Grenada Graduate Earns UM Student Teacher of the Year Award

School of Education recognizes Mary Courtney Self for outstanding work

Mary Courtney Self of Grenada (left) is honored by UM education Dean David Rock with the 2018 Robert W. Plants Student Teacher of the Year Award. Self worked this spring as a student teacher in Diane Brewer’s first-grade class at Grenada Elementary School. UM photo by Bill Dabney

GRENADA, Miss. – Mary Courtney Self, of Grenada, was caught off-guard when her name was called for a special award during the University of Mississippi at Grenada’s annual graduation celebration earlier this spring.

“I was shocked,” Self said. “I had no idea I was being considered for this honor.”

During the evening’s program, Karen Davidson-Smith, assistant clinical professor of education, announced Self as the recipient of the 2018 Robert W. Plants Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year award. She was chosen for the award from hundreds of senior education majors graduating from five different Ole Miss campuses.

“Mary Courtney excelled at every opportunity to make and extend connections between teaching theory and teaching practices,” Davidson-Smith said. “She used a variety of teaching methods and techniques this semester that helped her students learn in the ways that suited each student best.”

The annual award is named for longtime UM faculty member Robert W. Plants, a former chair of the curriculum and instruction department. Each year the School of Education recognizes an exceptional student who stood out during their semester-long student-teaching practicum with the award.

“Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Self said. “I felt like my instructors were invested in me and my future, and I wanted to do the same for others.”

While student teaching and completing classes at the University of Mississippi at Grenada, Self also was caring for her 2-year-old daughter, Sawyer Grace. Submitted photo

Self graduated from Grenada High School in 2013 and enrolled at Holmes Community College’s Grenada campus. In fall 2014, she took a break from her studies and spent a semester working in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in Florida.

“I wanted to have an experience,” she said. “I worked at different restaurants and had the opportunity to meet a lot of different people from all over the world.”

Upon her return to Mississippi, Self enrolled in the junior year of the Bachelor of Elementary Education program at the university’s Grenada regional campus.

“Going to UM-Grenada was the best thing for my daughter and myself,” she said.

Diane Brewer, a teacher at Grenada Lower Elementary for more than 20 years, served as the lead teacher and clinical instructor in the first-grade class where Self interned this spring.

“Mary Courtney has the natural instincts to be a great teacher,” Brewer said. “She would see a few students lagging behind in a concept we were teaching, and she would spend the extra time working with them until they understood.”

Self said she will be fulfilling her lifelong dream when she begins teaching sixth-grade English at Grenada Middle School this fall.

“I’m not just teaching English and grammar,” Self said. “I’m helping to mold students into the people they are going to become.”

Couple’s Gift Honors Late Professor Charles Noyes

Harvey and Di Ann Lewis make donation to support UM libraries

The late Chuck Noyes (right) and his close friend and colleague, John Pilkington, senior professor of American literature, examine documents in the Archives and Special Collections department of the J.D. Williams Library. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Harvey and Di Ann Lewis, of St. Petersburg, Florida, are supporting the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library while honoring the late Charles E. Noyes, professor emeritus of English.

“Dr. Noyes and I had a very professional and personal relationship while I was executive vice chancellor and he was my associate vice chancellor,” Harvey Lewis said. “His in-depth knowledge of the university and long years of managing the Friends of the Library membership and fundraising with Dr. John Pilkington (distinguished professor emeritus of English) were noteworthy.

“Di Ann and I grew to love Chuck and Ruthie (his wife), and we appreciate Chuck’s great sense of humor and ability to write.”

The Lewises married in 1961 when Harvey Lewis also graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in banking and finance. He continued his education at the University of Arkansas, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. He worked in leadership at the University of Central Florida, UM and MSU.

Di Ann Lewis earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University. She was director of special education, gifted and reading for the Lafayette County School District and later joined Mississippi University for Women as an assistant professor of education.

She also served eight years as executive director of Gear Up Mississippi with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

The Lewises hope their gift to the Charles E. Noyes Library Endowment Fund will provide a steady stream of income that library Dean Cecilia Botero can use to enhance the library’s collections and update its technology.

“Generous gifts such as this one allow the library to provide our students and faculty with exciting new resources that further advance their studies and research activities,” Botero said.

