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Taylor Cook Named 2012 Udall Scholar

UM student Taylor Cook has been named a 2012 Udall Scholar. Video by Mary Stanton.

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UM Students Receive Taylor Medals

OXFORD, Miss. – Sixty-four University of Mississippi undergraduates were recognized as recipients of Taylor Medals April 12 during the 69th annual Honors Convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Taylor Medals, the university’s highest academic award, recognize no more than 0.45 percent of undergraduates for meritorious scholarship and deportment. Recipients of the award must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average. The award was established at UM in 1904 by Dr. William A. Taylor of Booneville in memory of his son, an honored 1871 alumnus of the university. Following is a list of the spring 2012 Taylor Medalists: Caitlin Elizabeth Adams, Meek School of Journalism and New Media Brian Davis Barnes, College of Liberal Arts Caitlin Marie Brock, College of Liberal Arts Chany Fehr Buchanan, College of Liberal Arts Norma Katharine Butts, College of Liberal Arts Casey Allan Chinn, College of Liberal Arts Katherine Suzanne Conely, School of Pharmacy Hallie Virginia Cook, School of Pharmacy Burleigh Wyatt Dabney, College of Liberal Arts Joanna Leigh David, School of Engineering Vihara Anjalee Dharmaratne, College of Liberal Arts Corrine Anna Doornberg, School of Engineering Emily Elaine Duke, School of Applied Sciences Ryan Keith Ezelle, College of Liberal Arts Logan Dwayne Fair, College of Liberal Arts Sarah Joangela Farris, School of Engineering Apral Patrice Foreman, College of Liberal Arts Kerri Leann Franks, School of Education Elizabeth Ramsey Frey, College of Liberal Arts Megan Elise Gargiulo, College of Liberal Arts Joseph Wellington Golden, College of Liberal Arts Jill Elaina Haley, College of Liberal Arts Kimberly Rebekah Harris, College of Liberal Arts Molly Hunter Harris, College of Liberal Arts Sara Stevens Hazard, School of Accountancy Matthew Powers Herring, School of Engineering Hillary Michelle Howell, College of Liberal Arts Amanda Kathryn Hutcheson, School of Applied Sciences Ellen Marie Karp, School of Business Administration Cody Paul LeBlanc, College of Liberal Arts Carroll Darlene Lee, School of Education Camille Lyn Lesseig, College of Liberal Arts Patrick Kin-Wing Lo, School of Accountancy Rebecca Lane MacNeill, School of Applied Sciences Kely Jo Markley, School of Engineering Taylor Michael McGraw, College of Liberal Arts Matthew Brannon Miller, College of Liberal Arts John Abraham Montgomery II, College of Liberal Arts Mary Margaret Myers, School of Accountancy Hunter Owen Nicholson, College of Liberal Arts Mariel Aubra Kittredge Parman, College of Liberal Arts Matthew Craig Pharr, School of Education Gabriela Rangel, College of Liberal Arts Timothy Sean Ray, College of Liberal Arts Ianthony Marie Reiner, School of Applied Sciences Daniel Safley Reynolds, School of Accountancy Daniel Windham Robbins, College of Liberal Arts Sarah Kathryn Sams, School of Engineering James Corbett Senter, School of Engineering Jessica Elaine Sewell, College of Liberal Arts Tracey Erin Sisco, School of Engineering Alyssa Rae Smith, School of Engineering Katharine Elizabeth Smith, College of Liberal Arts Brian Michael Spurlock, College of Liberal Arts Thomas Daniel Strini, School of Applied Sciences Cody Ryan Swindle, School of Pharmacy Kira Jordan Thomas, College of Liberal Arts David Ford Thompson, School of Accountancy Kathryn Eileen Trabue, College of Liberal Arts Derek Anthony VanDunse, School of Accountancy Anna Lee Whitley, School of Engineering Emily Erin Wicks, School of Business Administration Meredith Leigh Wilson, College of Liberal Arts Steven Brian Worley, School of Engineering

Sustainability Enthusiasm Wins UM Student Udall Scholarship

Grace Sullivan is the university's third award recipient since 2008

Grace Sullivan is congratulated by her parents, Claire and Dr. David Sullivan (left) and UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Grace Sullivan is congratulated by her parents, Claire and Dr. David Sullivan (left) and UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Every leap year since 2008, a University of Mississippi student has been surprised with a Morris K. Udall Scholarship. This year is no exception, as Grace Sullivan became the university’s third recipient of the prestigious academic award.

The junior social work major from Madison got the news recently when she was summoned to Chancellor Jeffery Vitter’s office in the Lyceum. Led to believe that the chancellor was meeting with all institutional nominees for national fellowships, Sullivan had no idea she had actually won the Udall.

