “Heart for Africa” and “Children’s Hope Chest International” charities, Edmonds began giving a portion of her earnings to help children in Swaziland. She even got to meet two of the children she sponsored during her third trip to Africa in 2013. At that time, she was also researching how she could employ Swazi residents to help produce the product, but shipping across the Atlantic Ocean and working through a strict monarchical government eventually proved too difficult.

“My dad visited Haiti on a mission trip, and he heard about a company run by a young lady from Texas who was helping create jobs for impoverished women in Haiti, and since we couldn’t work out a way for Swazi women to help, we decided to reach out to her to see if we could be a part of the Haiti program,” Edmonds explained.

In February 2014, Edmonds traveled with her parents to Port-au-Prince. With the help of a translator, she and her mother taught 10 Haitian women how to produce each style of her Bandiez line.

“We had a lot of fun,” Edmonds recalled. “My mom would recite the directions while a Haitian translator repeated the instructions back. All the while, I was demonstrating the technique on old pedal sewing machines. The women caught on quickly. I was impressed at how productive and hard-working they were. Providing these ladies with a job not only allows them the independence of making money to take care of their families, but it gives them hope.”

Edmonds still works with ladies from her hometown to have an American production team as well. They help to keep the product stocked in over 25 boutiques around the Southeast.

“We are really blessed to have such a great market for these right now,” Edmonds said. “Now that I have completed my degree, I want to take what I have learned in my classes and implement that knowledge to help my business grow. Then I also plan to see where we might be able to expand the brand in terms of products.”

As a BGS major at Ole Miss, Edmonds chose to minor in art, business and psychology to craft a specialty degree that fit her interests.

“I’m really lucky to also have a minor in art that has helped me tap into my creative side,” Edmonds said. “And upper-level courses in business and psychology have been invaluable as I have learned to communicate and bring about relationships with shop owners and factories in both America and Haiti.”

UM art professor Philip Jackson described Edmonds’ venture as inspiring.

“Christen is a thoughtful, caring person and a great role model for women her age,” Jackson said. “She fell right into place in our printmaking courses. She’s a natural artist who sees color very well. While she was a student in two of my courses, I found out more about her business and passion of helping others. Her commitment and faith are strongly rooted.”

Now that her degree is finished, Edmonds is channeling all her energies into the business and is looking for new merchandising outlets. She has launched an updated website and is perfecting her photography skills to show off her products. She hopes to sell through online shopping websites and also has added a shop in South Carolina to her growing list of vendors.

“Our company slogan is ‘threading to thrive,” Edmonds said. “I’m just really thankful that I found something I enjoy doing that is also helping others.”

To find out more about the Bandiez products, visit

Barksdale Award Winners Eager to Experience Life in ‘the Margins’

Recipients to spend time with cowboys on two continents, use theater to raise awareness of the deaf

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Dean Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez presents Joe Bell with his Barksdale Award.

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi students have been chosen to pursue adventures in experimental learning in Uruguay and across North America.

Joe Bell, a sophomore from Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Kate Lindsay, a junior from Starkville, both students in the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, are the 2015 winners of the Barksdale Awards. They were announced as the 17th and 18th winners of the prestigious awards Tuesday evening (Feb. 10) during the Honors College spring convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The $5,000 award supports creative, courageous projects developed by students who are willing to take risks with their time and efforts for ambitious, independent programs of study, research or humanitarian work. The Barksdale awards were established in 2005 to encourage students to test themselves in environments that don’t have the built-in safeties of a classroom, teaching lab or library.

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Honors College, describes the award as an opportunity to take on a task and put yourself where the problem is acute. All students who apply for the Barksdale Award have helped us “dream a little bigger and brighter,” he said.

“From horseback and from the campfire, Joe will be recording cultures already on the margins and, perhaps, soon to disappear, Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “Kate, too, will be reporting from the margins, this time between the deaf world and the hearing world. The stage she has chosen is the stage itself.

“Both Joe and Kate are genuine, self-directed citizen-scholars. They’re folding their academic training into experience and evolving public space, in an effort to bring us all closer to what is happening and what could happen.”

