Endowment Pays Tribute to Entrepreneur

Scholarship highlights new major for Ole Miss students

The family of Robert Julian Allen III has established a scholarship endowment in his memory to benefit students in the UM School of Business Administration. Photo courtesy Julian Allen family

OXFORD, Miss. – Gifts to a new scholarship endowment in the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration will honor the life of the late Robert Julian Allen III, a successful entrepreneur who had a strong interest in giving young people opportunities to manage or own a business.

The Robert Julian Allen III Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established with an initial gift from Allen’s wife, Kathy Allen of Oxford.

“Julian loved Ole Miss and he loved business,” Kathy Allen said. “Equally, he loved seeing young people succeed in growing an idea into a strong, healthy enterprise that benefits others.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to honor his memory and extend his legacy than by helping to set future entrepreneurs on a path to success.”

Friends and other family members also have memorialized Allen with gifts to build the endowment in his name. Earnings from the endowment will be used to support Mississippi students in the School of Business Administration majoring in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Beginning next fall (2017), the business school will offer innovation and entrepreneurship as a major to our students,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the business school. “The endowment in Mr. Allen’s memory is the first scholarship to be established that will support students in this new degree program. This is a special gift.”

Allen was born in Greenwood and lived most of his life in Indianola. He attended Ole Miss, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1970.

After graduation, Allen joined Constructors Inc., of Fayetteville, Tennessee, where he rose to become president of the company before founding his own general construction company, Allen Corp., in 1976.

In 1980, Allen co-founded Delta Pride Catfish and served on the board as vice president of Delta Western Feed for many years. He was active in the growth of the catfish industry in the Mississippi Delta, having served two terms as president and two terms as chair of Catfish Farmers of America.

He also was founder and partner in R.J. Allen and Associates Inc., where his development and construction projects expanded across Mississippi and into Tennessee, Florida and Texas. He enjoyed starting companies in a broad range of fields including fitness centers, land mitigation banking, property management and senior housing.

“As a real estate developer and contractor, Julian had a great vision for seeing opportunities that would improve properties, grow businesses, enhance communities and generally make life better for people,” said David Blackburn, Allen’s son-in-law and business partner. “Julian was also always so passionate about helping young people get started in business, and I am just one of the many examples of this.

“Julian gave all of us confidence to believe in ourselves because he believed in us. I know that he would be pleased that a scholarship in his name is helping future entrepreneurs at Ole Miss.”

The Robert Julian Allen III Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship 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., Oxford, MS 38655; visit https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ or contact Brett Barefoot at 662-915-2711 or bmbarefo@olemiss.edu.

Pharmacy School Remembers Associate Dean Emeritus Charlie Hufford

Professor, researcher and administrator influenced many over 43-year Ole Miss career

Charlie Hufford

OXFORD, Miss. – Charles D. Hufford, associate dean emeritus for research and graduate programs and professor emeritus of pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, died Monday (May 15) at the age of 72. His career at Ole Miss spanned 1972 to 2015.

Faculty and alumni remember him as an encouraging and effective leader who quietly supported the careers of many throughout his 43 years at the school. Colleagues called him trustworthy, competitive and energetic.

“Charlie was an incredibly talented, yet humble individual,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “He was the example of servant leadership, mentoring others so they could succeed while never seeking recognition for himself. He dedicated himself to serving the students and the school, and was responsible for many of the school’s achievements.”

Originally from Sycamore, Ohio, Hufford earned his pharmacy degree and Ph.D. from Ohio State University and served as a pharmacist in the Air Force Reserve before joining the UM faculty as an assistant professor of pharmacognosy in 1972.

He became chair of the Department of Pharmacognosy in 1987 and the school’s first associate dean for research and graduate programs in 1995. He retired Feb. 1, 2015, but still made time to visit with students and faculty.

During his time at the School of Pharmacy, Hufford was credited with transforming the school’s natural compounds and drug metabolism research, patenting compounds and helping to bring in more than $7.4 million in grants to the university.

He was instrumental in helping the school acquire eight nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy machines that identified complex natural products. This boosted the school’s drug and agrichemical discovery, which helped build the infrastructure necessary to make the school a leader in natural products research.

Charlie Hufford is remembered by colleagues as a dedicated teacher, administrator and researcher, who helped transform the UM School of Pharmacy’s natural compounds and drug metabolism research. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

One of Hufford’s signature initiatives was research aimed at removing side-effects of the antimalarial drug primaquine. Faculty and scientists at the school have continued this research, resulting in the school’s first-ever clinical trial on May 18, 2017, testing primaquine in human volunteers.

Another of Hufford’s accomplishments was updating the pharmacy curriculum to include information on dietary supplements several years before Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994 to regulate the supplement market. The National Center for Natural Products Research at the School of Pharmacy works closely with the FDA to determine the safety and legitimacy of dietary supplements.

