UM Alumni Association Welcomes 2018-19 Officers

Augustus Collins to lead organization for coming year

UM Alumni Association 2018-19 officers (from left,) Kirk Purdom, Candie Simmons, Lampkin Butts, Leon Collins, Matt Lusco and Andy Kilpatrick. Photo by Jim Urbanek/UM Alumni Association

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association introduced its elected officers for 2018-19 at its annual meeting Oct. 6 as part of Homecoming activities.

Augustus L. Collins (BBA 82), of Madison, was named president, a one-year term that changes each Homecoming. Collins is chief executive officer for MINACT Inc., a major job development and training corporation.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected to serve the Ole Miss family,” Collins said. “I look forward to supporting the university, our students, our alumni and friends.”

Before accepting his position with MINACT, Collins was adjutant general of Mississippi and served as the commanding general of both the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard. He was promoted to the rank of major general in March 2012.

Collins served on active duty in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, as well as commanding the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 to 2006. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 10, 2005, while in Iraq, making him the first African-American to attain the rank of general in the history of the Mississippi National Guard.

“(Leon’s) heart is all in,” said Bobby Bailess (BBA 73, JD 76), of Vicksburg, the association’s outgoing president. “He and his wife, Debra, are the kind of people that you want to lead this association. Support Leon and Debra as they serve you.”

Matt Lusco (BBA 79), of Birmingham, senior executive vice president and chief risk officer for Regions Financial Corp., was named president-elect. Lampkin Butts (BBA 73), of Laurel, president and chief operating officer of Sanderson Farms Inc., was elected vice president.

Athletics Committee members include Andy Kilpatrick (BBA 87), of Grenada, and Candie Simmons (BBA 02, MBA 15), of Ridgeland. Kilpatrick serves as counsel for the Mississippi State Board of Architecture. Simmons serves as a senior vice president and geography marketing strategist for Regions Financial Corp. in Jackson.

Kirk Purdom (BA 93), the Alumni Association executive director, serves as treasurer.

UM to Stage Reading of William Faulkner’s ‘Marionettes’

Public invited to free Monday performance of Nobel Prize-winning author's play

One of six original copies of the script for William Faulkner’s play ‘The Marionettes’ is on display in the J. D. Williams Library. The play is written, illustrated and hand-bound by Faulkner, who sold the books for $5 on the Ole Miss campus to raise money for the drama club, The Marionettes. Photo by Katherine Stewart/Department of Theatre and Film

OXFORD, Miss. – When it comes to Oxford’s original writer-in-residence, William Faulkner, most people can easily rattle off at least one or two of the titles that earned the man his place in the literary pantheon. Relatively few people, however, are familiar with a work titled “The Marionettes,” a one-act play written by Faulkner years before he published any of the novels his reputation would be built upon.

The University of Mississippi Department of Theatre and Film aims to remedy that with a rare staged reading of the little-known play at 7:30 p.m. Monday (Oct. 22) in Meek Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

The production is part of the Ole Miss Common Reading Experience, a program that is intended to foster a sense of community by encouraging every first-year student to read a selected text that will be woven into classes. The selection for 2018 is William Faulkner’s “Collected Stories,” which Peter Wood, professor of theatre arts, said inspired him to work a theatrical event into the CRE programming – no small feat, given the paucity of plays in Faulkner’s body of work.

“Eric Ehn has written an excellent adaptation of ‘The Sound and the Fury’ for the stage, but I quickly discovered there’s no script copy of that … it’s not published anywhere,” Wood said. “While I was researching that, I stumbled across ‘The Marionettes.’

“Since it’s a short play and something I could probably do a reading of, it seemed like something we could easily add to the theater season, and a way to take part in the freshman reading series.”

A staged reading, as opposed to a full production, is exactly what it sounds like: actors on a stage reading a script as if they were performing it, but without sets, props, costumes, choreography and other theatrical elements typically found in a performance. The play lends itself well to such a pared-down presentation, Wood said.

“The play itself is kind of a symbolist drama, and in symbolist dramas, a lot of what’s happening is in the interior,” he said. “There’s not a lot of action … it’s more of a poetic meditation on themes of desire, sexuality, growing older, life and love.

“A staged reading can convey all of that in a way that doesn’t necessarily prepare expectations for a full production.”

Faulkner wrote the play circa 1921, during his brief stint as an Ole Miss student, for the campus drama club, The Marionettes. The play is entirely written, illustrated and bound by hand, and Faulkner produced only six copies, one of which is on display in the J. D Williams Library.

