Heidelbergs Donate $30,000 to University Museum

Gift will support exhibits and programs with a focus on young and emerging artists

Jane Becker Heidelberg and her husband, Rody Heidelberg, met at UM. Their son, Web Heidelberg, and his wife, Michelle, have established a gift to the museum in Jane Becker Heidelberg’s name. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Jane Becker Heidelberg adored her time at the University of Mississippi. She met her husband, Rody Heidelberg, in 1940 at their first dance as students in the old gym. They were together almost 50 years.

She loved collecting art and supporting Mississippi artists, so when she died in 2011, the family began thinking of ways to preserve her memory at the university she loved so much.

Her son, Web Heidelberg, and his wife, Michelle, of Hattiesburg, have established the Jane Becker Heidelberg Endowment for the Arts for the University Museum with a $30,000 gift. The gift will be used for exhibitions and programming, with an emphasis on the work of young or emerging artists.

“The Jane Becker Heidelberg Endowment for the Arts represents arts philanthropy at its very best, and the University Museum is deeply grateful to the Heidelberg family for the creation of this fund in support of emerging artists,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. “Their generosity will transform the museum’s capacity to engage with younger and newly emerging artists in meaningful and creative partnerships, whether by exhibition, acquisition or public programs.

“Working with emerging artists is now assured for the museum’s future, and the ultimate beneficiaries are the public and university audiences who will experience some of the Mid-South’s most creative new artistic talents.”

This is not the first time the Heidelbergs have contributed to the university that brought Jane and Rody together. When Rody died in 1989, Jane established the Rowland W. Heidelberg Jr. Scholarship at the School of Law. The scholarship is awarded to a promising incoming law student for three years.

“Hopefully, the endowment will help provide the kind of support and encouragement that mother provided personally during her lifetime,” Web Heidelberg said. “And, of course, to do so at a place that meant so much to her is especially meaningful and appropriate.”

Web Heidelberg earned his bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in 1967 before attending law school at Tulane University.

To contribute to the University Museum, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

Oxford Medical Waste Disposal Company to be Featured on Program

Segment on GreenServ Inc. to air July 10 on 'World's Greatest'

Greenserv, a medical waste company, and its employees will be featured July 10 on ‘World’s Greatest.’ Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – An Oxford startup that provides a vital service to hospitals and medical clinics in the Southeast is getting national exposure through an episode of a television program focusing on innovative companies and products.

GreenServ Inc., a medical waste and compliance firm, spent the month of May filming for “World’s Greatest,” a television show that highlights the best companies, products and places around the world. It is scheduled to air at 5 a.m. July 10 on DirecTV channel 305 and Dish Network channel 250.

University of Mississippi alumnus John Alford and business partner Will Fountain started the company in 2012. With a combined 35 years of experience in medical sales, Alford and Fountain noticed something missing in the medical industry.

“We saw a need in the medical waste market for a company that will provide the quality service at a competitive rate,” Fountain said. “Through market research, we discovered customers needed an alternative.”

When GreenServ was in its beginning stages, Alford and Fountain worked two jobs for five years. Now, the company has grown to 17 employees in three locations and covers all of Mississippi, western Tennessee and half of Louisiana.

GreenServ has also implemented a mail-back program that will service medical care providers across the country.

“World’s Greatest” reached out to Alford and Fountain nearly a year ago and after several interviews, the company was selected to appear on the program.  

“When we actually got the call letting us know we had been chosen, it was extremely exciting,” Alford said. “We are continually working to develop our brand, so that the health care providers in our region think of GreenServ first when it comes to regulated medical waste and regulatory compliance.”

Alford added that GreenServ’s employees are excited about the program and said each employee has been a key part of the business successes over the years.

“They have bought into and contributed to the system we have, and it’s fun for them to see it working as well,” he said. “We have been extremely blessed in more ways than we can count, and are looking forward to the next five years.”

The program will explore GreenServ’s growth, ability to save customers money and its mail-back program. It will also feature GreenServ’s focus on technology and how the company works to make the customers’ businesses more cost-effective and easier.

UM Alumnus Develops Apps for College Students

First offerings help users locate peer tutors and develop campus marketplaces

Kenneth Akpati, 2011 Ole Miss graduate, has developed mobile apps to assist students with tutoring and selling items. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Mobile apps to enhance students’ college experience through tutoring and a marketplace are available at the University of Mississippi.

My Campus Concierge was founded in March 2016 as a tech startup by Ole Miss alumnus Kenneth Akpati. His goal was to help students improve their grades through peer-to-peer tutoring and make money through a campus marketplace for goods and services.