“I was just overwhelmed by the support that I have been given in my years at Ole Miss,” she said. “So many people have come alongside me and provided me with opportunities to serve and develop my ambitions in sustainability. I know that I would not be a Udall Scholar without the support of all of them.”

As the chancellor announced the good news, he extended thanks to her professors, staff members who have assisted her and family supporters.

“I love to see effective passion, and Grace has taken a lot of good advice and channeled it in healthy and constructive ways,” Vitter said. “Part of what education is about is helping people find what they love and then use it to make the world a better place. Our students are making a difference, and we are pleased when their efforts are recognized on a national scale. We look forward to following Grace’s career and seeing what she will accomplish.”

The Udall Scholarship provides $7,000 for one year of study. Previous UM students to be awarded Udall Scholarships are Alecia Waite in 2008 and Taylor Cook in 2012.

Sullivan is among 60 national winners of the scholarships, given annually to college sophomores and juniors who are committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care.

“I will be putting the monetary scholarship from the Udall toward my graduate studies,” Sullivan said. “I plan to attain a master’s in social work and a law degree, so I am thankful to have this assistance as it seems I have a lot of education left to go. More importantly, I think that the Udall will help me in my further studies by providing a network of support through the other scholars.”

Sullivan is a graduate of Madison Central High School. A member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi and Order of Omega, she is actively involved in the Associate Student Body, Green Fund Committee, Delta Gamma fraternity, Active Transportation Advisory Committee and Gamma Beta Phi community service honors society.

She is also a member of the Ole Miss Cycling Club and UM Garden Club.

As a sophomore, she led her sorority’s team in the Green Cup competition, an annual event among Greek houses to be named the most sustainable, culminating in Green Week. Intent on being interactive with members and on encouraging involvement, the team developed a project to reduce transportation waste.

“I had everyone sign a pledge to carpool, take a bus or ride a bike to campus at least once a week,” she said. “When I gave a presentation about easy sustainable choices on campus, I asked to see the hands of those who had used our recycling receptacles or who had noticed them and chosen the nearby trashcans instead.”

As a second project, Sullivan took groups to local recreation trails to pick up litter.

“After that year, I think that a significant difference will be made,” Sullivan said. “I see this experience as a microcosm for culture around sustainability in Mississippi and the potential for progress. For anything to change, individuals have to be engaged and understand their impact.”

“I have known Grace Sullivan since her freshman year, and I have worked with her extensively both formally through internships and informally through collaborative partnerships and committee service, which speaks to the kind of dedication and commitment she has,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the Office of Sustainability. “She is passionate, driven, smart and yet humble. I am thrilled to see her being recognized and know that she certainly deserves this honor.”

Honors College Dean Douglass Sullivan-González said he was pleased, but not really surprised.

“Grace Sullivan leads by example,” Sullivan-González said. “She makes her academic pilgrimage come alive with her commitment to our university community as both citizen and scholar, and Udall distinguished that record with this extraordinary award.”

Sullivan credits the university with developing her leadership skills.

“Social work and law are not the typical avenues through which people expect environmental activism to grow, but I think that the Udall Foundation appreciates that change has to come from every direction,” she said. “Getting to know the diverse group of students that will become the generation that fights with me will likely help direct and support me in my future studies even more than funds can.”

Besides her work in the world of environmentalism, Sullivan fosters education and activism for local birds, volunteers at an Oxford nursing home and is a member of the Student Gardening Club, all while maintaining a 3.76 GPA.

In her Udall application, she wrote that she hoped “to go into public service in Mississippi, eventually transitioning into a community planning position in which I will encourage sustainable practices as a way to combat social ills.” This scholarship is a sign of Sullivan’s dedication and potential, and will offer unique opportunities as well.

One of Sullivan’s mentors is Tess Lefmann, assistant professor of social work.

“Grace is a wonderful student whose passion for sustainability is evident in her work and presence in the classroom,” Lefmann said. “Her united interest in social welfare and the environment has sparked new dialogue among social work students, which has been a joy to witness.”

Lefmann said she has no doubt that Sullivan will continue to make valuable contributions to the country’s policies on energy use and environmental sustainability.

Sullivan’s parents are Dr. David and Claire Sullivan of Madison, both UM alumni.

Congress established the Udall Foundation as an independent executive branch agency in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Students interested in pursuing a Udall Scholarship can contact Tim Dolan, the university’s Udall representative, at onsa@olemiss.edu.

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement conducts workshops each semester to introduce students to major national scholarships. Go to http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/national-scholarship/ for more information.

UM Student Receives Udall Scholarship Honorable Mention

Kendall McDonald, a junior public policy major from Diamondhead, is among 50 national honorees

Kendall McDonald

Kendall McDonald

OXFORD, Miss. – Kendall McDonald , a public policy leadership major at the University of Mississippi who has worked on campus environmental issues while maintaining a 3.96 grade point average, recently was awarded a prestigious Udall Scholarship honorable mention.

