NCNPR Director Named Honorary Member of Pharmacognosy Society

Ikhlas Khan recognized for his service to the professional group

Ikhlas Khan

OXFORD, Miss. – Ikhlas Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been named an honorary member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

Pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal drugs made from plants and other natural sources, is at the heart of Khan’s more-than-25-year career at the natural products center. Honorary membership signifies the society’s appreciation of Khan’s deep and continued involvement in promoting its mission of advancing the growth and development of pharmacognosy.

“I am very honored to be recognized in this way,” Khan said. “I have enjoyed being a part of the ASP’s community for many years and am pleased to be able to be able to represent the society.”

The ASP offers honorary memberships sporadically, doing so only when an individual has gone above and beyond to serve the organization. Besides contributing to the society’s leadership, the NCNPR and the ASP have co-hosted annual meetings that bring together members of the pharmacognosy community.

“Honorary memberships are reserved for individuals who make tremendous contributions to the society,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “I couldn’t be prouder of the work Ikhlas has done to be recognized with such an honor.”

Khan was officially inducted to the ASP at a banquet Aug. 3 in Portland, Oregon.

William Magee Center an Expression of Love

Donors step up with gifts to help Ole Miss students

William Magee

OXFORD, Miss. – The late William Magee’s infectious smile could bring light and laughter to a room.

The talented young man was an alumnus of the University of Mississippi’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Croft Institute for International Studies. He also ran track for Ole Miss and was named to the SEC academic honor roll. The beloved son and brother was a good friend to many – the kind of guy who’d be a pleasure to know.

Before his unfortunate 2013 overdose while trying to beat drug addiction, he had hoped to one day help others win their own battles against substance abuse.

Now he will – his legacy bringing light to Ole Miss students through a heightened focus on drug and alcohol education and prevention. The William Magee Center for Wellness Education is planned to open in 2018, when construction is completed on the university’s new South Campus Recreation Facility.

Gifts for the initiative have surpassed $500,000, with a deferred gift of $850,000 also committed.

“At the University of Mississippi, when we identify a problem, we seek to address it assertively and energetically,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Drug and alcohol abuse is a prevalent issue on college campuses across the country.

“Our intention with the Magee Center is to direct expertise from several disciplines across our campuses to develop creative solutions that will significantly reduce alcohol and drug misuse.”

Donors include William’s parents Kent and David Magee, Diane and Dick Scruggs, and Cris and Jay Hughes, all of Oxford; Becca and Phil Mehlin of Little Rock, Arkansas; American Addiction Centers of Brentwood, Tennessee, owner of the Oxford Treatment Center’s residential center and outpatient clinics; and the Sigma Nu and Kappa Alpha fraternities.

Fundraising for the Magee Center will continue as the university seeks to enhance student success by taking a closer look at substance abuse issues, while implementing best practices to educate and intervene with students affected. In addition, the Magee Center will host a biennial symposium to bring in prominent thought leaders.

David Magee “came home” to Oxford and Mississippi to help make a difference.

Gathering at the construction site of the South Campus Recreation Facility where the William Magee Center for Wellness Education will be housed are (from left) Brett Barefoot, UM development officer for parents and family leadership; Billy Young, co-founder and CEO, Dr. Stephen Pannel, medical director from the AAC-owned Oxford Treatment Center; Jay and Cris Hughes, Kent and David Magee, and Diane and Dick Scruggs, all donors; and Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. UM photo by Bill Dabney

“One of our primary reasons for returning to Oxford (from Birmingham) was to be nearer to Ole Miss and find ways to contribute,” Magee said. “I was blessed to grow up in Oxford and know that students should always come first.

“I met with Chancellor Jeff Vitter and told him that I planned to write about William and to spearhead an initiative to help other students benefit from educational programming; he gave me great encouragement.”

Magee’s “William’s Story,” which was addressed to last fall’s freshmen, has been read by an estimated million-plus people.

“Kent and I expected the story to find an audience since so many families face this challenge, but we did not expect the story to be read from coast to coast. Of all the positive responses, none were as strong as those from the Ole Miss family, which always wants to help our students, tomorrow’s generation, first and foremost.”

Vitter was joined by Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Leslie Banahan, assistant vice chancellor, in supporting the Magees.

“William was an outstanding student-athlete and will always be a part of this university,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to his parents and other passionate donors for driving this initiative to help bring expanded educational and support mechanisms to our campus. Ole Miss wants to be proactive in supporting our students whatever their challenges may be; having added resources makes a tremendous impact on our work.”

Dick Scruggs said he and his wife, Diane, were led to support the center because they have become alarmed at the “rapid spread and apparent acceptance of highly dangerous drugs among some student populations.