Akpati released his first app, Dean’s List Tutoring, in August 2016. The app allows students to connect with peers who have previously passed a particular course to assist with homework and studying through tutoring.

“The advantage of using DLT is in the fact that it is campus-specific, and students would be finding fellow students that have already been in the same class with the same professor, hence giving the students more of a mentoring feel that just the regular homework/test help tutoring,” he said.

The second mobile app, Quintana Campus Marketplace, debuted at the CSpire CTX Experience in April at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. The campus-specific marketplace makes it safer and easier for students to buy and sell goods and services within the campus community, Akpati said.

“We created this app with the intention to help students save money off of the things and services they need and make money selling things they don’t need and by providing simple services for their fellow members of the campus community,” he said. “We hope that this app will enable students to build their own private economy and be less dependent on their parents while they are in college.”

Both apps are available for Android, iPhone and via webpage.

Ole Miss students were involved in the way the app looks. Akpati visited Dawn Wilkins’ computer science class in the spring, and the students evaluated the app, providing feedback. His design team incorporated most of the changes suggested by the class, said Wilkins, chair and professor of computer and information science.

“Mr. Akpati was very passionate about getting students to consider entrepreneurial ideas and giving back to the university and the community in general,” she said. “His story is very inspiring and his willingness to actively mentor the students is wonderful.

Akpati is also working with the UM electrical engineering and computer science departments to host a Hack-a-thon next year to engage students in a large-scale computer programming effort, Wilkins said.

“We haven’t made detailed plans yet, but he is already working on identifying corporate sponsors,” she said. “He is a very enterprising young man and an excellent role model for our students.”

Ole Miss is the fifth campus to embrace the app, along with Trinity University and the University of Texas campuses at Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Akpati, who lives in Dallas, graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He was inspired to create the company and mobile apps based on his college experience and his passion to help college students.

“This company was created out of my passion to make the sharing economy safer and more relevant through localization,” he said. “I had to work around the clock as a tutor to be able to sustain myself and stay enrolled in classes.

“I wanted to make it easier for future generations of students by creating a way for students to help one another so no student would ever have to deal with that burden alone.”

The company is developing a third app, which will act as a social platform for college students to keep up with happenings at their school and other campuses, he said. Students will be able to post messages, photos and videos to the network when the app launches later this fall.

Upcoming Ford Center Season Includes Broadway Smash ‘Rent’

Schedule includes new jazz series, productions for all ages and tastes

OXFORD, Miss. – The 20th anniversary tour of “Rent” books a room in Oxford this fall as the Broadway musical comes to the University of Mississippi for one show at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The Ford Center’s 2017-18 season also features a national tour of “The Sound of Music” and “Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility,” plus jazz concerts, children’s shows and much more.

“We are excited to launch some new initiatives and have expanded the offerings this season with a new jazz series and children’s series,” said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director. “We have our audience favorites as well, with musicals, a classical play and dance concerts.

“Our Holiday Village will feature gingerbread houses, miniature Christmas villages, the North Pole and an international corner. This will open on Dec. 1 to coincide with our big event that features a holiday theme for the entire family.”

The season kicks off Sept. 7 with “Nashville Songwriters Night featuring Dickey Lee and Pat Alger with Roxie Dean.”

The Ford Series begins Oct. 26 with the Broadway tour of “Rent,” which follows seven artists struggling to follow their dreams. The von Trapp Family will thrill Ford Center audiences in “The Sound of Music” Jan. 24, with performances of classic songs including “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi.”

On Feb. 27, Conspirare, a Company of Voices will perform “Considering Matthew Shepard,” the story of a gay student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie who was kidnapped and left to die nearly 20 years ago. This concert-length work uses musical styles, poetic texts, passages from Shepard’s journal and interviews with family members to tell his story.

The Ford Series concludes with the Tony Award-winning performance of “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” which offers a contemporary take on the classic tale.

The Artist Series begins Sept. 21 by making the audience part of the show in “Artrageous.” The musicians, singers, dancers and artists pay tribute to musical icons and genres in multiple art forms, including a gallery of finished paintings.

BodyTraffic, a dance company from Los Angeles, is slated to perform Nov. 9 at the Ford Center. Submitted photo

On Nov. 9, Oxford audiences will have an opportunity to see a performance named Best of Culture by the Los Angeles Times. West Coast dance troupe BodyTraffic, which recently toured Israel and Jordan, will perform its contemporary dance styles at the Ford Center.