McDonald, of Diamondhead, is a junior enrolled in the university’s Sally McDonell Barksdale Honors College and works as an intern in the Office of Campus Sustainability. She has helped operate the UM football game day recycling program, which involved establishing a new partnership with an international recycling company. She also oversaw the production of UM’s Green Week, including the construction of an 8-foot cube of waste educational exhibit.

She studies environmental issues, including participating in an experimental class about the lower Mississippi River. A member of Delta Gamma sorority, she is also active in campus environmental campaigns and “green” student groups.

“Being named an honorable mention to the Udall scholarship, which signifies the top 20 percent of applicants nationally, is very encouraging to me,” McDonald said. “It affirms that I am on the right path in pursuing environmental advocacy and it also places me within the larger network of Udall scholars and honorable mentions. I am so grateful for the support this network provides, and for the opportunity and assistance provided by the Office of National Scholarship Advisement.”

McDonald is the daughter of James Steven McDonald, of Lexington, Kentucky, and Shellye McDonald, of Diamondhead. She is the university’s third student to be recognized by the Udall Foundation. Taylor Cook was named a Udall Scholar in 2012 and Alecia Waite was named a Udall Scholar in 2008.

This year, the Udall Foundation’s 14-member independent review committee picked 50 students from 47 colleges out of more 489 candidates nominated to make up the 2014 scholars class. The foundation, which was established by Congress in 1992, makes its selections based on the students’ commitment to careers in the environment, American Indian health care or tribal public policy, leadership potential, academic achievement and record of public service. Scholars received up to $5,000 for tuition, room and board or other educational expenses. The committee also awarded 50 honorable mentions and those students receive access to the Udall Alumni Network.

McDonald’s application for the Udall Scholarship was supported by UM faculty members and employees, who wrote letters endorsing McDonald’s achievements.

Anne McCauley, UM assistant director of the Office of Sustainability, said McDonald is deserving of the recognition.

“Kendall McDonald is a talented individual who I have truly enjoyed working with and getting to know,” McCauley said. “Though she is intelligent, creative and a natural leader, she is humble and service-oriented. I trust her to represent the Office of Sustainability when she meets with student groups as well as staff members on campus. She has proven herself as capable as a professional colleague, which is exactly how I regard her.”

Joseph “Jody” Holland, UM assistant professor of public policy, said that as one of his students, McDonald completed an extensive research project that examined the barriers and opportunities for building recycling plants in Mississippi. But McDonald is also a well-rounded student who does more than just focus on work in the classroom, Holland said.

“She exemplifies a well-rounded student, who participates in multiple areas of service work on campus and in the community,” he said. “While being a full-time student, Kendall has volunteered for nine service projects over the years at Ole Miss and around the community. Her efforts are constantly focused around environmental policy and contemporary policies issues. As a student worker, she has work closely with the Office of Sustainability in many capacities. Even with that, she still maintains her academic performance as a top scholar.”

David Rutherford, UM associate professor of public policy and geography and executive director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance, said McDonald is “an outstanding student but is also committed to work that improves the planet’s environment at local to global scales.”

“One of my classes in which Kendall enrolled is titled ‘Global Environmental Issues,’ and she demonstrated a strong desire to understand these issues and earned an A for the course,” Rutherford said. “Her performance in the course not only demonstrated high-level skills in reading, understanding and writing but also showed her insightful thinking about contemporary issues and her discerning identification of action steps needed to develop solutions.”

Leaders in Sustainability Honored During Green Week 2012

 TVA’s David Sparks, UM Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs Alice Clark, Taylor Cook, Trey McCain and Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson at the Sustainability Leadership Awards during Green Week.

Members of the University of Mississippi and Oxford community who have shown outstanding leadership in sustainability were honored at the third annual Sustainability Leadership Awards at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center on April 18. During the event, which was part of Green Week, Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, and Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson delivered keynote addresses, citing efforts by the university and city communities to advance sustainable practices and awareness.

“Progress appears in small steps,” said Jim Morrison, director of the UM Office of Campus Sustainability. “I believe we can agree that a healthy and thriving community arises from an engaged and knowledgeable population. Oftentimes, solutions to a community’s issue come from the community itself. It’s exciting to be part of a partnership between the university and city with individuals who have a passion for making a difference.”

The 2012 SLA recipients are Taylor Cook, a public policy leadership and Spanish major from Memphis and recipient of the prestigious Morris K. Udall Scholarship for her environmental work; Trey McCain, a graduate student in modern languages who has been actively involved in the Oxford Community Garden and is a founding leader of the North Central chapter of the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi; and Missy Hopkins, owner of the Green Door Co. in Oxford, who launched the Be Green with the Green Door Co. campaign. The campaign included the Earth Day Technology Initiative, which encouraged local residents to stop by the business and drop off their old computers and other unwanted technology items to be recycled or refurbished and donated to local school districts.

