Kneip Joins UM Development

Professional to help build support for College of Liberal Arts

William Kneip has been named a development officer for the UM College of Liberal Arts. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – As president of the Columns Society, student William Kneip learned about the University of Mississippi inside and out in order to interact effectively with alumni, donors and other distinguished guests. That knowledge, combined with other education and experiences, is contributing to his new role: development officer to generate private support for the College of Liberal Arts.

Founded in 1848, the College of Liberal Arts is UM’s oldest and largest division, with 18 departments and three military units, 11 centers and institutes, more than 5,300 students pursuing majors and 500 in master’s and doctoral degree programs. The college also provides the general education component of all undergraduate degree programs.

“The number of College of Liberal Arts’ alumni and friends continues to expand as we produce more graduates and see increases in our enrollment,” said Lee Cohen, dean of liberal arts. “We are pleased to welcome William Kneip to the development team and are confident he is well-prepared to work with this large group, given his extensive knowledge of the college.

“Crucial to our success is having a significant number of individuals involved in supporting our programs with their time, expertise and resources, and we are grateful to have such deeply committed stakeholders. We anticipate that William will make outstanding contributions to the College of Liberal Arts as he applies his knowledge, experiences, perspectives, dedication and energy toward building relationships and encouraging gifts on our behalf.”

Kneip is a May 2016 graduate in public policy leadership and has held two internships with the Office of Development, first an undergraduate and most recently as a graduate intern.

“William is a natural at development work and has an amazing talent for connecting with people from all backgrounds,” said Denson Hollis, development office director. “He has a great passion for Ole Miss and exceptional educational opportunities, and he welcomes all opportunities to share our growth and achievements.

“We expect William to help fuel continued momentum the university is experiencing by encouraging alumni and friends toward long-term involvement in the life of Ole Miss.”

Kneip credits his Ole Miss experiences with guiding his career choice.

“The University of Mississippi is a liberal arts university and I was fortunate enough to experience this firsthand as a student,” Kneip said. “My interactions with professors, students and, eventually, colleagues led me to develop this desire to help strengthen the College of Liberal Arts and, of course, the university as a whole.”

Kneip said he enjoys meeting alumni around the country and updating them about developments on campus.

“Time and again, I see that although we all have different backgrounds, careers, interests and ZIP codes, we are united by our love for Ole Miss. I look forward to building on the College of Liberal Arts’ excellence so that many more generations will feel that they received the very best educational opportunities here.”

While a senior at Ole Miss, Kneip was inducted into the student Hall of Fame, co-directed finance and fundraising for the Big Event – the largest day of community service in Mississippi – was elected “Mr. Ole Miss” by the student body and served as a fraternity president. He also was the co-coordinator of a university crowdfunding Ignite Ole Miss campaign that attracted contributions for the Ole Miss Family Emergency Fund.

To learn more about supporting the College of Liberal Arts, contact Kneip at 662-915-2254 or

Gift Honors Life of UM Alumnus Stephen Moore

Phil Hardin Foundation expands educational opportunities at UM law school

Members of the Moore family were honored on the Oxford campus, including, front row from left, daughter Alison Moore Abney of Madison, widow Joan Moore of Meridian, daughter Melissa Moore Blackburn of Vicksburg and Hardin Foundation board president Robert Ward; back row, foundation board member Kacey Bailey, interim dean of law Debbie Bell, and foundation executive director Lloyd Gray.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The late Stephen Moore, of Meridian, was the epitome of a lifelong learner, always with a book in his hand. That, and his deep commitment to education, are reasons the Phil Hardin Foundation is honoring its board member and treasurer with a gift in his memory to the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The Hardin Foundation’s gift of $250,000 will support the Business Law Institute at the school, where Moore earned a Juris Doctor in 1971 and was active on the Mississippi Law Journal staff. That’s after receiving an undergraduate degree from Millsaps College and earning a fellowship with Duke University Graduate School.

The businessman’s name will always be linked with education.

“The reason Steve was elected to the Hardin Foundation board was because of his care and concern for education,” said Robert Ward, board chair of the foundation, also of Meridian. “This gift was made to order for his interests – perfect for what we wanted to achieve in his memory.”

The university applauds the foundation’s decision to honor Moore through higher education, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“The University of Mississippi values our extensive philanthropic partnership with the Hardin Foundation,” Vitter said. “We deeply appreciate the foundation’s many significant investments in a number of areas on our campus.

“This new gift to honor Stephen Moore’s life is particularly moving, as this alumnus was truly a champion for education, placing great energies and service toward enriching initiatives. His legacy will be expanded through students and faculty in our Business Law Institute.”

Dedicated to improving educational opportunities for Mississippians, the Hardin Foundation’s goal for the gift is to pay tribute to Moore’s almost 30-year service. This plan was put in motion weeks before his death in August 2016, when Moore was briefed on the foundation’s intentions and asked where he would want the gift directed, said Ward, who described his longtime friend as a man of “quiet dignity” who was respected by many.