Hufford also contributed countless hours to the renovation of the school’s Faser Hall facility. In 1999, then-dean Ken Roberts entrusted Hufford to oversee the project, and Hufford spent the next 14 years securing funds, working with builders and keeping records of the construction, all while maintaining his responsibilities as associate dean.

“He was by far one of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals I’ve ever been associated with,” Roberts said. “I have no doubt the School of Pharmacy rose in stature because of the untiring devotion of Dr. Charles Hufford and those who were influenced by his strong character and leadership.”

Hufford was an avid bowler who recorded more than 30 perfect games over his career.

Hufford was awarded for his accomplishments throughout his career, winning the 1994 School of Pharmacy Faculty Research Award and the 1995 Jack Beal Award for most distinguished graduate of the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy graduate program. He held leadership positions within the American Society of Pharmacognosy and was a fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

“It was such a pleasure and honor for me to work with Dr. Charles Hufford for 10 years,” said Barbara Wells, dean emeritus of the pharmacy school. “In all matters, his counsel was always informed and on-target, and his judgement was excellent.

“He worked hard to advance the School of Pharmacy, and he was just as committed to the mission and vision of the university. Unlike most leaders who step away from their teaching as they assume greater and greater responsibilities, he never gave up his teaching because he loved working with bright young minds.”

At the end of his career, he was even able to present a student award named for him. The Charles D. Hufford Graduate Student Award is given each year to a graduate student who excels in pharmacognosy.

Hufford was a favorite with students, offering his signature combination of humor and patience as he mentored and encouraged those who came through his doors. He spent most of his early years teaching graduate students, saying it was “rewarding to … get them accustomed to thinking on their own and seeing (their) joy from the gratification of solving whatever problem we were working on.”

“Dr. Hufford as a teacher had a tremendous influence on me in my care of patients,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs. “I was uniquely blessed to have the unexpected opportunity to return to UM and work with our offices side-by-side.

“He used practical and common sense in his leadership, and even maintained his sense of humor and mentorship when he asked me to be on his bowling team. I thought I had arrived, but we both knew it was for my very high handicap.”

Hufford was a competitive bowler who approached the sport as he did everything else – with commitment to constant improvement. He held 10 championship tournament titles with the Senior All Star Bowling Association, logged more than 30 perfect games and was a member of both the SASBA Hall of Fame and the Mississippi State Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

Upon his retirement in 2015, he planned to spend even more time at the lanes, as well as with his family, including children Gary and Jennifer, grandchildren Ryan and Andy and his wife of 32 years, Alice Clark.

Marvin Wilson, associate dean emeritus of academic and student affairs, spent nearly 40 years working alongside Hufford in the pharmacy school, both progressing from assistant professors to associate deans.

“Even though he was committed to the school, it paled in comparison to his dedication to Alice, his children and his grandchildren,” Wilson said. “He and Alice probably spent years in gyms, at ballfields or traveling to and from such activities to be with and support their family.”

Wilson added, “I would implore you when you hear thunder, to think of Charlie rolling another strike in heaven.”

Services are set for 2 p.m. Friday (May 19) at Waller Funeral Home in Oxford. Visitation begins at noon. Memorial contributions in his memory may be made to the Charles D. Hufford Graduate Student Fellowship Endowment at the University of Mississippi Foundation.

Alice Clark Receives 2017 Distinguished Researcher Award

UM vice chancellor honored for pivotal role in research and creative achievement

Alice Clark

OXFORD, Miss. – Alice Clark, a renowned scientist, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Pharmacognosy and University of Mississippi administrative leader, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

The announcement of the prestigious honor, which includes $7,500 and a personal plaque, was made during the university’s 164th Commencement ceremonies in the Grove.

Clark, a member of the Ole Miss community for more than 40 years, serves as vice chancellor for university relations. Previously, serving as vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, Clark played a pivotal role in shaping the university’s research enterprise.

“Alice has had a tremendous impact on this institution – from a stellar student to a noted and accomplished researcher to director of a renowned national center and, for the last 17 years, as an outstanding member of our leadership team,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “At every step, she has fostered innovative and energetic approaches, been a model of dedication and has played a key role in helping our university reach new heights of excellence.

“I am grateful to count her as my colleague, trusted adviser and friend. This award is a well-deserved recognition for Alice.”

The growth achieved during her tenure allowed the university to attain R1: Highest Research Activity designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the definitive honor for doctoral research institutions, representing only 2.5 percent of universities nationwide.

“I am exceedingly moved to receive this award,” Clark said. “My time as vice chancellor for research afforded me the honor of learning about the wonderful and highly impressive research, creativity and scholarly achievement that occurs every day on our campus. It is humbling to be selected among such an outstanding group of people.”

Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, praised Clark’s distinguished career.

“I know I join many faculty members and administrators in being inspired by Alice’s career,” Gladden said. “As a scientist, she has made many groundbreaking discoveries, secured a great deal of competitive funding and won the admiration of her peers and several prestigious societies. As an administrator, she shaped the university and established a thriving research culture.”

Clark earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacognosy at UM and joined the university as a research associate and faculty member in 1979.

During her time as vice chancellor for research, Clark found support for the creation and development of several research centers and institutes on campus. She oversaw and championed many university economic development efforts, including the creation of Insight Park, the university’s research park, and the Innovation Hub at Insight Park.

In her role as vice chancellor for university relations, she continues to oversee the university’s economic development efforts as well as communications, public events, federal relations and development.

Before becoming vice chancellor for research, Clark served as the director of the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research. Under her leadership and as a result of her strategic efforts, NCNPR grew from a small unit to an international leader in natural products drug discovery.

“Having known Alice for decades, I am extremely happy to see her receive this recognition,” said Larry Walker, director emeritus of NCNPR and professor of pharmacology. “Alice is a visionary leader with a sharp intellect and a knack for getting people to work together effectively to create progress.

“This was true at NCNPR, and it continues to be true in her role as vice chancellor for university relations.”

As a scientist, Clark has published extensively on the discovery of novel biologically active natural products and pharmaceuticals, authoring and co-authoring more than 100 original research articles, reviews and book chapters. She has presented more than 100 contributed papers at scientific meetings and given 19 invited symposia, seminars and workshop presentations in her field of expertise.

As principal investigator, she received continuous peer-reviewed NIH funding from 1984 to 2014 to conduct research related to the discovery and development of new drugs for opportunistic infections.

Clark has served in several leadership positions in national and international professional associations, including president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Her numerous honors and awards include the 2010 Marcy Speer Outstanding Reviewer Award, the preeminent honor for commitment to peer review given by the National Institute of Health’s Center for Scientific Review. She was the 1996 Rho Chi National Lecturer and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Clark shares much of her success with husband and longtime collaborator Charles D. Hufford.

In 1984, they received a half-million dollars from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to screen compounds for activity against opportunistic infections threatening the lives of AIDS patients. The grant allowed them to discover a class of potent antifungal drugs called sampangines.

Clark and Hufford continued to work together throughout their careers and shared many research successes, including a $1 million contract renewal in 1987 and a $372,000 grant from NIAID in 1989. That grant, which was renewed four times and became one of the longest continually funded antifungal research programs in NIH history, brought $7.4 million to UM and led to the identification of many new natural products.

“I’m grateful to have worked with Charlie and many other outstanding faculty members and researchers at the University of Mississippi,” Clark said. “Success is ultimately built on relationships and working with others.

“The University of Mississippi has many wonderful qualities, and perhaps chief among them is the quality of our people, who have a strong record of working together, working hard and achieving great heights through collaboration, resourcefulness and bold, innovative thinking.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, which is sponsored by Syed Abidi, a UM alumnus and CEO of Pharmaceutics International Inc. It was initiated during Clark’s time as vice chancellor for research.

The annual honor recognizes a faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and creative activity. Previous winners are Sam Wang, Larry Walker, Charles Reagan Wilson, Dale Flesher, Atef Elsherbeni, Mahmoud ElSohly, Robert Van Ness, Charles Hussey and Ikhlas Khan.

UM Students Sweep Public Relations Association of Mississippi Awards

Ole Miss group dominates state competition

UM public relations students winning awards at the recent Public Relations Association of Mississippi Prism competition include (front row, from left) Rachel Anderson, Christina Triggs, Emma Arnold and Hannah Pickett, and (back row) Alex Hicks, Sarah Cascone and Cassidy Nessen. Photo courtesy Stan O’Dell

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi public relations students have won every award presented in the Public Relations Association of Mississippi student competition, and one student was named the best public relations college student in the state.

Rachel Anderson, a journalism and Spanish major from Chesapeake, Virginia, was named PRAM’s 2017 Student of the Year, competing against nominees from five other universities in the state.

“Rachel was selected for her impressive record of excellence and drive in all areas such as her academic honors, PR-related organizations and experience, and for her activities on campus and in the community,” said Kylie Boring, PRAM’s director of student services. “She has acquired a skill set of talents that will help propel her into the public relations industry, and I am confident she will represent this industry to the highest standard.”

Anderson also won an award for her student work, as did five other Ole Miss students and one alumna. The awards were presented at the PRAM state conference in Hattiesburg.

