OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association is recognizing seven distinguished alumni, including a former chancellor and two record-setting student-athletes, with its highest honors this month as part of the university’s annual Homecoming activities.
Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2014 are: James W. Davis (BBA 62, MS 63, PhD 72) of Oxford; Michael L. Ducker (72) of Collierville, Tennessee; Peggie Gillom-Granderson (BSW 80) of Abbeville; Robert Khayat (BAEd 61, JD 66) of Oxford; and Deuce McAllister (00) of Kenner, Louisiana.
Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or state or to UM through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.
Lanny Griffith (BBA 73, JD 76) of Alexandria, Virginia, will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Kelly English (BSFCS 02) of Memphis will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.
The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows at 7 p.m.
Davis received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1962 and a master’s degree in accountancy in 1963, both from UM. Upon graduation, he joined the Houston, Texas, office of Arthur Andersen & Co. After two years there, he returned to Ole Miss as an assistant professor of accountancy, teaching accounting and pursuing a doctoral degree, which he earned in 1971.
In 1985, he received the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award, now the Elsie M. Hood Award. He won the Patterson School of Accountancy’s Outstanding Teacher Award five times and was named the Peery Professor of Accountancy in 1995. Davis served as the school’s dean grom 1993 to 2002. During that time, Conner Hall was renovated along with the construction of Holman Hall, a project that received the largest amount of donor funding in the university’s history to that time. Davis officially retired in 2009 but has continued teaching part-time and retains the title of Peery Professor of Accountancy Emeritus.
Ducker is chief operating officer and president, international, for FedEx Express. He leads all customer-facing aspects of the company’s U.S. operations and its international business, spanning more than 220 countries and territories across the globe. He also oversees FedEx Trade Networks and FedEx SupplyChain. Ducker directs the company’s efforts to open markets, improve customs procedures and support international economic policy reforms.
He serves on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the Obama administration. In addition, he serves as chairman of the International Policy Committee and as an executive board member and vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he received his MBA from a joint program of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Gillom-Granderson led the basketball Lady Rebels to the AIAW State Tournament Championships in 1978 and 1979 and a berth in the AIAW National Tournament in 1978. A four-year starter, she is Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer with 2,486 points and rebounder with 1,271 rebounds. She is one of two players in Ole Miss’ history to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.
In 16 seasons as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor, she helped lead Ole Miss to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, including five Sweet Sixteen and four Elite Eight appearances. In 1991-1992, she helped lead Ole Miss to its first-ever regular season SEC title. As an assistant coach for USA Basketball, she helped guide the 1999 U.S. Pan American Games team to a bronze medal and the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. Gillom-Granderson was inducted into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
A 1956 graduate of Moss Point High School, Khayat has lived most of his life at Ole Miss and in Oxford. He was an Academic All-American football player and was chosen as an All-SEC catcher for the 1959 and 1960 SEC Champion baseball teams. With undergraduate and law degrees from Ole Miss, he joined the law faculty in 1969. A Sterling Fellowship enabled him to pursue a degree from the Yale Law School in 1980.
He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL, the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation and the Silver Medallion Award for best memoir in the nation for “The Education of a Lifetime.” Khayat is a member of the Ole Miss Football Team of the Century, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the UM Student Hall of Fame, holds an honorary membership from Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as Law Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He served as chancellor from 1995 until his retirement in 2009, a transformative time in the university’s history.
McAllister is the only player in Ole Miss football history to record three seasons with at least 1,000 all-purpose yards. In 1999, he won the Conerly Trophy, which goes to the state’s top collegiate football player. He finished his college career at Ole Miss with records for carries, yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, points and 100-yard games.
In 2001, McAllister was selected by the New Orleans Saints and went on to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons, a first in Saints history. He was the first Saints running back with 22 100-yard games. In his first year as a starter in 2002 he led the conference with 1,388 rushing yards, scored 16 TDs and was voted to the Pro Bowl in both 2002 and 2003. He set the all-time rushing touchdown record for the Saints in 2008 and holds Saints records for most career rushing yards and touchdowns. He retired from the NFL in 2010. McAllister received the Army Community Award for his dedication to the states of Mississippi and Louisiana in 2010 and was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Griffith serves as chief executive officer of BGR Group. He joined the Washington, D.C.-based government affairs and communications firm in 1993 after serving in several roles in President George H.W. Bush’s administration.
Griffith’s political career began in the early 1980s when he worked for the Republican National Committee, managed Haley Barbour’s U.S. Senate race in 1982 and served as the executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party for three years. In 1988, he served as Southern political director for Bush’s presidential campaign. In 1989, Griffith was sworn in as special assistant to the president, serving as Bush’s liaison to governors and other statewide elected officials.
In 1991, Bush nominated Griffith to be assistant secretary of education. Griffith’s work for the Bush family continued with his role as national chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2000 Entertainment Task Force and entertainment coordinator for the 2001 Bush Inaugural. He later served as a ranger and as a member of the Bush 2004 National Finance Committee.
English is executive chef-owner of Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis and executive chef of Magnolia House in Biloxi.
After graduating from Ole Miss and the Culinary Institute of America, he returned to New Orleans in 2004 to cook under the auspices of Chef John Besh in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants before moving to Memphis and opening Restaurant Iris in 2008. Two years later, he was named a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, appeared on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and earned Memphis Restaurant Association’s “Restaurateur of the Year” award.
English has been featured in Food & Wine magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Bon Appétit, Garden & Gun and the cookbook “Wild Abundance.” He was recognized in 2013 with the Thomas A. Crowe Outstanding Alumnus Award by the UM School of Applied Sciences.