Aquila Theatre continues to expand its adaptations of classical works with “Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility,” coming to the Ford Center on Feb. 13. The story revolves around two sisters in a time when choices were limited for women. The comedic romantic tale of the English upper middle class includes seduction, courtship, love, heartbreak and surprise.

The Artist Series concludes March 25 with “Revolutionaries: Ginastera and Beethoven,” featuring acclaimed German pianist Andreas Klein and North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra conductor Steven Byess. The artists will contrast the styles of Beethoven with works of 20th century Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera.

The Jazz Series, made possible by a $25,000 gift from Oxford residents Marty and John Dunbar, will begin Sept. 14 with a performance from the Cyrus Chestnut Quartet. Pianist Cyrus Chestnut blends contemporary and traditional jazz with gospel, Latin and samba and has become one of jazz’s most beloved and acclaimed musicians.

The series continues with “The Birdland All-Stars: The Art of Jazz” featuring Tommy Ignoe. The New York musicians have dazzled audiences for 10 years and return to the road with arrangements featuring music of David Bowie, The Police and Steely Dan, among others.

The series concludes March 1 with “Celebrating Gershwin: A Stroll Down Tin Pan Alley” by the Julian Bliss Septet. Bliss is one of the finest clarinetists of our time and he is joined by some of the best musicians in jazz to form this septet.

The Ford Center also will host a Campus Connections series, beginning Dec. 1 with “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” one of the most popular American operas during the Christmas season, and “Handel’s Messiah.” This collaborative project, made possible by a grant from Nancye Starnes and the Kite Foundation, includes performers from the community, university and professional guest artists.

On Jan. 27, the Malpaso Dance Company brings Havana to Oxford with movement and music from Cuba’s rich dance tradition. From April 20 to 22, the Ford Center will host Ole Miss Theatre’s performances of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

Thanks to a gift from Billy and Rebecca Long, the Russian Folk Orchestra will perform Oct. 3 at the venue. This pops concert features popular selections combined with traditional folk music and is sure to appeal to a variety of audiences.

Throughout the year, the Ford Center also will feature a variety of performances for children as part of its Daytime School Series. “Dinosaur Zoo,” set for Nov. 16, offers two opportunities for schoolchildren to explore life-like dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures in an entertaining theatrical performance that will stimulate the imaginations of children.

On Dec. 13, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” based on the book by Richard and Florence Atwater, follows a painter and decorator who dreams of Antarctic adventures when one day, a penguin arrives on his doorstep. The hourlong musical features original songs and penguin puppets, serving as the perfect family treat for the holiday season.

The School Series concludes April 10 with two performances for all ages of “Huck and Tom and the Mighty Mississippi.” This musical, based on the novels of Mark Twain, follows one of the greatest adventurers in American literature and his friends as they explore the river that defined their lives.

For more information about performances, visit http://fordcenter.org/. Tickets are available for all shows at the UM Box Office, inside the Ford Center or online at http://olemissboxoffice.com/.

Madison Couple Establishes Fund for Russian Folk Instrument Orchestra

Gift to support Ford Center programming and outreach efforts

The Russian Folk Instrument Orchestra will perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts in October, thanks to a $20,000 gift by Billy and Rebecca Long. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will bring the Russian Folk Instrument Orchestra to the University of Mississippi this fall, thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Billy and Rebecca Long of Madison.

The $20,000 gift established the FCPA Russian Folk Instrument Orchestra Fund. The Longs became interested in assisting the Ford Center through Cheryle Sims, a Ford Foundation board member and former patient of Long’s.

“Several years ago, she invited us to attend a ballet performance and introduced us to this wonderful facility,” he said. “Since then, we have gotten progressively more interested in attending various events. We realize what a wonderful venue the Ford Center offers to the greater Mississippi community.”

Last year, the Longs traveled to Russia and attended several opera, ballet and symphony performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg while also touring academies where young Russians are trained in artistic skills. The UM alumnus and longtime Ole Miss sports fan wanted to provide a way to bring these performers to the United States.

Billy and Rebecca Long visit St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Their $20,000 gift to the Ford Center will allow the Russian Folk Instrument Orchestra to perform in Oxford in October. Submitted photo

“We are excited about the future offerings at the Ford Center, and the intention to promote the performing arts to a wider audience,” Long said. “I hope that our interest in the Ford Center may spark an interest in our junior high and high school students to see live performances. 

“The Ford Center is an essential part of the university’s outreach to Oxford and the surrounding area, but also to our college students who wish to develop an appreciation for the performing arts, and even become a performer themselves.”

The performance is set for Oct. 3 and will include an outreach activity earlier that day for area students, said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director.

