Overstreet Gift to Help Low-Income Students Attend UM

Estate gift supports Ole Miss Opportunity program

UM Foundation President and CEO Wendell Weakley (center) presents Mike Overstreet (left) and Larry Overstreet with a plaque, recognizing their mother’s generous estate gift to the Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship program. UM Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – An estate gift provided by the late Katie Mae Overstreet, of Oxford, will help give lower-income Mississippians an opportunity to attend the University of Mississippi.

Overstreet’s gift was designated by her sons, Mike and Larry Overstreet, both of Oxford, to support the Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides financial aid for tuition, housing and meals. Recipients must be residents of Mississippi, incoming freshmen, enrolled full-time, with a family adjusted gross income of $30,000 or below and a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher.

“We are especially grateful for this gift to the Ole Miss Opportunity program – what a wonderful way to honor Katie Mae Overstreet’s legacy of generosity and commitment to helping others,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“The OMO program was the first of its kind in Mississippi, and the Overstreet gift will have an integral impact on our ability to extend a quality education to the broadest range of deserving students, regardless of circumstance, embodying the OMO program motto, ‘From here, it’s possible.'”

“Mother and daddy believed in what education could do for kids in our state,” said Mike Overstreet, a 1970 graduate of the UM School of Business Administration. “They wanted us to get an education, and I know they would approve of this gift.”

Larry Overstreet, a 1974 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts, agreed: “Mother would be proud to know that her gift is helping kids have an opportunity to get an education that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get because of a lack of funds.”

Since its inception in 2010, 931 students have benefited from Ole Miss Opportunity scholarships. The program is expected to assist some 150 more students this fall, said Laura Diven-Brown, director of financial aid.

The Overstreet brothers said their parents’ philosophy of giving is based on their upbringing.

“They came from middle-income households,” Mike Overstreet said. “Dad was one of 11 children. Mother was an only child. I think just seeing needs out there and realizing how hard people had it caused them to be generous in helping others who are less fortunate than they were.”

“They just learned the value of a dollar and not to waste it,” Larry Overstreet added.

The Overstreets’ parents met on the Square in Oxford; then-Katie Mae Wallace was a secretary at a law office and Edgar Overstreet drove a cab. Edgar Overstreet later joined the Ole Miss campus police force and worked his way up the ranks to chief.

After 16 years on the force, he began to invest in real estate and long-term health care facilities in the Oxford area. Through these investments, the Overstreets accumulated the wealth that they’re now paying forward.

“They cared about people and wanted to give back, and this is a way they can give back after they’re gone,” Mike Overstreet said. “This will honor my mother, and it will be used for a good cause.”

The planned gift awards the estate of Katie Mae Wallace Overstreet membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts.

“We are very appreciative to the Overstreets for their generosity, which will play an important role in strengthening Ole Miss Opportunity’s mission to make college affordable for everyone,” said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “It is gratifying that this gift will honor Mike and Larry’s mother while also creating a lasting legacy to help others realize their goals.”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Katie Mae Overstreet Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship Endowment by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ or contacting Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu.

UM Technology Summit Sheds Light on Opportunities for Economic Growth

Renowned tech leaders discuss ways to address challenges and encourage entrepreneurship

Silicon Valley legend Jim Clark delivers the keynote address Wednesday (Aug. 30) during the second annual University of Mississippi Technology Summit at The Inn at Ole Miss. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Experts from industry, government and higher education discussed advances on the horizon and ways that universities can help meet workforce demands and spur entrepreneurship Wednesday (Aug. 30) at the University of Mississippi’s second annual Technology Summit.

Dozens of widely recognized professionals from the computer, telecom, internet and cyber security industries shared insights about trends and advancements in technology during the summit, hosted by Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter at The Inn at Ole Miss.

“As chancellor, I want the University of Mississippi to be a national leader in STEM education, to partner with great companies, to shape students who will be exceptional employees in the industry and to remain a cutting-edge research institution in higher education,” Vitter said. “We want to face the challenges of today and meet the opportunities of tomorrow.”

Vitter commended U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker for launching the inaugural summit in 2016.

Recognizing the contributions of Dr. Arthur Guyton, the legendary physiologist and faculty member in the UM School of Medicine, and fellow alumni Fred Smith and Jim Barksdale, Wicker praised the university as a place for innovation and growth.

“People in (William) Faulkner-land most definitely can come up with profound inventions while still being versed in literature, the humanities and other academic disciplines,” said Wicker, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. “What products of Mississippi brainpower will we be proud of two decades from now? We’re here today to stimulate those brain cells.”

The senator said he also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UM and Globalstar Inc. on Tuesday (Aug. 29). The agreement will establish a satellite ground station at the university with access to Globalstar’s constellation of satellites, providing limitless opportunities, he said.

The event reinforced Vitter’s commitment to strengthening STEM education, growing the university’s capacity to address future workforce needs and enhancing its status as a Carnegie R1 Highest Research Activity Institution.

The summit also complemented many of the university’s recent efforts in this area, including a new STEM building under development on campus and the chancellor’s initiative to establish a leading, interdisciplinary research and education program in data science.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (third from left) enjoys a humorous moment with (from left) Jim Barksdale, Jim Clark and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker during the UM Technology Summit. Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

In his keynote address during the morning session, Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics, highlighted the commonalities of companies he has founded over his professional career.

“I started Silicon Graphics in 1982 with seven grad students from Stanford,” Clark said. “By the time I left it 12 years later, it employed more than 10,000 worldwide. We pioneered the idea of 3-D graphics.”

Clark recalled how he and Barksdale co-founded Netscape in mid-1994. The company was met with skepticism initially, but later revolutionized online communication, he said.

“Nobody believed that we could make the internet a commercial entity,” he said. “Twenty-five years later, our patented encryption technology is still the security backbone of the internet. I believe that is the singular most important thing Netscape ever did.”

He also shared how, following Netscape’s acquisition by AOL, he began Healtheon. The health care network later merged with WedMD.com and remains a standard in the industry, Clark said.

Nicholas Degani, senior counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, followed Clark’s address. The FCC is working diligently to close the communications digital divide between broadband users in urban and rural communities, he said.

“Through inclusion, investment and innovation, our goal is to make fast broadband connections available and affordable to all people everywhere,” Degani said. “We’re not where we want to be or need to be, but we’re extremely excited about the possibilities being presented by 5G networks and private capital investments.”

Barksdale, former president and CEO of Netscape, moderated a roundtable discussion, asking participants to identify opportunities and make predictions about technological advancements. Participants also explored how regulatory forums and government entities can balance competing demands of consumer privacy, national security and economic growth.

The afternoon session consisted of three concurrent panel discussions in which industry professionals and tech entrepreneurs underscored the need for more STEM-trained professionals to meet future demands on their industries.

Josh Gladden, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, led a discussion focused on strong defense and protecting the homeland. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor and dean of medicine at the UM Medical Center, facilitated conversations around expanding access and opportunities to rural communities. Allyson Best, UM director of technology management, led talks on unleashing economic innovation.

For a full list of panelists and participants, visit http://techsummit.olemiss.edu/.

Ole Miss Student Union Food Service Locations Open

Students enjoying expanded choices and dining space in new facility

Construction fences are gone around the Ole Miss Student Union expansion, which opened Wednesday (Aug. 30). Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – All food service locations in the new portion of the Ole Miss Student Union – including Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Qdoba, Which Wich and McAlister’s Deli – opened earlier today (Aug. 30) to the University of Mississippi community.

The opening is an important milestone for the project, which, when complete, will expand the facility from 97,000 square feet to 173,000 square feet, said Larry Sparks, UM vice chancellor for administration and finance.

“We’re pleased to open the food service portion of the Union,” Sparks said. “While there’s still work to be done, we’re proud of what this represents for our university community and, most importantly, our students.”

The additional dining locations have created nearly 250 jobs for students and local community members, said Clay Jones, assistant vice chancellor for administration and human resources.

“Throughout the summer, Ole Miss Dining Services worked diligently to hire and train personnel who are eager to provide a positive dining experience for our campus community,” Jones said. “They’re excited to begin work and we’re glad to offer a wide array of choices, thanks to our new vendors.”

As workmen continue the finishing touches of Phase 2, students said they can already see their new space coming to life.

Dale Hall, a senior biology major from Magnolia was among the first to visit the facility. He praised the number of healthy food service options.

“The new Student Union is definitely a success in progress and I can’t wait to see the finished project,” Hall said. 

McAlister’s Deli is on the second floor of the Student Union and serves as a stand-alone restaurant with dedicated seating. Other dining options are on the first floor in the building’s food court and are accessible by entering on the side facing the Women’s Terrace.

The Student Union will be open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Union generally will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., beginning this weekend.

On Sept. 9, the Union will open at 7 a.m., before the Ole Miss vs. UT-Martin football game, which is scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff.

During Phase 3 of the project, crews will continue renovation work on the lower level of the Student Union. Construction is expected to be completed by 2019.