Bell, fluent in Spanish and an accomplished equestrian, will travel to Colorado, California and Uruguay to live and work among cowboys and gauchos and experience the world from their point of view. From his experience, he hopes to explore how labor policy, agricultural policy and the globalization of food systems affect both groups.

Bell says that the award will allow him to pursue his passion for people and the natural environment.

“I am intrigued and inspired by the independent and somewhat tragic lives of the North American cowboy and the Uruguayan gaucho,” said Bell, who is majoring in international studies, public policy leadership and Spanish. “These two entities, although separated by an almost hemispheric landmass, have long suffered from the same cultural, economic and legal marginalization.”

John Winkle, professor emeritus of political science, calls Bell’s project a personal challenge to pursue unbridled adventure and embrace the independent spirit.

“Joe Bell is the only Honors College student whom I have taught or known in 17 years who could complete this proposed research project,” Winkle said. “He is a first-rate equestrian, he speaks Spanish well and he understands the expectations of the research enterprise. He will succeed.”

Kate Lindsay receives her Barksdale Award.

Dean Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez presents Kate Lindsay with her Barksdale Award.

Lindsay is a double major in theater arts and accountancy. She began studying American Sign Language in 2013 as a degree requirement. Quickly gaining a newfound respect for the deaf community through her studies, she began exploring the language and culture outside the classroom and found ways to incorporate ASL into other areas of her academic life.

In seeking new methods of collaboration between deaf and hearing theater artists, Lindsay will travel to Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C., to participate in theater by the deaf, for the deaf and about the deaf.

“My purpose is to be a part of a movement to create theater that bridges the cultural divide between deaf and hearing people, not only making theater more accessible to deaf audiences but also raising awareness of the deaf community in America,” she said.

Having worked on numerous theater productions at UM, Lindsay joined Michael Barnett, associate professor and assistant chair of theatre arts, as an assistant on a production of “Titus Andronicus” in Washington, D.C., featuring deaf actors and crew members.

Although 21st century theater has pursued diversity in casting and subject matter, little attention has been focused on the integration of those with disabilities, Barnett said.

“Kate’s project will place her at the forefront of a movement which is beginning to be discussed within the industry and in the pages of its trade publications,” said Barnett, who is directing Lindsay’s honors thesis. “This is very exciting work.”

UM FASTrack Peer Mentoring Program a Success

Upperclassmen help first-year students get a head start on academic achievement

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FASTrack academic adviser Jackie Certion (left) mentors a student in the program.

OXFORD, Miss. – Many University of Mississippi freshmen are receiving valuable help from their older peers, thanks to a unique mentoring program in the College of Liberal Arts.

Foundations for Academic Success Track is designed to help first-year students transition from high school to college in a supportive environment. Approximately 400 FASTrack students per year benefit from the smaller and enhanced classes, individualized advising/mentoring and a community of supportive peers. FASTrack students earn higher GPAs, go on academic probation less often and return for their sophomore year at higher rates that their peers.

“The program is an amazing way to use your experience to help younger students adapt to and love a whole new environment,” said Emily Richmond, a junior accounting major from Jonesboro, Arkansas. “It is awesome to be able to not only connect with these students, but to see them connecting with each other, providing them with a support group of peers that are experiencing the same growth and change.”

FASTrack peer mentors serve as role models and co-instructors in the EDHE 105 Freshman Experience courses in the fall semester. Mentors guide their protégés through the challenges they face in the first year while helping them become familiar with the campus, student services and academic resources. Many mentors were once FASTrack students themselves.

“Serving as a peer mentor for the students of FASTrack has opened my eyes to what I truly enjoy most in life, and that is affecting the lives of those around me in a positive way,” said Ryan Williams, a sophomore math major from Clinton. “Being a peer mentor has allowed me to come out of my shell and gain the qualities of a true leader.”

Students helping students is a best practice, enhancing student success and leadership, said Sarah Smitherman, FASTrack peer mentoring director.

“‘I’m a big believer in the power of mentorship at any level and have personally and professionally benefited from it over the years,” Smitherman said. “There is comfort in knowing that there is someone looking out for you who knows exactly what you are experiencing because they have just gone through it as well.”