Noyes, a Natchez native, spent most of his youth in Memphis, Tennessee, where he attended Rozelle Grammar School and Central High School. He completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Missouri and earned a doctorate at the University of Texas. He was a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

Noyes served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of major. His service included the post of assistant chief of staff of the Third Army Airways Communications Wing, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska.

Before joining the Ole Miss faculty, Noyes taught at the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee. His career in the classroom focused on Restoration and 18th century English literature.

He also served UM in the roles of provost, acting vice chancellor, associate vice chancellor and director of the summer session.

Noyes, who died in 2008 at age 91, is widely credited with providing invaluable assistance within the UM administration during and after the university’s tumultuous integration in 1962, when he composed speeches for then-Chancellor J.D. Williams.

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat described Noyes as being “among the most loved people at Ole Miss.”

“Chuck Noyes established extraordinary relationships with students, staff, faculty and alumni for more than 50 years,” Khayat said. “Blessed with a keen mind and a clever wit, he was known among his students for his life-enriching teaching style and within the community for his remarkable personal relationships.

“He devoted most of his retirement years to attracting financial support for the library. He was a bright, funny man who quietly gave most of his personal resources to the university. He will be missed and fondly remembered as a loyal son of the university.”

Noyes remained faithful to Ole Miss throughout his retirement years. In 2006, he notified UM officials that he had designated a bequest to benefit the university. He was a noted benefactor of the J.D. Williams Library and was for many years membership chair of the Friends of the Library.

The Ole Miss Alumni Association honored Noyes with membership in its Hall of Fame in 1991, and former student David Arnold and his wife, Barbara, of Yazoo City, honored him by establishing the Noyes Library Endowment.

To make a gift to the Friends of the Library or the Charles E. Noyes Library Endowment Fund, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit; or contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or

Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Honors UM Center

Southern studies staff lauded for work on Mississippi Encyclopedia, foodways studies

Jimmy Thomas, Ann Abadie, Odie Lindsey and Ted Ownby accept the Special Achievement Award on behalf of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the MIAL banquet. Photo courtesy of Brian Hull

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture garnered two awards at this year’s Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters awards banquet, held June 2 at Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson.

MIAL presented Ted Ownby, Charles Reagan Wilson, Ann J. Abadie, Odie Lindsey and James G. Thomas Jr. with a Special Achievement Award for their work on the Mississippi Encyclopedia, published in May 2017 by the University Press of Mississippi.

Also receiving an award was John T. Edge, director of the center’s Southern Foodways Alliance. Edge is the winner of MIAL’s nonfiction award for his recent book, “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.”

The Mississippi Encyclopedia, a 9-pound reference book, features 1,500 essays by nearly 700 authors on all things Mississippi, from academics and agriculture to Zig Ziglar. It is the product of more than a decade of work at the center.

“We are particularly pleased to get an award from MIAL both because it suggests the encyclopedia did a good job with creativity – coverage of art, architecture, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, foodways and other topics – and also because we got to spend time with creative people on the night of the banquet,” said Ted Ownby, the center’s director and senior editor of the Mississippi Encyclopedia. “We appreciate any award, but this one is especially gratifying.”

MIAL, begun in 1978, supports, nurtures and recognizes Mississippi’s artists, including fiction and nonfiction authors, visual artists, musical composers, photographers and poets. Each year, the institute honors creative individuals with an award in their specific field.

The prestigious awards, first made in 1980, are presented in seven categories, and the institute’s juried competition is unique in the state.

Nancy Davidson LaForge, president of MIAL, said she was delighted with the winners and honored to have been able to recognize them this year. The Special Achievement Award has been given only five times in MIAL’s 39-year history, so it has particular significance.

“It is an award initiated by the board of governors of MIAL and may be presented to an individual or group for a significant and unique literary, artistic or other creative accomplishment,” LaForge said. “The board of governors recognizes the depth of achievement in this volume and that it is thorough in its details of our history and culture. 

“The entries, from the everyday to the extraordinary, tell the complex story of the state of Mississippi, her places and her people.”

For the second time in four years, MIAL honored the center for its work in publishing, and Ownby said he is pleased that the award recognizes the shared efforts of a large group of people.

“It’s an award for all the authors and editors because they were all part of a collaborative process, so we accept with all of the contributors in mind,” Ownby said. “So many people contributed to the book that it’s nice to win an award that recognizes all of their hard work.

“The online version also comes out this month so it was good to share with an audience who cares about Mississippi.”

