Ford Center Studio Theatre Dedication Honors Mobley and Collins

Daughter's gift to UM also establishes scholarship in memory of beloved couple

Gary Collins and wife Mary Ann Mobley were among dozens of stars who participated in the 2005 ‘Mississippi Rising’ fundraiser at Tad Smith Coliseum to raise money for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The first Mississippian to wear the Miss America crown, the late actress Mary Ann Mobley, and her husband, the late actor Gary Collins, will have their legacies expanded at the University of Mississippi with the naming of a studio theatre in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the university’s first-ever theatre and film scholarships.

Their daughter, Clancy Collins White, of Los Angeles, has directed more than $1.6 million from Mobley’s estate to her alma mater, where she was the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Carrier Scholarship, an Associated State Body officer, majorette in the band, Miss Ole Miss and Miss University.

A public ceremony is set for 6 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 27) in the Ford Center lobby, paying tribute to the lives of the couple, as well as honoring White for her role in the gift. Before the dedication, a reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with the couple’s photos and scrapbooks on display. Theatre arts students also will perform several musical selections following the dedication.

White, a senior vice president with Warner Bros. Television, said her parents would be “incredibly honored” with the scholarship endowment’s and studio theatre’s names linking them to the place they loved in perpetuity, musing that her mom, who “never stopped talking, might even be speechless.”

“At a time when our world is in such disarray and all we’ve held dear seems to be in jeopardy, there is such an incredible power in storytelling – the power to inform, educate and most importantly transform,” she said. “My parents were huge believers in the power of the arts to impact people’s lives and make them feel. And they felt as though performing is the greatest expression of love.

“My mother credited Ole Miss with changing her life. She talked so lovingly and glowingly about Ole Miss as I was growing up that I was convinced I’d be going there too, pledging Chi Omega and telling my own stories to my children. Obviously, I stayed out West but I have always loved Ole Miss.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed his appreciation for the significant gift.

“We are deeply grateful to Clancy Collins White for directing this marvelous gift to the University of Mississippi, enhancing our vibrant cultural arts offerings,” Vitter said. “To have Mary Ann Mobley’s and Gary Collins’ names on the studio theatre and scholarships makes us very proud; they were both such loyal, passionate ambassadors.

“The scholarships will be life-changing to our theatre and film majors.”

The gift reflects the family’s love for Ole Miss, Mississippi and the importance of the arts in everyone’s lives, said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director.

Recognized humanitarians, Mobley and Collins also supported “Mississippi Rising,” the Hurricane Katrina benefit hosted at Tad Smith Coliseum in 2005, as well as countless other events and initiatives designed to build resources for Ole Miss and the state.

“Mary Ann Mobley never forgot her home state as she pursued a career in Hollywood, and Gary Collins adopted Mississippi as his home state,” Aubrey said. “Throughout their lives they gave back to Mary Ann’s alma mater and supported efforts to celebrate the arts and bring attention to the needs of the people of this state.

“They generously shared their talents and influence to help throughout their lives.”

The 130-seat Mary Ann Mobley Collins and Gary E. Collins Studio Theatre will be dedicated inside the Ford Center, which will benefit from half the gift. The Mary Ann Mobley Collins Theatre Arts Scholars – the first endowed scholarships in the department’s history – will assist students who want to pursue careers in the performing arts.

The scholarship resources will have a significant impact on students, said Michael Barnett, chair of the Department of Theatre and Film.

“This assistance will enable students who are chosen as recipients to focus on their education so they can entertain and enrich audiences around the world,” he said. “They will be able to fully dedicate themselves to their craft.

“The department, the faculty, the staff and students – everyone who touches theatre and film at Ole Miss – is deeply grateful for the support Clancy Collins White has shown to this university and especially to our students, who are the next generation of those who will be able to shape our culture through the arts.”

The studio theatre in the UM Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts is being named in honor of actors and humanitarians Gary Collins, who died in 2012, and Mary Ann Mobley, who died in 2014. The university has received a major gift from Mobley’s estate that will benefit the Ford Center and endow the university’s first-ever theatre arts scholarships. Submitted photo

Mississippians gathered around their TV sets on Sept. 6, 1958, to watch with pride as their native daughter won Miss America 1959. Mobley, a native of Biloxi who later lived in Brandon, went on to achieve success in film, television, Broadway, personal appearances and as a documentary filmmaker.

The Golden Globe winner appeared in countless TV series, including “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat,” “Falcon Crest” and “Hearts Afire.”

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat was a lifelong friend of Mobley’s, beginning with their freshmen and sophomore years at Ole Miss.

“Mary Ann became Mississippi’s most popular citizen, before Archie and Eli Manning,” Khayat said. “After she brought such positive attention to her home state, no child was raised in Mississippi without knowing who Mary Ann Mobley was.

“She had a great career, and she made a movie with Elvis. If that doesn’t give you standing, I don’t know what would.”

Mobley was the first woman to be voted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame. The group inducted with her included her friend William Faulkner, the Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning author.

“Wherever Ole Miss hosted an event – Oxford, Washington, D.C., or California – Mary Ann and Gary were there lending their support,” Khayat said. “Gary was one of the most likeable individuals you would ever meet. Mississippi people claimed him as much as he claimed us.”

White agrees with that description of her father, a native of Venice, California, who made his motion picture debut in “Cleopatra,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He acted in a number of movies, Broadway productions and TV series.

He also was host of “The Home Show” and “Hour Magazine,” for which he won an Emmy. Additionally, he hosted the Miss America Pageant from 1989 to 1994.

“My parents were married in Mississippi in 1967 and from then on, my father’s love for Mississippi only grew and grew,” White said. “By the time I was a child, I think he loved it as much, if not more, than mom!

“He felt so welcomed and embraced by everyone in Mississippi and Ole Miss, something he’d never had before in his life.”

In fact, that was part of the inspiration behind the gift.

“My parents wanted to repay all that Ole Miss had given to them and provide an opportunity for others to achieve their dreams,” White said. “My mother would be overjoyed. You have to understand, she was a girl from a small town of 2,500 people who never thought she would achieve what she was able to accomplish.”

Mobley and Collins were active volunteers with the March of Dimes for more than three decades and traveled around the globe with relief organizations to end world hunger. They were involved with the Crohns & Colitis Foundation and other groups. Collins was dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer in support of his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer twice.

Sam Haskell III – a philanthropist, author, producer and the former Worldwide Head of Television at the William Morris Agency – and his wife, actress and singer Mary Donnelly Haskell, were close friends of Mobley and Collins. Both couples lived in Los Angeles and were enthusiastic ambassadors for Ole Miss and Mississippi.

Mobley and Collins appeared in every show Sam Haskell produced to secure funding for student scholarships, academic programs and disaster relief.

“As I think of the careers of many, and I was involved in so many, I think about Mary Ann Mobley and Gary Collins and the amount of national and international exposure they had,” Haskell said. “I’ve always believed the best way to make a difference is to use whatever position God has blessed you with to do that.

“Mary Ann and Gary did a lot of good for a lot of people, whether in Hollywood, Mississippi, New York or beyond.”

McCarthy Named UM Athletics Compliance Officer and Senior Associate Counsel

Attorney will bolster athletics compliance efforts, provide legal support for Ole Miss athletics

Paul McCarthy

OXFORD, Miss. – Paul McCarthy, an experienced lawyer with an extensive background in intercollegiate athletics, has been named athletics compliance officer and senior associate general counsel at the University of Mississippi.

McCarthy brings more than 24 years of experience and expertise to UM from a career spanning private legal practice, higher education legal matters and senior administrative positions within collegiate athletics.

“I am honored to join the team of skilled and accomplished professionals at the University of Mississippi to successfully promote and support the legal and compliance operations of Ole Miss athletics,” McCarthy said. “Ole Miss is a premier national academic institution that competes at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and I’m tremendously excited to work with a great team committed to the success of this special university.”

In this new role, McCarthy will work out of the university’s Office of General Counsel, providing oversight and leadership for all compliance efforts, risk management and legal matters related to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. McCarthy will report to the chancellor on compliance matters and will work under the university’s chief legal officer and general counsel on all athletics-related legal affairs.

“This new position will play a central role in keeping athletics compliance and integrity at the forefront of Ole Miss,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “It provides us additional skills and expertise in our university compliance efforts and will strengthen an already exceptional legal team. We are very pleased to welcome Paul McCarthy to the Ole Miss family.”

McCarthy comes to Ole Miss from the University of Connecticut, where he served most recently with both the office of general counsel and the athletics leadership team during two decades on staff. McCarthy served as deputy athletics director for UConn from 2011 to 2016 before being appointed senior counsel for the university, a role that he’s fulfilled for the last three years.

“On the athletics front, Paul is battle-tested, seasoned and sharp,” said Erica McKinley, UM chief legal officer and general counsel. “He is a remarkable hire, best-in-class.”

A UConn graduate, McCarthy was in private practice for four years before returning to his alma mater in 1997. He held multiple senior positions with the university’s legal team before transitioning to the athletics department in 2006, initially as senior associate athletics director before being elevated to deputy athletics director.

In 10 years with Huskies athletics, McCarthy led a number of major transactional projects and all contractual agreements, including Nike, IMG College, stadium and arena leases, and coaches’ contracts. He also supervised department legal affairs and risk management, directed annual Title IX reviews, provided oversight to the NCAA compliance office, served on multiple university committees and was sport administrator for national championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“We appreciate the support of Chancellor Vitter and Erica as we move our athletics program forward,” said Ross Bjork, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics. “We believe this is an innovative move, and we are proud to be one of the few athletics departments in the nation with dedicated legal counsel.

“Paul’s background in athletics and legal matters makes him a perfect fit for this new position.”

McCarthy will oversee the athletics compliance office, which is led on a day-to-day basis by Julie Owen, who recently was promoted to senior associate athletics director for compliance.

“We are equally excited about Julie Owen’s leadership of our day-to-day athletics compliance program with her recent promotion,” Bjork said. “The combination of Paul and Julie creates an effective and efficient structure in our compliance efforts, and from a legal standpoint, Paul has the vision to guide us through the complex challenges we face in college athletics today.”

McCarthy will officially assume his duties Nov. 26.

First Student Graduates in MFA in Documentary Expression Program

Susie Penman channels personal experiences with crime and punishment into revealing films

Susie Penman, the university’s first graduate of the Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Expression program, visits the Isle of Man in Scotland. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Support from fellow students and faculty proved invaluable for Susie Penman, the first graduate in the Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Expression program at the University of Mississippi.

Penman, who also earned two other degrees from the university– a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2007 and a master’s in Southern studies in 2012 – received her latest degree in August. She said she made good use of the resources at UM and its Center for the Study of Southern Culture, where the new MFA program is housed.

“For someone who is thinking about it, it’s a very supportive program,” Penman said. “There are people here to help you not just pursue what you are already interested in, but certainly in my case because I had never done film before, there were people who were patient and who taught me what I needed to know.

“That’s what I got out of it most, just learning this whole new skill set, which is working with film.”

Her film, “The Knowing of People,” is about juvenile crime and punishment in New Orleans. She took a personal experience she had while living in the city and brought it to life onscreen.

“I was carjacked a couple of years ago, and the people who did it were three teenagers who were tried as adults,” Penman said. “When I found that out, before I even knew about the MFA program, I just got interested in it because I was not part of the process at all; I just got a letter saying they’d been sentenced.

“I didn’t know anything about how the justice system worked and I wanted to explore that, and then I applied for the program and it just seemed like a natural fit because it was the thing I found myself thinking about and talking about more than anything else. I was upset about it and I wanted to do something.”

Penman started reaching out to people in New Orleans, asking questions about how the criminal and juvenile courts worked, and getting a better understanding the role of the district attorney and other players in the process.

“Things I’d been oblivious to because I’d been lucky enough not to have been involved with crime before – whether as a victim or living in a community affected by crime – so it’s a combination of personal experience and field work,” Penman said.

“I asked people who either work in the criminal justice system or have been affected by violence in the community somehow and pieced together a story about the bigger picture of juvenile crime in New Orleans told through by what happened to me.”

When she arrived last fall to begin the MFA program, Penman thought she would work on an audio-based project, such as a podcast or an oral history, or photography.

“I didn’t think I’d be doing film, and then I saw that Andy Harper was teaching a class and became interested and just thought I would do it to learn it,” Penman said. Although she was at first reluctant to commit to filmmaking for her thesis, she ended up loving the work and took full advantage of the support.

“If someone is thinking about getting their MFA, there are just wonderful people here who are helpful,” Penman said. “There is a good mix of people – you know, historians – but also a good balance of scholarship and technical tools that you need to learn.

“We were all there to bounce ideas off of each other, and I never felt alone, I always felt like there were people within reach I could ask questions of. I liked the feedback I would get from people.”

Andy Harper, director of the Southern Documentary Project, said he couldn’t be happier that Penman is the first MFA graduate.

“Susie represents everything we are looking for in adding students to our new program: someone who has a background in documentary work, but more importantly has a desire to learn more about the intersections of cultural studies and documentary arts,” Harper said.

Susie’s MFA thesis film on juvenile incarceration is at once personal and provocative – a great example of advocacy-based documentary work that is so important today. Now that we have one MFA graduate in the books, I can’t wait to see who is next and what stories they will tell.”

One thing that surprised Penman was how much she enjoyed the editing process.

“Filming is hard, and there are so many things that can go wrong,” she said. “I try to remind myself that most people work in teams and they have a camera person and someone doing the interview and a sound person, and this was just me, the whole time.”

Being thrown into the field made her realize there is much more work involved in filming than people understand, Penman said.

“You have to get everything just right, and in most cases, I didn’t,” she said. “I usually got one crucial thing wrong that I had to make up for, but that was part of the learning process.”

Besides her thesis, one of the films Penman worked on for Ava Lowrey’s Advanced Documentary class last spring was “Sister Hearts,” about Maryam Uloho, a woman who was incarcerated for more than 11 years for a crime that she says she didn’t commit. Her sentence was overturned, and she runs a thrift store in New Orleans that aims to help people, mostly women, who have been incarcerated.

Although Uloho’s footage did not end up in Penman’s thesis film, it still informed her work.

“For the past year, I’ve been immersed in all things related to incarceration and trying to understand the various ways the system functions or doesn’t function, and her story was crucial in helping me understand some aspects of that, specifically in regard to women,” Penman said.

“There are so many different stories that revolve around crime and violence and punishment that we really need to listen to people who have been incarcerated before and who have had these experiences. There are so many individual stories, and I feel like that gets forgotten in the whole mess.”

Penman hit the ground running with production of four films during her MFA studies, said Ava Lowrey, Pihakis Documentary Fellow for the Southern Foodways Alliance.

“It’s been a privilege to watch Susie grow as a documentarian, and her success is a reminder of the importance of this program in shaping a new class of Southern documentarians,” Lowrey said. 

Penman is continuing her documentary work with incarceration this fall as a doctoral student in American studies at the University of North Carolina.

“As long as I can talk to people who have stories to tell me, I feel like that’s a way of remembering that this is something that really affects tons of people in so many different ways,” Penman said. “The MFA program helped solidify the idea in my head that I want to keep studying incarceration and using documentary methods to do that.

“It helped reaffirm the importance of people’s voices and storytelling in doing research instead of just going to a library.”

New Scholarship Honors Late Alumna’s Favorite Professor

Lori Sneed and Colby Kullman are linked by gift to Ole Miss Women's Council

Members of the late Lori Sneed’s family – (from left) brother, Johnny; mother, Patti; and father, Shorty Sneed – are joined by honoree Colby Kullman at a recent Ole Miss Women’s Council Rose Garden Ceremony. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – As a University of Mississippi student, the late Lori Sneed quickly formed a special bond with English professor Colby Kullman, and soon the feeling was mutual. Now, the two “great friends” will be linked in perpetuity by a new Ole Miss Women’s Council scholarship endowment bearing their names.

The $250,000 Lori Sneed Council Scholarship Endowment in Honor of Colby H. Kullman, Professor Emeritus was established as a gift to the university by Sneed’s parents, John B. “Shorty” and Patti Sneed of Gulfport.

The scholarship’s recipients will be entering freshmen majoring in English, chosen on the basis of financial need, academic ability and leadership potential. Contingent upon maintaining a 3.0 GPA, the award may be received for up to eight semesters.

Besides their academic pursuits, scholars will be expected to participate in leadership development and mentoring sponsored by the OMWC and the Lott Leadership Institute.

“We are deeply honored that Colby allowed us to honor him along with Lori because he was her favorite teacher, without a doubt,” said Shorty Sneed, adding that Kullman, of Oxford, agreed to participate as mentor for the scholarship’s first recipient.

Lori Sneed, who died of liver cancer in July 2017 at age 44, suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury in a 1991 car accident during her UM freshman year. After months of rehabilitation and a year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, she returned to Ole Miss to complete her bachelor’s degree in English.

Kullman recalls a special memory he has of his favorite student, who was always prompt for class.

“One day she didn’t appear and I thought, ‘I wonder what’s wrong,'” Kullman said. “Well, 10 minutes into class, suddenly there’s this police officer with Lori in her wheelchair. Both looked a little bit winded. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, did she get arrested?’

“But she had parked her van and some unthoughtful person had parked behind her, so she was trapped in her van. Well, the police officer helped her out of the van, got her into the chair and brought her to class.

“She always deflected attention away from herself, so she said, ‘This is Officer Clark. He is my hero today. He just rescued me from my car. Let’s hear it for Officer Clark!’ And there was a round of applause and she said, ‘You can do better than that!’ And they all stood up and gave him a standing ovation.”

Lori Sneed

A longtime Ole Miss professor, Kullman earned his bachelor’s degree at DePauw University, master’s degrees from the universities of Chicago and Kansas, and a doctorate from the University of Kansas. His teaching and research interests include restoration and 18th century studies, dramatic literature, satire, biography, comedy and tragedy.

He is a published author and editor of a number of academic works, including “Speaking on Stage: Interviews with Contemporary American Playwrights;” “Studies in American Drama: 1945-Present” and “Death of a Salesman at Fifty: An Interview with Arthur Miller.”

Lori’s uncle, Bill Henry, quoted in Gulfport’s Sun Herald, said that beyond her humor and strength, Sneed was exceptionally kind.

“For me, the thing about Lori was, when you were with her, she always made you feel as if you were the nicest thing that happened to her,” he said. “She asked how you were doing; she’d compliment you about something you were wearing. … It’s like you were the absolute highlight of her day.”

At Ole Miss, she was a Campus Favorite, member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, member of the Committee on Disabilities and a two-time winner of the Most Beautiful Eyes on Campus contest, before and after her accident.

After graduation, she moved to Atlanta, where she worked in public information for CNN from 1997 to 2006. In Atlanta, she performed self-deprecating humor in comedy clubs, telling audiences they should request their money back if they were expecting a stand-up comedian. She loved art, poetry, music and animals.

She returned to Gulfport in 2015, where she attended St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and worked as a self-employed artist.

Her love for her family was deep.

“Nothing brought her more pride than when her mom and dad came to Atlanta so Lori could bring them to CNN or to go to dinner with them and her Atlanta friends,” said Tom Johnson, former president of CNN, delivering a eulogy at Sneed’s funeral.

During a recent OMWC ceremony officially dedicating the endowments, Shorty Sneed said he remembers the day his daughter, who never thought of herself as disabled, called to say that she would casually roll through the background of the CNN news broadcast.

“Look for me. I’ll be wearing a blue blouse and some gray slacks,” she told him.

“I said, ‘Lori I think you’ll be the only person in the newsroom in a wheelchair. I think we’ll be able to pick you out,'” her father said, laughing. “And she rolled through and just kind of looked at the camera. She never let (her disability) hold her back in school or at work at CNN or in her social life.

“She once asked one of Oxford’s finest on the Square one night if he would follow her home so she wouldn’t get a DUI. He did. And she didn’t.”

Johnson remembers Lori Sneed’s jovial spirit, an affable charisma that kept her coworkers both on their toes and in good humor.

“For me, there has never been a more inspiring example of optimism, of warmth, of courage, of humor and of love than Lori,” he said, remembering the many times she would navigate her motorized wheelchair at full speed into his office with one announcement or another or to meet visiting dignitaries or celebrities.

“One day, she wheeled into my office to tell me that the doors at CNN were not wheelchair-friendly, especially the one down the hall from her office on the sixth floor,” Johnson said. The doors at CNN Center became accessible within a week.

Lori Sneed did things and got things done.

Even now, brother Johnny Sneed, an actor in Los Angeles, gives his sister credit for shaping his personal life. A series of events initiated by Lori resulted in Johnny’s introduction to his fiance, Cristina; the two are parents of a 1-year-old boy.

“Lori passed away in July and my baby boy, Wilder, was born in August,” Johnny Sneed said. “A big regret of mine is that they weren’t able to meet, but I know that she’s with us. We see her in different ways every day.”

At the dedication ceremony, OMWC chair Mary Susan Gallien Clinton expressed her gratitude for the Sneeds’ generous gift.

“This OMWC scholarship honors Dr. Kullman and an extraordinary, vivacious young woman who tragically lost her life while living it to the fullest,” Clinton said. “The generosity of this gift, which overwhelms our hearts, will continue for many generations to give OMWC scholars a four-year academic and cultural program to prepare their lives to be world-ready upon graduating.

“Our hope is the life Lori lived will inspire her scholarship recipients to always strive to achieve the best version of themselves, despite the circumstances.”

Read more about the Women’s Council at For information on how to make a gift to support OMWC programming or a scholarship, contact Suzanne Helveston, development associate, at or 662-915-2956.

Pharmacy School Administrators Celebrate 25 Years of Friendship

Alicia Bouldin and John Bentley met as graduate students

Alicia Bouldin and John Bentley graduate together with their Master of Pharmacy Administration degrees from UM in 1996. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy administrators Alicia Bouldin and John Bentley are proof that opposites often complement each other.

The two met in August 1993 when they began graduate school in the School of Pharmacy’s pharmacy administration program.

Bouldin, associate dean of outcomes assessment and learning advancement and professor of pharmacy administration, was raised in the South. She’s a creative thinker who stays up-to-date on technological advances, while Bentley, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration, grew up in the Midwest, is passionate about statistics and took some time to adjust to smartphone culture.

However, for all the pair’s differences, 25 years of working alongside each other created a bond of trust and appreciation that has spurred them to celebrate their 25-year “friendiversary.”

“We always made a great team,” Bouldin said. “We complemented each other really well. Sometimes when we had joint projects within the department, they wouldn’t let us be on the same team because we needed to spread out and collaborate with other folks.”

A friendship was easy to strike up, as they were always together in class or working at the department’s one computer in Faser Hall. Bentley even got a head start on his teaching career by helping Bouldin find her way through statistics, which allowed Bouldin to see Bentley’s patience with others.

Alicia Bouldin and John Bentley celebrate 25 years of friendship at a recent party with the UM Department of Pharmacy Administration. Submitted photo

“The instructor would put carets on top of things, and Alicia kept calling them hats,” Bentley said. “She would say ‘What are those hats? Why does she keep putting those hats on top of things? Why do we need those hats?’

“Alicia went on about these hats, which in statistics, just show that it’s an estimate from a sample instead of a population parameter. She rolled her eyes at me a couple of times.”

Bentley experienced Bouldin’s kindness upon his arrival in Oxford. With Bentley’s wife still living in Iowa, Bouldin became an adoptive older sibling, making sure he ate well, washed his clothes and got haircuts.

“We still have to do things together and are thrown together, much like in the way we started,” Bentley said. “Part of why our friendship has lasted this long is because of the complete trust in the quality of work that the other does.

“Yes, it’s a work relationship, and we have been through a lot together, but I have such an admiration and respect for her.”

The duo says that it doesn’t feel like 25 years since they met. Bouldin and Bentley have gone through a lot together since their graduate school days, such as faculty promotions, a failed attempt to watch the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movies – their families made it through only two – and Bouldin translating Southernisms for Bentley.

While some things remain the same, the colleagues acknowledge that changes have come only for the better.

“I was very lucky to have that encouragement from him in school,” Bouldin said. “I probably did more than I would have if it had been someone else because he’s super smart and capable. I couldn’t slack.

“We grew up together, in a way, and entered into a different phase of life. It was nice to do that together.”

Marijuana Project Head to Deliver Pharmacy School’s Waller Lecture

Mahmoud ElSohly will speak about marijuana project founder Coy W. Waller

Mahmoud ElSohly

OXFORD, Miss. – Mahmoud ElSohly, co-director of the University of Mississippi’s Marijuana Project, will deliver the School of Pharmacy’s 15th Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at 11 a.m. Friday (Oct. 19) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The lecture series was established in 2004 to recognize the founder of UM’s marijuana cultivation program and former director of the pharmacy school’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Coy W. Waller. ElSohly’s talk, “Building on the Legacy of Coy Waller at Ole Miss,” will celebrate Waller’s vision for the Marijuana Project and expand on research developments.

“I think Coy would be pleased about the progress we’ve made on his research projects to continue his legacy,” ElSohly said.

ElSohly assisted with Waller’s research for several years before Waller retired in 1979. Two of Waller’s major research contributions were the study of cannabinoids to treat glaucoma and working to formulate a natural remedy for poison ivy.

“Coy Waller had an ambitious vision for the pharmacy school and its Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences that informs much of the research we conduct today,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

ElSohly received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Cairo University in Egypt, and his doctorate in 1975 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. He joined UM in 1975 and has directed its Marijuana Project since 1981.

He has more than 40 years’ experience working with the isolation of natural products, most notably, secondary metabolites in cannabis, as well as synthetic, analytical and forensic chemistry. He has more than 30 patents and over 300 publications related to these disciplines.

The School of Pharmacy and its National Center for Natural Products Research are hosting the event, which is free and open to the public.

Cannabis plants thrive in the indoor grow room of the UM Marijuana Project. Photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest/School of Pharmacy

“I am pleased we can honor Dr. Waller in this way while highlighting the ways in which his work is continued at the National Center for Natural Products Research and the school,” said Ikhlas Khan, the center’s director.

McLean Institute Expands Summer Entrepreneurial Leadership Program

Weeklong enrichment camp serves rising 10th and 11th graders

The third annual McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program was a weeklong experience for 15 students entering their sophomore and junior years in high school. Participants included (top row) Jamien Rashaad, Devin McCray; (next row) Dawn Boddie, Alaysia Harrington, Jessica Clarke, Elena Bauer; (next row) Cheyenne Bailey, Maggie Jo Everett, Kourtney Gressett, Aeronney Berry; (next row) Zipporah Chapman, Taylor Edwards, Jodi Parks, Alaysia Harrington; (bottom row) James Horatio, Jasmine Windom, Mya Calhoun, Cherkyianah Gibbs and Brady Ruffin. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Rising high school sophomores and juniors from across the state are looking for innovative ways to tackle social and economic problems in their hometowns after taking part in an annual University of Mississippi summer entrepreneurial leadership program.

The third annual McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, or MELP, was a weeklong experience for 15 students entering their sophomore and junior years. Presented by innovation fellows and scholars of the CEED Initiative at the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, the program took place in July on the Oxford campus.

Students from Clarksdale, Greenville, Marks, Lexington, New Albany, Newton, Sallis and Sardis all participated in the program this year. This included students from M Partner communities of Lexington and New Albany, where the university is piloting community engagement initiatives.

M Partner, a campuswide initiative that seeks to align university resources with community-driven projects to enhance quality of life in partner communities, also includes programs in Charleston.

“The goal of the MELP program was to introduce students from around the state to the entrepreneurial spirit of community and economic development,” said Elena Bauer, a law student and a CEED innovation fellow.

MELP students interacted with community leaders throughout Oxford and Lafayette County, and also attended readings and lectures by professors, community leaders and students.

“This leadership program was initiated to stimulate an entrepreneurial mindset that can be utilized to solve community and state problems through community engagement,” said Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute and professor of sociology.

The program is structured to cultivate innovative approaches to solving problems that students identified in their communities. Throughout the week, participants studied principles of entrepreneurship, data and demographics, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness.

This year included the addition of virtual reality technology that is being utilized to stimulate workforce skills in the high-tech industry of virtual and augmented reality.

Taylor Edwards (left), Maggie Jo Everett and Devin McCray participate in an exercise during the third annual McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. Submitted photo

“The impact from this weeklong program is being felt in communities across Mississippi,” said J.R. Love, CEED project manager. “Business and community leaders are seeing their local high school students develop action-oriented solutions for their own community.”

When asked about the experience of MELP, one student responded with, “These experiences will allow me to keep an even more open mind. I am also now more motivated to make change in my community.”

The goal of MELP and M Partner is to bring about this type of inspired and innovative thinking, said Laura Martin, associate director of the McLean Institute and director of M Partner.

“Thanks to our CEED students, program partners and the talented students who join us for MELP, we are able to learn from one another and join forces to address pressing social and economic problems in Mississippi,” Martin said. “I am optimistic that we can expand this program in the future and develop a network of partnerships across the state that will impact quality of life in Mississippi.”

Besides support from the Office of Pre-College Programs, other MELP partners include the university’s Center for Population Studies, School of Law, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Lobaki Inc. The Robert M. Hearin Foundation and UM alumnus Bill Fry also provided financial support to fund the CEED initiative and youth leadership and technology programs.

To learn more about the McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, visit To learn more about M Partner, visit

Food Day Festivities Kick Off Oct. 11

Monthlong celebration features farmers market, field trip and compost sifting event

The UM Office of Sustainability hosts its annual Food Day Festival and Farmer’s Market, a celebration of real food featuring a farmers market, free samples, giveaways, educational displays and more, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct.18 on Galtney-Lott Plaza. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Food Day, a national celebration of “real food” and the importance of sustainable food systems, throughout October.

The UM Office of Sustainability hosts its annual Food Day Festival and Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct.18 on Galtney-Lott Plaza. The event will feature a variety of local vendors and farmers, along with informational tables for campus food and wellness groups.

Participants can purchase fresh produce, try food samples and learn more about local food systems.

“The purpose of Food Day is to introduce students, faculty and staff to ways they can participate in our local food system,” said Kendall McDonald, project manager for the UM Office of Sustainability. “The event highlights those working in food sustainability in Oxford, including farmers, farmers markets, local organizations and businesses, and campus groups.

“People are often pleasantly surprised by how easy and fun it is to support local and while also decreasing the environmental impact of their food choices.”

Additional university-sponsored Food Day events include an Oct. 11 field trip to Home Place Pastures in Como, where students can see firsthand a sustainable pastured animal operation. Transportation is provided through the Office of Sustainability, but spots are limited and registration is required. Reserve your spot here.

“Meat production can be one of the most resource-intensive practices of our food industry, but when supporting a responsible farm like Home Place Pastures, animal, environmental and human well-being are taken into consideration,” McDonald said.

Lenoir Dining, the campus student-run restaurant, will feature a menu created from locally and sustainably sourced ingredients for the week of Oct. 15. Reservations are required.

Food Day campus activities will wrap up Oct. 31 with a “Spooky Compost Sift-a-Thon,” which offers a hands-on opportunity to learn about the Ole Miss Compost Program and help sift through the finished soil amendment. Volunteers who come in costume can win prizes.

“Including a composting event in our Food Day observation is important because food waste is such a critical component of our food system,” said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of the Office of Sustainability. “It helps students think about what happens to food after it leaves our plates, and the impacts that has on the environment, economy and human health.”

Community organizations also are celebrating Food Day. Good Food for Oxford Schools will host Food Day programming Oct. 24 at Oxford Elementary School. Volunteers opportunities are available.

The Oxford Community Market also will host a kid-friendly “Haunted Harvest” from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Old Armory Pavilion. The community market will remain open through late November.

For more about Food Day on campus and in the community, visit

Retired FedEx Vice President Shows Unwavering Support for UM

Mike Glenn continues to mentor and provide opportunities for Ole Miss students

Rose Flenorl (left), Mike Glenn, Donna Glenn and Mary Haskell gather at the Ole Miss Women’s Council’s Rose Ceremony in 2017. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – Organic chemistry was the game changer for Mike Glenn, retired executive vice president for market development and corporate communications at FedEx Corp. and a committed University of Mississippi alumnus.

The Memphis native came to Ole Miss in 1974 as a pharmacy major. He made it through his freshman year, but his attempt at organic chemistry as a sophomore made him realize pharmacy was not for him.

“I changed my major and entered the business school, which was a much better fit for me,” Glenn said. “Most of the classes, except for accounting, came fairly easily for me.

“It’s funny when you think about it. If it were not for the challenges I had with organic chemistry, I would have never had a career with FedEx.”

Glenn credits what he learned as a student in the business school with giving him the skills and knowledge he needed to move through the ranks at FedEx into senior leadership.

“My experience at Ole Miss, and specifically in the business school, provided an excellent academic foundation for my professional career,” he said. “The basic marketing principles I learned in the business school were the same ones we applied at FedEx to build the brand and grow the business.”

The importance of interacting well with people and treating them professionally and respectfully were also skills Glenn learned while in school, he said. In turn, he has served as a guest lecturer for the MBA program and presented FedEx case studies to undergraduate students.

“I served on the business school advisory board and also provided guidance to a number of students as they were preparing for their careers,” Glenn said. “The most fulfilling part has always been the interaction with the students.”

Glenn is an outstanding supporter of the school and the university, said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration.

“He has given back in many different ways, including talking to students via programs and class, serving on search committees, hiring our graduates and providing financial support,” Cyree said. “Mike is a shining example of what it means to be an Ole Miss Business Rebel and the impact our graduates have in the world.”

FedEx is a publicly traded company with annual revenues of $60 billion. Many Ole Miss business students vie for positions within the company.

“When I spoke to our FedEx intern class each year, it was always fun for me to identify the interns from Ole Miss and let them know how proud I am to be an Ole Miss graduate,” Glenn said.

Glenn showed his partiality toward Ole Miss when asked what sort of advice he might offer a high school student considering the university.

“We have the most beautiful college campus in the country, outstanding academic programs, an increasingly diverse student population with a wonderful school spirit,” he said. “I continue to be impressed with our leadership, faculty and staff, and the school’s vision for the future.”

Because of his enthusiasm for the university and so many graduates have been or are employed by FedEx, Glenn said it is important for the company to have a visible presence on campus. This enthusiasm resulted in the company’s sponsorship of the FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Support Center and additional financial support for other academic programs.

“Mike Glenn is a truly exceptional individual who has a tremendous impact on every endeavor he undertakes, from effecting change at a global company to nurturing the development of students,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Mike is to be commended for his deep commitment of time, energy, passion and resources that have contributed to the transformation of our university.

“We are so grateful for his leadership and his unwavering support as a fiercely loyal member of the Ole Miss family.”

An Ole Miss alumna and former FedEx employee reiterated Glenn’s influence as a leader.

“Mike is an extraordinary leader who always ignited confidence and pride in the employees who worked for him,” said Parul Bajaj, a Clinton native who received her MBA from Ole Miss in 2007 and worked for FedEx from 2007 to 2014 as a senior communications specialist. “Fed Ex is an internationally recognized and respected brand because of his leadership.”

Glenn’s love for Ole Miss is contagious. He and his wife, Donna, met over 30 years ago, as new employees at FedEx. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis. However, throughout their courtship, she came to learn how important Ole Miss is to Glenn and that she would be marrying into the “Ole Miss family.”

Over the years, she has come to love and appreciate the university as well – so much that Glenn often refers to his wife as a “walk-on alumna.”

In 2017, Glenn honored his wife by endowing an Ole Miss Women’s Council scholarship in her name.

“Donna has a degree in journalism, and she is a very talented communications professional,” he said. “After her career at FedEx, she has continued to use those skills in support of numerous charitable organizations in Memphis.

“The scholarship will support a student majoring in journalism, which seems appropriate given Donna’s degree and professional background.”

Glenn credits his education at Ole Miss with giving him the confidence he needed when he began his professional career as a sales representative in the elevator division of Dover Corp. in Memphis, and two years later began taking classes in the evenings to earn his MBA at the University of Memphis.

After completing his MBA, he went to work for FedEx, where he ultimately came to serve in the executive vice president position as well as one of five members of the company’s executive committee.

As a mentor to Ole Miss students, Glenn stresses the cultivation of strong communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team.

“Unfortunately, I have seen many very bright individuals fail to maximize their potential because they lacked the strong communication skills and could not be a productive member of a team,” he said. “Finally, it is never too early for a student to start developing his or her leadership skills.

“My undergraduate work in the business school really prepared me for the MBA program. Ole Miss provides an outstanding college experience, and I really enjoyed my time in the business school. I will never forget how much fun it was and the impact it had on my career.”

Hollingsworth Honors Sisters with Scholarship Naming

Ole Miss Women's Council scholars to benefit from new endowments

Dr. Gerald M. ‘Doc’ Hollingsworth (right) attends a Rose Garden ceremony with his sisters Ida Jo Gallant (left) and Billie Nell Jensen. Photo by Kirsten Faulkner/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – Dr. Gerald M. “Doc” Hollingsworth and his siblings have always been close.

Growing up in Centreville, sister Jo, two years his senior, considered herself literally her brother’s keeper.

“Jo taught me how to tie my shoes, comb my hair and brush my teeth,” said Hollingsworth, a 1953 University of Mississippi graduate who lives in Niceville, Florida. “She’s got a special place in my heart.”

In turn, Hollingsworth would dote on his baby sister, Billy Nell.

“They’re very sweet sisters. I guess mainly they remind me of my mother – the sweetest woman I ever knew,” said Hollingsworth, who recently established a $500,000 planned gift to establish two scholarships in honor of his sisters.

The Ida Jo Gallant Ole Miss Women’s Council Scholarship Endowment and the Billie Nell Jensen Ole Miss Women’s Council Scholarship Endowment will support full-time entering freshmen with proven academic ability and leadership potential. Besides their studies, recipients will be expected to participate in mentoring and leadership development programs sponsored by the OMWC.

“I hope the scholarships will give students the same opportunity I had when I went to Ole Miss and make it possible for them to get out of a life of financial struggle and become productive citizens and good members of their community,” Hollingsworth said.

Gallant, of Centreville, and Jensen, of Woodville, joined their brother recently beside the OMWC Rose Garden on the Oxford campus for a ceremony in which the scholarships were officially dedicated.

“We are just so happy and feel so honored he would do this for us,” Gallant said. “It was really kind of a surprise. We are just so happy he thought enough to honor us in his donation.

“We hope that the scholarship is going to help someone who wouldn’t be able to attend the university otherwise.” 

Jensen echoed her sister’s sentiments: “I am extremely honored that my brother made the donation and even more that he included my sister and me.

“The Women’s Council is going to have students so well-prepared and hopefully, as they get older and fly their wings, they will help other young students have opportunities like this. I believe his gift will inspire them to do so.” 

Hollingsworth has devoted a lifetime to taking care of his patients, monitoring the health of high school athletes, championing competition for intellectually challenged youth and providing major resources for his alma mater’s athletic programs.

Earlier this year, he received the 2018 Legacy Award, a prestigious honor that recognizes those who have a lifework of mentoring, leadership, scholarship and/or philanthropy – characteristics promoted and encouraged by the OMWC.

All of these are descriptive of Hollingsworth. The physician and businessman has mentored many young people and attributes his own successful medical career to mentors in his life.

“Dr. Earl Fyke, of Centerville, Mississippi, asked me to go on house calls with him and then shadow him at the hospital,” Hollingsworth said. “He was trying to encourage my interest in medicine.

“He actually demanded that I attend the University of Mississippi. I was already on the campus of another Mississippi university, and Dr. Fyke came and got me. He provided the necessary resources for me to attend Ole Miss and be successful.

“The other mentor in my life was Dr. Arthur Guyton – author of the world’s most widely used medical textbooks – who steered me to Harvard University for medical school after I finished Ole Miss. Dr. Guyton and Dr. Fyke were the two most influential people in my life, as well as my mother, Irma Blakeney Hollingsworth, who gave me unconditional love and support and made me believe I could achieve my dreams.”

OMWC chair Mary Susan Gallien Clinton, of Naples, Florida, expressed her gratitude for Hollingsworth’s generous gift.

“Doc devoted almost 35 years to serving as the team doctor for Choctawhatchee, Ft. Walton Beach and Niceville high schools,” she said. “He helped found the All-Sports Foundation of Northwest Florida and helped establish the first chapter of Special Olympics in Florida.

“He has a real heart for young people, and this gift makes that even more evident. We greatly appreciate his foresight in helping students succeed academically.”

The OMWC was established in 2000 by a group of female leaders and philanthropists. It awards scholarships to both young women and men based on their academic performance, desire to give back to society and successful interview process.

Council members are committed to nurturing the development of the students through mentoring, leadership development, cultural experiences and travel opportunities.

In its 18th year of existence, the OMWC scholarship endowment stands at more than $13.1 million. The $32,000 named scholarships are awarded each year and have grown to be among the largest on campus. Thus far, 145 OMWC scholars have benefited from the program.

Hollingsworth also has provided a number of generous private gifts to ensure that Ole Miss athletics programs have the resources to provide student-athletes with competitive opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities, as well as to enhance the fan experience.

Hollingsworth said he believes in athletic competition on all levels for its many benefits: “It develops the mind, body and personal confidence, giving athletes a sense of accomplishment. It expands participants’ horizons, helps them meet people and make friends – competition adds spice to life!”

Hollingsworth saw much success not only with his medical practice but also with automobile dealerships and a real estate company. After completing a surgical residency at Duval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, he was a U.S. Navy flight surgeon from 1957 to 1959.

The physician began his private surgical practice in Ft. Walton, Florida, in 1960. In 1968, he served as a volunteer physician with Project Hope in Da Nang, Vietnam, treating civilian battle casualties. For many years, Hollingsworth also was a medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Besides the OMWC’s Legacy Award, Hollingsworth been honored with the Amateur Football Award for contributions to the collegiate athletic world by the Ole Miss chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame; the Community Service Award by the All-Sports Association of Northwest Florida; and he was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 2015, the longtime donor committed $25 million – the largest gift in the history of Ole Miss athletics – to support the Forward Together campaign and create the Gerald M. Hollingsworth, M.D., Athletic Scholarship Endowment.

When asked about his major support of Ole Miss, Hollingsworth explained: “I love the school so much. Ole Miss took a shy, awkward young fellow and turned him into someone with enough confidence to achieve the things I have achieved. I will never forget what Ole Miss has given for me, the educational foundation and the outstanding experiences.”

Read more about the Women’s Council at For information on how to make a gift to support OMWC programming, contact Suzanne Helveston, development associate, at or 662-915-2956.