Upperclassmen also help coordinate various social activities throughout the semester, helping further build the FASTrack community.

“In FASTrack, our students support each other, and our peer mentors are the best example of this principle,” said Stephen Monroe, assistant dean in the College of Liberal Arts and FASTrack director. “FASTrack peer mentors are savvy student leaders who make our university a better, more welcoming place.”

Doug Odom, EDHE 105 instructor and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, said having peer mentors in class connects him to the students.

“As a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi and as a 24-year-old, I leaned heavily on our peer mentors,” Odom said. “As young as I am, students were willing to open up to me a bit more than I would have expected, but there were still subjects they did not want to discuss with me. That’s where our mentors shined.”

Odom said he gave mentors the last 15 minutes of every class to guide, advise and listen to the first-year students.

“I guarantee our class would not have been as tight-knit had we not had such great peer mentors,” he said. “The peer mentors are invaluable to the FASTrack program.”

For more information about the FASTrack Peer Mentor Program, go to the link here. For more about UM’s College of Liberal Arts, visit their website here.

Ten Outstanding Seniors Awarded Hall of Fame Distinction

Recipients honored for academic achievement, community service and potential for success

Ten University of Mississippi students were inducted into this year's Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Friday afternoon. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Ten University of Mississippi students were inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Friday afternoon. Photo by Kevin Bain.

OXFORD, Miss. – Ten University of Mississippi seniors have earned membership in the school’s 2014-15 Hall of Fame, one of the university’s highest honors.

The Hall of Fame inductees were honored Jan. 30 in a ceremony at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Recipients are chosen by a committee in accordance with ASB policy, with selections based on a student’s academic achievement, community service and potential for future success.

New Hall of Fame members are Rob Barber of Hernando, Marcus Daniels of Brandon, Christine Dickason of Collierville, Tennessee, Channing Lansdell of Nettleton, Briana O’Neil of Brandon, Davis Rogers of Jackson, Ashley Saulsberry of Nesbit, Anna Kathryn Suggs of Kingwood, Texas, Phillip Waller of Madison and Emily Wikle of Fishers, Indiana.

“If you go to the Ole Miss Union and look at the photos of the previous inductees hanging on the wall, you quickly realize that today’s Hall of Fame honorees will join those that came before them as major contributors to our state, our country and our world,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Simply put, these are students who will become trailblazers. They have contributed to our campus community in meaningful and bountiful ways.

“They are The University of Mississippi’s triple threat – they have excelled in the classroom, they are committed to service and they effectively lead others. I know, with great confidence, that they will take that spirit, commitment and initiative beyond our campus and make significant contributions.”

The 10 students, along with 156 other Ole Miss seniors, were also recognized for inclusion in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. They are to be listed in the national publication’s 2015 edition.

Barber, a public policy leadership major, was selected as the university’s 2014-15 Mr. Ole Miss. He is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and served as sophomore student senator and student director. He served as an orientation leader, an Ole Miss Ambassador and a Columns Society member, a group of 24 students who serve as official hosts to the university. Barber held several leadership positions within the Associated Student Body, including a senator from the College of Liberal Arts and the director of outreach. He is a member of the Ole Miss Model United Nations team, Mississippi First, College Democrats and active in Reformed University Fellowship and Delta Psi fraternity. Barber is a founding member of RebelTHON, a 12-hour dance marathon that raises funds for LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, and serves as director of social media for the event. He participates in UM’s Big Event community service project and volunteers as an English as a Second Language conversation partner. After graduation, he plans to attend medical school with an interest in psychiatry. His parents are Bob and Karol Barber.

A biological science major and a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Daniels held leadership positions with the Columns Society, Associated Student Body, Lambda Sigma and the Black Student Union. He is a member of several service organizations, including the UM Big Event. He also volunteers for More than a Meal and MANNA, two organizations that feed needy people in the Oxford community. Daniels held a summer research internship with the University of Mississippi Medical Center Health Disparities unit, conducting research on stress and the immune system. He was a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Summer of Learning and Research Internship studying cystic fibrosis. After graduation, Daniels plans to attend medical school. His parents are Michael and Glenda Daniels from Brandon.

