Universities Take on Health Care Challenges on Many Fronts

UM faculty and students work to improve wellness, daily life for all Mississippians

Students at the UM Medical Center’s School of Dentistry provide free dental care to students from a Jackson elementary school. Photo courtesy UMMC

OXFORD, Miss. – It is no secret that many Mississippians face health challenges, but the University of Mississippi and the state’s other public universities are attacking these challenges on many fronts.

Universities treat patients, train the next generation of health care providers and conduct research that will help prevent disease and improve outcomes. While Mississippi’s health issues cannot be solved overnight, progress is being made every day.

Most of the UM health care outreach is housed at the Medical Center in Jackson, the state’s only academic medical center. UMMC encompasses seven health sciences schools: medicine, nursing, health related professions, dentistry, graduate studies, population health and the clinical component of the School of Pharmacy.

The health care enterprise includes the state’s only Level I trauma center, its only children’s hospital and the state’s only organ and bone marrow transplant programs.

The Jackson Heart Study, which UMMC leads along with Jackson State University and Tougaloo College, is the country’s largest long-term study focusing on cardiovascular disease risk in African-Americans.

The Medical Center’s Center for Telehealth is a national leader in providing high-quality health care, especially for rural Mississippi areas with little access to both primary and specialty care. UMMC’s education, research and health care missions share the objectives of improving the health of the state’s population and eliminating health disparities.

The UM School of Pharmacy is ranked 14th in the nation for external research funding. Four research centers contribute to the school’s research mission: the Center for Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management, the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and the largest of the four, the National Center for Natural Products Research.

The NCNPR is the nation’s only university-based research program devoted to the discovery and development of natural product-derived pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals to benefit human health and contribute to disease therapies. The School of Pharmacy is also actively involved with Community-Based Research Programs that demonstrate pharmacists’ positive impact on public health by integrating medication therapy management services into the underserved Mississippi Delta.

Also working toward improving the health of the state’s population and eliminating health disparities is Jackson State University’s School of Public Health, the state’s only School of Public Health.

Research scientist Vijayasankar Raman works in the UM Natural Products Training Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

The school is focused on disease prevention to help curb soaring medical costs associated with treating worsening health conditions. Research possibilities are expected to be enormous as the new school examines, for example, why life expectancy for black Mississippians is less than that of Caucasians.

Mississippi University for Women’s Department of Health and Kinesiology serves approximately 300 students and offers a Master of Public Health degree, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health Education, and a B.S. in Kinesiology.

The kinesiology degree includes options in exercise science, physical education, and pre-physical therapy. The department also houses a pre-occupational therapy program and minors in exercise science and public health education.

The department strives to promote healthy living with an emphasis on physical activity, sport and exercise. Graduates are prepared to work as practitioners in schools, communities, worksites, health care settings and government agencies.

MUW is making an impact in the community and beyond through outreach and service activities. Nursing students and faculty provided 311,374 hours of service to 121,948 clients last year.

The university’s Passport to Wellness, funded by Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, encourages better health through diet and exercise. In the last year, the program held 19 events and served approximately 1,500 participants. The inaugural Imagine. Inspire. Challenge Symposium last year, focusing on heart disease in underserved communities, drew more than 500 participants.

The MUW Culinary Arts Institute’s Project CHEW, or Cook Healthy, Eat Well, trailer offers tips regarding healthy cooking techniques and recipe modifications. Healthy eating samples were provided to about 2,700 patrons at 25 events.

The College of Nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi recently was awarded a $1.2 million grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration that will be used to provide specialized training for students in the Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs.

The Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant will enable the college to distribute traineeship funds for students who plan to work in underserved areas after completing the advanced programs.

The grant will provide longitudinal immersion clinical practice experiences in primary care and behavioral health care facilities. The grant is focused on students already certified in one of these specialties and who are seeking a second certification, along with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

The two-year grant is the first of its kind obtained by the USM College of Nursing. The grant proposal stemmed from an identified need in Mississippi: to produce advanced-practice nurses prepared at the highest degree level who are dually certified for health care providers delivering holistic care.

Dr. Loretta Jackson works with medical students at the UM Medical Center. Photo courtesy UMMC

Some of these nurses may treat influenza patients, but scientists at Mississippi State University want to make getting the flu something of the past. To eradicate risk, scientists must find a way to stay at least one step ahead of virus mutations, so MSU students and faculty are collaborating with global research teams to peer into the future and develop new defenses against flu’s mounting threat.

Powered with a major grant from the National Institutes of Health and led by MSU’s Henry Wan, researchers are helping accelerate expensive, time-consuming analysis conducted by thousands of scientists at more than 130 influenza centers in 106 countries. The goal of the team is to help prevent, diagnose and treat pandemic flus and other illnesses.

The Mississippi State team’s “machine learning” and “big data” process takes the analysis out of research labs and instead uses computational methods to discover critical changes or mutations among viruses more quickly. This information is entered into a computerized model that determines the best vaccines for combating new and existing strains.

The model also translates data into mathematical formulas that generate maps and provide an in-depth look at flu viruses over time and in different populations. This kind of mapping helps track how viruses mutate and how they spread, leading to greater understanding and discoveries, such as the fact that one particular virus vaccine has been updated more than 29 times since 1968.