Also during the ceremony, the UM chapter of the Tri-Delta sorority was awarded the Green Cup for incorporating eco-friendly practices within campus groups. Tri-Delta eliminated Styrofoam to-go plates and introduced reusable water bottles in its house, presented an eco-project on waste reduction, replaced paper forms with online sign-in sheets and order forms, and created a recycling program within the sorority.

“I hope that these nominees and winners inspire us to the goal of promoting sustainability,” Patterson said. “The beauty of this community is that even a small initiative can be felt.”

Patterson and Clark spoke about sustainability strides in the community, including the Oxford University Transit buses and UM’s newly opened Insight Park, a research park that has been designed to earn silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. David Sparks, TVA Mississippi manager for energy efficiency, also addressed the audience during the event.

Green Week, created in 2009, is a collaboration between UM and Oxford to promote sustainability awareness through activities for all ages. Recipients of the SLAs are nominated by community members and reviewed by a board of the previous year’s winners.

For more information on Green Week, visit olemiss.edu/greenweek.

Environmental Passion Earns UM Student a Udall Scholarship

Taylor Cook (third from left) was shocked at the announcement she has received the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Cook is the second University of Mississippi student to earn the honor. UM photo by Robert Jordan

Taylor Cook (third from left) was shocked at the announcement she has received the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Cook is the second University of Mississippi student to earn the honor. UM photo by Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – When Taylor Cook walked into the chancellor’s office at the University of Mississippi, she was not expecting to see a roomful of smiling faces.

But that is what she got at a surprise reception to congratulate her on winning the 2012 Morris K. Udall Scholarship, which provides $5,000 for one year of study. She is the second UM student to achieve this honor.Read the story …

Environmental Passion Earns UM Student a Udall Scholarship

Taylor Cook (third from left) was shocked at the announcement she has received the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Cook is the second University of Mississippi student to earn the honor. UM photo by Robert Jordan

Taylor Cook (third from left) was shocked at the announcement she has received the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Cook is the second University of Mississippi student to earn the honor. UM photo by Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – When Taylor Cook walked into the chancellor’s office at the University of Mississippi, she was not expecting to see a roomful of smiling faces.

But that is what she got at a surprise reception to congratulate her on winning the 2012 Morris K. Udall Scholarship, which provides $5,000 for one year of study. She is the second UM student to achieve this honor.

Cook is among 80 national winners of the scholarships, given annually to college sophomores and juniors who are committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the honors college and, of course, the honors college is part of the bigger university that has provided me all of these opportunities for leadership,” Cook said.

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Cook moved to Southaven when she was 14 and attended Horn Lake High School. She is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barkdale Honors College and the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, majoring in public policy and Spanish, with minors in environmental studies and sociology.

“I love to see effective passion, and you have taken a lot of good advice and you have channeled it in healthy and constructive ways,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “Part of what our education is about is having people channel their passions. We are proud of you, and it is a proud moment for the university as well.”

Cook serves as an intern in the Office of Campus Sustainability and is the leadership behind the establishment of a Green Fund at UM. She was instrumental in hosting the Mississippi Alumni & Students for Sustainability Spring 2012 Environmental Leadership Summit, an event that brought together more than 50 Mississippi students from universities and colleges around the state. Cook has also served as the Mississippi Fellow for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which allowed her to participate in PowerShift 2011, a national meeting of sustainability leaders in Washington, D.C.

“Taylor is not only very intelligent, which is evident in her academic accomplishments and recognition as a Udall Scholar, but she has exceptional leadership skills and a remarkable ability to inspire others with her passion,” said Jim Morrison, director of strategic planning and campus sustainability. “I am confident that Taylor is one of those special leaders who will make our world a better place in the future. We are fortunate to have her as an intern in our office of sustainability and as a student leader at our university.”

It was Cook’s first visit to the chancellor’s office, and she was elated to be there.

“I am so happy; this is not what I expected and I am shocked,” she said. “One of the best parts of being a Udall scholar is being part of the Udall network. Plus, the scholarship money will pay for my fifth year of school here, giving me more time to work on my academic goals as well as sustainability projects on campus.”

Honors College Dean Douglass Sullivan-González said he was pleased, but not really surprised.

“Taylor is unique in that she not only has that contagious passion to advocate for environmental and sustainability issues but also the ability and drive to empower her peers to do the same,” Sullivan-González said. “And those peers are at the state, regional and national level.”

Cook credited the university with developing her leadership skills.