It wasn’t until 1975 that the play was published commercially, in facsimile, by Yoknapatawpha Press. The Marionettes may have performed the play back in the 1920s – and that may be the last time it was seen by an audience.

“I’m not aware of any significant performance history the play has,” said Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies. “It may be that in the 45-year history of the Faulkner conference (The Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference celebrating the author, held annually by the university) there were some early moments when they gave this a whirl, but in the 30 years I’ve been here experiencing the conference, we’ve never taken it up.”

Despite its limited exposure to theatregoers, “The Marionettes” has attracted the attention of Faulkner scholars and enthusiasts specifically because it was written so early in Faulkner’s career.

“Faulkner isn’t ‘Faulkner’ yet,” Watson said, “So when people get interested in this play, they mainly get interested in what it might foreshadow about where Faulkner’s going to go from here.

“I certainly think the idea of an interior life that can play itself out in highly stylized scenes, that we script and choreograph, and direct a kind of fantasy of ourselves in our interior life … this is an insight that is on the way to some of that great stream-of-consciousness work he’ll do in the novels that first made him famous.”

“The Sound and the Fury,” published nearly a decade after “The Marionettes,” in 1929, employs the stream-of-consciousness style – as well as a similar narrative device called “interior monologue” – that would become a hallmark of Faulkner’s most enduring novels; the author is credited with advancing the development of these techniques in the early 20th century.

The play is a basic melodramatic romance: Boy woos girl, girl relents, boy disappears. But the similarities between Marietta, the female love interest, and Estelle Oldham, Faulkner’s childhood sweetheart who eventually became his wife, have led scholars to a more personal kind of speculation about the author’s early work.

“On a more biographical level, scholars have been very interested in how much Marietta derives from Estelle Oldham, who at the time that he wrote this was the childhood sweetheart that he couldn’t marry and who had gotten married to another man and was no longer living in Oxford,” Watson said.

“So when he writes this play, this is perhaps a way for Faulkner to grapple imaginatively, to work through some of the issues he has with his absent love object.”

Oldham’s marriage eventually broke up, and when she returned to Oxford to live with her family, Faulkner was waiting. They were married in 1929, the year “The Sound and the Fury” was published.

“These are a few of the many reasons this play has been interesting to people,” Watson said.

The staged reading, which will run approximately a half-hour, will be followed by a talk-back with Watson and Wood in the auditorium and a reception in the lobby of Meek Hall.

Broadway Rendition of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Coming to Oxford

The Yellow Brick Road leads to the Ford Center on Sunday

Nicholas Pearson performs the role of the cowardly lion in the national tour of ’The Wizard of Oz’ that will be at the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Denise Trupe

OXFORD, Miss. – The national tour of “The Wizard of Oz” stops off at the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts for one performance at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 21).

The musical, based on the most recent Broadway production, is a celebration of the 1939 film, and audiences will find all the characters and songs they love, with a few surprises.

Nicholas Pearson, who performs the role of the Cowardly Lion in this production, is celebrating his one-year anniversary as a cast member. Even though he has been with this touring production since October 2017, Pearson said he continues to enjoy feeling the energy of each audience as the show travels across the country.

“(‘The Wizard of Oz’) is so iconic,” Pearson said. “I have always wanted to be a part of it and the fact that I get to play the Cowardly Lion now is just kind of the cherry on top of the sundae.”

Pearson said he hopes those who come to see the musical on Sunday, even if they have seen the film or stage production before, will leave the Ford Center with the show’s positive message.

“Everyone always thinks that the main idea in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is that there’s no place like home, (but) it’s a place where you’re never too much of one thing or another, you’re never too little of one thing or another, (but) you’re perfect just the way you are.”

Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director, said she looks forward to the sets and classic songs from “The Wizard of Oz.”

“This is a great opportunity for people on campus and in the community to see a Broadway production without having to go to Memphis or Birmingham,” Meacham said. “We want them to enjoy the experience of seeing this classic adventure live.”

Tickets are $75 for orchestra/parterre and Tier 1 box-level seating, $69 for mezzanine and Tier 2 box-level seating, and $63 for balcony seating. A 10 percent discount is offered to Ole Miss faculty, staff and retirees. Student tickets are $35 for balcony seats only.

Tickets can be purchased at the UM Box Office at the Ford Center or online at Discounted and student tickets are available only at the UM Box Office with a valid Ole Miss ID.