MIAL presented the center with a Special Achievement Award for its work on The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press) in 2014. The Mississippi Encyclopedia has also won an Award of Merit from the Mississippi Historical Society and the Heritage Award from the Mississippi Heritage Trust this year.

Edge has written or edited more than a dozen books, including the Foodways volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.

In the “Potlikker Papers,” he traces 60 years of how the food of working-class Southerners became a pivotal part of American cuisine. The book has been roundly praised by major news outlets and made National Public Radio’s list of 2017’s Great Reads.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution review asks, “Is the ‘Potlikker Papers’ a history of the South by way of food stories, or a story about Southern food by way of our history? By the time you come to the end of this rigorous volume, you’ll know that the two are indivisible.”

“Edge manages to combine an appreciation of food as a measure of class and race in the post-World War II American South with a real zest for the comestibles themselves,” said Harold Selesky, this year’s nonfiction judge.  

The award recipients, chosen by out-of-state jurors prominent in their respective fields, were all honored at the recent awards banquet.

Other award winners with Ole Miss connections include the fiction award for “Eveningland” to Michael Knight, who was the 2005-06 John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence; and the poetry award for “The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: Poems” to UM M.F.A. graduate Molly McCully Brown.

For more information, visit the MIAL website at

Bowlin Named Inaugural Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy

Distinction honors professor's excellence in teaching and research

Kendall Bowlin (at podium) teaches a class in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy has named Kendall Bowlin as the inaugural holder of its Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy.

An associate professor and UM alumnus, Bowlin joined the faculty of the accountancy school in 2008 after earning a doctoral degree at the University of Texas. His primary teaching and research interests are in the field of auditing.

Before his doctoral studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the UM School of Business Administration and a master’s degree in accountancy from the Patterson School in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He worked four years as an auditor with Ernst & Young in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Being named the first Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful for Mr. Krei’s generous support of our school, faculty and students,” Bowlin said. “The success that our students and faculty have had, and continue to have, is a result of the wonderful financial support and friendship provided by Ed Krei and other alumni.”

Barbara and Ed Krei, of Edmond, Oklahoma, established the Edward Krei Lectureship in Accountancy in 2009. In 2015, they generously elevated their endowment to the chair level, with more than $1.5 million committed to sustaining and strengthening the school’s faculty.

The endowment provides salary supplements, research and creative activity support, and other funding deemed appropriate by the dean.

“We are deeply grateful to Barbara and Ed Krei for establishing the Krei Chair of Accountancy at Ole Miss,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “Ed has enjoyed an exceptional career, and we are proud to have him as an alumnus and also as a member of the Patterson School Hall of Fame.

“We are humbled by the Kreis’ generosity. Their vision to support our faculty will enable the Patterson School to continue building on its strong teaching and mentoring tradition, a trademark of our program and a key reason for the successes that we enjoy.”

All three degree programs at the Patterson School are among the top 10 in the 2017 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are all ranked No. 8 nationally.

The master’s program leads the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the conference. One or more Ole Miss accountancy programs have led the SEC in the rankings in each of the past seven years.

Bowlin’s appointment to the chair is well-deserved, Wilder said.

“Dr. Bowlin is enjoying an outstanding career at Ole Miss,” he continued. “He is one of the bright young minds in our profession and is a national leader in auditing research. His presence on our faculty has enabled us to attract other top faculty and doctoral students to the Patterson School.”

Bowlin’s research focuses on the strategic aspects of interactions between auditors and client managers. He is particularly interested in the ways in which institutional features of the audit environment affect the auditor’s ability to anticipate and respond to the manager’s possible tendencies toward financial misreporting.

Ed Krei

“I very much appreciate Mr. Krei’s and Dean Wilder’s confidence in appointing me to hold the Krei Chair, and I hope to justify their confidence through a devotion to our students, our alumni and my colleagues in the Patterson School,” Bowlin said.

“The establishment of the chair represents continued and growing faculty support from our alumni. This support allows the Patterson School to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, who will, in turn, commit to the development of our students and accounting leaders of the future.”

Krei enjoyed an outstanding career as managing director and board member for the Baker Group in Oklahoma City. The Baker Group is an institutional fixed-income firm that serves community banks throughout the nation. For 21 years, he has represented the Baker Group, helping client organizations develop strategies and plan for the future.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accountancy from Ole Miss in 1973. He said the endowment is meant to provide an “eternal flame,” commemorating the education he received.