The MSU Extension 4-H Program, in partnership with the UM Medical Center and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute, are developing the next generation of health care professionals through the Junior Master Wellness Volunteers program. The program is a community health education and volunteer leader that partners with students in various disciplines such as the allied health courses, family and consumer science courses and individually focused clubs or organizations for training and delivery of health messages into the community. 

Junior Master Wellness volunteers are teens focused on wellness and dedicated to serving their community. Anyone between ages 15 and 18 with an interest in leadership, advocacy, extending knowledge, serving as role models and volunteering aimed at improving health literacy and healthy lifestyle choices may enroll for training as a volunteer.

The county extension agent maintains an engaged role with teachers and students providing community service opportunities and programmatic oversight. Recruitment is also sought for a health competition event conducted annually at 4-H State Congress. 

Pharmacy Professor Becomes Graduate School Associate Dean

Robert Doerksen is former director of medicinal chemistry graduate program

Robert Doerksen

OXFORD, Miss – Robert Doerksen, associate professor of medicinal chemistry, is the new associate dean of the University of Mississippi Graduate School. As of Monday (Dec. 11), he will manage the Office of the Graduate School and assist with expanding graduate education initiatives.

A faculty member in the School of Pharmacy since 2004, Doerksen has mentored graduate students for many years. He spent the last year as the director of the graduate program of the medicinal chemistry division within the school’s Department of BioMolecular Sciences.

Doerksen said he has long been interested in graduate studies, even spending time as an undergraduate reading about the history of higher education in Western society.

“Since then, I have loved the idea of how important and valuable it is to educate students to the highest level in a wide range of subjects,” Doerksen said.

As part of his new responsibilities, Doerksen also will supervise key staff members in the Graduate School, coordinate the Graduate Council and help ensure all aspects of graduate education run smoothly, including recruitment, admissions, finances and records.

“We must focus on improvements in quality, quantity and diversity of graduate students and of graduate degree programs, while also enhancing the sense of community and commitment across campus for administrators, faculty, students and staff,” he said.

In addition to his work at Ole Miss, Doerksen has experience with graduate education at various institutions, including Regent College, University of New Brunswick, University of California at Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan.

During his time at the pharmacy school, Doerksen has twice won the school’s Faculty Service Award, as well as the Faculty Instructional Innovation Award. In July, he was recognized as one of the school’s four Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

“I expect that Robert’s extensive experience as a graduate student mentor will be transformed into fresh ideas and programs coming out of the Graduate School,” said Kristie Willett, chair of the biomolecular sciences department. “The Graduate School and its initiatives to recruit, support and reward our graduate students are essential to the success of an R1 university like the University of Mississippi.”

Although Doerksen said he has “very much enjoyed” teaching professional and graduate courses, he will greatly reduce his teaching responsibilities to focus on the new position.

“I will always be involved in the informal teaching that goes with being an adviser to members of my research group, including postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students,” Doerksen said. “This is the kind of teaching that I think is at the heart of a great university.”

Doerksen was selected based on his experience teaching and mentoring graduate students, as well as the “breadth and depth of his vision for graduate education” at UM, said Christy Wyandt, interim Graduate School dean.

“Robert has been a key member of our faculty for many years, as can be seen by his record of service, teaching and research success,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “He has a clear commitment to graduate education that will serve the university well.”

Doerksen aims to continue the success of the Graduate School and seek out ways it can contribute to the university and to society.

“I don’t want to overlook the importance of maintaining a well-functioning graduate school with its many moving parts,” Doerksen said. “At the same time, I dream of ways that we can improve graduate education at the University of Mississippi.”

Committed Community Servants Honored at University

'Hickman girls' pay tribute to parents' lives, examples with two scholarships

Known while growing up as the ‘Hickman girls,’ Jenny Hickman Poole (left), Debbie Hickman Little and Lisa Hickman Tollison have created two scholarships at the University of Mississippi to pay tribute to their parents, Dewey and Will Hickman, pictured in the portraits. Photo by Heather Cosby Poole

OXFORD, Miss. – The late Dewey and Will Hickman were known for their committed service to the University of Mississippi and the state’s other universities, the Oxford-Lafayette County community and its economic development, local schools, their church and – most of all – their three daughters.

“Our parents led by example, with the message being to us that demonstrating love and loyalty to each other is an important value,” said daughter Jenny Hickman Poole of Batesville.

Those daughters – known around Oxford as the “Hickman girls” – are expressing that affection and devotion by establishing two scholarships at Ole Miss to pay tribute to their parents. Poole and sisters Debbie Hickman Little and Lisa Hickman Tollison, both of Oxford, have funded the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Law Scholarship Endowment for full-time students in the School of Law who are Mississippi residents and have financial need.

The second scholarship is the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Scholarship Endowment designated for full-time students who are community college transfers and Mississippi residents with financial need; first preference will be given to students in the School of Business Administration.