The students entered public relations campaigns they produced in senior lecturer Robin Street’s advanced public relations class. Each campaign required multimedia skills, including writing news and feature articles, shooting video and photos, creating digital media, planning creative events and conducting research.

“I was so proud that every student award presented went to one of our students,” Street said. “Our students demonstrated that they excel in the diverse set of skills needed in PR. That is a tribute to the preparation they received from all the faculty members at the Meek School.”

Awards were given at three levels, based on the number of points judges award each entry. The top award is the Prism, followed by the Excellence and Merit awards. Multiple students can win in the same category if they earn the required number of points.

Hannah Pickett, an integrated marketing communications major from Houston, Texas, won a Prism.

“Students from the University of Mississippi once again proved their knowledge and understanding of the public relations practice through their entries in the Prism Awards,” said Amanda Parker, PRAM’s vice president for awards. “The judges praised Prism Award winner Hannah Pickett for having an extremely creative and well-planned project, making it an excellent campaign all around.

Excellence winners were Anderson; Emma Arnold, a journalism major from McKenzie, Tennessee; and Christina Triggs, a marketing and corporate relations major from Sugarland, Texas.

Merit winners were Sarah Cascone, a journalism major from Thomasville, Georgia; Cassidy Nessen, an IMC major from Katy, Texas; Alex Hicks, an IMC major from Meridian; and Maggie McDaniel, a journalism graduate from Columbus, Georgia, who works as an account manager at Communications 21 in Atlanta.

For more information on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit http://meek.olemiss.edu or email MeekSchool@olemiss.edu.

UM-Booneville Student Earns University’s Highest Academic Award

Christy Grissom follows winding career path to a Taylor Medal

Chancellor Jeff Vitter with Barbara ‘Christy’ Grissom. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

BOONEVILLE, Miss.­­­ – Growing up, Barbara “Christy” Grissom of Iuka never really thought much about going to college after high school. She went to work at a local restaurant and then a local furniture manufacturing plant before events beyond her control changed the course of her future.

Grissom had worked her way up to a lead position with Bauhaus USA, a furniture manufacturer in Iuka, before the company shut down the plant in 2007. It was then that she learned about a grant with the local Workforce Investment Act that was available to help employees go to college and train for new jobs.

“College was not on my radar before this happened,” Grissom said. “Growing up, I didn’t even think going to college was possible. My parents were not in a position financially to send me or my siblings to college, so it just wasn’t something I had considered.”

This life-altering change back in 2007, however, set events in motion that have led to Grissom being honored last month as a 2017 Taylor Medalist at the University of Mississippi.

Only the top 1 percent of all Ole Miss students receives this award each year. Recipients must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average to be considered.

“She’s quite simply superwoman,” said Tam Salter, bachelor of general studies adviser and instructor at the university’s Booneville regional campus. “She’s a full-time wife, mom, employee, teacher and student. Even with her many duties, she still found time to encourage her own students and her Ole Miss peers as they were working hard to earn their degrees.

“In class, she always had a helpful attitude and encouraging word for her classmates. She just made the classes better because of her life experiences and her drive.”

Grissom graduated from Iuka Christian Academy in 1987, married and started a family 10 years later. She and her husband have three boys, two of whom they adopted.

“It was intimidating going back to school, and I wondered if it was the best thing with three kids at home,” Grissom said. “I think I made the right choice.”

She started at Northeast Mississippi Community College in 2007 and graduated with associate’s degrees in both culinary arts and hospitality management.

“At that time, I had a pretty busy catering company that I was running on the weekends and evenings,” Grissom said. “We catered Caterpillar’s 25th anniversary event for 700 people, plus many weddings and other corporate events.”

Grissom credits academic adviser and mentor Tim Gilmore at Northeast with encouraging her to start teaching. He asked her about becoming certified to teach ServSafe training courses to other food service workers in north Mississippi.

“This experience helped me to realize how much I enjoyed teaching and sharing my experiences from working in the industry,” Grissom said.

In spring 2013, Gilmore became ill and officials at Northeast asked Grissom to cover his classes for the remainder of the semester.

UM-Booneville senior Christy Grissom (middle) was awarded a 2017 Taylor Medal for highest academic achievement. Grissom is congratulated by Derek Markley, (left) executive director of the university’s Tupelo and Booneville campuses and Ricky Ford, president of Northeast Mississippi Community College. Submitted photo

“After Mr. Gilmore passed away, I had to pray and consider the next step in my career,” Grissom said. “He was always so encouraging to me, and I thought that I could do the same for others by applying for his position at Northeast.”

Grissom began teaching full-time in the culinary arts and hospitality management programs at Northeast that fall and was encouraged by her supervisors to work toward completing her bachelor’s degree.

She enrolled in her prerequisite classes at Northeast before transferring into the Bachelor of General Studies program at the University of Mississippi at Booneville campus in fall 2015.