“The increasing availability of cheap and lethal drugs is a relatively new phenomenon in the drug scene, and the mortal risks associated with them is not sufficiently appreciated. Our extended family has had one such deadly tragedy, and every family with young adults is at risk.

“Diane and I want to be part of a robust campuswide effort to identify and intervene with at-risk students, hopefully to prevent more young deaths.

“I hope that our society, not just parents, come to understand that substance abuse is a disease and not a character flaw. The stigma that so often comes with seeking help deters and delays treatment far too often.”

As an intern in a mental health and substance abuse center years ago, Jay Hughes witnessed tragic situations and understands that addiction is a disease in which one body has different receptors than others.

“I also recognize the stigma that comes with the denial of so many who simply think it is just a bad choice or a bad person,” said Hughes, who along with his wife, Cris, was among the first to support the project. “We have to educate people and move forward with treating it for what it is.”

Among resources available to students at the Magee Center will be centralized education and advocacy, peer education programs, counseling and outside referrals, research on prevention and intervention, and recovery support.

American Addiction Centers CEO Michael Cartwright said support for the center is a natural fit for the company, given its own goals in prevention and education. AAC’s Oxford Treatment Center facilities include locations in Oxford, Etta, Tupelo and Olive Branch.

“We have excellent treatment programs in Mississippi where we equip people for long-term recovery,” Cartwright said. “Helping to break through the epidemic of drug and alcohol problems among college students, especially in our home communities, is something our company believes in.”

Addiction affects young people from every background, said Billy Young, co-founder and CEO of Oxford Treatment Center.

“In the work we do, we see the way drugs and alcohol can hijack the future of young people,” said Young, an Ole Miss alumnus. “The university is taking a bold step to intervene, and we’re committed to supporting this effort in every way we can.”

One of Sigma Nu fraternity’s philanthropy chairs, Nicholas Egorshin of Birmingham said the group wanted to pay tribute to William, David and the family’s other son, Hudson, all Sigma Nu members. The fraternity’s gift also recognizes the challenges among college populations.

“The Magee Center has the potential to change so many lives,” he said. “Sigma Nu’s gift shows that our members recognize how significant an issue addiction is and our commitment to doing what we can to help combat the problem.

“We are providing this support in the name of one of our brothers William – an accomplished and well-rounded student – which serves as further testament that addiction does not discriminate and is likely affecting many around us.”

KA philanthropy chair Dillon Pitts said, “Our fraternity members believe it is crucial to enhance the university’s ability to address needs of the student body. Combining our efforts is the best way to offer premier programming and witness positive results; we are all on this journey together and should help one another any way we can.”

The Magees view the new center as an expression of love for William and a passion for helping students.

“Our university has grown, doubling in size over the past decade,” David Magee said. “With growth comes the responsibility of serving a diverse student body with diverse needs. This center can be a point of light that can help so many caught between the fringes of struggle and success.

“Our goal is to see Ole Miss emerge as a national leader that provides world-class wellness education and resources for its students.”

“William’s Story” can be found at

The William Magee Center for Wellness Education is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations by mailing a check with the center’s name in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched at

For more information contact Brett Barefoot, development officer for parents and family leadership, at or 662-915-2711.

First-Year Pharmacy Students Receive White Coats

115 students take the Pledge of Professionalism at annual ceremony

UM pharmacy students take the Pledge of Professionalism at the School of Pharmacy’s annual White Coat Ceremony Aug. 10 in the Ford Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For 115 first-year pharmacy students, the school year unofficially began Thursday (Aug. 10) at the White Coat Ceremony, where each received his or her white coat, a symbol of professionalism.

The annual event is an opportunity to formally impart the seriousness of a pharmacist’s responsibility to new pharmacy students. The students will wear their white coats to classes, assemblies and rotations throughout their four years in pharmacy school, demonstrating to themselves and to the public their professional commitment.

“The White Coat Ceremony provides an origination point for student pharmacists as they begin to see how their practice will impact their patients,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Patients must always be at the forefront of our decisions as pharmacists.”

Many family members and friends attended the event at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Donna Strum, associate provost for academic affairs and professor of pharmacy administration, provided comments on behalf of the university.

“I ask you now to make a personal pledge to use your knowledge, your strength, your caring and your compassion to do all that you can to be worthy of the trust that your patients will place in you,” Strum said during the ceremony.

David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy, helps a student with his white coat during the annual ceremony Aug. 10 at the Ford Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Before receiving their coats, each student signed the Pledge of Professionalism that binds them to the responsibilities of a pharmacist. The document will be framed and hung in the pharmacy school.

“We are extremely proud of these students for completing their pre-pharmacy curriculum with such success, and we look forward to seeing their accomplishments in the professional program,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “The class of 2021 is exceptionally talented, and it’s a privilege for all of us in the School of Pharmacy to begin working with them on their journey toward becoming practicing pharmacists.”