“I think the Patterson School is an excellent investment because of its faculty members,” Krei said. “Their passion is so evident, and they really excite students about their field. And now, with the speaking engagements I have, I find myself emulating what I learned from them.”

The Kreis met at UM as freshman members of the Pride of the South Marching Band. Barbara Krei graduated from what is now the School of Applied Sciences and has enjoyed a career as a speech pathologist in the Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City.

“The Kreis’ investment in our faculty will provide benefits for many generations of future Ole Miss accountancy students,” Wilder said.

The Ed Krei Lectureship in Accountancy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit

For more information on ways to support the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Denson Hollis, executive development director, at 662-915-5092 or

University Appoints Erica McKinley as General Counsel

Respected attorney brings 20 years of experience in private and public sectors

Erica McKinley

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has appointed Erica McKinley as general counsel. McKinley, former chief operating officer for the National Basketball Players Association, is an attorney with nearly 20 years of global legal experience in the private and public sector.

As general counsel, McKinley will serve as the university’s chief legal officer. She will report to Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter and provide advice and counsel on a wide array of matters including governance, research, athletics, student affairs and finance. McKinley also will coordinate with the University of Mississippi Medical Center on legal matters, working closely with its general counsel. She will be a member of the chancellor’s senior leadership team.

McKinley is a trusted adviser with outstanding judgment and a distinguished background, Vitter said. Before her work in professional basketball with the NBPA, she was associate general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Previously, McKinley was an assistant attorney general in the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, where she served as chief of general litigation. She was later appointed general counsel for the D.C. Department of Human Resources. Early in her career, McKinley practiced commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense with two D.C. firms, Arnold & Porter and Akin Gump.

“I am honored to support the University of Mississippi as it continues its unprecedented growth in higher education, research and health care,” McKinley said. “I’ve come home to Oxford with an immediate sense of pride, purpose and responsibility.

An Ole Miss alumna from Jackson, McKinley earned a law degree from the UM School of Law in 1998, graduating summa cum laude and salutatorian. After law school, she completed a clerkship with Judge E. Grady Jolly on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. McKinley also holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Tougaloo College.

“We are extremely pleased to have an accomplished leader with such vast experience,” Vitter said. “Ms. McKinley is a highly-respected attorney with exceptional legal experience in corporate, government and private practice. We are thrilled to welcome Erica back to Ole Miss.”

McKinley will relocate from New York to Oxford and assume the role of general counsel on June 22.

Family Catching Rebel Fever

Avery and Neil Forbes make major gift to Ole Miss athletics

Avery and Neil Forbes enjoy a Rebel football game in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with their children (from left) Madeline, Hannah and Sawyer. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Avery and Neil Forbes, of Madison, attended colleges other than the University of Mississippi, but the couple caught Rebel fever nonetheless.

“When I came to Mississippi in 2003 to run a political campaign, I happened to work for a candidate who was a UM grad and his love for Ole Miss was contagious,” said Neil Forbes, a Chesapeake, Virginia, native and a partner specializing in government services with the accounting firm Horne LLC of Jackson.

“Additionally, my roommate was a former team mascot and, considering it was Eli Manning’s last year as quarterback, there was a lot of excitement about the football team,” Forbes continued. “It was a great year to get engaged and excited about Ole Miss football. It didn’t take long for me to get hooked.”

The Forbes family has steadily increased its involvement with Ole Miss athletics since 2005 and recently made a major gift to the Forward Together Campaign, which supports facility improvements and scholarships for student-athletes.

“We just want our gift to help the athletics department continue to provide world-class facilities for our athletes and the fans,” said Neil Forbes, adding that the infectious Ole Miss spirit is quickly spreading to his children.

Hannah, 11, Sawyer, 7, and Madeline, 5, flashed wide grins on the “smile cam” during a baseball game and enjoyed a sideline pass for football. Sawyer even wanted to celebrate his birthday at The Pavilion at Ole Miss, the university’s basketball arena.

“We were also thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the team through the Walk of Champions prior to a game last season,” Neil Forbes said. “Coach (Matt) Luke and (Rebel wide receiver) A.J. Brown both stopped for a picture with our family, and that is a memory none of us will ever forget!”

The Forbes family looks forward to creating many more such memories.