“Steve and his wife, Joan, had a very meaningful experience while on the Oxford campus for Steve’s law school years, and they came to love Ole Miss more and more through the lives of their daughters and sons-in-laws who all graduated from there,” Ward said. “The Moores became immersed in the university community and their enjoyment of the culture increased with each passing year.”

Moore, a community leader, also was a former board member for the Meridian Public Schools, where he and Ward co-chaired a bond issue campaign in the early 1980s that resulted in $4 million for repairs and renovations for the schools.

“Steve would have been very pleased,” said his widow, Joan Moore, of the foundation’s gift to the law school. “He never planned to practice law but used his legal knowledge as a trust officer in the banking field and later as a financial planner. Steve always said that law school teaches people how to be critical thinkers.”

The foundation’s support will strengthen the Business Law Institute, an innovative program that places the faculty’s top business law experts in office space shared with students. The close proximity of faculty and students facilitates continuous access, collaboration and engagement, an educational model that maximizes active learning.

The institute also houses organizations in the student-run experiential programs: the Negotiation Board, Business Law Network and Tax Clinic. These offer negotiation competitions, professional outreach and real-world practice opportunities to develop students’ business law skills through hands-on activities and practice.

“The Hardin Foundation is interested first in improving educational opportunities at every level for Mississippians,” said Lloyd Gray, executive director of the foundation. “While we are committed to helping build programs, we also like to recognize and reward established programs that are effective.

“In this case, we feel this gift will help accelerate an initiative that has already proven its capacity to equip law students with exceptional preparation and hands-on experiences.”

Gray explained that the Hardin Foundation’s seven board members make long-term commitments – such as the service of Moore – and when members retire or pass away, the foundation has historically honored them in a way that is appropriate to their life and contributions. Several endowments have been created at Ole Miss for Hardin board members.

“Steve enjoyed his work on the Hardin Foundation board and was always pleased to see how the resources impacted educational opportunities,” said Joan Moore, a former speech and language therapist. “He particularly enjoyed traveling around the state to see the Hardin Foundation’s gifts in action.”

Among those involved the Hardin Foundation’s generous support of Ole Miss’ and Millsaps College’s faculty members when they sought to shelter chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organizations.

“Steve and I attended the ceremonies when Ole Miss and Millsaps College received their Phi Beta Kappa charters,” Moore said. “He was so proud that both institutions were able to recognize their students with this academic distinction.

“Steve was an advocate for learning – a true intellectual – and he read all the time. He majored in history and was so well-versed in history. He also loved the University of Mississippi.”

 The circle of Stephen Moore’s impact on his community widened with his service on the boards of the Meridian Community College Foundation, Kings Daughter’s Nursing Home, Care Lodge and Boy Scouts of America. He was an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, serving in numerous roles, as well as a trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.

Professionally, he was the trust officer for First National Bank of Jackson and then senior vice president and trust officer for Merchant and Farmers Bank and the Bank of Meridian. He retired as a financial planner at Revels Securities and Smith Barney.

“Steve was a very humble and quiet man,” his wife said. “When he said something, people listened. He loved our family and was my best friend.”

The Moores’ family includes two daughters and sons-in-law: Alison Moore Abney and husband, Luke, of Madison, and Melissa Moore Blackburn and husband, Jeb, of Vicksburg; and five grandchildren, Simms and Owen Abney and Caton, Ali and Emerson Blackburn.

The Hardin Foundation was created by Phil B. Hardin, an entrepreneur who built the highly successful Hardin Bakeries Corp. from a bankrupt business he purchased in the 1930s. In 1964, he founded the Phil Hardin Foundation, which is dedicated to improving education for Mississippians. It is one of the three largest foundations in the state and has provided Ole Miss with more than $3.4 million in support of the schools of Business Administration and Education, College of Liberal Arts and more.

The Stephen Moore Endowment for Business Law is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. A check with the fund’s name in the memo line can be mailed to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or made online at For more information, contact Suzette Matthews, development officer for the School of Law, at or 662-915-1122.

Estate Gift to Benefit Patterson School of Accountancy

Major gift will provide ongoing program support

Wilton Dyson’s recent $2.1 million gift will provide program support to the UM Patterson School of Accountancy for decades to come. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent $2.1 million gift to the University of Mississippi will provide program support to the Patterson School of Accountancy for decades to come.

The late Wilton Ernest Dyson of Birmingham, Alabama, bequeathed the major gift to the university and designated it for use within the accountancy school at the dean’s discretion.

“We are extremely grateful to Wilton Dyson for his foresight to include the Patterson School of Accountancy in his estate planning,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “The generosity of Mr. Dyson will enable us to ensure a quality education for many future generations of Patterson School students through scholarships, faculty support and operating funds for our program.

“We are honored to have the Wilton Dyson name and legacy forever associated with the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy.”

Planned gifts award donors membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes those who thoughtfully provide for the university through bequests and deferred gifts.