For more information on “The Wizard of Oz,” visit

UM Organizing World’s Largest Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament

Ole Miss Phenomena coordinating event to benefit William Magee Center for Wellness Education

A projected 3,000 people Oct. 25 will be in the Grove as a number of student organizations at the University of Mississippi try to break the world record for the largest rock-paper-scissors tournament. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – “Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” Those words will be uttered by a projected 3,000 people Oct. 25 in the Grove as a number of student organizations at the University of Mississippi try to break the world record for the largest rock-paper-scissors tournament.

The Guinness World Record is held by Oobma Inc., which hosted a 2,950-person tournament in 2014 in Indianapolis.

The Ole Miss Phenomena is hosting the 4 p.m. event to raise awareness of and benefit the William Magee Center for Wellness Education. The event is open to the Lafayette-Oxford-University community, with the $1 entry fee and any donations going to the Magee Center.

Matthew Edwards, vice president of philanthropy for the Interfraternity Council, worked with members of the College Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Associated Student Body, to organize the tournament as a lighthearted way to bring the community together to support a cause.

“Our goal for the community is to bring people together from all groups to support a cause that can affect anyone, from any walk of life,” Edwards said. “We want members of this entire campus to know that this university will have the resources to help those struggling with substance abuse, and to the members of the Oxford-Lafayette community – we want to impart that we care about those within our communities and are striving to improve our community as a whole.”

The tournament is set up in a bracket style. The first round will have groups of 40 people who pair up to play against one another. The winners in each group move on to the next round and continue this cycle until two individuals remain to play in the championship finals.

Organizers will record, document and send the results to Guinness World Records.

Annie Williams, ASB director of philanthropy, said she hopes the event will be a unifying and fun experience for the Ole Miss community.

“As this being our charter year for Ole Miss Phenomena, we are hoping to set a positive and interactive tone for students,” Williams said. “It’s something fun and lighthearted to look forward to, but that with a lot of participation, can make a substantial change in our community.”

The William Magee Center for Wellness Education will offer educational, preventive and supportive efforts to combat alcohol and drug misuse. The center, which will be housed in the new South Campus Recreation Center, was created in honor of Ole Miss alumnus William Magee, whose struggle with alcohol and drug use ultimately led to his death.

The event is sponsored by the Associated Student Body, Student Veterans Association, Interfraternity Council, College Panhellenic Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

For more information on the Ole Miss Phenomena, visit

UM Senior Honored with Museum of Women in the Arts’ Scholarship

Student's sculptures seek to raise awareness of mental illness

Charlotte Burge

OXFORD, Miss. – An ability to use her artistic skills to raise awareness of those struggling with mental illness helped a University of Mississippi senior earn a prestigious visual arts scholarship from the Mississippi State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Charlotte Burge, of Saltillo, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, was nominated for the scholarship by the UM Department of Art and Art History, and she received the honor earlier this semester at a luncheon in Jackson.

“Last spring, the art department was asked to nominate female nominees for this award and a group of faculty got together and went through this list of nominees, and Charlotte really just rose to the top, not only because of her work, but also her presence in the department,” said Brooke White, department chair and professor of art. “We thought she was really deserving of this.”

Burge’s artwork revolves around the theme of mental illnesses. She creates sculptures that portray the life, mindset and struggles of those who suffer from mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

Burge said that she has struggled with depression and anxiety in her life, so she uses the art she creates in an effort to illuminate what life can be like for those with a mental illness.

“Hopefully my art can be that picture for people who never dealt with mental illness, depression or anxiety, that they get a little insight of people who do deal with these things in their life,” Burge said. “I want people to get the stress and the reality of the world, that it’s not a perfect Instagram post. It’s not what we’re trying to portray to the world. It’s who we are.”

Burge incorporates colors throughout sculptures to attract her audience, which ends up being surprised once they realize the darker tone contained within her artwork.

“The work is inviting and whimsical at first encounter, while upon further investigation, the viewer realizes that there is deeper content dealing with often-overlooked life struggles,” said Durant Thompson, UM sculpture art professor.

Burge explained that the mindset of a person suffering from mental illnesses is normally darker than the person appears to the outside world. That’s why her art uses colors to represent how individuals may appear beautiful on the outside but actually could be a total mess on the inside, she said.

“A lot of my pieces represent the mind frame of these people,” she said. “We are all colorful blocks on the outside, but on the inside, it’s just like this really messy, gross house that’s too completely disorganized.”