“There have been so many opportunities that I hope students take advantage of because that’s how things like this happen, just by putting yourself out there,” she said. “I feel lucky to have had all the opportunities this university provides. I never would have thought back in high school that it would have been such a wealth of opportunity here, but it really has been.”

Representing the university and the Udall program is a tremendous honor, Cook said.

“Part of my outreach is to wear my campaign on my sleeve,” she said. “I hope by telling others what I am doing, I can inspire sustainability leadership in them.”

Besides her work in the world of environmentalism, Cook fosters cats with Nine Lives Cat Rescue, serves as a Global Ambassador and is a member of the Student Vegetarian Organization, all while maintaining a 3.76 GPA.

In her Udall application, she wrote that she hoped “to be a vehicle of change for environmental and social justice both in the United States and abroad.” This scholarship is a sign of Cook’s dedication and potential, and will offer her unique opportunities as well.

One of Cook’s mentors is Eric Weber, assistant professor of public policy leadership, who first taught her in Honors 102.

“I’ve watched many students explore interests and struggle to find what they want to do,” Weber said. “Taylor’s studies clearly struck a chord and motivated her to become a leader on campus. For her, issues of sustainability and environmental consideration quickly rose to the top of her interests. She has made a difference not only in particular efforts in the community, but also in shaping the campus culture.”

Weber said he has no doubt that Cook will continue to make valuable contributions to the country’s policies on energy use and environmental sustainability.

Congress established the Udall Foundation as an independent executive branch agency in 1992 to honor Morris K. Udall’s 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives Students interested in pursuing the Udall Scholarship can contact Andrus Ashoo (onsa@olemiss.edu), who serves as the university’s Udall representative.

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement conducts workshops each semester to introduce students to major national scholarships. Go to http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/national-scholarship/ for more information.

UM Communiversity Classes Help Locals Try Something New this Fall

Schedule includes $10 Lunch and Learn holiday classes

Communiversity participants practice their CPR skills. The program’s fall slate of classes features many options, including first aid, photography, social media marketing, cake decorating and many more. Photo by Larry Agostinelli

OXFORD, Miss. – What does learning to decorate a home like Joanna Gaines, spinning around the dance floor like your favorite “Dancing With The Stars” couple and decorating a cake like you’re a contender on “Cake Wars” have in common? These are just a few of the things participants can learn during the University of Mississippi’s fall 2017 Communiversity classes.

“We want to give people the chance to change their, ‘I wish I coulds’ into ‘Yes, I cans,'” said Gazel Giles, Communiversity coordinator. “People may want to try something new, like learning to use essential oils or putting together a show-stopping Christmas tree, and with Communiversity classes, now they can.”

With several options this fall, the schedule features  new classes and several returning favorites, including the popular $10 fall “Lunch and Learn” classes. These classes teach participants how to design their perfect holiday table, trim a beautiful tree and even make a Christmas tree for the birds.

“Communiversity classes are for everyone,” Giles said. “We try to offer a broad range of short workshops and classes that will give community members the opportunity to learn something new.

“There is a wealth of knowledge to pull from in our community. People enjoy sharing the hobbies, skills and techniques they are passionate about. Our Communiversity teachers make these classes fun.”

The fall schedule kicks off this weekend with an excursion to the 2017 Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs. Birdwatchers on the sold-out trip will enjoy one of the biggest nature festivals in the area and enjoy the thousands of hummingbirds, live shows, arts and crafts, and native plant sales.

Next week, the popular “Ballroom and Latin Dance with Arman” class begins for the fall. Arman Sahakyan will host his step-by-step dance instruction classes on Monday evenings at a location to be announced.

Participants can come for one or all of the classes taking place from Sept. 11 to Nov. 27. Ballroom dance lessons run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Latin dance classes are 7:30-8:30 p.m. The cost for each class session is $10 per person.

The popular “CPR and First Aid Training” class is set for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 23 at Insight Park on Hathorn Road. Students will learn resuscitation techniques for infants, children and adults, along with how to use Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs.

The course also covers first aid, home safety, splinting and victim assessment. This course meets requirements for foster care, adoption and child care workers. The fee is $79 and includes American Red Cross CPR certification.

Ole Miss graduate Maila Rogers of Southaven enrolled in this course last spring and used the first aid information she learned while serving as a camp counselor this summer at Camp Lakeside in Scobey.

“I felt better prepared and calmer when I needed to recall my training,” Rogers said. “Unfortunately, we did have a few minor accidents at camp this summer that needed quick responses. I was glad to have the knowledge and skills to help.”

“Safe Sitter Essential Skills for ages 11-14” is a nationally recognized program where teens learn lifesaving skills to stay safe when they are home alone or watching younger children. The class meets 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 4 at Insight Park. The cost is $45.

Community residents who would like to learn more about the healing power of natural remedies are invited to try Communiversity’s special classes with Ann Marie Farrell on Thursday evenings in October.