Dickason is a public policy leadership major and a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. A Taylor medalist and Truman Scholarship finalist, she was on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll every semester. She was a research assistant and wrote opinion pieces and columns for The Daily Mississippian. Dickason held leadership roles with the Associated Student Body, Ole Miss College Democrats and Mississippi First, and served as the student director and chair of staffing for the UM Food Bank, which helps those in need within the university family. She is completing an internship in Washington, D.C., this semester. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. Her parents are David and Karen Dickason. As a part of her senior thesis for the Honors College, Dickason made a documentary film about education and college preparation in public schools in Mississippi. The film, “The Way I See It,” will be a part of the Oxford Film Festival Feb. 26-Mar. 1.

Lansdell is an accountancy major, a member of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a Luckyday Scholar. He held leadership roles in Omicron Delta Kappa and Lambda Sigma honor societies. He served on the Associated Student Body and the University Judicial Council and is active in his fraternity, Delta Psi. His numerous service projects include participating in a trip to New York City with the Honors College to help organize the annual “Aid for AIDS” fundraiser. Lansdell is completing a tax internship in real estate and asset management with KPMG in New York this semester. After graduation, he plans to attend law school. He is the son of Bill Lansdell.

A public policy leadership major, O’Neil is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, a Trent Lott Leadership Scholar, a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and on the Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists. She served as an Ole Miss Ambassador, orientation leader and a member of the Columns Society. O’Neil is an active member of the Black Student Union, having served as the organization’s president. She played an instrumental role on the Black Leadership Council and on the Black History Month Planning Committee and the Black History Month Gala. O’Neil is involved with a number of community service initiatives, including Relay for Life, Leapfrog and Habitat for Humanity. She also served as the director of volunteer recruitment for the Big Event, UM’s largest community service effort. After graduation, O’Neil plans to attend law school and pursue a career as a trial attorney. Her parents are James and Quanya O’Neil of Brandon.

Rogers is a physics major and recipient of a Taylor Medal. He is this year’s Associated Student Body president and also has served as a senator, a freshman focus member and director of academic affairs on the ASB executive cabinet. He is a member of the Columns Society and active in his fraternity, Sigma Nu, serving in numerous leadership positions within the organization. After graduation, Rogers plans to attend medical school. His parents are Jonathan and Dara Rogers of Jackson.

Saulsberry, a biology major, is a first generation college student. She is a member of the Columns Society, a Luckyday Scholar and a member of IMAGE: Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education. She active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, serving in numerous leadership roles, and also held leadership positions with the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Omega Phi Alpha service organization and the Big Event. Saulsberry is an Ole Miss Ambassador, an orientation leader and part of the Ole Miss FasTrack program, which helps first-year students transition from high school to college in a supportive environment. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and dental school and pursue a career in pediatric dentistry. Her parents are Cubby and Cheryl Saulsberry of Nesbit.

Suggs is public policy leadership major. She is president of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, a member of Phi Kappa Phi and on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. Suggs is active in Moneythink, a financial literacy program, having served as a mentor, vice president of recruitment and vice president of external relations. She serves a tutor on campus at the FedEx Student Athlete Success Center and in the community at LeapFrog, an after-school tutoring program serving at-risk students. Having served as the campus campaign coordinator for Teach for America, Suggs plans to spend two years with Teach for America after graduation in the Mississippi Delta. She is the daughter of Alvin and Anita Suggs.

A journalism and public policy leadership major, Waller is a member of the Lott Leadership Institute, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a Taylor Medal recipient. His academic, leadership and service organizations include the UM Big Event, the university’s largest community service project, Relay for Life and Mortar Board, holding leadership positions in each organization. Waller is a contributor to The Daily Mississippian and editor-in-chief of the Ole Miss yearbook, previously serving as photography editor. His work earned him an award for the Best Non-Fiction Magazine Article and first place in the On-Site News Photography Competition at the Southeast Journalism Conference. After graduation, Waller is considering law school and graduate school in Washington, D.C. His parents are Ronald and Deborah Waller.

