Business School Launches Networking Program

Business Connect will link students with former graduates for employment

Alon Bee (left) of Regions Bank, Phil Dixon of R.J. Young and Tyler Meisenheimer, Business Connect director, gather at a Jackson reception to officially launch the UM Business Connect program. Photo by Caroline Stewart

OXFORD, Miss. – Gathering leaders from some of the state’s largest businesses for a high-powered reception in Jackson, the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration has kicked off a new networking program to connect students with alumni for employment.

The Business Connect program, founded this summer, seeks to determine the hiring/talent acquisition goals of employers and match them with the school’s “business-ready” students and graduates for placement with permanent career and internship opportunities.

The program officially kicked off Nov. 8 at a reception at the Jackson Yacht Club. Attendees included UM business Dean Ken Cyree, Business Connect director Tyler Meisenheimer and representatives of the school’s advisory board, alumni and potential employers.

“Business leaders have spoken about keeping a talented workforce in state,” Meisenheimer said. “The business school at the University of Mississippi has listened to their voices and acted quickly with the creation of this new program.

“My focus is to build relationships with industry leaders to discover their talent-acquisition goals that match our ‘business-ready’ graduates. Our students are benefitting from a multitude of career preparation resources with a dedicated team to prepare them for their respective careers.”

The purpose of the gathering was to bring industry leaders and university advocates together to learn about how the program can benefit their organizations with hiring top talent. Some 60 attendees representing 25 companies came to learn about the program’s goals and to connect with one other.

Chip Crunk (left) of R.J. Young, incoming president of the business school advisory board; Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration, and Melanie Dowell of Morgan Stanley, president of the school’s advisory board, chat at the Jackson reception. Photo by Caroline Stewart

“We were pleased with the response and the turnout for the event,” said Melanie Dowell, president of the school’s advisory board. “We were also particularly impressed by the number of businesses expressing a desire to learn more about the Business Connect program and hire our graduates.

“We are excited about this new program for the business school and appreciate Dean Cyree and Provost Wilkin’s support and enthusiasm as we move ahead.”

The participating organizations included: C Spire, Trustmark Bank, Butler Snow LLP, University of Mississippi Medical Center, St. Dominic Health Services, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corp., Regions Bank, Sysco, Ergon, Morgan Stanley, Raymond James, Irby, the Molpus Group and BancorpSouth.

Hu Meena, C Spire president and CEO, discussed the uniqueness of Ole Miss business graduates who are highly-skilled in communication and networking and have excelled as C Spire employees.

Cyree discussed the university’s commitment to Business Connect, and Meisenheimer detailed how the business school is taking major strides to prepare students for future careers and internships.

“This is the first step in outreach to potential employers who will hire our graduates, and the success of the event was very encouraging,” Cyree said. “We are pleased to have had such a successful launch of this final piece of our career team to help our students get jobs and internships.

“We are delighted there was such an interest in Business Connect, and the impact it will have as employers engage with the business school and hire our students.”

Brisack Makes History as UM’s First Female Rhodes Scholar

Senior from Oxford earns coveted award, becomes university's 26th honoree

Jaz Brisack

OXFORD, Miss. – Jaz Brisack is the University of Mississippi’s 26th Rhodes Scholar, and the first woman in the university’s history to be selected to the elite international academic program. 

Brisack, a senior general studies major from Oxford, is the 2018 Truman Scholar for Mississippi and has a long history as a champion for human, civil and labor rights in Mississippi. She is president of the College Democrats and a frequent contributor to The Daily Mississippian.

She has worked as a teacher-adviser for the Sunflower Freedom Project in 2016 and as a labor organizer with the United Auto Workers on the Nissan campaign. She also helps defend the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, known as the “Pink House,” Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic.

She was selected after interviews with officials from the Rhodes Trust Nov. 16-17 in Birmingham, Alabama. Scholarship recipients were announced Saturday (Nov. 17).

“I guess this is one small step toward smashing the patriarchy,” Brisack said. “But I think it’s especially important to use this platform to call attention to the way the glass ceiling is easier for some women to break through than others.”

The Rhodes Scholarships, which were created in 1902, bring outstanding students from many countries to the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Besides “intellectual distinction,” the selection committee seeks excellence in qualities of mind and of person, which combined offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead.