Dyson’s endowment, managed by Regions Bank, will provide approximately $150,000 per year to the school. In 2016, the Public Accounting Report named the school No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference for its master’s and doctoral programs, No. 2 in the SEC for its undergraduate program and one of the nation’s top 10 accountancy programs.

“Clearly, this gift indicates that Mr. Dyson had a great appreciation for Ole Miss and a deep sense of loyalty to the accounting profession as a whole,” said Mollie Jourdan Seymour, a 2005 UM graduate and trust officer for Dyson’s endowment. “What an amazing legacy to leave!”

Wilton E. Dyson. Photo courtesy Ramona Kent

Dyson credited his UM education – he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1941 – as well as the accounting profession for changing his life, enabling him to find success after the Great Depression, said Ramona Kent of Golden, Colorado, Dyson’s great-niece.

“In our family, education was very important,” said Kent, a Hattiesburg native and 1981 Ole Miss business graduate who lettered in tennis under coaches Russell Blair and Billy Chadwick. “Secondly, accounting is what he loved and it played a big role in the man that he became.”

After college, Dyson, a native of Kentwood, Louisiana, served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant in World War II before joining Ernst & Ernst, where he practiced accounting for the bulk of his professional life. Most recently, he worked as vice president and trust officer of Regions Bank.

He also was a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and First Sertoma Club of Birmingham.

“The Patterson School of Accountancy has a history of great financial support from its alumni base,” said Wendell Weakley, UM Foundation president and CEO. “This level of giving is a testament to the quality of education our graduates receive.”

Kent said her “Uncle B” was always very generous.

“He was obviously very special to me,” she said. “He was a very kind person and there were no hidden agendas with him. He was a man of integrity and trust.

“I just can’t say enough about the role model he was and what he meant to me. He was just a great human being.”

For information on including the University of Mississippi in long-term estate and financial plans, visit or contact Sandra Guest, UM Foundation vice president, at 662-915-5208 or

Pharmacy Professors Named Distinguished Teaching Scholars

Awards recognize exceptional dedication to education and student service

Kim Adcock, professor of pharmacy practice, also works with children in her role as director of pediatric clinical research at the UM Medical Center. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Four professors in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy have been recognized as Distinguished Teaching Scholars for a three-year term. This honor recognizes exceptional teachers and colleagues who promote effective teaching and learning.

The recipients are Kim Adcock, professor of pharmacy practice; Robert Doerksen, associate professor of medicinal chemistry; Erin Holmes, associate professor of pharmacy administration; and John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry.

Besides teaching in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Adcock is the department’s director of faculty and academic affairs, as well as a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics at the UM Medical Center.

Robert Doerksen

“Dr. Adcock consistently seeks innovative ways to improve our courses and to provide meaningful learning experiences,” said Seena Haines, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice.


“She not only applies this commitment to teaching excellence to her own course contributions, but works on a daily basis to enhance colleagues’ teaching skills, improve the quality of course offerings and increase involvement in scholarship related to teaching.”

Adcock’s passion for teaching and research is evident in her interactions with students and in her active promotion of the pharmacy profession, Haines said.

Doerksen joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 2004 and was the winner of the 2011 and 2016 Faculty Service Awards.

Erin Holmes

Veena Gadepalli, a former Ole Miss graduate student, said Doerksen influenced her in nearly every aspect during her time in the pharmacy school, saying he was an inspiration for the professional she wanted to become.

“Robert’s passion for teaching is incredible,” said David Colby, associate professor of medicinal chemistry. “Just listening to him lecture and present is stunning as he effortlessly incorporates humor and wit into highly complex topics.


“Robert continually strives to provide instruction and content at the highest level.”

This is Holmes’ second consecutive Distinguished Teaching Scholar recognition. She was also honored with the 2012 Friend of the Student Award from the pharmacy student body.

John Bentley, chair of the pharmacy administration department, called Holmes an “outstanding educator with a contagious enthusiasm” that is well known throughout the school.

“Her commitment to the school, the profession of pharmacy and the academic discipline of pharmacy

John Rimoldi, who recently received the university’s 2017 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, is renowned on campus for teaching excellence and exceptional student engagement. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

administration is remarkable,” Bentley said. “Dr. Holmes is a wonderful colleague and a valued member of our team. She’s an academic triple threat: outstanding in teaching, research and service.”

Rimoldi was awarded the university’s 2017 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for teaching excellence and exceptional student engagement, as well as the pharmacy school’s 2017 PY1 Teacher of the Year. This is his third consecutive Distinguished Teaching Scholar award.


“John is one of the very best educators that we have in the school, and his commitment to student learning is really unparalleled,” said Kristie Willett, chair of the biomolecular sciences department. “He is an incredible asset to our department, school and university.”

Willett went on to say that Rimoldi was “foundational” for her own teaching methodology in the early stages of her career. She points to his commitment to students and his unique instructional delivery as especially exceptional.