“When we lost our parents, we knew we wanted to do something for these special people who did so much for others,” Poole said. “Their love for Ole Miss was so strong and such an important part of their lives that establishing something at the university in their names seemed appropriate.”

“Our parents left a wonderful legacy of dedication and service, which we want to memorialize with this gift,” Little said.

The designation of the new scholarships models the Hickmans’ paths in higher education. After losing his father at the age of 12, Will Hickman, a native of Monticello, attended Hinds Community College on a basketball scholarship while doing custodial work on campus. Meanwhile, Dewey Hickman graduated as salutatorian of Meadville High School and enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“They educated three daughters, who earned degrees from Ole Miss, and were instrumental in educating their seven grandchildren,” Tollison said. “Although we were blessed, not everyone gets the same opportunity to receive a formal education. Our parents would be very pleased to know these scholarships will aid other young men and women.”

Will Hickman, a senior law partner with Hickman, Goza and Spragins, made far-reaching contributions as part of the leadership on the board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning for 13 years, where he served a term as president. The IHL is the governing body for policy and financial oversight of Mississippi’s eight public universities.

His experience in desegregation and civil rights cases within public schools and with Ole Miss made his service “valuable” on the board of trustees during the Ayers case, a civil rights case that sought to correct inadequate funding for Mississippi’s three historically black universities, Little said. “My dad was an advocate for educational opportunities for everyone.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter praised the daughters for choosing to honor their parents through student scholarships.

“Dewey and Will Hickman were outstanding alumni who will always be part of this university,” Vitter said. “We are extremely grateful to their daughters for this gift of scholarships bearing their names and reflecting their parents’ strongly held belief in extending educational opportunities to others.

“Will Hickman provided transformational leadership and service to the IHL board that will be felt for generations of students attending Mississippi’s eight public universities. Likewise, Dewey Hickman was a source of unwavering support to her husband throughout this meaningful service and also worked tirelessly to strengthen Ole Miss, local schools and other institutions. Their generous spirit could be seen in that they often opened their home for Ole Miss events.”

Hickman also was uniquely poised to influence the community as the board attorney for the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, Oxford School District, Oxford-Lafayette County Hospital and Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association. He was president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and the North Mississippi Industrial Foundation, as well as chairman of the education committee of the Oxford Economic Development Foundation.

Will Hickman served in the U.S. 5th Army, commanded by Mark Clark, in the Italian theater during World War II, fighting all the way to France. Afterward, he enrolled in Millsaps College, where he met the love of his life, fellow student Dewey Cobb. After graduation they married, moved to the Oxford campus and lived in the “Vet Village” while Hickman earned his law degree from Ole Miss.

Dewey Hickman taught school in Abbeville for five years and earned a master’s degree in business administration from UM. They had planned to move back home to south Mississippi but chose to remain in their adopted hometown of Oxford.

Will Hickman served Oxford as mayor pro tempore and as an alderman for two terms. Appreciation for his contributions was recognized in 1986 when he was honored as Oxford’s Citizen of the Year. Hinds Community College named him Alumnus of the Year in 1988. He was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the university in 1996. The Ole Miss School of Law selected him as its 1998 Alumnus of the Year.

“They fell in love with Ole Miss and Oxford,” Little said. “They were the typical Southern couple, stately and courteous. Mom was the serious one, and Dad had an excellent sense of humor. He was a good man to have on your team.

“Dad always gave credit to Mom whenever he was recognized. Mom was the creative, behind-the-scenes person. She had a servant’s heart and wrote notes of encouragement to people all her life. They believed the family unit to be critical, with Dad often saying, ‘If you don’t maintain close family ties, you’ve lost something that will be difficult to regain.'”

Poole said the words that come to mind when describing her parents are “commitment, hard work, determination, giving and family.”

That family also includes their three sons-in-law: Ray Poole, Larry Little and Grady Tollison.

Dewey Hickman was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Oxford. She taught business communication at Ole Miss for a year. She was active in the community and the First Presbyterian Church for many years. Leadership positions included chair of the Easter Seal Campaign, secretary of the Lafayette County Library Board, member of the V.F.W. Auxiliary and the Oxford Army Advisory Committee and president of the Cosmopolitan and Oxford Garden clubs.

“Our parents were heavily involved in all our activities,” Poole said. “They drove us to everything – cheerleading, Girl Scouts and more. They gave so much of their time and resources to the community but they were always present for their daughters.”

Both the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Law Scholarship and the Will A. and Dewey Hickman Memorial Scholarship Endowment are open to accept gifts from individuals and organizations. Send checks to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund(s) noted in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or give online at http://umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information contact William Kneip, development officer for the College of Liberal Arts, at 662-915-2254 or Kneip@olemiss.edu.

University Researchers Discover Key Ingredient for Skin Care Line

Products include UM's patented aloe vera extract

David Pasco (left) and Nirmal Pugh have studied the chemistry of aloe for many years. Their work led to the discovery of aloeride, an immune-enhancing extract patented by the university. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Scientists at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research spend much of their time working to discover new pharmaceutical products, botanical dietary supplements and agrichemicals. Once in a while, however, discoveries made at the center benefit something a little more cosmetic.