“I chose education, English and psychology classes to make up this specialized degree,” Grissom said. “They were such a good combination for me. These minors correlated with my interests, and I was able to use what I was learning and take it into my actual classroom.”

Grissom said her favorite classes included the English language classes Descriptive Grammar and History of the English Language.

“I enjoy a challenge, and these classes were challenging, but they were so interesting to me,” she said.

Grissom said that writing is a special hobby. She has written an unpublished novel and would one day like to pursue writing nonfiction.

“I think I may want to write about my experiences raising children in a family blended with biological and adopted children,” Grissom said. “And maybe write about raising a child with autism.”

Through her teaching and advising role in Northeast’s hospitality management program, she helps plan numerous catered events on the Booneville campus each year. These events also serve as hands-on training experiences for her students.

 “It’s great to see a student gain confidence during the planning process,” Grissom said. “They are usually nervous at the beginning, but by the end of the event they are excited to see it all come together.

“I enjoy helping my students use what they are learning in class and putting it into practice. I like being a part of the education that gives them the tools they need to be successful in management positions.”

Grissom will be setting an example for her children as well as her students when she is honored at the UM Commencement this weekend. She will be recognized as one of the top of her class and seated on stage in the Grove with BGS Dean Tony Ammeter.

Grissom said she hopes that by meeting her own educational goals, she will inspire her children to follow their own dreams.

“I hope that they will go to college and learn more about what they are interested in,” she said. “I want them to do what they want to, and know that they can overcome any obstacle to make that happen.”

With plans to earn a master’s degree, Grissom is researching graduate programs in higher education, human and environmental services, and English.

MBA Students Use Class Project to Help a New Friend

Ole Miss classmates raise more than $7,000 to train companion dog for injured woman

Ole Miss MBA students (back row, from left) Hamilton Winters, Charles Dwyer, Grant Beebe and his dog Stella, Jay Goudeau and Anna Heimbach, with her dog Scarlett, spend time with Jimbo Waldrop (front left, with Belle) and Anna Claire Waldrop. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Instead of spending Valentine’s Day with her fiance, Anna Claire Stokes was fighting for her life Feb. 14, 2016 at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis.

Early that morning, the Delta State University senior and fiance Jimbo Waldrop were hit by a drunk driver near Cleveland. Jimbo, who also was a DSU student at the time, was thrown from the car and suffered minor injuries. However, Anna Claire was not so lucky, suffering injuries that left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Anna Heimbach, a Master of Business Administration student at the University of Mississippi, learned of the accident through her sister, Leah, who was a member of Phi Mu sorority with Anna Claire at DSU.

“Anna Claire radiates kindness and compassion, and I have been so blessed to know her and have this opportunity to use this project for her good,” Heimbach said. “Over the past two months, I have been able to see how loved Anna Claire and Jimbo are and how much those who love her wanted this project to be a success.”

Heimbach, from Grenada, recruited fellow Ole Miss MBA students Grant Beebe of Jackson, Jay Goudeau of New Orleans, Derrick Martin of Robinsonville and Hamilton Winters of West Monroe, Louisiana, to join her in an effort to make a real difference in the couple’s lives.

The group, all classmates in Clay Dibrell’s MBA 622: Business Planning and Entrepreneurship class, collaborated to raise money for Anna Claire to have a companion dog, Belle, a Newfoundland, trained through Retrieving Freedom, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that trains service and companion dogs to meet the needs of individuals.

The group established an online store, which they operated for most of April. They sold training hours for Belle online, raising $7,100 over four weeks.

“Ole Miss MBA students are competitive and possess an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dibrell, professor of management and the William W. Gresham Entrepreneurial Lecturer. “These students made a positive change in the life of Anna Claire and her family, as well as successfully beating the course’s record for the most money raised in a month.”

It was easy to get excited for the challenge, said Martin, who is set to begin a new job in June with BancorpSouth in Tupelo.

“The best motivation for raising money is knowing how much your cause is going to benefit someone else,” he said.

The group used Wix.com, a free online website-building platform, to build the site https://www.belleretrievesfreedom.com/ and e-commerce store. They used their marketing platform to get the word out to Anna Claire and Jimbo’s friends and direct them to the online store.

“The manner in which Dr. Dibrell sets up his entrepreneurship class allowed the students to work on a real-life scenario, which is an ideal way to educate them on strong business practices,” said Ashley Jones, director of the Ole Miss MBA program. “We are very proud of this group’s efforts to raise an extraordinary amount of money, which will greatly impact Retrieving Freedom and Anna Claire Waldrop.”

The group found sharing content on social media was the most effective way to reach their audience.