“Supporting Ole Miss athletics has become a natural part of what we do as a family on weekends,” said Avery Forbes, who was admitted to Ole Miss out of high school but decided to study communications at Mississippi College in her hometown of Clinton. Even then, she frequently visited friends at Ole Miss.

“Our goal is that when our kids are older and out of the house, they will always look back and think of all the fun we had and the memories we created over the years going to games.”

Neil Forbes joined the U.S. Army after high school. After serving in South Korea and at Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne, he attended community college and then Virginia Wesleyan College, where he earned a degree in English literature.

Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, said he welcomes the Forbes family into the Vaught Society.

“Some of our most loyal fans are not UM graduates, and we think that’s simply a testament to our excellent game-day experience,” he said. “On behalf of all those who love our program, we greatly appreciate Neil and Avery’s generous support of Ole Miss athletics.”

The Vaught Society is the leadership fundraising arm of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. Members of the Vaught Society make a commitment of $25,000 or more that is fulfilled over five years ($5,000 per year). These major gift commitments are above and beyond any priority seating annual donations.

In recognition of their generosity, Vaught Society members gain access to an exclusive stewardship program.

To support Ole Miss athletics with a gift to the Forward Together campaign, contact Keith Carter at, call 662-915-7159 or visit

UM Scientists Work Toward Natural Remedy for Bed Bugs

NCNPR researchers look for safer solution in pest management

Bed bugs are tiny when they hatch, but each insect can grow to one-fourth of an inch in size as it matures.
UM photo by Don F. Stanford

OXFORD, Miss. – It’s a fear for children that monsters reside under the bed. But those monsters could be living on the mattress or in the sheets. They’re called bed bugs.

However, scientists with the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy are searching for a natural remedy to stop the insect from not only biting, but growing in rapid numbers.

“In the past few years, the number of bed bug infestations has risen, potentially impacting the hospitality industry” said Amar Chittiboyina, NCNPR assistant director. “The resources at the NCNPR make it an ideal research center for the discovery of a natural chemical as an insecticide.”

Funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Insect Management Program looks for a natural compound for management of pests affecting soldiers and the public. Finding that solution is easier said than done, as bed bugs are tough to control, much less eradicate.

Junaid Rehman, research scientist in the NCNPR, works closely with two strains of bed bugs: those that are resistant to insecticides and those that haven’t been exposed to insecticides. Rehman is tasked with the challenge of sorting the tiny bed bugs, which grow to less than one-fourth of an inch in size, by age and making sure each gets its weekly fill of rabbit blood to help maintain the colonies.

Researchers use three delivery methods to test the effectiveness of natural compounds on the bed bugs, Rehman said.

The easiest ones to perform are fumigation and residual methods. In fumigation, the bugs are exposed to the vapor form for 24 hours, while the residual method has the treatment placed on filter paper and the insects are released over it.

The toughest is a topical method, which involves Rehman knocking the insects unconscious with carbon dioxide before applying a drop of test article on each adult’s back. This process can take up to five hours with 50-60 bed bugs in each treatment for statistical significance.

“In most cases of severe infestation, the only option to eradicate the insects is to discard the furniture,” Rehman said. “To avoid such an expensive operation, we are probing several methods for effective delivery of potential insecticides.

“At the end of the day, we are looking for natural compounds that are easy to apply in a laboratory setting and in the field. The hardest part is finding a natural compound that will safely and effectively eradicate or control the growth of bed bugs.”

Junaid Rehman, a research scientist in the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, works to separate bed bugs to prepare for testing of potential control agents in the lab. UM photo by Don F. Stanford

Researchers work in a biosafety lab at the Thad Cochran Research Center where special precautions are taken to prevent the escape of any bugs. Though bed bugs are easily contained in the lab, that’s not the case in public areas. Bed bugs hiding in dark corners and crevices of hotel rooms or other spaces can survive as long as three months without food.

The insect is not known to transfer diseases, but when an infestation is severe, the bites can cause health concerns. Finding a solution for this problem is at the forefront of the NCNPR’s goals.

“We have such unique resources at the NCNPR that we can optimize and convert the knowledge we have into finding a safer solution, as there is currently no easy way to get rid of these bed bugs,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “Having this funding from the USDA helps us to work toward our overall goals.”