Among other things, ongoing NCNPR research on botanicals led to the launch of a skin care line called Sustainable Youth brand products, owned by Woodcliff Skincare Solutions Inc. The key ingredient is Alasta brand aloe product, a patent-pending ingredient that includes aloeride, an immune-enhancing extract patented by the university.

“Aloeride’s activity is predominantly derived from aloe’s bacteria,” said Nirmal Pugh, principal scientist at NCNPR who worked on the discovery of aloeride with other Ole Miss researchers. “As with all plants occurring in a natural state, aloe has communities of bacteria.

“Aloe’s beneficial bacteria produce immune-enhancing components that we concentrated to create the aloeride that Woodcliff uses in Alasta.”

At the time of the discovery, Pugh was working as a graduate student with David Pasco, now the associate director of the UM natural products center.

Pasco, who has studied the properties of aloe for more than 20 years, observed that the active components in aloeride were beneficial for skin health. That information was used to guide clinical studies and product development for aloeride.

Sustainable Youth brand products contain a compound discovered and patented by researchers at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research. Photo courtesy Woodcliff Skincare Solutions Inc.

Once NCNPR published the team’s findings, a cosmetics industry executive approached the center about licensing the extract. After licensing aloeride, cosmetic expert formulators combined it with other ingredients to create Alasta brand aloe product, which can be applied topically.

“This kind of discovery is indicative of the commercial and medical potential of natural products, and is just one example of the impact of NCNPR’s research,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy.

Alasta brand aloe product is at the center of all Sustainable Youth brand products, said Mary Coon, a brand development consultant with Woodcliff.

“The Sustainable Youth collection includes five innovative, clean, anti-aging skin care products, all made with organic and natural ingredients purposefully selected for their ability to enhance Alasta’s properties for healthy-looking skin.”

University officials are “thrilled” to see the product line on the market, said Allyson Best, UM director of technology management.

“We appreciate Woodcliff’s commitment to transforming this UM discovery into a commercialized product,” Best said. “This is another great example of maximizing the impact of our research enterprise.”

The internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research was founded in 1995 to research, develop and commercialize potentially useful natural products. Based at the UM School of Pharmacy, NCNPR collaborates with academia, government and the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to create natural products that can be used to improve human health and agriculture as crops, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and agrochemicals.

For more information on research programs at the center, visit http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr.

Pharmacy Professor Named AAPS Fellow

S. Narasimha Murthy has been active in organization for more than a decade

S. Narasimha Murthy

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy pharmaceutics professor S. Narasimha Murthy has been elected as a fellow of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, one of the highest honors given to its members.

At its annual conference Nov. 12 in San Diego, AAPS honored eight recipients, including Murthy, who have demonstrated a sustained level of professional excellence in fields related to its mission.

Murthy conducts research to develop noninvasive technologies for the treatment of chronic disorders. He also founded a nonprofit research organization in his home country of India to foster research that addresses unmet medical needs.

“I was humbled and honored by the recognition because it is one of the highest organizational recognitions,” Murthy said. “AAPS has had a huge influence on many facets of my career.

“It helped me connect with collaborators and pharmaceutical companies. AAPS programs have helped me to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field of drug delivery.”

Murthy has served as member of AAPS since 2005. He is actively involved in the association’s dermatopharmaceutics focus group, including having previously served as the group’s chair while organizing webinars, symposiums and workshop for AAPS meetings.

He is also a member of the editorial advisory boards of several scientific journals.

Murthy routinely assists graduate students with travel vouchers to attend AAPS meetings and present their work. The school presented 93 posters at this year’s conference, and one of Murthy’s graduate students, Purnendu Sharma, earned AAPS’s 2017 Graduate Student Award for a poster he presented.

“I am so pleased to see both Dr. Murthy and Purnendu earn these recognitions,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Dr. Murthy’s work at the school and his commitment to get our students involved in AAPS is invaluable, and both honors point to the strength of our pharmaceutics and drug delivery department.”

Holloway Gift to Athletics Kicks Off Gate-Naming Initiative

Latest contribution goes toward Forward Together capital campaign

J.L. and Diane Holloway have committed $1 million to the university’s Forward Together campaign will help strengthen programs and fund facilities and equipment. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Fans entering the south entrance of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at the University of Mississippi may have noticed new signage, displaying the names of Diane and J.L. Holloway and serving as a lasting tribute to the Ridgeland couple’s recent gift in support of Ole Miss athletics.

The Holloways’ $1 million gift to the university’s Forward Together campaign will help strengthen programs and fund facilities and equipment.

“This gracious gift will ultimately make significant improvements for the benefit of our student- athletes,” said Ross Bjork, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics. “The Holloways have a real desire to see not just our program achieve success but also our individual student-athletes, both on and off the field. We are extremely grateful for their generosity.”

The Holloway gift kicks off the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s drive to honor donors with naming opportunities for each of the entrance gates at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the Pavilion at Ole Miss, the Rebels’ basketball arena.

“The Gate Naming Initiative is the first of its kind and will play an integral role in completing the $200 million Forward Together campaign,” said Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “With $173 million raised toward a multitude of capital projects, the final phase of the campaign will see the opening of an indoor tennis facility this December and completed renovations at Oxford-University Stadium in early spring.”