Wikle is an elementary and special education major and the university’s 2014-15 Miss Ole Miss. She is a member of a number of honor societies. Her volunteer service includes the UM Big Event, the university’s largest community service project, Habitat for Humanity and coaching a special needs cheer team at the North Mississippi Regional Center. Wikle is an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She was an orientation leader and a member of the Columns Society. Inspired by a child with leukemia in her hometown, Wikle founded the Columns Society’s philanthropy, Rhythm Pax, which coordinates delivery of therapeutic instruments to patients at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. President of the Ole Miss Running Club, Wikle participates in races in support of leukemia patients and raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the Team in Training program. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in special education and possibly attend graduate school. Her parents are Brian and Connie Wikle.

Annual Parade of Beauties Set for Feb. 4

This year's event features 96 contestants

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Reade Heredia, named Most Beautiful 2014, will be on hand to crown this year’s Parade of Beauties winner.

OXFORD, Miss. – Ninety-six University of Mississippi students will vie for the title of Most Beautiful 2015 during the annual Parade of Beauties pageant at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The Student Activities Association and Ole Miss Student Union host the pageant, emceed this year by Mr. Ole Miss Rob Barber and Miss Ole Miss Emily Wikle. The event will feature appearances by Miss University France Beard and Miss Mississippi USA Courtney Byrd, and entertainment by Chris Coffin. Escorts will be provided by the Ole Miss Army ROTC.

Tickets are $10 with an Ole Miss student ID and $15 without a student ID. They are available at the UM Box Office at the Student Union.

All contestants will participate in a private interview with a panel of four judges the day of the pageant. The interview counts as 10 percent of the total score. That evening, each contestant takes part in the evening gown competition, which counts for 90 percent. The judges will look at the contestants’ stage presence, poise, physical fitness, personality and overall beauty of face and figure in the evening gown competition.

Patrons for this year’s Parade of Beauties include University Florist, the Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory, Lee Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Lammon’s Fine Jewelry, and Hotty Toddy Tans and the Southern Stylist.  The 2014 Most Beautiful was Reade Heredia of Columbus.

For more information or assistance related to a disability, contact the Alex Lindstrom or Tori Treadway, co-directors of pageants, at 662-915-1044.

UM Staff, Students Join MLK Day of Service

Volunteers gathering to improve area schools, assisted living facilities

Dr. Marvin King will deliver the keynote address at the MLK Day of Service on Jan. 19.

Marvin King will deliver the keynote address Jan. 19 at the MLK Day of Service .

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students and staff are leading efforts to improve living conditions in Lafayette County and Oxford during 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances.

The Lafayette-Oxford-University MLK Day of Service opening ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Oxford Activity Center. Program participants include UM Dean of Students Melinda Sutton, Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby. Marvin P. King Jr., UM associate professor of political science and African-American studies, will deliver the keynote address.

The senior fellow at UM’s Residential College South, King received his doctorate in political science from the University of North Texas after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He has co-authored or authored publications on racial polarization in the electorate, representation of the black electorate and the effect of race in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. King teaches undergraduate courses in Introduction to American Politics and African American Politics, and an undergraduate and graduate course in Politics of the American South.

Following King’s speech, three awards will be presented to outstanding LOU volunteers in student and community categories. Honorees include Victoria Burgos of Oxford, a UM student who implemented a pilot composting program on campus; Barbara Wortham of Oxford, GED program instructor at the Oxford School District Learning Center; and Matt Gaw and Mari Susan Massey of Oxford, United Way volunteers.

Other activities scheduled during the day include a service fair featuring representatives from local nonprofits and organizations, a book drive for local correctional facilities, a letter-of-appreciation writing campaign for three area civil rights leaders and activities at five local assisted living facilities.

“It is exciting that University of Mississippi students and staff are choosing to make a difference in the lives of others,” sad Coulter Ward, assistant dean of students for leadership and involvement. “Volunteering builds communities and strengthens relationships. To have our students take opportunities to participate in endeavors like these is awesome.”