Charlotte Burge creates sculptures that portray the life, mindset and struggles of those who suffer from mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. Submitted photo

The National Museum of Women in the Arts, based in Washington, D.C., brings recognition to the achievements of female artists of all periods and nationalities by exhibiting, preserving, acquiring and researching art by women and by teaching the public about their accomplishments.

The scholarship from the National Museum of Women in the Arts could assist Burge in achieving one of her primary goals, which is for her art to influence society and inform people about the realities of life for those suffering from mental illnesses.

Ideally, those who view Burge’s artwork will gain a greater understanding of how those who suffer from mental illness experience the world, she said. Perhaps they will see that a mental illness is not something that can be turned on or off at will, she said.

“I’m so tired of people saying, ‘Get out of that’ and ‘Get happy,'” she said. “It’s about letting yourself wallow and letting yourself feel this way rather than being like ‘I’m going to force myself to be happy.'”

If it wasn’t for the supportive atmosphere of the art department, Burge said she might never have sought help to manage her own mental problems. That’s why she is so thankful that she can openly be herself, express herself and have a support system there she can rely on.

“If I didn’t have the support that I have here, I definitely wouldn’t have reached to get help for my own issues I deal with,” Burge said.

Army Intelligence Veteran to Share Inside Story on Hussein’s Capture

Oklahoma congressman set to speak Oct. 17 at UM

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell

OXFORD, Miss. – U.S. Rep. Steve Russell will share details about his Army battalion’s intelligence-related efforts that led to the capture of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during a program Wednesday (Oct. 17) at the University of Mississippi.

Russell also plans to discuss how the U.S. Congress uses military intelligence during his talk, hosted by the UM Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, or CISS. The event, set for 3 p.m. in the School of Law’s Weems Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Because the congressman has served both in the military and as a member of the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, he can offer valuable perspectives on a host of sensitive issues related to the U.S. intelligence community and military, said Timothy Russell, CISS director.

“He is uniquely qualified to talk about how the intelligence community supports the warfighter and about how policymakers use intelligence products,” Russell said. “These are important components to the ISS curriculum, and we are excited to have the congressman provide an insider’s view on them for ISS and other students.”

The U.S. House Committee on Armed Service’s responsibilities include the annual defense authorization bill, the annual national defense budget and contingency operations related to the war on terrorism.

Ken Pope, an instructional assistant professor at the CISS and a U.S. Army veteran, asked Steve Russell to speak at Ole Miss.

“Congressman Russell’s discussion will focus on how the various military units in Iraq functioned independently and together to achieve a goal,” Pope said. “It’s important for our students to see how this process works in the military and in the intelligence community and how those functions are used and understood in Congress for policy decisions.”

Steve Russell has served as a Republican representative for Oklahoma’s 5th District since 2015. He served in the Oklahoma Senate from 2008 to 2012 and in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 2006.

For more information on the event, visit

Archaeology Researchers Searching for Civil War Graves in Columbus

Public invited to observe search for resting places of soldiers

A search using ground-penetrating radar will attempt to locate the lost graves of Union soldiers. Photo courtesy of Tony Boudreaux

OXFORD, Miss. – This weekend (Oct. 12-13), representatives of the Center for Archaeological Research at the University of Mississippi will be at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus as part of an effort to locate the unmarked graves of Union soldiers who died during the Civil War.

On Friday (Oct. 12), classes of students are invited to observe the search that will be led by Tony Boudreaux, director of the UM center. Classes are welcome to visit the cemetery between 9 a.m. and noon, and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. to watch and learn about the archaeological technology used in the search.

On Saturday (Oct. 13), the public is invited to the cemetery, also between 9 a.m. and noon and 1:30-4 p.m., to learn about the use of noninvasive technology during a day of public archaeology.

All that is known of the soldiers’ location is that they are in the southwest corner of the cemetery grounds, according to information that dates to 1919. The soldiers probably fought under the command of Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and died after the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, in 1862.

Visitors who come by this weekend to watch the efforts will have an opportunity to learn about the technology being used to find the graves, Boudreaux said.

The Ole Miss team will use different kinds of noninvasive, remote sensing technology, chiefly ground-penetrating radar, to send electronic pulses up to 20 feet into the ground. The pulses are used to generate images of what the area beneath soil looks like.

The team also will use a magnetometer, which can pick up localized differences in underground magnetic fields. 