“The Healing Power of Herbs and Spices” class meets 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Oxford-University Depot. The cost is $39. “Advanced Essential Oils – Lifestyle Change” is set for the same times Oct. 19 and 26. The cost is $85 plus a $9 materials fee.

Communiversity classes are short noncredit classes open to anyone in the community interested in learning something new. Back on the schedule this fall are the popular $10 holiday decor and design classes. Photo by Larry Agostinelli

Learn more about how to take photos like the pros in “Getting to Know Your Digital Camera” from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 30 at Insight park. Robert Jordan, UM director of photography services, will teach participants to take professional-looking photos and share his tips on enhancing images, archiving photos and techniques for printing. The cost is $85. Students will have an opportunity to practice their skills with their own camera during lessons around campus that same day.

For beginning photographers who want to learn more about digitally enhancing photos, the “Adobe Photoshop Workshop: Getting Started,” is set for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 7 at Weir Hall. The cost is $89.

Local seniors interested in learning more about their tech devices are invited to the “iPhones?, iPads?, iWhat?” class offered ofrom 5 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Weir Hall. The fee is $45. Participants will learn basic settings, navigation, how to take photos, send texts, download apps and much more.

“Marketing Your Business Using Social Media” will meet 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 12 and 19 at Weir Hall. The cost is $69. This course teaches participants how to set up and optimize social media accounts for their business, generate leads through Facebook ads and gain traffic to their websites.

Two-time winners of Food Network’s “Cake Wars,” Jeff and Kathleen Taylor, of Oxford’s Sweet T’s Bakery, are back this fall with their popular cake design classes. They will lead a Halloween-themed “Cake Decorating: Spooky, Scary and Spectacular” class from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Depot. The class covers techniques for creating piping, cake borders, flowers, rolled fondant and modeling techniques. The course fee is $75.

The Taylors also will lead “Holiday Sweet Treats” from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12, again at the Depot. This family-friendly class will cover how to take a simple cupcake or cookie and turn it into something special. The class fee is $59.

Communiversity’s popular $10 holiday Lunch and Learn classes return to help participants deck their halls with lots of festive cheer and decor. Each class will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. at the Depot.

The first Lunch and Learn class is set for Nov. 8, when one of Oxford’s favorite designers, Jordan Brown, of Discount Building Materials, shares her unique “Tips for Trimming Your Tree.” Learn her easy-to-re-create design ideas for putting together your own show-stopping tree this holiday season.

Brown also will teach fun DIY holiday decorating ideas for designing “Easy to Elegant Tablescapes and Centerpieces” during a noon class on Nov. 29.

The final Lunch and Learn is slated for Dec. 13, when Mitch Robinson from the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center shows participants how to attract feathered friends to their yards with his class, “Christmas Tree for the Birds.” Students will get hands-on training to decorate an evergreen tree with decorations that will attract birds and various wildlife.

Visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/inspired for more information on these and other classes happening this fall. Discounts are available for ages 55 and older. UM employees can use payroll deduction for any class over $60.

University Community Mourns Paul Tobin Maginnis

Retired professor, chair helped build Department of Computer and Information Science

P. Tobin Maginnis

OXFORD, Miss. – Paul Tobin Maginnis, a professor emeritus who served as interim chair and helped build the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Mississippi, died June 14 at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford. He was 70.

A private graveside service was held June 16 at Oxford Memorial Cemetery.

Former colleagues and students reflected upon their relationships with Maginnis.

“Tobin will be missed by all of us, including the thousands of students he taught during his 36 years as an Ole Miss faculty member,” said Conrad Cunningham, former chair and professor of computer and information science and longtime friend of Maginnis. “Tobin’s dedication to the students and to computer science education and research – and his pro-student attitude – helped attract me to the faculty.”

Harley Garrett Jr. of Oxford, a retired Air Force officer with a second career in industry and a third with Global Technical Systems, recalled meeting Maginnis through work between 2003 and 2004. Though Garrett was 65 at the time, he credited Maginnis with having taught him “a lot – about a lot.”

“I have been blessed with three careers and have known many people in my life,” he said. “Out of that population, there are a few whose personality, professionalism and enjoyment of helping others can match Tobin’s.

“We shared moments of discussion on a myriad of topics, even though our professional focus was on the application of computer science in the hands of skilled students.”

Garrett said Maginnis’ love of life, passion for understanding things he was interested in, and kindness and generosity toward others are what he remembers most.

“He was also a gifted teacher whose gift transcended all of his endeavors, not just computer science,” he said.

Yi Liu, another former student of Maginnis’ and associate professor of computer science at South Dakota State University, remembered him as “a nice person.”

“I took two classes from him and he was my mentor in teaching the computer organization class,” she said. “I learned from him and I respected him.