Gate naming opportunities start at $250,000 and are payable over five years.

J.L. Holloway is founder and CEO of Tenax Aerospace in Madison, a company that leases aircraft to the U.S. government, including one used by FBI Director Christopher Wray for executive travel and other aircraft used by the Department of Defense for geographic mapping.

While much of Holloway’s work is classified and cannot be discussed, he’s always eager to talk about Ole Miss.

“Our teams are not doing exactly what we would like for them to do these days,” he said. “There’ve been a few problems along the way, so we just thought this was an opportune time to be a giver in maybe an inopportune situation. We want our teams to know we are supporting them.

“You know most of us don’t need much support when everything is going perfect for us; we need that support when we feel like we’re not at the top of our game.”

The Holloways’ gift to name a gate is the most recent in a two-decade history of giving to the university, totaling nearly $2 million.

“J.L. has the biggest heart of anybody I’ve ever known,” said Diane Holloway, who earned a degree in education from Ole Miss in 1985 and is the daughter of Jackie Triplett and the late Dr. R. Faser Triplett of Jackson, longtime dedicated UM supporters. “And not just in giving financially but giving of his thought, giving of his time and truly caring about what’s happening in people’s lives from very, very young people to old people. He does have a passion for helping young people.

“In the business sense, I think God has given J.L. an unusual gift for seeing things differently, building great teams and building businesses, and J.L. has been faithful to follow that. I feel that God has given us tremendous success because he knows that J.L. is a faithful giver and has believed forever that to whom much is given, much is expected. He lives that life, and I admire that a lot.”

As a young man, Holloway served a six-month stint in the U.S. Army before taking his first job: selling sewing machines and vacuum cleaners. At 24, he started a small construction rental business that he built into a multistate organization and ultimately sold about six years later.

Then, employing six people, he began HAM Marine, which became the foundation of Friede Goldman International with Holloway serving as its CEO. The company, a leading international provider of offshore drilling services, was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and had 8,000 employees and operations in eight countries when Holloway retired to be able to play more tennis.

“That lasted about three weeks and Diane told me to go find something to do!” Holloway said, laughing.

Twelve years later, Tenax Aerospace is thriving – good for the Holloways and good for Ole Miss. Tenax also operates companies and invests in land development, real estate, construction, general equipment sales and leasing, and health care software, as well as construction and retrofit drilling and production vessels.

Among his many honors, Holloway was named to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame in 1999, and he received the Mississippi Governor’s Citizen of the Year award in 2009. The J.L. Holloway Business & Technology Center at Mississippi College was named in his honor in 2007.

“In America, most of us describe success as how well we’ve done financially in life, and certainly that’s a metric that we use, but to me it’s a lot about how you’ve been toward your fellow man and how you’ve been toward those organizations that do so much for people,” he said. “To me, that’s been a success point for Diane and me both.

“We’re both givers and we’re both people who want to help other people. So it brings a real joy and satisfaction to us to be able to provide things for others through the resources with which we’ve been blessed.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed his appreciation for the university’s loyal donors.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Holloways for this wonderful gift as well as their longtime commitment to generously supporting Ole Miss,” he said. “I continue to be inspired by how dedicated and supportive our alumni and friends are to UM; they are a significant reason for our sustained growth and success.

“Our university is truly fortunate to have individuals such as J.L. and Diane, who are so strongly committed and passionate about helping others.”

For more information about the Gate Naming Initiative, contact Keith Carter at jkcarter@olemiss.edu, call 662-915-7159 or visit http://givetoathletics.com/gates.

New Scholarship Pays Tribute to a Faculty Member’s Service

Fund honors late chair emerita of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

During her retirement reception in 2016, Lennette Ivy and her husband, James, smile as UM Provost Noel Wilkin (left) discusses her longtime service to the university. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – A new scholarship within the University of Mississippi School of Applied Sciences will honor the late Lennette Johnson Ivy, professor and chair emerita of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Established by her husband, James Ivy, and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the scholarship, once endowed, will provide travel support for first- and second-year graduate students, as well as faculty, attending state and national conferences. The funds also will support the department’s annual Fall Institute Lecture.

“The endowment will provide historical context to and long-term recognition for the contributions that Dr. Ivy made to the department and focuses on support to help students be successful professionals,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of School of Applied Sciences.

“The funds will help students majoring in communication sciences and disorders to have the opportunity to travel to professional conferences and to help provide support to bring nationally recognized leaders to present at the CSD Fall Institute, a student-led continuing education event.”

Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor emerita of university relations and professor emerita of communication sciences and disorders, described Ivy as “a loving and happy person” who always had a smile, a tear or a hug to share when most needed.

“I had this wonderful relationship with her,” Kellum said. “First I taught her as a student, then I worked with her as a colleague, but best of all, she was my friend.”

Ivy joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1990 as a part-time clinical supervisor. During the course of her 26-year career, she served the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders as a clinical supervisor in speech pathology, assistant professor, associate professor and interim chair.