Mississippi students in this year’s class of first professional year students are: Zachary Ryan Lawrence of Ackerman; Bailey Estes Boyd of Amory; Shannon Marie Buehler of Bay St. Louis; Lien Thi Kim Phan of Belden; Drew Ryan Boudreaux and Brennan Cole Hilton, both of Biloxi; Coy Austin Fitts of Blue Springs; Peyton Sara Elizabeth Black, Simone ElisabethAnna Black and Shandra Nichole Bouzemann, all of Brandon; Taylor Hayes of Caledonia; Hoa Van Pham of Clinton; Tori Clearman and Jonathan Newbaker, both of Collinsville; Jerrod Paul Bradley, Anna Kathryn Weathers and Leah Nicole Wilson, all of Columbus; Bradley Nathaniel Hastings and Brandon Nhek, both of Corinth; Jonathan Christian Wiggins of DeKalb; Sophia Marie Beddoe of Diamondhead; Jessie Bates of Falkner; Connor Hays Ainsworth of Florence; Miriah B. White of Flowood; Lindsay Leann Hedge of Forest; Katelyn Nicole Miller of Glen; Erin Alyssa Pounds of Golden; Kimberly Paige Porter of Grenada; Fenil Patel and Morgan Marie Woodard, both of Hattiesburg; Kristen Leigh Black of Houston; William Jackson Haines of Iuka; Stella Abiola Kelvyn-Olowola and Sydney Hamilton Watson, both of Jackson; Emily N. Wright of Laurel; Jonathan Michael McAdory of Louisville; Jonathan Gaston Box and William Alan Haygood, both of Madison; Abigail Rose Pearman, Logan Rae Satterfield, Christopher Lamar Waldron and Lelia Claire Calcote, all of Meridian; Krista M. Clifton and Shelby Diane Miller, both of Mooreville; Alicyn Gail Pyles of Moorhead; Bradley Howard of Moss Point; Anna Lee Warren of Mount Olive; Katelyn McKenzie Brown, Zachary Paul Myers and Alexis Taylor Rountree, all of Ocean Springs; Nathan Robert Allen of Olive Branch; Ashten Michelle Carter Anderson, Skylar Britt, My’Andra Brown, Emily Paige Cork, Niasha Naomi Davis, Rachell Denney, George Walton Ewing IV, Sean Harrison, Mary Clara Hayes, Kristen Leigh Hollingsworth, Billy Charles Huff III, Savannah Brooke Jackson, Jennah Lee, Sara Elizabeth Magyar, Morgan Mallette, Katelyn Victoria Mitchell, Lam Anh Nguyen, Hannah Jane Osowski, Madison Parker, Mary Kathryn Pearson, Laura Vaughn Phipps, Taylor Paige Richardson, William Joshua Stepp, Mary Paige Thrash, Jontae Deion Warren, Catherine Grace Wilson Jacob Ryan Smith, all of Oxford; William Luke Pannell of Pontotoc; Natasha Marie Lewis of Port Gibson; Gabrielle D. Arceo, Alex Brooks, Michelle R.A. de Almeida and Valerie Nicole Tatum, all of Ridgeland; Hoby Brice Mullins of Roxie; Taylor Paige Adcock of Sallis; William Berry Waters of Saucier; Ashley Nicole Foster and Lauren Bailey McPhail, both of Southaven; Kristen Adare Phipps of Taylorsville; Jeremy S. Ross of Tillatoba; Cassidy Lane Barnett, Carlos Logan Magana and Drake Wilson, all of Tupelo; Amber Madison Forsman of Vancleave; Zarah I. Drake of Vicksburg; and Danny Yang of Winona.

Out-of-state students in this year’s class of first professional year students are: Demetra Alexis Leara of Birmingham, Alabama; Sydney Rebecca Harrison of Clinton, Kentucky; Kelsey Regan Lock of Collierville, Tennessee; Mary Katherine Martin of Dothan, Alabama; Caroline Grace Culley of Evansville, Indiana; Elizabeth Grace DeMoss of Gallatin, Tennessee; Douglas Alan Dertien of Germantown, Tennessee; Emily Christine Rusciano of Hammond, Louisiana; Miranda Catherine Craft of Jackson, Missouri; Madison Sierra Kazerooni of Kennesaw, Georgia; Dominique Annabelle Dairion of Little Rock, Arkansas; Kendall Elise Kara of Merritt Island, Florida; Christina Tran of Mobile, Alabama; Meredith Ann Rossi of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey; Barry Cullen Flannery of Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Chelsea N. Suppinger of New Carlisle, Indiana; and Maria Christine Gorla and Caroline Ann Macek, both of St. Louis, Missouri.

NCNPR Signs Collaboration Agreement with Australian University

Research center has partnerships on all inhabited continents

Researchers work in a lab at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, which has signed a collaboration agreement with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia, making the NCNPR part of research collaborations on every inhabited continent.

The agreement will allow the two entities to work together on research and other scholarly activities. The Ole Miss center’s similar partnerships around the world range from numerous research alliances in North America and Asia to collaborations in Brazil and South Africa.

The NICM, which is housed within Western Sydney University, focuses on researching natural products to create new drugs, as the NCNPR does. The centers’ joint endeavors may include co-authoring publications, sharing samples for study and jointly presenting research findings.

“We are pleased to work with another institute that cares about the safety and quality of natural products,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “We’re hoping this global collaboration will produce more research on new products that will be at the forefront of new medicines.”

This agreement will make sharing scientific resources and ideas for solving global health issues faster and easier. Both centers will benefit from each other’s expertise as part of the cooperation; Khan cited the NICM’s focus on clinical research and the NCNPR’s expertise in chemistry and biology as complementary disciplines.

The agreement supports the Australian government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and Global Innovation Strategy, which advance international science and research collaboration, said Alan Bensoussan, director of the NICM.

“This is an exciting opportunity for sharing our capabilities and supporting each other’s research with interlab validations, development of intellectual property and clinical testing of products,” Bensoussan said. “We look forward to future exchanges.”

Since 2000, more than 200 visiting scientists from around the world have come to the NCNPR as part of these research exchanges.

“These partnerships the NCNPR fosters not only help to spread the benefits of research, but they promote international goodwill and collaboration,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy.

Ralph Eubanks to Serve as Visiting Professor at UM

Alumnus and author will teach courses in Southern studies and English

Ralph Eubanks

OXFORD, Miss. – Author and journalist Ralph Eubanks returns to the University of Mississippi this fall, this time as a visiting professor. The Mount Olive native will teach a Southern studies course this fall and an English course during the spring semester.

His Southern studies course, SST 598: Special Topics, examines the American South through the art of photography as well as through the work of writers who have found their inspiration in photography. James Agee and Walker Evans’ “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” will serve as a foundational work to examine ways the visual record of the American South is tied to writing about the region, including novels, poetry and journalism, particularly magazine journalism of the 1960s in magazines such as Life and Look.

What connects the reading for this course – and will be the focus of class discussions – is how authors turn to photographs as a way to tie together the region’s visual and verbal traditions, Eubanks said.

“I spoke at the center last year about the work of Walker Evans and James Agee and the impact it was having on my own writing about the Mississippi Delta,” he said. “At the time, I was teaching a class of photography and literature at Millsaps College, but I realized at the end of the class that I spent a great deal of time focused on the South.

“So when I was asked to teach at Ole Miss, I decided to adapt that class to focus exclusively on the South.”

Eubanks said he hopes students will learn how history is embedded in visual images, as well as how to read a photograph.

“Photographs are time capsules of history and can tell us a great deal about how the people and places captured in them,” Eubanks said. “Also, I hope they will see how photographs can be a testament to the relentless melting of time.

“As Susan Sontag said, all photographs are ‘memento mori’ (a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember that you have to die’). A photograph captures another person’s – or a place’s – mortality, vulnerability and mutability.

“I’d like my students to think about how the visual image of the South has evolved over time and reveals time’s impact on the landscape as well as how visual images both crush – and reinforce – Southern myths.”

Second-year Southern studies master’s student Holly Robinson enrolled in the course because she thought it would be a good way to brush up on her image-analysis skills ahead of her thesis research.

“I’m a popular culturist, so I enjoy looking at visual imagery more than books because there’s a lot more to say about an image, and things aren’t as concrete, so you can be really speculative in your analysis, which always leads you to a more interesting idea-place,” Robinson said.

Eubanks’ class for the English department is “Civil Rights and Activism in Literature,” which is slightly different from a class he taught at Millsaps. It will examine works of literature that turn their focus on the image, life and reality of black life during the civil rights movement as well as in today’s second wave of activism.

“One change this time is that I am teaching Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son,'” Eubanks said. “I believe that Richard Wright’s work, particularly the social realism of his work, deserves a re-examination.”

Eubanks is the author of “Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past” (Basic Books, 2003), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post Outlook and Style sections, the Chicago Tribune, Preservation and National Public Radio.

He is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia and served as director of publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 2013.

Last year, he was the Eudora Welty Visiting Scholar in Southern Studies at Millsaps College in Jackson.

Eubanks, who received his bachelor’s degree at UM before earning a master’s degree in English language and literature at the University of Michigan, is looking forward to spending an extended amount of time on the Ole Miss campus.

“Although I spend a great deal of time in Oxford, it is different being a resident of the university community and being a visitor,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the community for a while.

“Plus, this academic year is exactly 40 years after my senior year at Ole Miss, which was the last time I spent an extended amount of time on campus. It’s good to come full circle.”

Brandts Serve an Ace for Ole Miss Tennis

Couple makes major gift to new indoor facility

An architectural rendering shows what players and fans can expect when the new tennis facility is completed.

OXFORD, Miss. – Tennis fans at the University of Mississippi can leave their winter coats at home come January as the Rebels begin competing in a new $11 million indoor facility, which has received a major boost from longtime tennis enthusiasts.

A $300,000 gift from Louis and Lucia Brandt of Houston, Texas, helped jump-start construction on the 52,000-square-foot, two-story building. Located southeast of the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletic Performance Center on Manning Way, the facility will feature six indoor tennis courts for practice and competition, grandstand bleacher seating for 300 spectators, fan amenities and a spacious lobby.

Former Ole Miss tennis team member and mathematics alumnus Louis Brandt, an Oxford native who practically grew up on campus with his dad, an economics professor, has enjoyed playing tennis for more than seven decades. His previous support of the tennis programs include resources for the Gillom Center, which had indoor courts before the renovation nearing completion there, and the varsity tennis pavilion on Magnolia Drive.

“Athletics has always been part of my life,” Brandt said. “Through college athletics, people are brought back to campus and are able to stay connected. That’s extremely important to a university.

“The location of the new center is perfect, and the project will be an outstanding addition among Southeastern Conference facilities.”

Brandt said he loves tennis because it is easy for participants to play all their lives.

Louis and Lucia Brandt. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“It is both physically and mentally challenging, tennis equipment is inexpensive, and there are a lot of courts available, especially in Oxford,” he continued. “In fact, since 2014, there is even a new club in town. I partnered with two others to create The Goose Creek Club, a family-orientated tennis, fitness and swim club offering the only clay courts between Memphis and Jackson.”

Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, spoke of Brandt’s “significant, far-reaching impact” on building Ole Miss tennis programs to the level they enjoy today.

“The remarkable achievements for which our tennis programs are now known have been possible because of the generosity of the Brandts and a few other dedicated alumni who understand the investments needed to succeed in our highly-competitive conference,” he said. “This new gift from the Brandts demonstrates a deep commitment to seeing Ole Miss tennis programs thrive in the SEC and on the national stage. We are extremely grateful for their support.”

Tennis has come a long way since Brandt began playing at 12 years of age, with wooden rackets.

“There was no tennis instruction in Oxford, so my friends and I learned by watching the Ole Miss team members who primarily came from towns where they had the luxury of tennis instruction during high school,” he said.

“When I was around 14, I taught myself to string rackets. I purchased equipment from the Sears Roebuck catalog and, after destroying several rackets, became brave enough to put up a sign at the university advertising my services. People responded, and I began to string rackets for college students and eventually for some members of the tennis team.”

Brandt’s love of tennis and his love of Ole Miss combined to inspire his and Lucia’s support of the men’s and women’s programs, both financially and as enthusiastic fans. Brandt said he is “very proud” of the tennis programs, giving former longtime head coach Billy Chadwick credit for setting a high bar for team success.

“His successors are maintaining that level of accomplishment,” Brandt said.

Women’s tennis head coach Mark Beyers expressed his appreciation for the couple’s generosity.

“It is great to see the Brandts at more home matches now that they are spending additional time in Oxford,” Beyers said. “Louis has been so wonderful to Ole Miss and specifically to Ole Miss tennis.

“His support has given our student-athletes an opportunity to practice and compete in some of the best facilities in the country.”

Men’s head coach Toby Hansson agreed, saying, “Louis Brandt is a lifelong supporter of our Ole Miss tennis programs. His commitment has enabled the Rebels to boast one of the nation’s premier indoor tennis facilities. His and Lucia’s dedication to our new facility will help ensure that our student-athletes can continue to successfully train and compete at the highest level.

“We are humbled by his contributions, and both the men’s and women’s programs will feel the impact of his generosity for years to come.”

During his college years, Brandt played varsity tennis along with Phil Berry, Bill Watson, Buddy Williamson and Morris Denton. Brandt’s Ole Miss doubles partner, Denton, is back as an Oxford resident now that he has retired, enabling the two to continue playing tennis together.

Brandt began making gifts to the tennis programs in 1989 and later, in 2001, began a 10-year program of providing added compensation for tennis coaches, helping bring their salaries in line with SEC peers.

The Brandts’ philanthropic gifts permeate every area of Louis’ alma mater; a University of Texas alumna, Lucia also has become a faithful Ole Miss supporter. While serving as the chair of the University Foundation, Louis played a pivotal role in the foundation’s facilities when he provided the funds in 1992 to purchase the Memory House from the John Falkner family.

After the home underwent extensive renovations, it was renamed Brandt Memory House in his honor in 1995. The facilities are used daily for foundation business, university meetings, donor events and universitywide activities.

Louis Brandt’s business career has been centered in Texas, where he founded and later sold The Brandt Co., a division of a New York Stock Exchange company. He also holds an engineering degree from the University of Texas.

For more information about the Forward Together campaign for Ole Miss athletics, contact Keith Carter at, call 662-915-7159 or visit

The Inn at Ole Miss Offers a Taste of Something New

Catering and breakfast options added to available services

My Michelle’s Catering has taken over breakfast service in the McCormick Cafe, offering hot breakfast daily from 6:30 to 10 a.m. Photo courtesy Pablo Corona Photography

OXFORD, Miss. – As Oxford and the University of Mississippi continue to see unprecedented change and growth, The Inn at Ole Miss, the university’s on-campus hotel, has made improvements to keep up with the desires and needs of its guests and the community.

My Michelle’s Catering has taken over breakfast service in the McCormick Cafe, offering hot breakfast daily from 6:30 to 10 a.m. Rotating menu offerings include breakfast pizza, tacos, casseroles, scrambled eggs, grits, sweet potato hash, pancakes, waffles, biscuits with gravy, French toast and much more. Health-conscious diners can find homemade granola with yogurt, mixed grain salad with dried fruits, seasonal whole fruit and oatmeal.

Not only has breakfast changed hands, but catering as well. The Inn offers a variety of catering opportunities for special events.

“Allowing outside catering gives us the luxury of providing our customers with the best of Oxford’s culinary offerings when booking their event here at The Inn,” said Gaye Bukur, the hotel’s general manager. “These caterers can now recommend our venue for a special event they will be catering.”

Besides My Michelle’s Catering, approved caterers include A&N Catering, The Main Event, Newk’s, Oby’s, Ole Miss Catering, Party Waitin’ to Happen and Taylor Grocery.

To better manage all the new offerings, The Inn added a member to its management team. Gwen Turner, events management coordinator, serves as a liaison between clients and vendors to ensure all events at the hotel are a hit.

In conjunction with the new breakfast and catering offerings, The Inn released a new logo featuring the signature Ole Miss script.

“We want the new logo to act as a stamp of approval to show that we are the only hotel affiliated with the University of Mississippi” said Liz Lancaster McIntyre, marketing manager. “By staying at The Inn at Ole Miss, you are supporting the Ole Miss Alumni Association and the University of Mississippi.”

For more information on hosting an event at The Inn at Ole Miss or to make a reservation, visit

UM Accountancy School Joins Expanded KPMG Master of Accounting Program

Initiative provides full tuition and job offers for students

The KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program will offer students in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy access to full scholarships, specialized training and job offers upon graduation. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

NEW YORK and OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy is joining the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program, a one-of-a-kind initiative that audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP developed to prepare accounting students for the digital marketplace.

The expansion of the program increases the number of participating schools from two to nine, and increases the number of students from 51 to 135 who will receive full tuition, other support, and KPMG job offers upon graduation. The expansion also includes a tax component at one of the new schools in the program.

The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy and KPMG have enjoyed a tremendous partnership for many years,” said Mark Wilder, dean and KPMG Chair of Accountancy at UM. “We are proud to be offering master’s degrees in taxation and data analytics, as well as in accounting and data analytics. It is a high privilege to work with KPMG to provide innovative graduate programs to help develop future professionals for the data age.”

“KPMG’s expanded investment in the data and analytics program demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the future of the audit and tax professions,” said Frank Casal, KPMG’s U.S. Vice Chair – Audit. “We’re pleased to include prestigious institutions like the University of Mississippi, who share this focus and are equally passionate about their students building advanced skills in accounting, tax and data analytics that they can bring into the marketplace.”

Ole Miss also will integrate the program into its Master of Taxation degree.

“KPMG’s experience demonstrates that harnessing and analyzing the data in a company’s tax filings can create value across an entire organization,” said Jeff LeSage, KPMG’s U.S. Vice Chair – Tax. “Empowering the next generation of tax leaders to unlock those insights aligns with KPMG’s commitment to innovation and helps assure that we’ll remain at the forefront of sharing those innovations with our clients.”

In August 2016, KPMG disrupted the education and recruiting experience for the audit profession by collaborating with the Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business and the Villanova School of Business to launch the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program. Fifty-one students were accepted to the program and will begin their studies at those two schools in the fall of 2017.

KPMG’s program provides each school with access to proprietary KPMG technologies and integrates easily into their academic programs. KPMG will increase the program’s scholarships to 135 students from across the U.S. Those students will work as interns on KPMG audit or tax teams and will join KPMG’s audit or tax practices through an advanced entry program upon graduation.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently awarded the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program its “2017 Recruiting Excellence Award,” which recognizes excellence in recruiting best practices, including attracting talent, selection process, training and development of new hires, and retention.

Those interested in learning more about the program, including how to apply, should visit A related video may be accessed at

Other schools joining the program include:

  • Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business
  • Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business
  • The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business
  • The University of Missouri’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business
  • The University of Southern California, Leventhal School of Accounting
  • Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business

Globally, KPMG International’s Ireland member firm launched a similar program in March with the National University Ireland Galway, and its South Africa member firm is piloting a program at the University of Witwatersrand. Several other KPMG member firms are also pursuing additional similar relationships in their respective countries.


KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (, is the independent U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s independent member firms have 189,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 152 countries.

About the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university and has a long history of producing leaders. The Patterson School of Accountancy is recognized as one of the top accounting programs nationally and produces graduates who hold leadership positions in business organizations nationally and internationally. One of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing universities, Ole Miss is known for its welcoming environment and is regularly ranked as one of America’s most beautiful and safest campuses. For more information, visit

Pharmacy School and Diabetes Patients Collaborate on Research

Researchers invite people with condition to contribute to ongoing project

Participants discuss issues important to them in treating and managing diabetes during the recent conference in Oxford. Photo by David Allen III

OXFORD, Miss. – Capping off nearly a year of discussions with people who have diabetes and diabetes stakeholders across the state, researchers from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy invited them all to a meeting in Oxford to generate diabetes research questions as part of a research initiative.

Researchers involved in the project, called “PaRTICIpate in Diabetes Self-Management Research Collaborative: A Conference Series,” invited people with diabetes to a series of meetings throughout northern Mississippi to ask how they manage their symptoms and to help them manage their condition. All participants were invited to the culminating meeting in late June.

“The synergy of having people from all these different communities talking to one another meant that they came up with totally new and novel ideas for diabetes care,” said Meagen Rosenthal, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration and co-lead investigator for the project.

The patients’ discussions also underscored ways in which different communities approach diabetes prevention and management. When a participant discovered that some health resources in her community were not available in another, she and others began brainstorming ways to share the resources.

At the end of the meeting, the researchers and graduate students assisting them had more than enough data and suggestions to begin narrowing down their list of research questions.

“Now that we have these questions, the next step is to figure out how we will keep the patients engaged,” said Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration and co-lead investigator. “We want their input on what is important to them and how we can potentially work together to move these solutions forward.”

Once the questions are finalized, the researchers will present their information to clinicians and stakeholders in several Mississippi communities in hopes of partnering to leverage the research into something greater. They also will ask patients to weigh in on which questions they are most eager to see answered.

“We want the patients to be involved, start to finish, as much as they want to be,” Rosenthal said.

As part of the researchers’ objective to ensure patients benefited from the experience, a dietician and a pharmacist attended the meeting to offer advice about how to manage diabetes symptoms, as well as to dispel myths about the disease.

“We wanted to make sure that we were not just taking from communities, but that we were giving back,” Rosenthal said. “What patients said they needed was more knowledge and more health resources.”

The feedback was tremendous, and patients are eager to remain engaged with the project, Holmes said.

“I think they feel like they learned a lot and they contributed a lot,” she said. “They played the most important role in this, and my impression is that they felt like they made a difference.”

This project was funded through a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award, No. 3335, from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

It’s a ‘Luckyday’ for Ole Miss Students

Foundation commits $7.25 million in scholarships for freshman, transfer students

The Luckyday Foundation has committed $7.25 million to its scholarships at the University of Mississippi. Among key components of the successful program is that recipients, all Mississippians, live their freshman and sophomore years in the Luckyday Residential College, a living-learning community that includes a dining facility, its own library and exercise facility and a resident faculty fellow. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – With a new $7.25 million commitment to the University of Mississippi, the Luckyday Foundation of Jackson is ensuring that entering freshmen and community college transfers have strong support and exceptional opportunities to help them earn college degrees.

Already numbering close to 2,700 strong, Luckyday Scholars are excelling and graduating.

The foundation’s newly inked four-year agreement brings the total educational support for Ole Miss students to $55 million since the program’s inception in 2000, as it fulfills the vision of the late banker Frank Rogers Day. The Aberdeen native created his foundation to provide educational opportunities for  Mississippians.

“The late Frank Day was a stellar business leader who envisioned lifting up his home state and its citizens by providing resources to help young people pursue college degrees,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said . “Now the Luckyday Foundation board of managers is expanding this alumnus’ significant legacy, diligently working as our partners to ensure that this scholarship program provides an exceptional level of support to students.

“Lives have been transformed through this successful initiative at Ole Miss, and other universities are looking to model its components. We are grateful for the Luckyday Foundation’s latest expression of approval for the program and our staff.”

Attorney Holmes Adams of Jackson, chair of the Luckyday Foundation board of managers, monitors the academic success of the students and says their achievements have increased consistently over the years. For example, of the 75 freshmen who were chosen for Luckyday Success Scholarships in fall 2015 – many of whom were the first in their families to attend college – 96 percent returned in fall 2016.

“The University of Mississippi has been a very good steward of our support,” Adams said. “The aim is for these students to obtain college degrees; however, the board has been astounded by how beneficial the program has become and the level of commitment by Ole Miss staff members.

“Our scholarship recipients not only excel in academics, but they also are stars in their own right across the campus. The programming and support is equipping these students to make real contributions in a number of campus organizations, a huge benefit of this program the board did not anticipate. We believe Frank Day would be extremely pleased.”

Key to the program’s success is the help with the transition from high school or community college to a major university with almost 25,000 students. Luckyday Scholars benefit from three full-time staff members, who meet with recipients on a monthly basis, and from guidance provided by peer mentors.

Foundation board members come to campus twice a year for visits with students and make a point of meeting with them in small groups to get feedback on program components. For one home football game each fall, the students, program alumni and board members gather for a tailgate to keep building a network of support.

This network and sense of community are among the outstanding aspects of the program, Adams said.

“There is such a strong presence of support among our students and a warm sense of cooperation between the program and Ole Miss administrators and staff across campus,” he said. “The Luckyday program is very intentional – nurturing and supportive – giving young people the confidence to accomplish things they never thought possible.

“Working with this program is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. The board and I enjoy seeing these students perform well.”

The donor’s story resonates well when encouraging students to perform, said Patrick Perry, director of the university’s Luckyday program.

The Luckday Scholars are honored upon their graduation from the university, and these students were among those graduating in May 2017. The Luckyday Foundation Board of Managers monitors academic success of students and visits with them several times during each year. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“Frank Day established a model of working hard and giving back,” he said, referring to Day’s rise from the mailroom to become CEO of Trustmark Bank in Jackson and founder of a foundation to provide scholarships. “We try to instill in our students the ideals of working hard to achieve their individual goals and the importance of developing relationships with others to be successful and happy in life.

“Just recently, I heard from the parent of a former Luckyday Scholar who is now a successful engineer. He said the required study hall component helped his daughter develop strong study habits that served her well throughout her college career. Hearing those stories encourage the staff in our work, as well as this tremendous support from the foundation.”

Each year, 80 freshmen – all Mississippi residents with an ACT score of 20 or higher and high school GPA of 3.2 or higher – are awarded Luckyday Success Scholarships, which provide $2,000 to $5,000 annually depending on remaining financial need after other scholarships and grants are awarded.

Students can continue to receive the support as long as they maintain minimum requirements, which include attending an annual retreat, fulfilling study hall hours and living for the first two years in the Luckyday Residential College, a living-learning community that includes a dining facility, its own library and exercise facility, and a resident faculty fellow.

The Luckyday program also ensures that 25 Mississippi community college transfers are chosen each year for $10,000 in scholarship funds for their remaining two years of study, or up to $5,000 an academic year.

Transfer recipients must be Mississippi residents and have remaining financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, and after other scholarships and grants have been awarded. Also, eligible recipients must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on at least 48 transferable community college credit hours.

Freshmen enroll in the EDHE 105 course, designed to help students successfully transition from high school, develop a better understanding of the learning process and acquire essential life skills; transfer students enroll in EDHE305, helping them adjust to the university setting, providing resume preparation and business etiquette lessons, and more.

Graduating seniors snap photos of their portraits from the class composite at the 2017 Luckyday Senior Reception. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, applauded the foundation’s leadership for its inclusion of community college student transfers in the program.

“The University of Mississippi is incredibly fortunate to be associated with the Luckyday Foundation,” she said. “Most notably, the board recognizes that many Mississippi students choose to attend community college before attending our campus, so the scholarships specifically for transfer students have an immediate and important impact.

“I personally enjoy working with the Luckyday Foundation board members because they are deeply committed to making responsive and responsible decisions about how they extend support. The transfer student scholarship is a great example of their thoughtful, generous and inclusive leadership.”

In 1991, the foundation also created the Christine and Clarence Day Scholarships, honoring Frank Day’s mother and father, in the Ole Miss School of Business Administration. In 2001, the Luckyday Foundation joined with the Mississippi Bankers Association to endow the Frank R. Day/Mississippi Bankers Association Chair of Banking on the Oxford campus, and the holder is Ken Cyree, dean of business administration.

For more information on the scholarships, visit