“The last time I saw him was at the ACMSE conference at Ole Miss back in 2010. He gave me a hug. I wish I had spent more time talking to him.”

Bill Taylor, vice president of information technology at FNB Oxford, credited Maginnis with jump-starting his professional career.

“During my first meeting with him, he encouraged me to ask Dr. Cook for a job in the CS department,” Taylor said. “He said, ‘We have never hired a freshman before, but I think you are going to be the first.’ He was right.

“Then, right before Christmas break, he told me that when I came back in January, he wanted to talk to me about an opportunity to help get the first Linux certification program going. My professional career started when Dr. Maginnis recommended me for a local IT position.”

Born in Baltimore to the late Paul Tobin “PT” Maginnis and Emily Maginnis Robishaw, Maginnis began working at the university in 1979. He created and taught an extensive array of undergraduate and graduate courses on operating systems, networks and computer architecture. His hard work, long hours and innovative ideas helped shape the identity of computer science education at Ole Miss.

“He taught, advised and supervised many graduate and undergraduate students,” Cunningham said. “The students recognized and appreciated the passion that he brought to his position.”

Maginnis believed in academic integrity and would go to great lengths to preserve it, said Pam Lawhead, professor emeritus of computer and information science.

“He was fair to a flaw but would not stand for or support any breach of academic integrity,” Lawhead said. “His ability to create assignments that absolutely taught the student the concept in question were unparalleled in our department.

“His respect for the individuality of the many and different employees and students created an interesting environment in which to work.”

Maginnis’ roles evolved over the years, said Jimmy Palmer, information technology coordinator at UM’s Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.

“Early on, I thought of him as a mentor and teacher,” Palmer said. “A little later, I thought of him as an employer and leader. In more recent years, I thought of him as a colleague and friend.”

Palmer said Maginnis saw something in him that he did not see in himself.

“He trusted me and gave me responsibilities that made me grow as a person and an engineer,” Palmer said. “He asked me to work for him and gave me my first real job in my IT career. I will always be grateful for my relationship with Tobin.”

Maginnis took on the additional responsibility to maintain and support the department’s computer systems for many years. He and his students installed the department’s first network and connected it to the fledgling campus and national networks.

He advocated the use and development of open-source software, computer software that is freely available for anyone to use and modify without the proprietary restrictions imposed by companies. Maginnis used open-source operating systems such as MINIX, Free BSD and Linux in his teaching and research.

Sair Technologies, the company he founded in the 1990s, was at the forefront of open-source technology training and accreditation.

His interest in the “systems” aspect of computing continued until his retirement in 2015, but he adapted to the changing technologies and needs of Ole Miss students.

In the 1990s, Maginnis taught computer graphics and developed interactive “electronic brochures” using the personal computing technologies of that era. In recent years, he expanded his teaching to include web development, microcontroller programming and 3-D printing.

“The building of our 3-D printer lab in 2013 illustrates Tobin’s approach to being a faculty member,” Cunningham said. “He wanted to introduce 3-D printing into one of his courses. As chair at the time, I authorized department funds for that purpose.

“When the kit arrived, Tobin spent a couple of unpaid summer days assembling the kit. I still have the image of Tobin, with all the parts spread out across the conference room table, tools in hand, assembling the printer. I remember the pleasure he had at getting the first 3-D prints off the device. Students have made the resulting Digital Design and 3-D Printing course one of our more popular electives in recent years.”

A member of the Catholic Church in Menominee, Michigan, Maginnis was a sailing enthusiast and enjoyed riding motorcycles. An avid fan of all movies, he particularly loved action flicks and cartoons, and was a devotee of musical theater.

Besides Sair Technologies, he was the founder Gunsmanship Inc., owner of Tobix, an associate member at Wave Technologies and an associate staff member at Global Technology Systems. He also was a member of the Oxford Amateur Radio Club, National Rifle Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a certified home inspector.

Maginnis worked briefly at the university’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences before moving to the Department of Computer Science, where he was employed for 36 years.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Erin Elizabeth Dillon-Maginnis.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Anneal Dillon of Oxford; daughters Lindsay Dillon-Maginnis of Oxford and Meredith Dillon-Maginnis of Augusta, Georgia; a son, Jordan Dillon-Maginnis of Oxford; sisters Michael Leonard of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Moira Dean of Milwaukee and Katie Winlinski of Green Bay, Wisconsin; and brothers Jack Maginnis of Washington, D.C., and Kevin Maginnis of Chicago.

Memorial designations in Maginnis’ memory can be made to the American Cancer Society, 1380 Livingston Lane, Jackson, MS 39213.