Natural Products Center, USDA Team to Create Natural Insect Repellents

Goal is to find safer alternatives to harsh synthetic chemicals

Charles Cantrell, a research chemist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, examines a burning dried male flower from a breadfruit tree, which people in some parts of the world burn to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects. Photo courtesy USDA-ARS photographer Peggy Greb

OXFORD, Miss. – An ongoing partnership between the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research is looking to nature to develop environmentally safe chemicals to manage pests.

The collaboration includes roughly a dozen research projects dedicated to creating natural agrochemicals, such as insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Charles Cantrell, a research chemist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, works with the NCNPR, a unit of the UM School of Pharmacy, to identify these natural sources that may prove useful as insect repellents.

“There is really a consumer demand for more natural insect repellents that are safer and better for the environment,” Cantrell said.

This partnership began around 2005 when Charles Bryson, an ARS botanist from Stoneville, came to the NCNPR with an idea. He told of how his grandfather would put clippings of American beautyberry, a plant native to Mississippi, in the harnesses of his stock animals while they were in his fields.

The plant repelled horseflies from the animals and repelled mosquitoes from the farmer when he rubbed its crushed leaves onto his skin.

The investigation into this particular remedy led to the discovery of a chemical called callicarpenal that was proven to repel bugs, but was ultimately too expensive for mass production. Since then, the natural products center has actively tested folk and traditional botanical remedies for repelling insects in hopes of finding chemicals that can be made into natural repellents.

“No natural repellent currently on the market is as effective as the two best synthetic repellents, DEET and picaridin,” said Stephen Duke, ARS research leader of the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit. “Finding a highly effective, all-natural insect repellent is important to many members of the public.”

One potential source of natural insect repellent is the breadfruit tree, which is native to Hawaii. The breadfruit flower repels nearby mosquitoes when dried and burned. Scientists from the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii approached the NCNPR to find out why and how this works.

To begin this study, Cantrell’s team first proved that burning the breadfruit repelled mosquitoes, and then identified the specific fatty acids in the smoke that caused this effect. The lab is working with commercial partners interested in developing these fatty acids into all-natural insect repellents.

Before the product becomes commercially available, Cantrell’s lab or the commercial partner must register the product with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Amber Reichley, a physical science technician in Charles Cantrell’s USDA Natural Products Utilization Research Unit laboratory at the National Center for Natural Products Research, prepares saffron extract for studies aimed at finding natural insect repellents. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

“One of the advantages of the chemicals in the breadfruit is that they can be marketed as natural products,” Cantrell said. “We do create synthetic versions of chemicals sometimes, just to improve their activity, but a lot of companies are looking for all-natural insect repellents.”

Once Cantrell’s lab identifies a potential natural repellent, he sends it to Abbas Ali, a research scientist in the natural products center, who tests the compound to see if it’s effective.

“Our goal is to find a natural alternative to DEET,” Ali said. “We are looking for something that will be safer for children.”

The university recently filed a patent application for a new natural insect repellent and is seeking a development and commercialization partner.

Another insect repellent study in progress at NCNPR uses sweetgrass, a plant native to the northern U.S. and southern Canada. Because the grass has a sweet scent, it is particularly well-suited for a commercial product.

“Local native people would braid the grass and wear it around their neck or store it in their clothing,” Cantrell said. “It gives off just enough of the chemical to repel mosquitoes, and you don’t even have to burn it.”

Not all research projects come from knowledge of traditional practices. Sometimes scientists will gather plants from around the world and conduct random screenings to test them for beneficial chemicals.

Besides finding properties for agrochemicals, these tests can also lead to the discovery of new drugs.

“The Agricultural Research Service has been a great partner of ours,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “One of the benefits of having USDA, NCNPR and the university faculty all in the School of Pharmacy is that discoveries from our combined resources and expertise can benefit multiple areas.”

Peaces Create Graduate Scholarship

Gift will help student-athletes who attend professional schools

Ross Bjork (left), UM vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics; donors Judy Peace and Dr. Rush Peace of Macon, Georgia; Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor; and Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, visit about the Peaces’ new scholarship endowment for Ole Miss student-athletes who graduate and attend the schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Law. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – As a University of Mississippi student, Rush Peace had it all: a well-rounded college experience that combined rich academic experiences with the thrill of playing baseball on scholarship under legendary Coach Tom Swayze. And then it was on to dentistry school and a rewarding career.

Peace and his wife, Judy, of Macon, Georgia, want to support other Ole Miss student-athletes who graduate and choose to continue studies at the university’s schools of Dentistry, Medicine or Law. Their blended gift of $60,000 – an outright gift combined with a planned estate gift – has funded the new Dr. Rush Abbott and Julia Robertson Peace Graduate Scholarship Endowment.

“The Peaces have expressed their deep commitment to expanding educational opportunities for Ole Miss students through this unique scholarship endowment,” said Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “We encourage donors to match their passions and interests with needs at our university for a truly meaningful gift experience.

“Our appreciation goes to Rush and Judy for their thoughtful, generous gift that will ultimately help produce stellar dentists, physicians, lawyers and leaders who make outstanding contributions to society.”