“It will be an international cultural event that will appeal to arts enthusiasts of all ages, and I believe our Oxford audience will embrace this group of talented young musicians and welcome them into our community,” she said.

To contribute to programming at the Ford Center, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

University Museum Hosts Summer Drop-In Days

Themed events provide opportunities for learning and creativity

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum will host open studio drop-in days in July, allowing community members of all ages to create their own artwork.

“We designed the drop-in studios to help audiences of all ages build their own meaning and connection to our collections,” said Steven James Mockler, who works with Americorps VISTA. “We already offer tremendous family programming but saw this as an opportunity to open doors for more mature or unattached visitors.

“The projects are fun and open to all ages, but we’ve also designed them to have deeper layers that we hope will engage and challenge our visitors, too.”

From July 5 to 7, the museum invites families to “Celebrate American Art” with a Fourth of July-themed drop-in day. Families can explore the museum’s Seymour Lawrence Collection of Contemporary American Art and diversity by learning about immigrant background of American artists such as Georgia O’Keefe.

Participants also have an opportunity to view the collection in a new way by helping the museum complete a community diversity map and will draw patriotic self-portraits to celebrate American heritage.

The museum will host “Fitting in at the Museum” drop-in days July 24-28. Families will explore the museum’s newest exhibit of puzzles, “Love=Love” by Kent Rogowski. Participants will have an opportunity to help the museum put together a community project and will assemble their own puzzle piece work of art to take home from the studio.

The museum is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

University Participates in Culture of Respect Program

Initiative aims to address and prevent sexual violence on campuses

The Division of Student Affairs will participate in the Culture of Respect Program aimed at developing strategies to address sexual violence. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is among 53 institutions to join the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators 2017 Culture of Respect inaugural cohort with the aim of addressing campus sexual violence.

As part of the two-year program, UM will examine and evaluate its existing policies, build effective prevention programs, create a strategic plan for addressing violence, participate in professional development and receive coaching from public health professionals.

“We feel like we already do a good job on response and prevention on our campus, but we are always focused on improving and serving our students, faculty and staff,” said Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick, assistant director for violence prevention.

“The university upholds its commitment to a safe campus through several avenues, and Culture of Respect is bringing together more stakeholders than ever to ensure we are doing everything we can and maximizing existing resources.”

Institutions in the pilot program, launched in 2016, showed improvements in the six pillars of response and prevention: survivor support, clear policies, multitiered education, public disclosure, school-wide mobilization and ongoing self-assessment.

Throughout the program, institutions will learn from one other through online discussion boards and networking events.

“One of the core values of the Division of Student Affairs is “students first”; the Culture of Respect membership exemplifies our commitment to that specific value,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Continual assessment and improvement of professional practice is a hallmark of our university, but this initiative is especially important in our efforts to enhance student safety.”

For information about policies at Ole Miss regarding relationship violence and sexual assault, visit http://umsafe.olemiss.edu/.

Miss University to Compete for Miss Mississippi Title

Leah Gibson and 10 other Ole Miss students vie for the crown this week in Vicksburg

Miss University Leah Gibson and 10 other Ole Miss students will compete for the title of Miss Mississippi this week in Vicksburg. Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

By Saturday (June 24), judges will have worked their way through 44 contestants and crowned the 60th Miss Mississippi.

Miss University Leah Gibson and 10 other Ole Miss students are among the contestants. The diamond anniversary of the 2017 Miss Mississippi pageant begins Wednesday (June 21) with preliminary competitions throughout the week in Vicksburg.

The top 10 advance to compete for the crown beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Gibson will represent the University of Mississippi as reigning Miss University. A 2017 graduate, Gibson earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in May.

Ten other Ole Miss students will also vie for the crown: Miss All-America City, Asya Branch; Miss Parade of Beauties, Blair Wortsmith; Miss DeSoto County, Charley Ann Nix; Miss Tupelo, Dana Wesley; Miss Riverland, Joy Addison; Miss Amory, Kasey Pearson; Miss Pine Belt, Lizzie Wicks; Miss Rolling Hills, Macken’z Smith; Miss Heart of the South, Mary Katherine McCaa; and Miss Southern Magnolia, Mary Margaret Hyer

The final round will air live on WLBT in Jackson, WTVA in Tupelo, WABG in Greenville, WGBC in Meridian, WLOX in Biloxi and WMC-TV in Memphis.

Be sure to tune in to cheer on all our Ole Miss contestants!