Rhodes Scholars receive tuition, travel, room and board, and a stipend for two years of study at Oxford University, with the possibility of being renewed for a third year.

Ole Miss students Jarvis Benson and John Chappell were also 2018 finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship and competed in Birmingham with Brisack. Besides those current students, Chinelo Ibekwe, a 2018 chemical engineering graduate from Lagos, Nigeria, was named a finalist in the Rhodes Scholarships for West Africa program. She will interview Dec. 1 in her category. 

UM has had 25 Rhodes Scholars and many Rhodes finalists, but never four finalists in one year.

“I’m awed by how wonderful the other applicants all are,” Brisack said. “I’ve known John and Jarvis, the other UM applicants, for years and am continually inspired by them. But everyone was brilliant, caring and amazing.”

Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said that from last year’s Truman Scholarship to this distinction of being the university’s first female Rhodes Scholar, Brisack continues to chart a groundbreaking path of excellence.

“Her success on the national stage reflects the best of the university’s exceptional programs – like the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College – that enable students to flourish intellectually and personally,” Vitter said. “With her deep drive, leadership abilities and passion, Jaz will continue making a difference in the lives of others.”

Douglass Sullivan-González, dean of the UM Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, said that out of the thousands of honors students he’s met over a decade-and-a-half, Brisack is one of the top 10.

“She engaged our academic community with deep conviction, knowledge and understanding,” Sullivan-González said. “The name of Jaz Brisack may become a household name when all is said and done. I’m proud to know her as a colleague and scholar of the SMBHC.”

Brisack is thankful for the opportunity that Ole Miss and the Honors College have provided her to work with professors who have inspired her.

“I have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people at this school, from Debra Young and Tim Dolan to Joe Atkins and Curtis Wilkie to JoAnn Edwards and Kiese Laymon,” Brisack said. “They have challenged me to think about the world in different ways and inspired me to pursue this chance.”

Journalism professor Curtis Wilkie first met Brisack when she was in an upper-level Honors College course he was teaching. He said Brisack is one of the most extraordinary students he’s ever taught. 

“I was astonished that she already knew virtually every book that I cited during the semester,” Wilkie said. “Aside from her excellent grades, I’ve been impressed by her passion for so many causes that are rarely embraced by people of her age. 

“We are all so proud of Jaz, and feel that her triumph is one for Ole Miss as well.”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Ranks Ole Miss MBA Program in Top 50

National recognition given for the university's advanced degree

Officers for the 2018-19 MBA class at UM are (front, from left) Maranda Armstrong, vice president of finance; Mary-Morgan Coburn, vice president of social events; and Abbey Bufkin, vice president of communications and public relations and (back, from left) Chi Cunningham, vice president of recruitment; Quinn McKemey, co-president; John Irvine, co-president; and Blain Rose, vice president of community service. Bloomberg BusinessWeek has ranked the Ole Miss MBA program at No. 37 among American public universities. Photo by Andrew Nail

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Master of Business Administration program has been named as one of the nation’s best by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The rankings, released Thursday (Nov. 8), place Ole Miss at No. 37 among American public universities.

For the 2018 edition, Bloomberg ranked MBA programs using four categories: Compensation, Learning, Networking and Entrepreneurship. The UM program came in at No. 28 in Entrepreneurship.

“We are excited about the success we have enjoyed in our MBA program, and the reflection of the quality of our program as indicated in these rankings,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “These rankings are an indication of the dedicated faculty and staff who make the program successful, and our alumni who add depth with personal development programs for our students.

“We are especially proud of being ranked No. 28 in the area of entrepreneurship, as this is an up-and-coming part of the business school that has existed for less than a decade.”

All schools surveyed were required to submit employment data for the Class of 2017 following standards set by MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance, a trade group founded in 1994 to establish and collect consistent, comparable, peer-reviewed data.

“The reputation of our MBA program is a result of a team of faculty members who are highly qualified and intensely engaged with our students,” said Walter Davis, faculty adviser to the MBA program. “The faculty work hard to develop the professional skill set of our students.”