Other organizations involved in the project include the U.S. Grant Association and the U.S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University, the Billups-Garth Foundation of Columbus, with assistance by the city of Columbus and the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“If we can hopefully get some results that will be important to people of Columbus and people of Mississippi, I’ll enjoy that,” Boudreaux said. “And if we get folks that show up because they’re interested in history and archaeology, it’s always good to share what we know in our profession with others who are interested.”

To schedule a time for a class to visit the project and observe the remote sensing technology, contact Visit Columbus at 662-329-1191.

Film Festival Offers Screenings, Educational Opportunities

New date paves way for collaboration with Oxford Film Festival

UM film students Sam Cox (left) and Emily Faye Cobb make camera adjustments between takes during the recent UM Department of Theatre and Film production of ‘MANGRY.’ Pictured on the monitor is actor Mike Dolan, who plays real estate agent Gus Davis in the film, which is written and directed by Ole Miss assistant professor Harrison Witt. Photo by Chris Floyd

OXFORD, Miss. – If the words “2018 UM Film Festival” inspire in you a sense of history repeating itself, you’re not going crazy. In fact, the weekend of Oct. 12-13 marks the second time the University of Mississippi Department of Theatre and Film has held the festival this year.

Previously held in April, the festival is moving to October so that it can take place before the Oxford Film Festival, which unspools annually in February.

The change in schedule allows filmmakers to use the Ole Miss festival as a proving ground for films they might like to submit to the larger Oxford Film Festival.

“Now the festival serves as an opportunity for filmmakers to receive feedback in advance of the Oxford Film Festival,” said Alan Arrivée, head of the university’s BFA in Theatre Arts emphasis in film production and one of the festival’s organizers. “This way, if they want to make edits or enhancements in order to have a better chance of getting screened at OFF, they’ll have time to do so.”

The free festival will take place in Fulton Chapel. It kicks off with a block of film screenings at 7 p.m. Friday (Oct. 12) and continues Saturday, with another set of screenings beginning at 7 p.m. Both days’ programs run about an hour.

For a full schedule and more information on the 36 films being screened, click here.

All the films screened will be shorts created by UM faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as top-finishing submissions from the festival’s first-ever One-Minute Film Competition, which is the only portion of the festival open to high school students. The festival includes 10 films submitted by high school filmmakers

Style-wise, films run the gamut from experimental and narrative to animation, documentary and even music video.

Besides the film screenings, a new program Saturday will include a workshop in lighting and cinematography and a panel discussion on film festivals and the process of submitting and screening films.

The workshop, named “Dark to Camera,” will cover an approach that Harrison Witt, assistant professor of film production, said a lot of people already use.

“It’s very important for indie and student filmmakers because it’s all about going into a place and using what’s there,” Witt said. “It’s using lighting in the smartest way possible.”

A technique called three-point lighting – where two lights are placed at 45-degree angles on either side of the subject and a third light is used behind the subject – is a primary technique taught in most film programs, despite the fact that it’s not used in most modern filmmaking, Witt said.

“It’s a reaction against the foundational teaching of three-point lighting,” he said.

The workshop is set for 10:30 a.m.-noon in Fulton Chapel.

A panel discussion, titled “Film Festival Survival Guide,” brings together four festival experts, two filmmakers and two programmers. UM faculty members Sarah Hennigan and Alan Arrivée will speak from the perspective of filmmakers; Melanie Addington, executive director of the Oxford Film Festival, and Morgan Cutturini, who heads the High School Film Competition for the Tupelo Film Festival, will represent the programming side. The panel runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in Fulton Chapel.

Hennigan, a Dallas-born Cherokee filmmaker who is new to the Department of Theatre and Film this year as assistant professor of film production, has ushered films through the festival process as a writer-director, a cinematographer and a producer, so she can speak to the different experiences a filmmaker might have relative to the role played in creating a film.

“The goal is really just to help new filmmakers begin to navigate film festivals,” Hennigan said. “It’s the world we live in as indie filmmakers; it’s the backbone.”

Addington, who in addition to leading the Oxford Film Festival and serving as president of the Mississippi Film Alliance is a filmmaker herself, welcomes the collaboration with the UM Film Festival and the opportunity to sit on Saturday’s panel.

“I’m excited to be a part of it and to talk about the importance of film festivals, for so many different reasons, particularly for networking and getting audience feedback,” Addington said.

This collaboration will continue during the Oxford Film Festival next February with a special showcase of Ole Miss alumni films curated and presented by the UM Film Festival. The Oxford Film Festival will also offer a special student VIP pass for the first time, and top finishers in the UM Film Festival will receive waivers to the OFF.

Overall, the two festivals working together serves to support a broader goal of increasing Oxford’s appeal to filmmakers.

“We want to create a destination for filmmakers not only to get a great education, but to be part of the growing film community of the Mid-South,” Witt said.

St. Lawrence String Quartet to Perform at Ford Center

Concert is sponsored by the UM Artist Series

The St. Lawrence String Quartet ensemble has developed a reputation for its exuberant performances and is described as showing ‘not only virtuosity, intelligence and imagination, but also extraordinary passion.’ Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host a concert by the St. Lawrence String Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

The chamber music ensemble, which originated in Canada and has served as the ensemble-in-residence at Stanford University since 1998, has developed a reputation for its exuberant performances that The New York Times described as showing “not only virtuosity, intelligence and imagination, but also extraordinary passion.”

At the 2002 Grammy Awards, the ensemble received nominations for “Best Chamber Music Performance” and “Best Classical Contemporary Composition” with their renditions of works by Osvaldo Golijov.

“Last year, I researched the accomplishments of the St. Lawrence String Quartet and presented the idea of bringing them to the Ford Center to the Department of Music and the Artist Series Committee,” said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director. “Both groups were enthusiastic about the opportunity to see and hear this stellar ensemble on our campus this fall.

“It will be a wonderful performance that I believe will impress our university and Oxford communities.”

Members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet are two violinists, Owen Dalby and Geoff Nuttall, violist Lesley Robertson and cellist Cristopher Costanza.

Tickets for the performance are $20 for balcony seats, $25 for mezzanine and $30 for orchestra. Student tickets are $10 with a valid Ole Miss ID, and are available for all sections. Additionally, a 20 percent discount is offered at the box office for all Ole Miss faculty, staff and retirees.

For more information on the performance, along with other upcoming shows at the Ford Center, visit or call 662-915-2787. 

Ole Miss Pharmacy Becomes Tradition for Yielding Family

UM alumnus inspired his daughter and niece to pursue the profession

Lauren Yielding Black (left) and cousin Audrey Yielding, both first-year student pharmacists, attend the 2018 White Coat Ceremony with Frank Yielding, a 1992 graduate of the School of Pharmacy, who is Lauren’s father and Audrey’s uncle. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – First-year student pharmacists and cousins Lauren Yielding Black and Audrey Yielding looked no further than their own dinner table when they were searching for their career paths.

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy students found inspiration from 1992 Ole Miss pharmacy alumnus Frank Yielding, who is Lauren’s dad and Audrey’s uncle.

“I think Lauren and Audrey grew up listening to family and friends ask me for suggestions and advice concerning their health care,” said Frank Yielding, of Fulton. “Both felt a desire to help others as I have been fortunate to do for so many years. They are both very caring people and will be great assets to the pharmacy profession.”

Frank is the perfect candidate for the duo to learn from. His fascination with the profession began early when he was drawn to the atmosphere of his local pharmacy, Fulton Drug. After gaining experience behind the counter with pharmacist Dan McElroy, Frank followed in his mother’s footsteps and attended Ole Miss.

He has spent the last 24 years as pharmacy manager at his local Walmart and is the one passing knowledge to younger generations.

“As a child, I never understood exactly what he did,” said Audrey, a native of Tremont. “I knew that he was highly respected in the community and that he was the person we went to when we had questions about medications.

“When I was in high school, I did a research project on careers, and he answered all of my questions. I fell in love with the idea of being a pharmacist.”

For Lauren, the decision came about more gradually.                                                 

“I could not think of a single major event throughout my childhood that my dad missed, and that made a major impact on my decision to pursue a career in pharmacy,” Lauren said. “I want to be able to balance my work and personal life with my future family like my dad does.”

David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy, said the Yieldings’ story is representative of the pharmacy school’s emphasis on the importance of family.

“We welcome them from their family into our Ole Miss pharmacy ‘phamily,”’ Allen said.

When it came time to choose a school, Lauren and Audrey didn’t have to look far; UM was their top choice. As the Yielding family tradition continues, Frank is eager to watch the pair contribute to the profession in their own ways.

“It is an honor for me to watch as my daughter and niece follow down the same career path as I did many years ago,” he said. “It’s exciting to see all the changes that have taken place in the program, and I look forward to continuing this family legacy and remaining a part of the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy.”