UM staff involved in planning of MLK Day of Service events expressed enthusiasm about participating in such a worthy cause.

“Learning the larger history surrounding civil rights and MLK is important, but we see a need to educate our students about living leaders who made great movements right here in Mississippi,” said Haley Kesterson, coordinator of the letter writing campaign. “We hope to give proper gratitude to local leaders. We hope to educate students on the civil rights movement here in Mississippi and give them a local, current perspective about the continuous issue.”

Campus participation is crucial to the success of the observance, said Sarah Ball, director of Volunteer Oxford.

“This national day of service honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and commitment to transforming our nation through service to others,” Ball said. “The LOU MLK Day of Service offers community members a chance to engage in a variety of volunteer opportunities that are designed to give back to the community.”

A recreation administration major, Burgos was awarded a $3,000 grant from the UM Green Fund for the pilot composting project, followed by an additional $5,234 grant to continue and expand it. She has also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and Camp Lake Stephens, a United Methodist Church facility.

A two-time recipient of the Learning Center Teacher of the Year award, Wortham is the Lafayette County Adult Basic Literacy Education program coordinator. Through her work with the GED Prep course at Burns United Methodist Church, she has helped an estimated 100 people obtain their GEDs.

Working together, Gaw and Massey were the first to assist local non-profits with fundraising, donating equipment and countless hours of volunteer time. Their work has been essential in the building of Lafayette County’s first Born Learning Trail in Avent Park.

For more information about LOU MLK Day of Service, contact Coulter Ward at or Sarah Ball at

Ole Miss’ Shackelford Wins 2014 Wuerffel Trophy

Graduate Linebacker Honored for Exceptional Community Service

Ole Miss Football vs Boise State during the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

Ole Miss Football vs Boise State during the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – Former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel announced Tuesday that the winner of the 2014 Wuerffel Trophy is Ole Miss linebacker Deterrian Shackelford.

The All Sports Association presents the Wuerffel Trophy to the Football Bowl Subdivision football player who best exhibits exemplary community service.

“It’s hard for me to express how excited I am to announce Deterrian Shackelford as the 2014 Wuerffel Trophy winner,” said Wuerffel. “This young man truly exemplifies not only all that is good about football, but the important and positive aspects of life.”

Shackelford has two degrees from the University of Mississippi, a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in higher education, and has continued taking graduate classes this fall. The Decatur, Alabama, native has helped lead two mission trips to Haiti and Panama while also mentoring local youth. He has been actively involved in the Oxford community, helping lead efforts to fight hunger and raise funds for cancer research. He is also a highly sought-after speaker for school, community and church groups. The Rebels’ starting middle linebacker is a five-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a two-time semifinalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team, and all while currently helping Ole Miss to lead the nation in scoring defense, as the Rebels allow just 13.8 points per game to opposing teams.

This is the 10th anniversary of the Wuerffel Trophy, an award named after Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 national championship, played six years in the National Football League and has received national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries, in New Orleans and around the country.

The 2014 Wuerffel Trophy will be presented to the winner at the All Sports Association’s 46th Annual Awards Banquet on February 13, 2015, in Fort Walton Beach. For more information on the Wuerffel Trophy, visit

About the Wuerffel Trophy:

The Wuerffel Trophy is college football’s premier award for community service. The All Sports Association presents the Wuerffel Trophy to the Football Bowl Subdivision football player who best exhibits exemplary community service, along with qualifying academic and athletic achievement. As the trophy namesake, Danny Wuerffel embodies the three categories of the award: Community Service, Academics and Athletics. Past winners of the Wuerffel Trophy are: 2013 Gabe Ikard, University of Oklahoma; 2012 Matt Barkley, University of Southern California; 2011 Barrett Jones, University of Alabama; 2010 Sam Acho, University of Texas; 2009 Tim Hiller, Western Michigan University; 2008 Tim Tebow, University of Florida; 2007 Paul Smith, University of Tulsa; 2006 Joel Penton, Ohio State University; and 2005 Rudy Niswanger, Louisiana State University.