The Student Union food court features an expanded lineup of options and more seating for students and visitors. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

University and Globalstar Announce Strategic Partnership

New ground station will provide opportunities for research and education

OXFORD, Miss. and COVINGTON, La. – The University of Mississippi and Globalstar Inc. (NYSE American: GSAT) announced today an agreement to establish a second-generation ground station on UM’s Oxford campus.

The new Globalstar ground station – telecommunications infrastructure that connects with low Earth orbit satellites – will provide opportunities for the university to conduct research, testing and development of global communications technology. The agreement supports UM’s commitment to STEM education and to the development of a talented and well-trained tech workforce for the state of Mississippi, the Southeast region and the nation at large.

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work with Globalstar.

“The partnership offers our students outstanding opportunities to work with an important technology and gain unique learning experiences,” he said. “The relationship will advance the university’s standing as a leader in science and technology education, which is one of our key goals for growth over the next decade.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with the young and eager minds at the University of Mississippi as they help develop the future of communications technology,” said Jay Monroe, CEO at Globalstar. “Having the additional support of these technology resources will be of significant value to Globalstar as we work to bring disruptive technology to market and we hope to provide a hands-on learning experience in return.”

“A new partnership between the university and Globalstar is an important step toward advancing STEM education in Mississippi,” U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker said. “Access to Globalstar’s technology will help prepare students to be innovators and meet the workforce needs of today and tomorrow’s digital economy.”


About the University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi, the state’s flagship institution, is among the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity in the Carnegie Classification. The university has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics, research and business. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school, nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy, and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

About Globalstar Inc.                                                             

Globalstar is a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services. Customers around the world in industries such as government, emergency management, marine, logging, oil and gas, and outdoor recreation rely on Globalstar to conduct business smarter and faster, maintain peace of mind and access emergency personnel. Globalstar data solutions are ideal for various asset and personal tracking, data monitoring, SCADA and IoT applications. The company’s products include mobile and fixed satellite telephones, the innovative Sat-Fi satellite hotspot, Simplex and Duplex satellite data modems, tracking devices and flexible service packages.

Alumni and Friends Provide $153.6 Million in Support

University's endowment enjoys double-digit growth over past year

Private support for UM topped $100 million for the sixth consecutive year, providing needed funds for student scholarships, faculty support and facility upgrades. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – With generous private support and high-performing investments, fiscal year 2017 saw the University of Mississippi’s endowment climb to approximately $675 million – a notable increase of 12 percent, attributed to effective management and a strong market.

The stellar year of philanthropy was further evidenced in private gifts that totaled $153.6 million, marking the sixth consecutive year donors gave at least $100 million. Cash gifts of all sizes combined for $94.2 million, with new pledges (as yet unrealized) adding up to more than $36.6 million. Donors committed more than $22.8 million in current and future planned gifts to Ole Miss.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter pointed to private support as key to ensuring the margin of excellence expected of a nationally- and internationally-recognized educational and research institution.

“We have imagined a future for the University of Mississippi as a preeminent international research university and leading force for innovation in Mississippi, our nation and our world,” the chancellor said. “We will realize that future only with the extraordinary investments of alumni and friends and the dedicated efforts of faculty, staff and students.

“We are grateful for the commitment to excellence that permeates our university family. While all great institutions share many outstanding attributes, none is more primary than the continual drive to get ever greater – to desire more, to give more and to be more.”

Private support to UM provides scholarships for students, resources for faculty members and other researchers, funds for new programs and program expansion, investments in health professionals’ educational preparation and health care services for Mississippians, capital for facility construction and renovation, support for Ole Miss athletics programs, and more.

Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation, spoke to the growth of the university’s endowment, which represents permanently held funds that are invested and managed for the university. The investments benefited from historic peaks in the stock market.

“In a year of incredible university achievements, we are particularly proud of the growth of our endowment,” Weakley said. “We enjoyed a double-digit rate of return on investments, which are managed by the foundation’s diligent Joint Committee on University Investments. In addition to generous donors and the expertise of our investment committee members, the university benefits from the leadership of a deeply committed UM Foundation board of directors.

“We are honored to be entrusted with generous gifts and are constantly aware of our serious responsibility to steward them. With all of our continued, combined efforts, we can ensure this flagship university will continue to benefit generations to come.”

Among major gifts directed to the Oxford campus were $28 million (with half shared with Mississippi State University) from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation of Jackson for the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program; $7.25 million from the Luckyday Foundation of Jackson for the Luckyday Success Scholarship program; $2.1 million from the estate of the late Wilton Ernest Dyson of Birmingham, Alabama, for the Patterson School of Accountancy; and $1 million from Pam and Brook Smith of Louisville, Kentucky, for the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Strong private support helps UM faculty members ensure the university maintains a high level of teaching and research excellence. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Recent investments in the university will help ensure there are more physicians and top-tier services to take care of Mississippians. A $74 million, state-of-the-art School of Medicine building opened in August, facilitating plans to expand entering class sizes from around 145 students to 155, and to eventually top off at approximately 165 – the total considered necessary to meet the state’s goal of 1,000 additional physicians by 2025.

“As much as UMMC needed a modern facility that our medical students can call their campus home, our state needs even more the additional physicians that this larger and more advanced building will allow us to graduate over a lifetime of service,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UM vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

In addition, the Medical Center experienced remarkable momentum with the Campaign for Children’s Hospital, reflecting the importance benefactors place on children’s health. Children’s of Mississippi is the umbrella organization that includes Batson Children’s Hospital and all UMMC pediatric care, including clinics offering specialty care around the state.

A lead gift of $10 million came from campaign co-chairs Joe and Kathy Sanderson. Friends of Children’s Hospital pledged an additional $20 million and a $10 million planned gift was committed by an anonymous donor. Other significant gifts included $1 million from Eli and Abby Manning of Summit, New Jersey, honorary co-chairs of the campaign; $1 million from the children of Dr. and Mrs. Rodney Faser Triplett through their Jackson-based family foundation; and a gift from Robbie Hughes of Jackson, the widow of the late Dudley Hughes, who previously endowed a distinguished chair in UMMC’s MIND Center.

Funds raised in the campaign will help the Medical Center enlarge and update its space dedicated for pediatric care, including an expanded and renovated neonatal intensive care unit, more rooms for the pediatric intensive care unit, more operating rooms and the creation of an imaging clinic especially for pediatric patients. A new pediatric clinic will make care for outpatients more convenient and comfortable for families. Expansion of the Children’s Heart Center is also on the drawing board.

Ole Miss athletics continued to enjoy strong donor support, with more than $30 million in cash gifts and more than $5 million in new pledges. The $200 million Forward Together campaign has attracted $172 million, as a new phase of projects gets underway.

“Thanks to the Rebel Nation, Ole Miss athletics – that is, our talented student-athletes and coaches – received continued excellent support this year,” said Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.

“Our donors will be excited, we believe, to see their gifts at work through construction and renovation of our athletic facilities, giving Ole Miss student-athletes the highest quality of experiences both on and off fields and courts. Our generous, loyal and dedicated fan base continues to fuel new heights of excellence.”

A number of capital projects supporting athletics are underway on the Oxford campus. The recently renovated Gillom Center, which is the home to the soccer, softball, volleyball and rifle programs, just saw its $11 million renovation come to completion. Both tennis programs soon will see an $11 million, 52,000-square-foot indoor facility, set to open in January 2018. Features include six courts for practice and competition and seating for 300 spectators.

The nationally-prominent track and field programs saw their facility receive major upgrades in the last year, and Rebel baseball is undergoing a facelift that will completely change the dynamic for student-athletes and fans. Construction around Vaught-Hemingway Stadium continues for the north plaza featuring the Jake Gibbs Letterwinner Walk and Lloyd Bell Tower, which will further enhance the game day experience for Rebel Nation.

“The generous philanthropic investment in the university by our alumni and friends is a hallmark of their passionate belief in the power of education,” Vitter said. “We are tremendously thankful for all the generous donations, which are such a vital part of our university’s sustained growth, reach, impact and success.”

Southern Studies Center Sets Slate of Fall Brown Bag Lectures

Free series explores region through lenses of art, music and social change

OXFORD, Miss. – The fall Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture series begins this week at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

Most lectures are scheduled for noon Wednesdays in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory, Room 105. They are free and open to the public.

The schedule begins Wednesday (Aug. 30) with “Brotherhood and Brotherhoodism: Studying Family Problems in the Twentieth Century South,” presented by Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and an Ole Miss professor of history.

Other lectures in the series are:

  • Sept. 21 – “Mississippi in the Work of Sherwood Bonner,” presented by Katie McKee, McMullan Associate Professor of Southern Studies and UM associate professor of English. Lecture will be in the Department of Archives and Special Collections of the J.D. Williams Library.
  • Sept. 27 – “El Sur Latino: Migration, Identity and Incorporation,” by Simone Delerme, McMullan Assistant Professor of Southern Studies and UM assistant professor of anthropology.
  • Oct. 4 – “Introducing the Do Good Fund Exhibit,” by David Wharton, UM director of documentary studies and assistant professor of Southern studies, and Brooke White, UM associate professor of art.
  • Oct. 19 – “A Screening of ‘An Outrage’ and Conversation with Filmmakers,” by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, co-directors of Field Studio in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Oct. 25 – “‘That’s for the White Folks’: Race, Culture, and (Un)Making Place in the Rural South,” by Brian Foster, UM assistant professor of sociology and Southern studies.
  • Nov. 1 – “A Discussion of ‘Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition,'” by Adam Gussow, UM associate professor of English and Southern studies.
  • Nov. 8 – “Bobbie Gentry’s Odes to Mississippi,” by Kristine McCusker, of the Department of History at Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Nov. 15 – “Politics and Poetics: Writing about the Twentieth-Century Appalachian South,” by Jessie Wilkerson, UM assistant professor of history and Southern studies.

NCNPR Director Named Honorary Member of Pharmacognosy Society

Ikhlas Khan recognized for his service to the professional group

Ikhlas Khan

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

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

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

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

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

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

UM to Host Second Annual Technology Summit

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, industry leaders to discuss technology trends and STEM education

Chancellor Vitter will host the 2017 UM Technology Summit.

OXFORD, Miss. – For the second year, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and the University of Mississippi will host U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and technology industry leaders Wednesday (Aug. 30) for the annual UM Technology Summit.

The event, which begins at 9 a.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss, is open to the public. The summit will bring together leaders from government, business and higher education to explore trends in technology and stimulate discussions about technology-related needs in industry and education.

“The University of Mississippi is committed to preparing the next generation of students who will make an impact in a technology-driven world,” said Vitter, UM’s 17th chancellor and distinguished professor of computer and information science. “We are so pleased to be hosting this tech summit event for the second year, which offers us the opportunity to explore trends in technology and to discuss future needs for industry and education as they relate to technology.”

Wicker, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, said he expects great results from this year’s summit.

“I often get a front-seat view of the innovative ways that technology is increasing productivity, creating jobs and driving our economy forward,” Wicker said. “Mississippi is continuing to lead with groundbreaking advances in technology, health care and defense.

“I look forward to participating in this summit and discussing how we can equip Mississippi’s students with the skills and tools they need to drive this technological innovation forward into the future.”

During the morning session, James H. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics, will deliver the keynote address. Clark said he looks forward to discussing trends in the industry.

Guest speaker Nicholas Degani, senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, is scheduled to follow Clark.

“(FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has made clear that closing the digital divide is goal No. 1 for the FCC,” Degani said. “Mississippi has made great strides in facilitating broadband deployment, and I look forward to hearing about the challenges innovators and investors still face and how we can overcome them.”

Ole Miss alumnus and major donor James Barksdale will moderate a morning roundtable discussion featuring representatives from technology industries and government agencies.

This discussion will include participants from Barksdale Management Corp., Raytheon, Silicon Graphics, the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T Mississippi, Microsoft, Department of Homeland Security, Toyota, the office of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, FedEx Corp., C Spire, GlobalStar, InterDigital, MortgageTrade, Comcast, Federated Wireless, the U.S. Senate and UM.

The afternoon includes three concurrent breakout sessions. Panelists will discuss strong defense and protecting the homeland, expanding access and opportunities to rural communities, and unleashing economic innovation.

Last year’s summit brought together longtime professionals from the computer, telecom, internet and cyber security industries, among others. They discussed advances on the horizon and ways that universities can help industry meet its new workforce demands and spur entrepreneurship.

The event reinforced Vitter’s commitment to strengthening STEM education, growing the university’s capacity to address future workforce needs and enhancing UM’s status as a Carnegie R1 Highest Research Activity Institution.

The summit also complemented many of the university’s recent efforts in this area, including work on a 207,000 square-foot, $140 million STEM building and the chancellor’s initiative to establish a leading interdisciplinary research and education program in data science.

Vitter concluded the previous summit by thanking Wicker for his “insightful leadership” and the panelists for sharing their experience and expertise.

“It has been extraordinary to explore the future of technology and the role of higher education, UM in particular, with these thought leaders,” Vitter said.

“The University of Mississippi is well-positioned to be a national leader in producing STEM graduates educated in a new paradigm that prepares them for the global, fast-paced, team-oriented workplace of the future. We look forward to continuing the dialogue on addressing the challenges of today and growing the opportunities of tomorrow.”

For more information, including how to register to attend the event, visit http://techsummit.wp2.olemiss.edu/.

William Magee Center an Expression of Love

Donors step up with gifts to help Ole Miss students

William Magee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“William’s Story” can be found at http://www.oxfordeagle.com/2016/08/28/my-son-williams-story-shared-to-help-others/.

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

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

First-Year Pharmacy Students Receive White Coats

115 students take the Pledge of Professionalism at annual ceremony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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