Bloomberg surveyed 26,699 MBA students, alumni and recruiters in 2018 about their goals and experiences. These rankings are based on their responses, as well as compensation and job placement data from each school. A full global ranking will be published Dec. 11.

“We are proud of our program and our most recent rankings,” said Ashley McGee, the program’s director. “Earning an MBA is going to give a person the opportunity to advance within their field and the flexibility to move across industries.

“At Ole Miss, we have the option of a one-year campus program, and the success of the program is a collaborative effort.”

Coming in at No. 71 overall, UM ranked ahead of Auburn, at No. 75; Syracuse, No. 77; Missouri, No. 82; and University of South Carolina, No. 86.

Museum Unveils 2018 Keepsake Ornament

Collectible allows Ole Miss faithful to show off the Grove in their holiday decor

The 2018 University Museum holiday keepsake ornament features the Grove, the iconic heart of the Ole Miss campus. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses has unveiled its 18th annual holiday keepsake ornament, celebrating one of the university’s most beautiful spaces and time-honored traditions, the Grove.

“Whether it be memories of football Saturdays, the pride of receiving a degree or just lounging on a sunny afternoon, the Grove holds a special place in the hearts of the entire Ole Miss community,” said Kate Wallace, the museum’s membership, events and communications coordinator. “The UM Museum is honored to celebrate the most beautiful space on one of the most beautiful campuses with this year’s keepsake ornament.”

The 10-acre green space in the center of campus, officially named the Grove in 1935, was first envisioned and implemented by Robert Burwell Fulton, UM chancellor from 1892 to 1906. When the university was building its first library, Ventress Hall, in 1889, Fulton extended the campus east, outside the “inner circle” toward the train depot, and planted trees and shrubs to beautify the campus.

During his time as chancellor, Fulton worked to grow and preserve the lush landscape.

In the 1950s, under the coaching of John Vaught, the football Rebels were a national power, and the Grove began to transform into the tailgate mecca it is today. Students moved their pregame festivities from sorority and fraternity houses to a more centralized location on campus.

Fans parked cars, trucks, buses and RVs under the trees on game days until a massive rainstorm in 1991 forced the university to ban vehicles in the Grove completely.

Today, the Grove is more than just one of the country’s best football tailgates. It hosts year-round community events, including the annual Summer Sunset Concert Series, and is the main venue for the university’s annual Commencement ceremonies.

The Grove commemorative ornament is available for $25 in the Museum Store. Ornaments can be purchased in the store or by phone at 662-915-7073. Shipping within the continental U.S. is $7, and all shipped orders must be placed by Dec. 10 if needed by the holiday. All sales are final.

“Sales of the annual ornament provide much-needed support for the collection and programming we offer throughout the year,” Wallace said. “As always, we are blown away and appreciative of the support we receive from the Rebel faithful.” 

Collectible ornaments from previous years, which are still available, include the Old Skipwith House, Brandt Memory House, Ventress Hall, the Lafayette County Courthouse, Oxford City Hall, the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Jersey, the Theora Hamblett House, Theora Hamblett’s “Christmas Trees,” the Walk of Champions, Oxford’s Double Decker Bus, the Herakles Neck Amphora and the Barlow’s Planetarium. Previous years’ ornaments are $20 each.

Museum members and Friends of the Museum get a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the store. To become a member, visit or stop by the museum.

The UM Museum is at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Holiday hours for the museum store are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays.

Museum gallery visiting hours will remain the same, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. To learn more about upcoming events, exhibits or how to support the museum, visit or call 662-915-7073.

Former Band Member’s Gift to Help Construct New Tower

Alumnus Sumner Spradling's leading effort; new facility to bear his name

UM band members and administrators gather to thank alumnus and former band member Sumner Spradling for his lead gift that will help begin construction of a new director’s tower. Pictured are (from left) Matt Louis, of Corinth; Ole Miss band director David Willson; Matt Smith, of Flowood; donors Risa and Sumner Spradling; Wil Stacy, of Southaven; Francena Sekul, of Biloxi; UM development officer Ron Wilson; Richard Springer, of Biloxi; and Max Warren, of Ocean Springs. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – A gift to the University of Mississippi is expected to help take the Ole Miss band program to a new level – literally.

Sumner Spradling, of Greensboro, North Carolina, has given $100,000 to establish the Band Director’s Tower Fund, an account designed to support the construction of a new director’s stand overlooking the practice field of the Pride of the South, the university’s acclaimed marching band.

“I hope the tower will enable the band director and staff to observe the marching band in a safe environment while also helping to move Ole Miss practice facilities into a competitive position,” said Spradling, a Clarksdale native who graduated from UM in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in music education; he later earned a master’s degree in music education from the University of South Carolina.

Because of his lead gift, the tower will bear Spradling’s name.

“Sumner stood beside me in jazz band decades ago and is a great musician, composer and better person,” Ole Miss band director David Willson said. “He contacted me and asked what he could do to help the band. He offered to sponsor it and do more, wanting nothing in return but the good feeling it gave him to serve the institutional band that served him. 

“Now he is the leader in kicking off our field renovations, and we are very thankful for his generosity and leadership in this important campaign.”

Spradling chose to attend Ole Miss after meeting then-band director Luther Snavely.

“I loved the idea of becoming an Ole Miss Rebel and when I visited the campus, Dr. Snavely welcomed me and offered an attractive scholarship,” said Spradling, who played trumpet for the band. “Plus, Ole Miss had – and still has – a reputation for academic excellence and therefore was the best option among the in-state schools.”

During his time at Ole Miss, Spradling focused on earning top grades, often taking in excess of 20 hours a semester while also managing to practice, attend rehearsal, work part time in the music library and become active with a number of campus and honorary organizations, including Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Kappa Phi.

“The memories that stand out from my time at Ole Miss are not necessarily extraordinary; they are instead mostly of the simple pleasures,” said Spradling, elaborating, “… enjoying the beauty of the campus while walking to class, the activity and excitement of home games, making lifelong friends, eating pizza at Pasquale’s on the Oxford Square and, believe it or not, classes. I loved them!”

After graduating from Ole Miss and spending six years as a band director in Sumter, South Carolina, and at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, Spradling returned to Mississippi to help with the family business. His father founded Infolab Inc. in Coahoma County, which became one of the nation’s largest regional medical-supply distribution centers, covering 22 states.

Upon his father’s death, Spradling became president, managing the company for three years until 2012, when Infolab merged with a larger company.

He always kept his interest in playing music.

“Through the years, I have continued to actively pursue opportunities in music, serving as interim minister of music in numerous churches and playing in various professional and community ensembles,” he said.

Spradling and his wife, Risa, have two adult sons, Jason and Carter, who live nearby with their families. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren as well as farming, hunting, golfing and time at the beach.

He remains active in his church and serves as principal trumpet in one of the local symphonies. He also plays in a swing band in Danville, Virginia.

Up to $100,000 more is needed to fully cover the tower’s construction costs, said Ron Wilson, the band’s development officer.

The Sumner Spradling Band Director’s Tower Fund is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or visit

For information on supporting the Pride of the South, contact Ron Wilson at 662-915-1755 or

Ignite Campaign Aims to Take Living Music Resource to Next Level

Innovative music program gives students experience, career edge

The UM Living Music Resource team includes (from left) Carley Wilemon, Jesse Gibens, Nancy Maria Balach, Ava Street, Caitlin Richardson and Haley Tyrrell. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The goals of the Living Music Resource, a program of the University of Mississippi Department of Music, are not modest: to expand music education and training to include career preparation, community engagement, and technical and digital know-how, and to infuse it all with the energy and intensity of a great entertainment experience.

To this end, LMR produces a live-streaming talk show that features music professionals from Mississippi and around the country. It also produces the Living Music Institute, which offers intense vocal training and professional development for serious music students getting ready to launch their careers, and collaborates with partners on events that explore music’s capacity for healing, change and engagement.

“To be competitive in our field today, music students need to be more than just excellent musicians,” said Nancy Maria Balach, LMR creator and artistic director. “They need to understand digital platforms, they need to experience practical ways their music can build community, and they need to be prepared to innovate in their chosen field

To support this scope of work, LMR is teaming up with the University Foundation to kick off an Ignite fundraising campaign.

“LMR has advanced to such a spectacular point that the need for financial growth was inevitable in order to maintain the level of showmanship that has blossomed underneath Nancy Maria,” said Brady Bramlett, LMR executive managing director. “We want to take LMR to the highest level possible by continuing to bring in artists that are the best-of-the-best and offering these opportunities free for our students.”

Balach and Bramlett said they hope to raise well over the $10,000 goal set for the IGNITE campaign.

“People in many other states and in other countries connect with our program through ‘LMR Live’s’ interactive live stream talk show, the aria-intensive Living Music Institute and our other innovative programming,” Balach said.

“We’re reaching beyond the edges not only of our state, but of our discipline by expanding opportunities for musicians. We’re looking especially at the ways that musicians can use their gifts to be a part of why their communities work, no matter where they go from Ole Miss.”

LMR students have a 100 percent success rate of acceptance into prestigious graduate programs or career placement in the music field.

Cody Arthur, a recent graduate and former LMR team member, benefitted from the program’s unique blend of education and entertainment – or “edutainment,” as team members say.

“LMR opens so many doors to people everywhere by giving them the opportunity to connect with professionals in all aspects of the performing arts and that is invaluable,” Arthur said.

Katherine McLaughlin, also a recent Ole Miss graduate and former LMR team member, said, “I was picked for my job because of my previous work with LMR.”

Past shows are available for free at, and donations are being accepted at

Student Union Naming Opportunity Honors Longtime Dean of Students

Judith D. Trott Hotty Toddy Conference Room pays tribute to campus icon

Judy Trott, former longtime UM dean of students, responds at a reception honoring her with the naming of a conference room in the expanded and renovated Student Union. Sparky Reardon (left), also a former dean of students, spoke about Trott’s many contributions to Ole Miss. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – When University of Mississippi students, faculty and staff gather in the new Judith D. Trott Hotty Toddy Conference Room in the Ole Miss Student Union, they will be working and meeting under the name of an icon who spent her career paving the way for them.

Retired Dean of Students Judy Trott, of Oxford, has been honored with the naming of the conference room, after her sorority and a host of friends and family members contributed almost $60,000 to the Student Affairs Leadership and Engagement Endowment. The Alpha Psi chapter of Delta Gamma and Emily and Don Newcomb, of Oxford, made major gifts to the initiative, along with about 96 other friends and family members.

Trott joined Ole Miss in 1966 and dedicated her life to building opportunities and services for students. That’s why gifts to the endowment were a natural choice, said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“I am well aware that I stand on the shoulders of a giant,” Hephner LaBanc added.

Gifts to the Student Union are directed to a permanent endowment, with the annual income providing sustainable funding to support students’ involvement in co-curricular activities and organizations. Student Affairs launched this campaign in alignment with the Student Union expansion and renovation project.

“The work we do every day in Student Affairs to help facilitate student engagement and success is a direct result of the groundwork specifically laid by Dr. Judy Trott,” Hephner LaBanc said. “It is perfectly fitting that her name will be a permanent fixture in the new Student Union; our students will forever know her name and the impact she had on student life at Ole Miss.

“The Student Affairs Leadership and Engagement Endowment will provide financial resources each year to help enhance leadership development offerings such as competency-specific trainings, educational programs, motivational speakers and conferences. Thanks to donors’ support toward the naming of the Judy Trott Hotty Toddy Room, our students will enjoy expanded opportunities to learn and hone their leadership skills within the Ole Miss Student Union and across our beautiful campus.”

Trott was honored with a recent reception at Memory House, home of the University of Mississippi Foundation, to celebrate the naming of the conference room.

The renovation and expansion of the Student Union will not be completed until early 2019. The $50 million project is nearly doubling the building’s physical space from 97,600 square feet to more than 173,000 square feet to serve the growing student body.

In thanking family and friends at the reception, Trott said, “This is quite an honor, especially since it was a grassroots endeavor.”

She talked about some of the challenges of her time as dean of students, including implementing the American with Disabilities Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act. The first ensured that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The second guaranteed that no one could be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of any education program or activity receiving federal assistance. Both led to changes on campus.

Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor emerita for university relations, helped lead the initiative to raise funds for the naming opportunity and thanked donors for their “great and amazing support.”

“Judy and I both came to Ole Miss the same year,” Kellum said. “We worked together and have had the great fortune of seeing this university grow and expand, becoming the magnificent institution it is today.

“There is no way to adequately describe the significant contributions Judy has made to Ole Miss and to the student experience on this campus. We all thought this naming opportunity in the Student Union would help reflect her great legacy at Ole Miss.”

Emily Newcomb (left) and Dr. Don Newcomb are among donors honoring Judy Trott, former longtime UM dean of students, with the naming of a conference room in the Ole Miss Student Union. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

Thomas “Sparky” Reardon, also a retired dean of students who worked part of his career with Trott as the associate dean, recalled how Trott opened her home through the years to students, faculty and staff, building a nurturing community.

“She took care of all of us. Her service to Ole Miss was more than an occupation; it was a lifestyle,” said Reardon, calling Trott his mentor and friend.

Reardon also shared how Trott served on 12 university standing committees, seamlessly directed the recruitment process of sororities and fraternities each year, advised the Ole Miss cheerleaders and exhibited a lifelong dedication to Delta Gamma sorority.

Wilma Johnson Wilbanks, of Cleveland, an Ole Miss alumna and national president of Delta Gamma, wrote in a note read to Trott: “The magnitude of your legacy will always be remembered.”

To make a gift to the Student Affairs Leadership and Engagement Endowment, send a check with the endowment name noted in the check’s memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or online at

To learn more about naming opportunities in the Ole Miss Student Union or for information on other ways to help strengthen the services of the Division of Student Affairs, contact development officer Brett Barefoot at or 662-915-2711.

Concert Celebrates Life and Music of Leonard Bernstein

Son Alexander Bernstein and guest artists join the UM Chorus for 'Bernstein at 100'

Leonard Bernstein

OXFORD, Miss. – The life and music of the legendary Leonard Bernstein will be celebrated with a concert of his music Tuesday (Nov. 6) at the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Alexander Bernstein, the maestro’s son, will be in attendance, joined by guest conductor Dennis Shrock, several soloists, the Bernstein Festival Orchestra and the UM Chorus, directed by Donald Trott.

Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 years old in 2018, and the Ole Miss concert is part of a global celebration, with thousands of events planned over a two-year period to celebrate this giant composer, conductor, pianist, educator and activist. Organized by the UM Department of Music, the observance also will include two public lectures on Bernstein’s life and work.

“Leonard Bernstein was the flamboyant and charismatic music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 11 years beginning in 1958, after which he was active as guest conductor with most of the leading orchestras in the world,” said Robert Riggs, UM music department chair. “He is perhaps best known now for having composed the music for the Broadway shows ‘On the Town’ and ‘West Side Story.’

“However, he was a prolific composer, and I recommend our concert as a wonderful opportunity to hear several of his other beautiful works.”

“Bernstein at 100: A Musical Celebration,” set for 7:30 p.m., includes several works, including “Chichester Psalms,” which Bernstein composed 1965 for the Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England. The work is based on texts from Psalms 23, 100, 108 and 131. Written in three movements, it features a full orchestra, a full chorus and a boy soprano, guest soloist Emmanuel Tsao, of Memphis.

The concert also includes selections from two of Bernstein’s best-loved works, “Peter Pan” and “Candide.”

“Peter Pan” was completed in 1950 and opened that same year on Broadway, but the show did not include Bernstein’s full score. In 2000, conductor Alexander Frey created a new production after finding the original full score, which included several never-performed songs, including “Dream with Me,” which will be part of the Ford Center program.

Soprano Stefanie Moore, of Santa Monica, California, will sing Wendy’s role, and Bradley Robinson, UM associate professor of music, will be Captain Hook.

Based on Voltaire’s novella, “Candide” was originally conceived by Lillian Hellman as a play with incidental music. Bernstein’s enthusiasm for the idea of expanding the piece into an operetta persuaded her to rework it as a libretto.

Many lyricists reworked this piece through the years, and it remains a Bernstein fan favorite. For the Ford Center performance, the chorus and orchestra will present “Best of All Possible Worlds” and “Make Our Garden Grow.”

Besides the concert, two related lectures will offer glimpses into Bernstein’s career. They are free and open to the public.

The first, set for 1 p.m. Monday (Nov. 5) in Nutt Auditorium, features guest conductor Shrock discussing “Chichester Psalms.” The second, at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 6) in Nutt Auditorium, features Alexander Bernstein speaking about his father in “Leonard Bernstein and Artful Learning.”

“For our Bernstein celebration, I am thrilled that Alexander Bernstein is able to join us,” said Trott, Ole Miss director of choral activities. “He and his two sisters, Jaime and Nina, have been traveling the globe attending many, many events.

“We are so fortunate to hear about his father from this unique perspective and, in addition, to hear about Bernstein’s educational legacy, as Alexander is the current president of Artful Learning (an interdisciplinary educational model that uses fine arts to strengthen learning in all academic areas).”

Tickets for “Bernstein at 100: A Musical Celebration” are available from the UM Box Office at 662-915-7411 or Reserved seats range from $18 to $25 for the general public and $10 for Ole Miss students.

Female Entrepreneurs Look to the Future at Inaugural REDe Summit

Panel of Mississippi women advises a new generation of business leaders

Liza Cirlot Looser (left), Leigh Reeves, Gail Pittman, Donna Barksdale and Jan Farrington discuss women in entrepreneurship at the recent REDe Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by the UM School of Business Administration. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – An estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses operated in the United States as of January 2017, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.7 trillion in revenues, an American Express report revealed.

And 62 percent of women entrepreneurs say their business is their primary source of income, according to Small Business Trends, an online data tracking source.

“It takes a special kind of person to become an entrepreneur,” said Robyn Tannehill, mayor of Oxford, opening the second day of the inaugural REDe Entrepreneurship Summit at the University of Mississippi. “Women who are leaders have a responsibility to aid in the success of other women.”

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship welcomed Ole Miss students and the general public for the panel discussion on Oct. 19, the second day of the conference. The discussion was followed by student mentoring sessions with the panelists and CIE-linked entrepreneurs.

The panel included some of the state’s most successful women entrepreneurs: Donna Barksdale, president of Mississippi River Trading Co.; Jan Farrington, executive director of Medical Support and Development Organization Inc.; Gail Pittman, CEO of Gail Pittman Inc.; Leigh Reeves, founder and CEO of Snapshot Publishing; and Liza Cirlot Looser, CEO of the Cirlot Agency.

Looser opened the discussion by asking each panelist to reflect on her college curriculum and what she might have done differently. All wished they had taken one course: accounting.

“I would have taken some accounting had I known I was going to be where I ended up,” Pittman said. “Accounting is what makes everything work.”

Most admitted to moments of discouragement at various points in their career but encouraged audience members to persevere and to always “bring your A game.”

Audience members at the inaugural REDe Entrepreneurship Summit listens as women business leaders discuss entrepreneurship in Mississippi and the importance of ‘bringing your A game.’ Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“We tend, as women, to minimize ourselves and our work and our accomplishments,” Barksdale said. “We are hard-wired to not appear too aggressive, too forward, but I encourage you all to not minimize yourself, ever.”

Farrington offered a different perspective based on her experience investing in businesses in Mississippi.

“I didn’t have anyone who didn’t support my ideas,” she said. “But I realized early on that it wasn’t about having people say ‘no,’ but finding people to encourage you. It’s important to find those people or the mentor who will be supportive of you.”

Reeves told participants that she tries to “hire my weaknesses.” She explained that she considers writing to be her weakness, but she doesn’t allow that deficiency to hurt her brand or slow her success.

“I hired an editor early on and they added much more to it,” Reeves said. “We worked together and learned from each other, pulling stories together and building content.”

The group concluded by providing words of wisdom to an audience filled with future entrepreneurs.

“Your dream is your dream, and you are the CEO of you,” Pittman said. “You’re in charge of your corporation, building your own dream, and Mississippi is a great place to start it.”

CIE leaders and others who helped organize the summit felt the panelists’ messages resonated with students and reinforced the objectives for the gathering.

“Our goal for the REDe Summit is to inspire students with varied academic backgrounds, such as the arts, engineering, pharmacy or business to engage in entrepreneurship,” said Clay Dibrell, CIE executive director. “This year’s summit theme focused on women’s entrepreneurship and change.

“There were several female and male students, from diverse backgrounds and majors, who are now thinking about the power of entrepreneurship to positively change not only their lives but those around them.”

The panel highlighted accomplished women in Mississippi, UM alumna and student-entrepreneurs who are trying to move forward with their own business ideas.

“It was wonderful to see so many students gather to learn from these successful women from across the world,” said Richard Gentry, CIE director. “The CIE was happy to have the opportunity to partner with members of our board and the Oxford community to put on such a well-attended and exciting program. We are looking forward to next year’s event.”

Investment Banking Workshop Prepares Students for Success

Professionals give an experienced perspective to eager upperclassmen

UM finance professors Ivonne Liebenberg (left), Andrew Lynch third from left) and Travis Box (right) gather with students who attended the Investment Banking Workshop hosted by School of Business Administration at the Jackson Avenue Center. Photo by Stephen Fier/School of Business Administration

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of business students at the University of Mississippi got career advice, interview tips and a crash course in the direction of the financial industry from professionals in the field at the recent Investment Banking Workshop, hosted by the School of Business Administration.

The two-day event connected students with professionals, who offered advice on how to prepare to land that first job and pointers on how to succeed in the workforce.

“Thanks to the generous donation of one of our sponsors, the Mississippi CFA Society, seven Tupelo students had the privilege of attending the investment banking workshop,” said Ivonne Liebenberg, instructional assistant professor of finance.

“It was an incredible opportunity for them to network, prepare for interviews, review what they have learned in an intensive eight-hour workshop and also get a glimpse of what their careers in the financial industry will look like in the future.”

The event kicked off with a panel discussion and Q&A session with Charles White, executive managing director of Stifel Financial Capital Markets; Britton Wilkins, senior vice president of Vining-Sparks IBG LP; and Sam Haskell, managing member of Colarian LLC.

White discussed changes in the markets since he began investing, emphasizing that “the markets continue to puncture, yet the markets are made of the people.”

“You just need to get your foot in the door,” White said. “Once you are in, that is where the opportunities come up. I wish I would have known that this is a very long race.

“You will always be learning with change and challenge.”

During the Q&A session, a student asked Haskell about the qualities he looks for in an analyst.

“Try to figure out how you will stand out,” Haskell said. “Job hires are looking for how long someone will stick with them before offering the job. Observe people around you and communicate a solid work ethic.”

The workshop included investment banking interview prep sessions where Jeff Schmidt, a financial analyst with extensive industry experience at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. and Raymond James Financial, reviewed basic accounting and helped prepare students for potential interviews. This was an opportunity for students to consider challenging interview questions and formulate responses.

“Over the past few years, the finance department has worked to widen the career pathways for our managerial finance majors,” said Travis Box, assistant professor of finance. “The investment banking workshop as born out of these efforts, and our inaugural event was an overwhelming success.”

Students gave the workshop high marks.

“Being able to meet and network with professionals in the career field I am pursuing helped to alleviate some of the worry I was having about moving forward after graduating,” said Tianna Brand, a senior managerial finance major from Jackson. “With the information learned on Friday, I am much more confident to walk into a job interview.”

“Career development is not focused on as much in college,” said Jonathan Taylor, a junior from Diamondhead who has a double major in managerial finance and economics. “Ole Miss is doing a really great job with facilitating the transition between an educational environment and a work environment.”

“The University of Mississippi offers a variety of beneficial resources on and off campus, but what I experienced at the Wall Street Prep Investment Banking session was leaps and bounds above anything I have participated in thus far as a student,” said Cam Iadeluca, a senior accounting major from North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

“Having gone through recruitment at different investment banks and interning with a few firms this past summer, I know firsthand that technical questions during an interview can make or break your chances of landing a position.”

The workshop, conducted Oct. 4-5, succeeded in helping students bridge the gap between classroom theory and real-world practice, said Andrew Lynch, assistant professor of finance.

“We had 44 students come out to learn how to start a career from several incredibly successful finance professionals,” Lynch said. “The goal was to ensure these students start building their careers on as solid of a foundation as possible.

“By reinforcing concepts learned in the classroom, these students are now better prepared to show potential employers the skills they can bring to their jobs.”