“She was that person who had a deep appreciation,” Kellum said. “She had that extra oomph to her because she was extremely committed to being the very best that she could be.”

Under Ivy’s leadership, enrollment in the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs grew significantly, with more than 56 graduate students and 400-plus undergraduates. In 2011, the graduate program was reaccredited nationally under her watch, and master’s degree graduates in speech-language pathology experienced a 100 percent employment rate.

The department also saw significant increases in the number of full-time faculty, clinical supervisors and clinical services offered for speech, language and hearing impaired individuals in north Mississippi.

Ivy obtained a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation to establish a preschool laboratory and specialty clinic for hearing-, speech- and language-impaired children, as well as transition class for kindergarten children with speech, language and hearing disorders that interfere with literacy skills. She also established an in-house server and computer lab.

“Lennette supervised students and she was able to establish wonderful relationships with students, so she was really able to have a lot of empathy, but at the same time a high standard,” Kellum said. “She also had wonderful networks nationally that have benefited the program by expanding our opportunity to work with diverse groups.”

James Ivy, of Oxford, said he is proud not only of the contributions his wife made to the university and community at large but also looks forward to the potential impact the endowment will have on the School of Applied Sciences, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and its students.

“Lennette’s main goal was to always make sure her students were exposed to as much of the profession as possible,” Ivy said. “She wanted Ole Miss students to be the best out there. She would be honored and humbled at the same time.”

A native of Booneville, Ivy earned her doctorate in audiology and speech pathology from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in communication disorders from Ole Miss and a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Mississippi Valley State University.

Formerly a certified teacher in Mississippi, she also was a licensed speech-language pathologist, held an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech-language pathology and was an awarded dyslexia screening consultant. Ivy also worked as a speech-language pathologist in the Oxford School District, PRN speech-language pathologist at NovaCare (Heritage Manor) in Holly Springs and a graduate research assistant at the University of Memphis.

A respected clinician and teacher in her field, Ivy was the principal investigator on at least seven federally and state-funded projects totaling more than $418,818 She made presentations at more than 26 professional conferences and symposiums, and also co-authored at least six peer-reviewed journal articles and two book chapters.

“Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lennette Ivy knew that she had a genuine care for people and valued the relationships and friendships in her life,” said Matthew Porchivina, development director for the School of Applied Sciences. “This endowment will hopefully reflect and do justice to the dedication and passion she put into the university.”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Lennette Johnson Ivy Legacy Fund by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or contacting Matthew Porchivina at 662-915-1584 or rmporchi@olemiss.edu.

Natural Products Center to Collaborate with Beijing Hospital

NCNPR scientists will help with chemistry-related analysis of traditional Chinese medicines

Ikhlas Khan (center), director of the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, meets with officials from Beijing 302 Hospital to sign a memorandum of understanding setting up formal collaborations between the groups. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and Beijing 302 Hospital of China have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the quality of traditional Chinese medicine.

The Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine Beijing, located at the hospital, analyzes traditional medicines taken by hospital patients and screens for any contaminants that may have contributed to a patient’s condition. As per the agreement, NCNPR will use its technology and expertise to help with the chemistry-related needs of this analysis.

“This certainly plays to the strength of our program at NCNPR,” said Ikhlas Khan, the center’s director. “Our experience analyzing complex natural products will allow us to look at the quality of the products used in Chinese medicine.”

Jia-bo Wang, associate director of the hospital’s Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine, said he is excited to work with NCNPR on the quality control of herbal medicines, new drug development from traditional Chinese medicines and safety assessments, specifically with herb-induced liver injuries.

“We expect many opportunities for collaborative research between us, and have every reason to be hopeful for the future,” Wang said. 

This most recent research collaboration comes just after NCNPR signed an agreement in August with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia that gave the UM center research connections on every inhabited continent. Since 2000, more than 200 visiting scholars have come to NCNPR as part of these research exchanges.

The internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research was founded in 1995 to research, develop and commercialize potentially useful natural products. Based at the UM School of Pharmacy, NCNPR collaborates with academia, government and the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to create natural products that can be used to improve human health and agriculture as crops, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and agrochemicals.

For more information, visit http://pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr.

Dean of Local Photographers to Retire in December

Robert Jordan has shot more than a million photos across his 33-year career

After 33 years of shooting photographs for the university, Robert Jordan is looking forward to a slower pace. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For more than three decades, Robert Jordan has profoundly shaped how the world perceives the University of Mississippi. His photographs have documented the natural beauty of the Oxford campus through all seasons, captured critical moments of thrilling athletic triumphs and conveyed the dedication and achievements of its faculty, staff, students and alumni.

But after shooting more than a million photos, Jordan, director of university photography, is looking forward to a slower pace. He’s retiring at the end of the fall semester and already has a few goals for the coming months.

“I’m looking forward to sleeping late, playing some golf, reading some books and spending time with my wife,” he said. “I’ll always have that itch, and I’ll be taking photographs as long as I’m able, but it will be for fun, not how I make my living.”

University Communications is hosting a retirement reception for Jordan from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 29) in the Farrington Gallery of Bryant Hall. The event is open to the public.