As Bed Bug Awareness Week (June 3-9) rolls on and as many people prepare to travel for summer vacations, Khan acknowledged that public awareness and preemptive measures help in bed bug cases. NCNPR researchers will continue working to make bed bug nightmares a thing of the past.

“If we can come up with a natural compound that inhibits the bed bugs’ growth or alters its life cycle, and the natural compound has a safety profile needed for approval by the EPA as an insecticide, then we achieved our goals,” Chittiboyina said.

This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, under agreement no. 58-6066-6-043. Any opinions, findings, conclusion or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pharmacy Administration Graduate Student Receives Fellowship

Ashley Crumby will continue her dissertation research on mentor relationships

Ashley Crumby

OXFORD, Miss. – Ashley Crumby, a graduate student in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, was named a recipient of the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Sciences given by the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

Crumby will use her fellowship to continue research for her dissertation on “Valuation of mentorship in pharmacy education and the impact of perceived involvement,” as she measures the value student pharmacists place on mentorship.

“This opportunity will help support the importance of mentorship research,” Crumby said. “I would love to continue this type of research in my future career and apply it to a position in which I could potentially develop and implement mentorship programs at schools.”

A native of Chapel Hill, Tennessee, Crumby earned her Pharm.D. from Ole Miss in 2009. No stranger to mentorship in her own career, Crumby said she has been blessed with many great advisers, including Alicia Bouldin, associate dean of outcomes assessment and learning advancement at the School of Pharmacy.

“I am so thankful that AFPE is rewarding Ashley’s commitment in this area,” Bouldin said. “She truly has a passion for mentoring in pharmacy education and is excited about the chance to deploy her research talents to explore this area.

“I have no doubt that many will benefit from any further understanding she is able to glean on this topic, which is becoming increasingly important in the changing health care landscape.”

In 2013, American Pharmacists Association recognized Crumby for her work with pediatric infectious diseases and commitment to student mentorships by naming her a Distinguished New Practitioner. Her dedication to improving the pharmacy profession and lives of others shows why John Bentley, chair and professor of pharmacy administration, calls Crumby a well-rounded graduate student and individual.

“Two of the most significant factors that determine success in graduate school are motivation and perseverance,” Bentley said. “There is no shortage of either when it comes to Ashley. She typically goes above and beyond the call of duty in all of her endeavors.

“She has high levels of motivation to succeed, but more importantly, she has an extraordinary motivation to learn.”

Duffs Honor Late Father with Major Gift

Contribution supports Ole Miss' inaugural Flagship Constellations

The late Ernest Duff (center) is being remembered by sons Jim Duff (left) and Thomas Duff with a major gift to the UM Flagship Constellations. Similar to this new initiative that uses a multidisciplinary approach to challenges, attorney Ernest Duff had an entrepreneurial spirit and was known to respond to opportunities with solutions. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The youngest of five children and the first in his family to pursue higher education, Ernest Duff left his small home town of Columbia to attend the University of Mississippi, where “his eyes were opened and his mind enlarged.”

Duff became a widely respected attorney, visionary, entrepreneur and community leader who always gave credit to his educational foundation built at Ole Miss.

Now sons Thomas and Jim Duff, of Hattiesburg, have made a $1 million gift to pay tribute to their father’s life and to support the university’s new Flagship Constellations initiative – multidisciplinary teams composed of faculty, staff and students from the university’s Oxford and Medical Center campuses seeking significant, innovative solutions to complex issues.

“Each of us stands on the shoulders of those who came before us, and our father certainly did that,” businessman Thomas Duff said. “The education he received, the opportunities that were given to him, he utilized those throughout all of his life. The power of an education enriched his life, his family, his grandchildren and his great-grandchild. We are very grateful for that legacy and what Ole Miss has meant in each of our lives.

“My father loved the University of Mississippi. He was elected student body president and inducted into the student Hall of Fame. He enjoyed college so much that he spent the next three years in the School of Law, where he was active on the Mississippi Law Journal staff and graduated No. 1 in his class.”

Education was an important part of his father’s life, as well as the mentors and friends who came with it, Jim Duff said.

“I remember as a kid hearing all these wonderful stories about different individuals, professors and students at Ole Miss who had a big influence on his life – who helped mold him into the person that he became,” Jim Duff said. “And he became the type person who changed many, many lives.

“Ole Miss is such a special place to our family because of him. It’s such a unique institution, and he would be extremely proud and pleased with this gift. He would want to give back to Ole Miss.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter thanked the Duffs for their strong support of the Flagship Constellations, an initiative that brings together the brightest minds across all areas of the university to inspire and accelerate meaningful solutions to some of our greatest challenges.

“With this gift, Thomas and Jim Duff have created the Ernest R. Duff Flagship Constellation Fund to commemorate their father’s great love for Ole Miss,” Vitter said. “Ernest Duff was a leader and a visionary – what a tremendous way for them to honor their father and ensure his continued impact and legacy.

“This support will enable us to ignite the potential of the Flagship Constellations. We are extremely grateful to the Duff family for choosing such a meaningful gift to the University of Mississippi as a means of remembering their dad.”

Similar to the Flagship Constellations initiative, Ernest Duff had an entrepreneurial spirit and was known to respond to opportunities with solutions. As a successful corporate attorney, he worked with many major businesses, and while serving as an attorney for Georgia Pacific in Columbia, he saw a need, filled it and, as they say, the rest is history. The company needed someone to haul wood chips, so Duff founded Forest Products Transports. The trucks needed tires, so he established Southern Tire Mart, which has become the largest commercial tire dealer in North America.

Southern Tire Mart led to the formation of Duff Capital Investors, which is composed of 19 various businesses employing more than 11,000 people with total revenues exceeding $ 2.2 billion. Duff Capital Investors is one of the largest private companies in Mississippi and includes KLLM Transport Services of Jackson.

Duff, who passed away in May 2016, served as city attorney in Columbia for 32 years, Marion County attorney for 36 years and Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association attorney for 53 years; he was a director of Trustmark Bank for 28 years.

His sons, Thomas and Jim Duff, both University of Southern Mississippi alumni, lead Duff Capital Investors as co-owners. In 2012, in recognition of their significant contributions, USM named its athletics center the Jim and Tom Duff Athletic Center.

The family also includes their mother, Bobbie Baggett Duff, brother Stephen Duff and sister Jane Duff Thomley, all of Hattiesburg.

Thomas Duff serves on the board of trustees of the state Institutions of Higher Learning, the governing body responsible for policy and financial oversight of the state’s eight public universities. He also serves on the Mississippi Power Board of Directors.

For more information on providing support for the Flagship Constellations, contact Vice Chancellor of Development Charlotte Parks at or 662-915-3120; or visit

Pharmacy Graduate Student Earns Student Exchange Award

Ann Fairly Barnett will research pollution effects on oysters in Ocean Springs

Ann Fairly Barnett presents her research on the effects of pollution on Mississippi oysters at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Young Environmental Scientists meeting in March. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Ann Fairly Barnett, a University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy graduate student, has received the Student Training Exchange Opportunity award from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The award will allow Barnett to conduct research in the Shoemaker Toxicology Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs this summer. She will work under the guidance of Joe Griffitt, chair of the USM Division of Coastal Sciences and associate director of its School of Ocean Science and Technology.

Her research examines the effects of ocean acidification and tributyltin, a compound formerly found in painted boat hulls, on the Eastern oyster, as well as how to restore Mississippi Gulf Coast oyster reefs in future climate change scenarios.

Barnett, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from USM in 2016, is working toward her master’s in environmental toxicology at the School of Pharmacy. The Jackson native is a graduate research assistant for Deborah Gochfeld, principal scientist in the National Center for Natural Products Research and research professor of environmental toxicology in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences.

Ann Fairly Barnett dives off Grand Cayman Island as part of her research on marine sponges. Submitted photo

“Since childhood, I have been deeply interested in the ocean and all it has to offer us,” Barnett said. “A friend told me about the opportunity at the University of Mississippi to work on a project involving oyster reef restoration on the Mississippi Gulf Coast under Dr. Gochfeld’s advisement.

“I was very interested and excited for the opportunity to conduct research aimed at working toward a healthier coastline in my home state, while also learning the ropes of environmental toxicology.”

Barnett was working on a project in the Cayman Islands involving marine sponges while preparing her application materials, which she said was akin to writing a small grant proposal.

“Ann Fairly is an enthusiastic young scientist who has jumped in and taken the initiative to learn as much for her research on oysters as possible,” Gochfeld said. “This training exchange award will enable her to make use of the recently-built, state-of-the-art environmental toxicology facility at the GCRL to jump-start her master’s thesis research.”