University to Provide STEM Experience for Young Women

$20,000 grant will support environmental education in the Oxford community

Young women watch as the structural integrity of their popsicle stick tower is tested during last year’s STEM Camp for Girls on the UM campus. A grant from LRNG will allow Ole Miss educators to expand on programs such as this to provide STEM opportunities for Oxford youth. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will offer an opportunity for young women in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community to experience hands-on science technology, engineering and math research while exploring their local environment. 

Ellen Shelton, director of pre-college programs for the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, has been awarded a $20,000 grant to support a project to reimagine traditional education, specifically for young women interested in STEM fields. 

Shelton’s proposal, titled “Green is the New Pink: Young Women Environmentalists in Action,” will focus on exploring environmental issues in a local context, beginning this fall. A collaboration among the Office of Pre-College Programs, the UM Writing Project and Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, the program will introduce real-world research strategies and generate curiosity about the natural environment, Shelton said.

“Even though Mississippi is predominantly a rural state, with more than 56 percent of students living in rural areas, we rarely take time to explore and appreciate the immediate environment beyond our classroom and office walls,” Shelton said. “The program’s intense focus on area birds, plants, and insects will reinforce the interconnectivity of all habitats and creatures in an environment.

“The participants will learn to explore the world around them; they will understand that great inquiry starts in the local space.”

In August, students in grades 8 to 11 can apply for the program and will participate in it on four Saturdays throughout the academic year. The cross-disciplinary partnership between English and science will allow students to conduct their own research, create a project and deliver a presentation.

Students will be guided through four field experiences of data collection, data exploration, analysis and interpretation of data, and drawing conclusions. In the fall, students will focus on migration patterns and the impact of birds in north Mississippi by visiting Strawberry Plains and exploring the forests, wetlands and prairies of the area. In the spring, students will observe plants and insects while learning how each help the local environment and how climate change affects plants. 

The award, a grant from the LRNG (short for learning) Educator Innovator Challenge, will connect learning with student interests. Shelton’s proposal was among only 10 chosen for funding, which will support 12 to 15 young women and their research into environmental inquiries.

This program is an extension of the STEM Camp for Girls, created several years ago at Ole Miss.

“Our goal in pre-college programs is to make spaces for all students to explore any opportunity that they wish,” Shelton said. “We are excited about this funding because our goal is to continue support for young women scientists as they move from Ecology Day Camp into STEM Camp for Girls to Green is the New Pink and then into more of our STEM summer offerings: Environmental Conservation Leadership Workshop, Code Monkeys Camp, Engineering Camp, Summer College or UM’s ARISE program.”

Scott Knight, director of the UM Field Station, is co-investigator on the grant and will work alongside Shelton with Oxford High School teacher Angela Whaley, Oxford Middle School teacher Martha Tallent and Lafayette Middle School teacher Katie Szabo to enhance education for students.

“Because science, engineering and math are often perceived as hard subjects, it can be a pretty tough sell to convince young people to consider careers in STEM,” Knight said. “This program will demonstrate, through hands-on participation, that while science can sometimes be challenging, the chance to discover something new is fun, rewarding and well worth all the hard work.”

Funding for the project comes from the support of the National Writing Project, John Legend’s Show Me Campaign, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Collective Shift.

University Museum Hosts Bicentennial-themed Activity Day

Activities will be centered around Mississippi's 200th year of statehood

Steven James Mockler, an Americorps VISTA with the UM Museum, and Emily Hargrove, a graduate student working at the museum, help children with fun activities. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum celebrates 200 years of statehood June 24 with the Made in Mississippi Summer Family Activity Day.

Children and their families are invited to attend the drop-in session celebrating Mississippi’s Bicentennial from 10 a.m. to noon. Guests can participate in activities inspired by different cities in Mississippi that have left a lasting impression on the arts scene over the last 200 years of statehood.

“We are very lucky to live in a state with such a rich artistic history,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “During this fun family day we will explore a wide range of Mississippi artists through a gallery search and art activities.

“There will be something for everyone, as we will even have a Mini Mississippi Oxford play area for ages 0-3.” 

The event is free and children of all ages are welcome to attend. A Buie Babies play space for younger children is also available.

Oxsicles will be on hand, selling the company’s signature handmade popsicles at the event.

For more information about the University Museum and event, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Following the activity day, the Governor’s Concert will begin on the Grove stage with performances by Marty Stuart, Mac McAnally, Steve Azar, Vasti Jackson, Shannon McNally, David Lee, the Mississippi Bicentennial Symphony Orchestra and the Mississippi Bicentennial Singers. The free concert starts at 6:30 p.m.

For a full schedule of events, visit http://200.visitmississippi.org/events/north-event/.