UM Communiversity Classes Offer Variety of Enrichment Activities

Several new options this spring to include Latin dancing and sushi making

Dance instructor Arman Sahakyan will lead a four-week course in ‘Ballroom and Latin Dance with Arman’ at the Turner Center as part of the spring Communiversity lineup.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Trying something new this spring might be the spark that energizes you for the new year, and the University of Mississippi Communiversity program has a great lineup of classes ready to help you explore new subjects and hobbies.

A full slate of enrichment course opportunities are scheduled this spring to help participants learn more about technology, healthy living, baking, floral design, landscaping and more. The schedule even includes a free cooking class! The full spring class schedule can be found online at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/funclassnews.

Last fall, Carol McGonagill gifted her sister Ginger Patterson, both of Oxford, with the Communiversity class “Intro to Essential Oils.” The two enjoyed learning about different plants and minerals beneficial to healing and good health.

“The class was awesome,” Patterson said. “I learned so many different ways to take care of my body without needing to turn to medication.”

Patterson is looking forward to learning more about this subject in the second part of the class, being offered this spring on the Ole Miss campus. The “Advanced Essential Oils-Lifestyle Change” class is offered from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, April 11, 18 and 25 in the E.F. Yerby Conference Center.

Participants get to try their hands at creating oil-based blends that are perfect for bath, body and home. They also will learn to safely replace household, personal care and wellness products with essential oils. Each person will leave with samples made in class. The cost is $85 plus a $9 materials fee.

The spring 2017 Communiversity schedule kicks off Feb. 1, with Jeff and Kathleen Taylor of Oxford’s Sweet T’s Bakery, who were contestants recently on Food Network’s “Cake Wars” program. Come find out all their secrets to decorating like the pros during the new “DIY: Make Award-Winning Cake Designs” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Oxford-University Depot. The class cost is $75 plus a $9 materials fee.

Communiversity will host a free class Feb. 8 at the Institute for Child Nutrition on Hill Drive. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., registered dietitian Mariana Jurss will teach participants to make “Delicious Soups to Warm Your Body and Soul,” including such favorites as potato corn chowder and catfish stew. Although there is no charge for this class, interested people are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Seats are limited. 

Gardeners will have several opportunities to plan for their spring gardens and learn floral design from area professionals during the popular lunch-and-learn classes that return this spring. Each class, offered from noon to 1 p.m. at the UM Depot, costs just $10.

The lunch-and learn-series kicks off with guided tips for “How to Create a Beautiful Hummingbird Garden” taught by Mitch Robinson from Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. Learn how to attract and support hummers and other pollinators with native plants and habitat enhancement on March 22.

The following week, Jordan Brown, of Oxford’s Discount Building Materials design center, will share tips on easy-to-do, affordable tablescapes and eye-catching centerpieces. Learn how to decorate your Easter table on March 29.

Proper techniques for pruning trees and shrubs will be taught during “Spring Pruning with Jeff McManus” on April 26. McManus will share tips from his book “Pruning Like a Pro” during the final lunch-and-learn of the season.

Oxford Floral’s Whitney Pullen will demonstrate how to pair different flowers to complement any theme during the hands-on course, “Making a Beautiful Spring Bouquet,” set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 4 at the Yerby Center. Participants will be inspired to pair different flower variations and design ideas for weddings and home decorating, and everyone will design their own arrangement to take home. The cost is $69 plus a $10 materials fee.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, couples might enjoy “Ballroom and Latin Dance with Arman.” Learn step-by-step instructions with expert dance instructor Arman Sahakyan. The class will be taught 6-8 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23 and March 2 and 9 at the Turner Center dance studio. The cost is $69.

Arman will host a free meet-and-greet to discuss his class from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Turner Center. There is no charge for this introductory event, but registration is required, at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/communiversity/classes_dance.html.

Many locals remember the popular Two Stick sushi restaurant on the Oxford Square. Sushi chef Jesse Mullin was trained by the owners of the former hot spot and will share tips on how to create your own Rebel Roll at home. Join him from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 10 at the Depot to learn to make the perfect sticky rice and sushi’s most popular sauces. The class fee is $39 plus $9 for ingredients.

Helping local first responders communicate effectively will be discussed in the new class, “Medical Spanish for Emergency Responders,” offered 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 3, 7 and 9 in Lamar Hall, Room 133.

The instructor starts with the basics of Spanish pronunciation and then moves on to simple words for everyday emergency situations. This class will provide basic knowledge needed when working with a Spanish-speaking patient. This class is perfect for first responders, EMTs, police officers and all medical personnel. The cost is $85.

A wide variety of classes are available for local professionals this spring, including “Marketing Your Business Using Social Media” offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 20 and 27 in Weir Hall, Room 104. The cost is $69. Learn to set up social media sites for your business, generate targeted leads using Facebook ads and increase traffic to your website.

Find out more about these and the variety of other classes available this spring at http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/funclassnews or call 662-915-7158 to request the spring class brochure.