Rush Peace’s mother, the late Dorothea Abbott Peace, was an Ole Miss and Chi Omega alumna, and the Peace family lived in West Point. When it came time for her son to attend college, she pointed out that the dentists and physicians in their family all received their strong foundations at Ole Miss. He agreed.

After going on to earn his dental degree and post-graduate training, he enjoyed a 40-year career in prosthetic and pediatric dentistry. He was a pioneer in the Southeast in complete dentistry performed in hospital operating rooms.

He retired from his prosthetic practice and then devoted the past decade to the treatment of medically complex pediatric and developmentally challenged patients. Upon retirement last year, it was determined he had completed more than 11,000 cases in Georgia hospital operating rooms.

“We are truly thankful for the generosity of Rush and Judy Peace,” said Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “This support will allow graduating student-athletes to pursue higher levels of education and become pillars in society.

“The Peaces exemplify what the Ole Miss family is all about: helping others.”

Rush and Judy Peace return to the Oxford campus for events several times a year and share the inspiration behind their gift.

“Ole Miss is hallowed ground and very special to my heart,” Rush Peace said. “Judy and I are extremely proud of what’s been accomplished here over the years. We enjoy championing Ole Miss in Georgia and are proud that many young people from Georgia come here for their college home.”

College should prepare student-athletes for life after their playing career because not everyone makes it in professional sports, he said.

“Hopefully this scholarship will encourage some to consider dental, medical or law school as options. I felt as this scholarship grows it may even be used as a recruitment tool for athletes interested in attending professional school.”

Peace’s affection for his alma mater also stems from exceptional experiences playing sports and building friendships. The four-sport “Best Athlete” from West Point High School found himself practicing one-on-one with Ole Miss’ well-known and respected Coach Swayze. (Today’s Ole Miss baseball players compete on Swayze Field.)

With his knees knocking with nerves, Peace found himself being called in for a talk after delivering a so-so performance fielding balls.

“Show me your glove,” Swayze demanded. Peace offered up his well-oiled calfskin that had been part of his playing career since junior high school. “You can’t play with a glove like that!”

Swayze left the field, returned with a shovel and buried the glove behind the pitcher’s mound. Decades later when Peace and his wife attended an M Club event, the then-elderly coach asked Peace if he ever dug up his glove.

Moved that his coach would remember him, Peace also chuckled at the memory of the pitcher’s mound exchange and reported that he was happy to leave a part of himself with his alma mater.

Peace also recalled the first week of his freshman year, when he met fellow student Lee Hartwell Rogers, who, too, was planning a career in medicine.

“It was an instant friendship that grew and grew,” Peace said of the now-late ophthalmologist of Tupelo. “We studied together, tutored student-athletes and both joined Sigma Chi fraternity. We remained close friends until his death and now continue to travel to Ole Miss with his wife, Merrell Rogers.”

The Peaces divide their support between their alma maters. Judy Peace graduated from Mercer University, where the couple also have established a scholarship endowment and support athletics.

“My mother wasn’t able to attend college during the Depression,” said Judy Peace, explaining her dedication to help provide educational opportunities. “My mother was well-read but she still felt handicapped because she didn’t have a college education.

“I have always felt if someone needed extra help to pursue their college dreams, Rush and I should give them that boost.”

The Peace Graduate Scholarship Endowment is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations; mail a check with the name of the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or visit online at To learn more about creating a scholarship fund, contact Ron Wilson, a development officer for the UM College of Liberal Arts at or 662-915-1755.

Record Number of UM Pharmacy Students Matched with Residencies

New graduates will help improve patient care throughout Mississippi and across the country

Kandis Backus, a 2017 UM pharmacy graduate, is congratulated at Commencement by Buddy Ogletree, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Backus is completing a community pharmacy residency at Walgreens in Jackson. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s 2017 graduating class included 31 graduates who will go on to complete a pharmacy residency – the largest number in school history.

Of those who applied for residencies, 72.5 percent were matched, compared to the national average of 69 percent, as reported by National Matching Service Inc.

Thirteen of the 31 matched students will work at rotation sites within the state, mostly in Jackson or surrounding cities, with others in Oxford, Southaven and Tupelo. Out-of-state matches included 12 states, ranging as far as Colorado and Maine.

“I’m excited for what the future has in store for our Class of 2017 and am proud of our residency placement,” said Katie McClendon, assistant dean for student services at the pharmacy school’s Jackson campus. “Our graduates will have an impact in Mississippi and across the U.S. in institutional, community and administration residencies.

“Residency training will prepare them for a job in the ever-evolving health care field, where they will improve care for individual patients and populations.”

Much like medical students, pharmacy students go through a residency matching process in their fourth and final year of the professional pharmacy program, ranking their top choices and interviewing with potential residencies in a variety of settings.

McClendon helps students apply for these residencies, which typically last a year, during which pharmacy graduates receive general training. Some pharmacy residents elect to complete a second year to pursue more specific interests and specializations.