Jordan’s work played a critical role in the university’s rise as a respected public university, Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said.

“I knew at the outset in ’95 that Robert would be a key player in what we were doing here at Ole Miss,” Khayat said. “I knew we had a beautiful campus, attractive people and gorgeous trees and buildings and spaces, and we just needed to show everybody.

“Robert is a gifted artist. He could make that camera talk. He is quiet, unobtrusive, humble, kind and patient. He would take the time to shoot an assignment over and over until he got exactly what we needed, and he made remarkable contributions to the university that will be treasured and studied forever.”

In a field where people frequently change jobs, Jordan has spent virtually his entire professional career at Ole Miss. He graduated in December 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and got a job in Greenville as a photographer at the Delta Democrat-Times.

“Newspaper work is exciting, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my degree,” he recalled.

So barely four months later, when somebody from the UM Department of Public Relations called with the news that Jack Cofield was retiring as university photographer, Jordan jumped at the opportunity to return to his alma mater.

“The thing that’s so cool about being a university photographer is that you never know from one day to the next what you’re going to be doing,” he said. “You may be shooting an event for the chancellor’s office one day and then going into a lab to photograph some researcher’s work the next. And then you may shoot outstanding students right after that.

“The challenge every day is to see the campus with new eyes and see something you’ve never seen before. I still get excited when I see something new.”

Over his 33 years on campus, Jordan has shot an estimated 10,000 assignments and mentored dozens of rising young photographers. Among them are Kevin Bain, who has worked as one of the university’s photographers for 18 years, and Thomas Graning, the department’s newest photographer.

Bain began working for the old Imaging Services Department as a student, answering phones and helping customers with orders.

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat says this 1998 image of him walking with students and staff members is his favorite photo of himself. The photo, shot by Robert Jordan, was distributed statewide by the Associated Press. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“That was back in the film days, and if he saw I didn’t have much to do, he was cool about saying, ‘Here’s a roll of film. Go out and see what you can do,'” Bain said. “I was an English major, and he was really good about showing me how to get different kinds of shots.”

Jordan also befriended Bruce Newman, photographer at the Oxford Eagle for the past 31 years, shortly after he started working for the newspaper.

“He’s always been very helpful to me, whether we’ve been shooting games together or just hanging out talking about photography,” Newman said. “He’s very technically gifted, and he likes to help solve problems and figure out how to get the best shot.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with him, but more importantly I have always valued his friendship.”

During Jordan’s time on campus, advancing technology has dramatically changed how the job is done.

In the beginning, his job was primarily to shoot and develop black-and-white photos to accompany news releases. He took on the task of shooting color for recruiting materials and other publications, and later helped convert the entire operation to digital when that technology replaced film.

He’s also experimented with underwater camera housings, special lenses, infrared film and camera drones to shoot campus scenes and activities.

“I’ve just tried to stay up with the technology and find new ways to capture Ole Miss,” he said. “I feel like I was in the right place at the right time to have a great career. I’ve had fun and most days, I feel like I’ve made a difference.”

Besides shooting assignments, Jordan supervises the department’s other photographers and helps maintain equipment and technology. He also puts those organizational skills to work for the University Photographers’ Association of America, serving on the organization’s board for the last 14 years.

“He’s the best,” said Glenn Carpenter, the association’s president. “He’s been a tremendous asset in helping organize events and programs, and being able to see things clearly and offer advice on how to make them run better.”

Jordan frequently has helped new members become oriented to the group, and also helps fellow members figure out the best way to get difficult shots, Carpenter said. He also has been honored many times for his creativity in the Nikon Shoot-Out, a competition sponsored at the group’s annual convention by the camera maker.

“In our group, Robert has won that contest more than anybody else,” Carpenter said. “He’s that good at taking somebody else’s idea and transforming it into a finished photo.”

Jordan can visualize how a photo will turn out even before shooting a single frame, Bain said.

“He’s one of the best, if not the best, photographers in the South,” he said. “He’s a wizard with light. I can set up lights and flashes to get a good shot, but Robert can always tweak it and make it better. That’s a big part of why his shots look so great.”

Around Oxford, many people know Jordan for this work with Nine Lives Cat Rescue and the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, where he photographs cats available for adoption. Jordan and his wife, Clarissa, have had cats in their home for more than a decade, so this work came naturally, he said.

“Some people are cat people, some people are dog people,” he explained. “I’m a cat person. I don’t dislike dogs; I just like cats better.”

Surprisingly, Jordan’s career almost took a far different path. In his hometown of Ocean Springs, he worked as a bank teller through a high school co-op program, so he initially enrolled at the University of South Alabama to major in banking and finance.

Jordan assembled this photo illustration of UM physicist Luca Bombelli for a story on gravitational physics research at the university. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

But his parents had gotten him a Canon AE-1 as a Christmas gift during his senior year in high school, and he later landed a job at the student newspaper at South Alabama.

“I had a horrible GPA because I was skipping all my business classes to shoot photos,” he recalled. He transferred to Ole Miss as a journalism major and quickly began winning accolades for his work in the department’s annual awards program.