“The project made it a requirement for us to use an online store,” Goudeau said. “Wix.com and PayPal made the store very easy to manage, and we fielded phone calls and emails when people had inquiries.”

After a year of rehabilitation and therapy, Anna Claire remains paralyzed and has limited function of her left arm and hands. But she returned to DSU last fall and completed her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences in December.

Anna Claire and Jimbo were married Oct. 22, 2016 in New Albany and live in Horn Lake with Belle.

“Anna Claire and Jimbo’s story is one of inspiration and resolve,” Winters said. “Their lives changed forever that day, yet they never allowed it to define the prosperity of their future.”

Doctors say Anna Claire’s condition, deemed “incomplete,” may possibly improve in time.

“What makes the outcome of this endeavor all the more deeply educational is that the inspiration for our efforts is uniquely human,” said Beebe, who works for New York Life in Ridgeland. “Anna Claire and Jimbo are brave and inspirational.”

Jon Meacham to Speak Friday at Overby Center

Historian to discuss politics with NBC Chairman Andrew Luck

Jon Meacham. Photo courtesy Royce Carlton

OXFORD, Miss. – Jon Meacham, a prize-winning historian and this weekend’s Commencement speaker at the University of Mississippi, will discuss American politics with Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, at 5 p.m. Friday (May 12) at the university’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics

The event, sponsored by Mississippi Today, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and the Overby Center, is free and open to the public. A reception is set for 6 p.m., giving guests an opportunity to meet and mingle with two of the nation’s most prominent figures in television news and commentary. 

“Presidential Politics, Trump and the Media: The Inside Scoop with Jon Meacham and Andrew Lack” is the latest program Lack has arranged on the Ole Miss campus. Last fall, he coordinated a panel discussion featuring longtime NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former U.S. Rep Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee.

“Andy Lack is one of the most important news media leaders in the world,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center. “And Jon Meacham is a one-man media conglomerate as a writer, book publishing executive, TV commentator and speaker.

“Having them on the same platform will provide great insights into our national political and media scene.”

Meacham is an executive editor and vice president at Random House, one of the nation’s leading publishing institutions. A former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, he is a best-selling author of “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power,” “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” and other books.

He won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in the category of biography and autobiography for “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.” He also is a frequent guest commentator on politics and history on various network news programs dealing with current events. 

Lack held top executive positions at NBC, CBS and Bloomberg Media Group before returning to NBC to take charge of the network’s news division in 2015. As a producer at CBS in the 1970s and ’80s, he won 10 Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards, and he is credited with restoring credibility at NBC after anchor Brian Williams was suspended for misrepresenting his experiences during the war in Iraq. 

Lack was the driving force behind the establishment a year ago of Mississippi Today, a nonprofit, online news organization that has become a prime source of investigative news stories and interpretative articles on breaking events. 

Both Meacham and Lack have strong Mississippi connections. Meacham is a native Tennessean and a graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, but his wife, Keith, grew up on her family’s farm outside Greenville. Over the years, Meacham has been a guest at programs at Ole Miss and Square Books in Oxford. 

Lack is a native New Yorker but has developed a love for Mississippi. For years, he has explored his family’s roots to Greenville, where his great-grandfather was an early mayor, and has become a great friend of the Overby Center and the Ole Miss journalism program at Ole Miss.

He is dedicating much of his free time to expand the reach of Mississippi Today. Lack started the news site, he said, “to provide comprehensive coverage of state and local affairs and community issues, including education, health, economic development, poverty and race, as well as Mississippi’s rich social culture.”

UM Commencement Reflects University’s Growth

Changes designed to make ceremonies more enjoyable and meaningful for participants

Graduates sing the university’s alma mater during the morning convocation from Commencement 2016. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Students, families and other visitors will notice a few changes in the University of Mississippi’s 164th Commencement ceremony, set for 9 a.m. Saturday (May 13) in the Grove.

The most visible change will be the elimination of the processional for students at the morning convocation, a move made to save time and make the entire day’s activities more enjoyable and meaningful for all participants, said Noel Wilkin, interim UM provost.

“Given the number of students graduating, last year’s processional took over 40 minutes,” Wilkin said. “The most important element of the ceremony is the awarding of their degrees, followed in importance by the addresses to the graduates. This change ensures that these remain the focus.”

Individual school ceremonies later in the day include student processionals.

“We are hoping that this change will prevent the morning ceremony from encroaching on the start of other ceremonies that day and give people ample time to get between events,” Wilkin added.

Students should be in their seats in the Grove by 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Faculty and the platform party will march in at 9 to begin the ceremony.

Jon Meacham, former editor of Newsweek, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and contributor to Time and The New York Times Book Review, is the speaker for the university’s overall convocation ceremony.

Carlton Reeves, U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, will speak at the School of Law ceremony later in the morning. Retired advertising executive Steve Davis addresses the Meek School of Journalism and New Media in the afternoon.

Commencement activities begin Friday afternoon, with the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College ceremony at 4 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Recipients of doctoral degrees are to be hooded by their major professors in a 7:30 p.m. ceremony in the same location.

For Saturday activities, a shuttle service for handicapped and elderly visitors is available, and guests who need this service are asked to park in the garage attached to The Pavilion at Ole Miss on Hill Drive. Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families. To request assistance, call 662-915-7235.

Streets around the Grove and the Circle will be closed Saturday to allow pedestrians easy, safe access to the venues. The streets will reopen after all the afternoon ceremonies are concluded.

In case of rain, the main ceremony will be moved to 9:30 a.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. and announced through media outlets, text messaging, blast emails and the Ole Miss website.

Following the main ceremony, individual schools and the College of Liberal Arts hold ceremonies at various times and locations to present baccalaureate, master’s, Doctor of Pharmacy and Juris Doctor degrees and awards. The schedule is as follows:

– College of Liberal Arts master’s degrees – 11 a.m., Fulton Chapel

– Patterson School of Accountancy – 11 a.m., Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center

– School of Applied Sciences – 11 a.m., The Pavilion at Ole Miss

– School of Business Administration – 11 a.m., Tad Smith Coliseum

– School of Engineering – 11 a.m., Circle

– School of Education – 11 a.m., Grove

– School of Law – 11 a.m., Grove

– Croft Institute for International Studies – 11 a.m., Croft Institute, Bancroft Conference Room

– School of Pharmacy – 1 p.m., Manning Center

– College of Liberal Arts – 2:30 p.m., The Pavilion at Ole Miss

– Meek School of Journalism and New Media – 2:30 p.m., Tad Smith Coliseum

– Bachelor of General Studies – 3 p.m., Manning Center

In case of rain, the School of Engineering ceremony will be held in two parts, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Ford Center. The School of Education ceremony will be moved to 5 p.m. in The Pavilion at Ole Miss; and Law, 5 p.m. in the Manning Center.

Besides Meacham’s address, the main ceremony also includes remarks by the senior class president, recognition for the university’s outstanding teacher and announcements of the Frist Student Service awards and the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award.

Families and friends who are unable to attend convocation can watch a live stream live from the Grove at http://commencement.olemiss.edu/ beginning at 9 a.m.

For more information on Commencement activities, go to http://commencement.olemiss.edu/. A map containing information on parking, shuttles and restroom facilities can be downloaded at http://commencement.olemiss.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/90/2017/04/2017_FAQ_web2.pdf .

For assistance related to a disability, call 662-915-7235.

UM Completes Renovations to Memory Garden

Fountain terrace offers place to meditate, remember and study

UM freshmen (from left) JC Pride and Cole Swayze, both of Jackson, and Diggs Truitt of Nashville, Tennessee, rest between classes at the Ole Miss Memory Garden. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has completed renovations to the Ole Miss Memory Garden, adding new brickwork patterns, additional seating and a tiered foundation that invites passersby into an ambiance of serenity and grace.

At the rear of Paris-Yates Chapel, the bench-lined terrace stands as a monument to students who lost their lives while enrolled at Ole Miss and welcomes anyone seeking a quiet place to pray, think, meditate or study.

The Memory Gardens’ fountain was made possible by the late Penn Owen of Como, who contributed $100,000 in memory of his mother, the late Mary “May” Davis Owen, a 1928 UM liberal arts graduate, also of Como.

“I’ve always thought Paris-Yates Chapel is really something special and the Paris family members were my mother’s great friends, going way back to Henry’s parents,” Owen said in 2015. “So I asked Henry if there was something I could do with this money around the chapel.”

Paris contacted Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat, who proposed a beautification of the existing terrace on the grounds of the nondenominational chapel, which is used for various events, including weddings, memorial services and honors programs.

“The fountain terrace is a beautiful addition to Paris-Yates Chapel,” Khayat said. “It’s an enhancement that we’ve wanted to bring to fruition for some time now.

“The Owens’ gift makes it possible and, for that, we are grateful, as will be the countless generations of students and others who enjoy this peaceful space.”

The Ole Miss Memory Garden is the brainchild of the Class of 2006 and Sparky Reardon, Ole Miss dean emeritus of students. Later, the Class of 2011 donated the garden’s four benches.

“Ole Miss is such a family-oriented place that when we lose one student, everyone is affected,” Reardon said. “The garden will provide a place where any member of the Ole Miss family may go to remember the lives of those who have gone before.”

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the Memory Garden may contact Sandra Guest, vice president of the University of Mississippi Foundation, at 662-915-5208 or email sguest@olemiss.edu. Gifts also can be made by mailing a check to the UM Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, with Memory Garden noted, or by visiting https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/.

Stamps Scholars Attend 2017 National Convention

Students learn to join peers in addressing great challenges for the common good

Among the 21 Stamps Scholars from UM who traveled to Atlanta for the 2017 Stamps Scholars National Convention are (front, from left) Madeleine Achgill, Sally Boswell, Kathryn James, Nikki Sullivan, Page Lagarde, Summer Jefferson and Eloise Tyner, and (back, from left) Ben Branson, Tom Fowlkes, Heath Wooten, Brendan Ryan, Kate Prendergast, Emily Tipton, Anna Daniels, Eveanne Eason, Michaela Watson, R.G. Pickering, Dylan Ritter and Ben Bradford. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Twenty-one Stamps Scholars from the University of Mississippi were in Atlanta recently for the fourth biennial Stamps Scholars National Convention, where they learned from one another and from some of the country’s most renowned leaders about facing challenges that affect society.

Sponsored by the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, the 2017 Stamps Scholars National Convention, dubbed SSNC17, was on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The convention benefits the Stamps Scholars Program, a prestigious merit scholarship program that helps exceptional students become leaders throughout society. Launched in 2006 by Georgia native Roe Stamps and his wife, Penny, the program has grown to include 42 partner schools throughout the country.

“Whenever I speak with our Stamps Scholars, they talk about the value of getting together with driven and talented peers and learning from them,” Roe Stamps said. “Seeing what these amazing young leaders are doing, and realizing what they will achieve later in life, is inspiring.”

Some 730 scholars from across the country attended SSNC17 and had opportunities to hear and talk with leaders including Elisa Villanueva-Beard, chief executive officer of Teach for America, and G. Wayne Clough, former Georgia Tech president and secretary emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution.

The convention also provides a platform for scholars to learn from one another through discussion of some of the great challenges facing the world. This year’s topics included “Mental Health in the 21st Century,” “Living in an Energy Crisis” and “The Future of Human Space Exploration.”

The event also featured a service challenge, “Consulting for Social Good.” The goal of the service challenge is to apply scholars’ knowledge to real-life obstacles often present in nonprofit organizations.

“SSNC17 did not disappoint,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, who attended the conference with the UM students. “Our Stamps Scholars engaged with scholars from across the nation to address difficult challenges and questions together. From guest speakers to active problem-solving, our scholars joined others in common cause.”

The experience was rewarding for both upper- and underclassmen.

Roe Stamps (left), founder of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, shares a laugh with Robert Grady Pickering, a freshman Ole Miss Stamps Scholar, at the 2017 Stamps Scholars National Convention. Submitted photo

Dylan Ritter, a senior biochemistry major from Somerset, New Jersey, appreciates the motivation that he derives from the convention.

“I went and met people doing science and research that blew me away – and they’re just kids going through undergrad with happiness and heartbreak and all the parts of a full college experience that I have,” Ritter said. “It really helps me realize that I am lucky to be in the company of such bright minds, but I am also fortunate because I can relate to them and learn how to do better with what I have.”

Sophomore Brendan Ryan, a Chinese and math double-major from Diamondhead, appreciates the community Stamps provides, both locally at Ole Miss and nationally.

“On this campus, I feel comfortable walking up to any of my fellow Stamps Scholars and striking up a conversation because I feel close to them,” Ryan said. “Most importantly, I am getting a better understanding of what being a Stamps Scholar means to my identity.

“I left the conference with a sense of national community; I felt a definite sense of camaraderie.”

The convention’s diversity and collective purpose made an impression on Sally Boswell, an Ole Miss freshman from Ocean Springs who is majoring in international studies.

“My biggest takeaway was how open-minded and determined all of the students were,” Boswell said. “Everyone listened to each other and diligently worked to solve the tasks with which we were presented.

“I had never been around so many high-achieving people from such a large range of places before, and it showed me that even though our nation and world have much division and chaos, there are scholars working hard in their disciplines to make the world a better place. I left SSNC17 with a very optimistic feeling.”

Stamps Scholarships are generous multiyear scholarships that include enrichment funding for study abroad, internship or research opportunities. The Stamps Foundation and its partners provide scholarship support to 930 scholars, with the projected goal of helping educate 5,000 scholars in total. Some 455 Stamps Scholar alumni around the world continue to benefit from various professional and social networking opportunities.

To learn more about the Stamps Foundation, visit http://www.stampsfoundation.org/.

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting academic scholarships at the University of Mississippi can contact Katie Morrison, director of corporate and foundation relations, at 662-915-2135 or email katie@olemiss.edu. Gifts also can be made by mailing a check to the UM Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655 with the purpose noted in the memo line, or by visiting https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/.