Leslie Davis

Kandis Backus, a 2017 pharmacy graduate from Chicago, matched to a community pharmacy residency at Walgreens in Jackson. This residency includes a rotation at Open Arms Healthcare Center, a clinic that specializes in HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.

“I am excited to do this residency because it combines three things that I love: HIV treatment and prevention, research and retail pharmacy,” Backus said.

Backus has been working with the clinic for over two years. She said she was happy to find out that she matched with them and looks forward to being an “actual pharmacist” at this clinic.

Patients also benefit from residencies, as they receive care from highly educated new professionals.

Leslie Davis, a recently graduated pharmacist from St. Louis, matched with the UM Medical Center. Davis said her many great experiences at UMMC as a pharmacy student made her excited to move forward as a resident there.

She is particularly interested in pediatrics and looks forward to rotations at Batson Children’s Hospital.

“I love working with kids,” Davis said. “They are so resilient and always want to get better as fast as possible. I love being able to talk with them and go through the whole process with them and their parents.”

Jordan Kelley

Jordan Kelley, from Charleston, matched with University of Kentucky HealthCare in Lexington. The process of applying was strenuous, but Kelley said she enjoyed traveling to the sites she was considering.

Kentucky was her first choice, and she was “overjoyed” when she found out she matched there.

“I’m primarily interested in infectious diseases, but what I love about Kentucky is that they have every aspect of pharmacy you could want to explore,” Kelley said. “I can research infectious diseases while also interacting with oncology and HIV patients. All of those opportunities will be afforded to me while I’m there.”

UM Physicists Part of New Effort to Explore Nature of Matter

Muon g-2 experiment has begun its search for phantom particles using a well-traveled electromagnet

Scientists install equipment and prepare the Muon g-2 ring, a 50-foot electromagnet, to take muons at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The work is part of an experiment to determine whether undetected elementary particles exist or if the Standard Model of Physics is complete. Photo courtesy Fermilab

OXFORD, Miss. – When scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory fired a beam of tiny particles called muons into a giant electromagnet late last week, it signaled the start of a three-year effort that could yield another landmark discovery in particle physics.

It’s a project with some strong Mississippi ties: Physicists from the University of Mississippi have played key roles in the hardware development and data analysis for the collaborative experiment, and the project’s central component traveled through northeast Mississippi on a monthlong journey from New York to the Chicago suburbs.

The Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab could rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and how it works. On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab’s accelerators, the first step in an effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field.

“The Muon g-2 experiment’s first beam truly signals the start of an important new research program at Fermilab, one that uses muon particles to look for rare and fascinating anomalies in nature,” said Nigel Lockyer, Fermilab director. “After years of preparation, I’m excited to see this experiment begin its search in earnest.”

Another person excited to see the project begin is Breese Quinn, an associate professor of physics at UM and a collaborator in the Muon g-2 project. Quinn has been involved in the project for four years, and his team – including postdoctoral research associate Jenny Holzbauer and graduate student Wanwei Wu – are at Fermilab to help set up the experiment.

The Ole Miss team is responsible for putting together the storage beam chamber for the muon beam and the equipment to steer it.

“They’ve done fantastic work on that,” said Quinn, who will travel to Fermilab this week to spend much of June working on the project. “Those systems are operating beautifully, and they’re currently being tuned up.”

Quinn and his group also are working on studies to help understand the dynamics of the muon beam.

“These studies are really key to this experiment being able to reach the degree of precision needed to provide conclusive evidence of what we’re looking for,” he said.

The goal of the experiment is to precisely measure how much muons wobble on their axis as they spin in a magnetic field. The Standard Model, a landmark, 40-year-old theory that describes three of the four fundamental forces in the universe, predicts how much muons should wobble, but an earlier experiment suggested the wobble may be greater than predicted.

That would mean that previously undetected particles are present, influencing the motion of the muons, Quinn said.

“If new particles exist outside the Standard Model, it would establish that there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy,” he said. “It would be proof of new building blocks of matter, and that’s exciting.”

Getting to this point was a long road for Muon g-2, both figuratively and literally. The first generation of this experiment took place at the DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The results there indicated that the muons wobbled more than predicted, but the experiment could not measure the movement with enough precision to be conclusive. So scientists began planning a new experiment, using the capabilities of Fermilab to boost the experiment’s precision by a factor of four.

Since it would have cost 10 times more to build a completely new machine at Brookhaven rather than move the magnet to Fermilab, the Muon g-2 team transported the fragile, 50-foot-wide superconducting magnet in one piece from Long Island to the suburbs of Chicago in the summer of 2013.

Breese Quinn and his son, Aidan, and daughter, Erin, watch the Muon g-2 ring pass through the G.V. ‘Sonny’ Montgomery Lock on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway on July 15, 2013. Quinn is among the collaborators on a landmark experiment using the massive electromagnet at Fermilab. Photo courtesy Susanne Quinn

The magnet took a barge south around Florida, up the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway and the Illinois River, and then was driven on a specially designed 18-axle truck over three nights to Fermilab. The journey covered 3,200 miles.

As the magnet made its way up the Tenn-Tom, Quinn and his family watched it go through the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Lock in Itawamba County. But getting the magnet to the Chicago suburbs was only half the battle.

“Since it arrived, the team here at Fermilab has been working around the clock installing detectors, building a control room and, for the past year, adjusting the uniformity of the magnetic field, which must be precisely known to an unprecedented level to obtain any new physics,” said Chris Polly, project manager of the Muon g-2 experiment. “It’s been a lot of work, but we’re ready now to really get started.”

Over the next few weeks the Muon g-2 team will test the equipment installed around the magnet, which will be storing and measuring muons for the first time in 16 years. Later this year, they will start taking science-quality data, and if their results confirm the anomaly first seen at Brookhaven, it will mean that the elegant picture of the universe that scientists have been working on for decades is incomplete, and that new particles or forces may be out there, waiting to be discovered.

The first results should be available in about a year, Quinn said. The full run is scheduled to take three years to get full sensitivity and precision from the equipment, though.

“It’s an exciting time for the whole team, and for physics,” said David Hertzog of the University of Washington, co-spokesperson of the Muon g-2 collaboration. “The magnet has been working, and working fantastically well. It won’t be long until we have our first results, and a better view through the window that the Brookhaven experiment opened for us.”

The Muon g-2 collaboration includes more than 150 scientists and engineers from more than 30 institutions in nine countries. The experiment is supported by DOE’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about the Muon g-2 experiment at Take a 360-degree tour of the Muon g-2 experiment hall at

For more about physics research at the University of Mississippi, go to

UM-Grenada, BGS Student Changes Career Plans and Excels

Bethany Miller earns UM's Taylor Medal for academic achievement

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter congratulates Bethany Miller on being awarded a Taylor Medal. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

GRENADA, Miss.­­­ – After graduating from Grenada High School in 2011, Bethany Miller enrolled at Holmes Community College’s Grenada Center, where she served as a student ambassador and a student worker in the vice president’s office.

She graduated with an associate’s degree in social work in 2013 and started classes in the nursing program the following fall. But after a year in the program, Miller’s career path seemed less clear and she withdrew from the program.

“I tried the clinical practice and nursing classes, and I decided that this was not the direction for my life,” Miller said. “I wasn’t sure what was next for me, so I took some time off from school to think about what I might want to do careerwise.”

Just a few short years later, Miller seems to have found her calling in higher education and looks to help others in her community pursue their educational goals. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi this spring and was awarded the university’s highest academic award, the Taylor Medal.

Before she enrolled at UM, Bethany was working full-time at an urgent care clinic in Grenada, but she truly missed working at a college. So when she saw an opening in the financial aid office at Holmes-Grenada, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I missed the college environment and working with students,” Miller said. “Financial aid is such a crucial part of students getting the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

“I still wanted to help people, just not in the medical field anymore, and this job was the perfect way for me to do that.”

During her time in this position, Miller realized that she wanted to start taking classes again to complete her bachelor’s degree and pursue her own career goals. She already knew about the University of Mississippi at Grenada, housed on the Holmes-Grenada campus, because her husband, Trey Miller, had completed his Ole Miss degree there in 2013.

Bethany Miller of Grenada was honored during UM Commencement exercises in Oxford. Miller served as the student speaker for the Bachelor of General Studies graduation ceremony as well as the program’s banner bearer for the day’s events.Submitted photo

Trey, who works as an assistant program manager with Effex Management Solutions, has since completed his Master of Arts degree in human services counseling online. The Millers met while helping cater an event at Holmes-Grenada and were married in July 2014.


After receiving several scholarships, including the Community College Excellence and First Generation College Student scholarships, Bethany enrolled in the Bachelor of General Studies program at the Grenada campus in fall 2015.

“I loved the diversity of this degree program,” Miller said. “I was leaning toward going into education, but I still had a lot of interests. This program let me study subjects I am really interested in.

“It feels like it’s three degrees all wrapped up into one.”

Miller minored in education, English and sociology while at UM-Grenada. One of her favorite classes, she said, was the Transfer Student Experience, taught by UM instructor and Carrollton native Matthew Deloach.

“I just loved the opportunity to get some of the same experiences as Oxford campus students,” Miller said. “Mr. Deloach shared the journey with us and gave us ideas for being successful in our path to complete our degree.”

Deloach said he admired Miller’s work ethic as she worked full-time and maintained a full-time college course load. He also mentioned her drive to help others and take on leadership roles.

“In class, Bethany would share experiences from her life and her work at Holmes to help other students,” Deloach said. “She seems to enjoy supporting and encouraging her classmates. I think she is positioned well to make a positive impact in her community.”

In late 2016, Miller moved into a new position at Holmes as assistant to the vice president and the academic dean at Holmes-Grenada.

“I have really enjoyed new challenges in this position as well as continuing to work with students, faculty and staff,” Miller said. “I get to help with events, help students build schedules and work with area businesses.”

Miller hopes that she can share her experiences to inspire students even further as she looks to pursue graduate classes in the hopes of one day teaching at the college level.

As one of the top students in UM’s Bachelor of General Studies 2017 graduating class, Miller was asked to serve as the banner barrier during Commencement exercises earlier this month in Oxford. She also was nominated to address her fellow graduates during the program’s graduation ceremony.

“I wanted to encourage everyone to enjoy the journey of education and life,” Miller said. “Looking at the blank pages of our future after graduation can be a bit intimidating at first. I believe that once we get started, it will all come together, just like it has for me.

“I hope I don’t forget to enjoy the ride, even as it takes me around different corners in my career and life.”

Family Leadership Council Provides Support

Resources directed to strengthen areas of Division of Student Affairs

Jeff McManus, UM director of landscape services and airport and golf course operations, talks with Family Leadership Council members at their recent gathering on campus. McManus and his team work to ensure the Ole Miss campus is one of the nation’s most beautiful. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Seven University of Mississippi programs are better equipped to enhance the student experience, thanks to the generosity of the Ole Miss Family Leadership Council.

More than $100,000 in private funds from the council has been directed to strengthen areas of UM’s Division of Student Affairs, including the FLC contributing to an endowment – funds that will be held permanently with the annual income used to promote development of student leaders and participation in student organizations.

“To be able to donate money and have the ability to direct where it is allocated gives us a sense of involvement,” said Kim Eickholz, a council member from Paducah, Kentucky, who, with her husband, Dr. James Eickholz, earned undergraduate degrees at Ole Miss. “We feel like we are part of the departments that we financially support. We believe the council is able to help in areas that are vitally important to the quality of education for students.

“In addition, sitting around a table with other Family Leadership Council members to allocate funds really makes you appreciate other people’s viewpoints and ideas. Learning details about the different programs has opened our eyes to opportunities to support students and help them excel.”

The FLC facilitates interactions between parents and the university, while improving services for students. Council members learn about new initiatives on campus and hear from Ole Miss leaders during fall and spring meetings and through ongoing communications throughout each year, said Brett Barefoot, development officer for parent and family leadership.

Sixteen states are represented on this year’s council, which directed support to these areas:

  • Student Disability Services, $25,315 Staff offices and a conference room will be brought up to accessibility standards and made more welcoming for students with disabilities. The SDS ensures equal access to a quality education for qualified students with disabilities.
  • The Student Affairs Leadership and Engagement Endowment, $25,000 – The endowment’s annual income will provide sustainable resources for student leadership development opportunities and students’ involvement in co-curricular activities and organizations. To recognize this gift, a conference room in the Student Union will be named for the FLC.
  • Counseling Center, $15,150 – New technology will be provided in order for staff members to more efficiently serve students. Also, funds will cover outreach materials and a golf cart for the Violence Prevention Office, which oversees prevention training and response to sexual violence.
  • Campus Recreation, $14,600 – Personal training sessions will be offered through a pilot wellness program (in collaboration with the Counseling Center) aimed at addressing anxiety and depression in students. Other funds will make way for South Campus Trail enhancements: benches, an information sign and bike station. Other FLC resources will sponsor hydration stations during the first two home football games.
  • Center for Student Success and First Year Experience, $10,000 – Resources will expand veteran and military recruiting.
  • Career Center, $5,000 – The FLC will cover expenses for staff attending the Handshake Software users conference and partial costs of the software. The group also chose to purchase an iPad Air and name tag printer for use at career fairs.
  • Dean of Students Office, $4,495 – Funding will cover student-of-concern folders, departmental brochures and one cargo-style bike as alternative campus transportation.

FLC members say they fully recognize and understand the importance of private support.

“Sally and I were thrilled to join the Family Leadership Council,” said Bill Coker of Spartanburg, South Carolina, a University of Virginia graduate. “Both of our children are Rebels, and we have seen firsthand the superior academic opportunities and overall college experience that Ole Miss offers.

“At the same time, we know that as public funding for state institutions decreases, tuition dollars alone can’t keep pace with the rising cost of operating a top-tier university in the competitive higher education landscape. We hope that through the power of collective vision and combined resources the Family Leadership Council will continue to fund many needed projects and programs that might otherwise not receive funding.”

Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, said that the annual spring meeting with the FLC is one of her favorites as “incredibly generous and caring parents” determine what student initiatives to support.

“Their decisions have the potential to impact all students on campus. I am incredibly grateful for the council’s support, which continues to grow each year with new members and returning members. The council’s financial investments have had an immense impact on the Division of Student Affairs but more importantly a positive impact on our ability to serve our students.”

The spring meeting featured Jeff McManus, director of landscape services, whose team is responsible for the national accolades the Ole Miss campus receives on its beauty, and Bill Griffith, curator of Rowan Oak, author William Faulkner’s home. Council members were joined by their students to enjoy a reception at Carrier House, home of Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and his wife, Sharon.

To be council members, parents of UM students donate $2,500 annually. To learn more about the Ole Miss Family Leadership Council, contact Brett Barefoot at or 662-915-2711.