Although he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, who retired seven years ago from the North Mississippi Regional Center, Jordan concedes that he’ll probably be a frequent visitor to campus, and notes that he’s available to help shoot Commencement and special projects.

“I’ll be available, but I’m leaving the office in the capable hands of two fine photographers,” Jordan said. “They’re doing a great job, and I’m going to enjoy watching their work.”

Alice Clark, vice chancellor for university relations, credits Jordan’s longtime leadership at the university for a seamless transition.

“In my 35 years at UM, I have had the privilege of sharing the years with Robert, working with him and watching him as he captured the heart and soul of Ole Miss,” she said. “His images and his talent have been instrumental in communicating to the world about the university’s role in transforming lives. The impact of his work will be felt for decades.”

Estate Gift to Benefit UM Patterson School of Accountancy

Major contribution will establish new chair, among other support

Mary and Lucian Minor share a moment during the dedication of Minor Hall in 2013. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent $6.3 million gift from the estate of alumnus and University of Mississippi supporter Lucian S. Minor will establish a new chair within the Patterson School of Accountancy while also providing scholarships and supporting the school’s academic programs and activities.

The Lucian S. Minor Chair of Accountancy Endowment will support the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty to ensure that quality teaching, research and service will be available for generations of UM students, Dean Mark Wilder said.

“We are extremely grateful to Lucian Minor for his foresight to include the Patterson School of Accountancy in his estate planning,” Wilder said. “The generosity of Mr. Minor will enable us to ensure a quality education for students through scholarships, faculty support and operating funds for our program.

“We are honored to have the Lucian Minor name and legacy forever associated with the Patterson School of Accountancy.”

Planned gifts award donors membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes those who thoughtfully provide for the university through bequests and deferred gifts.

Minor’s gift also establishes the Lucian S. Minor Accountancy Endowment, which will provide funds for academic programs and activities, and supplements the existing Lucian S. Minor Scholarship in Accountancy Endowment, established by Minor and his wife, Mary, in 1998.

“He was a remarkable individual whom I was very proud to have known well for many years,” said Larry Hardy, of Memphis. Hardy earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ole Miss in 1968 and a master’s degree in accountancy in 1969. Minor hired Hardy to work for him at Ernst & Young right out of college.

“To have worked with him and then to have known him personally after working with him … he just became a really good friend,” Hardy said. “I was so pleased that he chose Ole Miss and the School of Accountancy to be the beneficiary of his will.”

A UM residence hall bears the Minor name – an honor awarded the couple in 2013 to acknowledge their generous and continued financial support.

“I’ve enjoyed my relationship with Ole Miss for many, many years,” Minor said at the time. “Many of the courses I took at Ole Miss contributed to my success in the business world, particularly the accounting field.

“I’m glad to share some of my success. Hopefully, some needy students will benefit from our gifts.”

Minor graduated from Ole Miss in 1937 with a degree in accounting. He was recruited by General Mills Inc. to join the company’s internal audit staff in Minneapolis, where he worked until beginning his service in the U.S. Navy in 1942.

He was stationed with Douglas Aircraft Co. in Los Angeles as a cost inspector and passed the CPA exam during his enlistment.

Minor was discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1946 and opened his own accounting firm in Memphis. During the next 20 years, his firm, Minor and Moore, grew to be the city’s largest accounting firm. In 1969 he merged his firm with the international accounting firm of Ernst & Ernst and became partner in charge of the Memphis office until his retirement in 1978.

He was inducted into the Patterson School of Accountancy’s Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

He served as a mentor to young professionals such as Hardy all his life.

“I’m glad now to see his name around campus on the building and on the scholarships that have been given out every year and soon to be associated with the chair of accountancy,” Hardy said. “I’m very pleased that he was able to do all that and pleased that he did it.”

Minor’s nephew Jim Moore, of Memphis, said his uncle’s decision to give back to the university likely stemmed from his upbringing.

“He came up during the Depression, so he was able to go to college when it wasn’t easy, and he knew how his own education helped him in his life and career,” Moore said. “He always had a strong desire to help people who wanted to get an education and improve themselves.

“He was very supportive of those who really wanted to work to get ahead. Also, he loved the accounting profession and was very dedicated to that.”

Moore said Minor enjoyed watching Rebel football, playing golf and entertaining friends while hunting quail and other game birds at his family’s Circle M. Ranch near Macon, his hometown, and later at his farm, “the Old Rainey Place” near Blue Mountain. Additionally, he was a member of Menasha Hunting and Fishing Club in Arkansas for more than 50 years and the Memphis Hunt and Polo Club.

“Private giving from extraordinary alumni and supporters like Lucian Minor is so vital to ensuring the margin of excellence for which our university has become renowned,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “We are very appreciative of Mr. Minor’s generous gift, which will have a tremendous impact upon our highly-ranked Patterson School of Accountancy.

“It will help maintain accountancy’s stellar academic profile and accelerate its path of excellence, as well as extend Mr. Minor’s legacy.”

For information on including the university in long-term estate and financial plans, alumni and friends can visit http://www.umfoundation.planmylegacy.org or contact Sandra Guest, UM Foundation vice president, at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu.