UMMC Earns National Telehealth Center of Excellence Designation

The standard of care and record of leadership at the Center for Telehealth has led to UMMC being named a Telehealth Center of Excellence. UMMC photo by Joe Ellis

JACKSON, Miss. — For 14 years, the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center has been a national trailblazer in providing high-quality health care, especially for those with little access to both primary and specialty services.

Its leadership, body of work and mastery of telecommunications technology is being recognized by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. The Medical Center has been designated one of two Telehealth Centers of Excellence, the agency’s top award given only to programs at public academic medical centers.

“The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s successful program is already a model for national telehealth expansion,” said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. “As a Center of Excellence, UMMC will be able to demonstrate to a broader audience how to use telehealth to increase patient access to care and decrease costs.

“Mississippians can be proud that our state’s telehealth investments have set a high standard for improving health care everywhere.”

The recognition from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was announced during an Oct. 5 news conference in Washington. It includes an initial $600,000 in funding, with the opportunity for an additional $2 million over two years.

The designation allows UMMC’s Center for Telehealth to serve as a national clearinghouse for telehealth research and resources, including technical assistance to other telehealth providers.

The Center for Telehealth connects patients and caregivers to Medical Center health care providers remotely, in real time, using video calls and interactive tools. More than 500,000 patient visits in 69 of the state’s 82 counties have been recorded since the center began with just three sites, expanding to more than 200 sites today, not including the homes of patients.

“UMMC’s selection as a national Telehealth Center of Excellence is affirmation of our mission and responsibility to bring high-quality health care to all Mississippians, especially those in rural, underserved areas,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“We look forward to using our experience to help advance best practices for this increasingly vital service.  I’m grateful for Senator Cochran’s support of our application.”

The Medical University of South Carolina was also selected as a Telehealth Center of Excellence.

Mississippians will directly benefit from the honor, said Michael Adcock, the Center for Telehealth’s executive director who joined the operation in 2015. The designation “sets us apart. We were selected because we have one of the most comprehensive telehealth programs in the country.”

Adcock said the designation allows the center to focus on four work areas: assessing the impact of telehealth on health care spending; creating new and/or refining payment methods; improving physician and patient awareness; and expanding its overall research portfolio.

“While our center has been able to show some impressive outcomes, we have not had the staff to focus on researching telehealth delivery models and outcome comparisons,” Adcock said.

“That is vital work that needs to be done, and we are well positioned to do it.  This funding and designation will allow us to build on our comprehensive program and develop the research to support further changes in models of delivery.”

The Telehealth Center of Excellence honor brings with it the responsibility to create a new knowledge base for telehealth through research, said Dr. Richard Summers, UMMC professor of emergency medicine and associate vice chancellor for research. 

The grant funding “will help UMMC to build the infrastructure for research in telehealth and allow us to bring a national leadership to this emerging special area of medical practice,” he said.

The Center for Telehealth provides remote, on-site access to caregivers in more than 35 specialties, including urgent care, trauma, mental health, dermatology, cardiology, infectious diseases, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care.  Pediatric telehealth specialties include remote concussion evaluation, cardiology, neurology, psychiatry, genetics and urology.

Telehealth nurse practitioners are stationed in the emergency departments of 17 rural Mississippi hospitals to treat patients via a multidisciplinary team that includes a certified emergency medicine physician on the UMMC campus.

And, the center recently debuted its “UMMC 2 You” online minor medical care program offered throughout Mississippi to those who are on the state employee insurance plan and their families. It’s also offered through select schools and companies.

“Our drive to address health care challenges with innovation is what has allowed us to be recognized as a leader in telehealth, nationally and internationally,” Adcock said.

Students, Faculty, Staff Encouraged to Attend UM Town Hall

The second annual UM Town Hall is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 11) at The Inn at Ole Miss.

OXFORD, Miss. – The second annual University of Mississippi Town Hall is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 11) in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom of The Inn at Ole Miss.

All students, staff and faculty are encouraged to come hear about exciting initiatives in Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter’s “State of the U,” be among the first to learn about the university’s new strategic plan from Provost Noel Wilkin, share ideas about our future and interact with university leaders and other members of the UM community.

The session will be moderated by David Magee, longtime Oxford resident, Ole Miss alumnus and publisher of The Oxford Eagle.

In keeping with Vitter’s commitment to transparency and broad communication, the first-ever universitywide Town Hall was conducted in August 2016. The results of that dynamic and interactive event engaged the university community in the first steps toward developing a shared vision for UM.

In fact, more than 550 ideas were shared by hundreds of faculty, staff and students around the themes of (1) academic excellence, (2) vibrant and healthy communities, (3) athletics excellence and (4) people, places and resources. Those ideas have served as the foundation of the university’s new strategic plan, which will be unveiled Wednesday at this year’s event. 

Be sure to attend the Town Hall as we continue developing plans and next steps to harness the transformative power of higher education. For those unable to attend, the event will be live-streamed on the university’s official YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/olemiss. To share your thoughts on how we can continue to improve and take the University of Mississippi to the next level of greatness before and during the event, please visit this link.

Noel Wilkin Named UM Provost, Executive Vice Chancellor

Respected education visionary and longtime faculty member to lead academic affairs

Noel Wilkin, a UM faculty member who has served in multiple roles in administration, has been selected as the university’s provost.

OXFORD, Miss. – Noel E. Wilkin, a veteran leader in higher education, has been named provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Mississippi.

The appointment, which is pending approval from the board of trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, was announced Friday (Sept. 22) by Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter after the university concluded a national search.

“I am so pleased that today’s announcement of Dr. Noel Wilkin as the new provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs will continue the University of Mississippi’s outstanding history of strong and effective leadership from the Office of the Provost,” Vitter said. “In his 20-plus years with Ole Miss, Noel has built a tremendous track record of success, excellence, collaboration and fostering energetic and innovative approaches.

“Under Noel’s leadership as provost, the university will see our momentum and academic excellence soar to new heights.”

Wilkin was named interim provost in January 2017 after Morris H. Stocks, provost and executive vice chancellor since 2009, announced he was returning to the faculty of the Patterson School of Accountancy. The provost serves as the university’s chief academic officer.

A pharmacist, scientist, faculty member and administrator, Wilkin earned both his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and his Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

He joined the Ole Miss pharmacy faculty on Sept. 19, 1996, almost 21 years to the day that he was named provost.

“I am thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the university in this important role,” Wilkin said. “This is an amazing university, with well-qualified students and outstanding faculty and staff. 

“It is the creativity, commitment and dedication of our people that enables us to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and society, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them to do this important work.”

As a faculty member, Wilkin was awarded more than $4 million in sponsored research support; made nearly 100 peer-reviewed and invited presentations; published close to 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts, technical reports, professional development articles and book chapters; and was the editor of a text on pharmacy teaching.

He has served his discipline in national roles as editor of the Journal of Pharmacy Teaching, as a member of a national advisory panel to outline educational outcomes for pharmacy education, as co-chair of a National Institutes of Health review panel, and was inducted as a fellow of the American Pharmacists Association.

Wilkin has served as a chair and center director, has received awards for his service contributions to the School of Pharmacy and the university, and has received the school’s Pharmaceutical Science Teaching Award three times. He has had extensive involvement in university operations and almost 10 years of service in the Office of the Provost.

Wilkin also serves as professor of pharmacy administration and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UM.

Ole Miss’ Gerald McRaney and Jack Pendarvis Take Home Emmy Awards

Jack Pendarvis. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

For those of you who missed the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards show Sunday night on CBS, it was yet another night of witty banter, none of which was directed towards politics.

The Emmys is in the same family – think: Uncle Oscar, Uncle Tony and, of course, sweet Grammy – that recognize some of the most talented members and contributors to entertainment. The award that looks like an angel holding up a Hoberman ball smothered in real gold, you ask? Yes, precisely.

University of Mississippi alumnus Gerald McRaney and former faculty member Jack Pendarvis were amongst the list of winners Sunday night.

You may recognize McRaney as Dr. Nathan Katowski, aka Mandy Moore’s lady doctor on the hit show we love to love, “This Is Us.” This was his first Emmy Award in his nearly 50-year acting career, for Outstanding Guest Performance in a Drama.

McRaney, from Collins, married actress Delta Burke in 1989. Burke was part of the popular show “Designing Women,” in which she played a young woman who graduated from Ole Miss. See folks, love is clearly where the Grove is.

Pendarvis,who came to Ole Miss as a Grisham writer-in-residence, took home his second Emmy Award on Sunday for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program, celebrating his work on “Adventure Time,” an animated series on Cartoon Network that’s been on air since 2010. Pendarvis’ first Emmy win was back in 2015, followed by two nominations in 2016.

The creative vision of Pendarvis’ writing has been sure to touch the hearts of even the baddest-of-the-bad college students who claim they’re too cool for cartoons. Hint: he’s yellow, square, giggly all over, and if he attended Ole Miss, he’d be ready every time. That’s right, Pendarvis is a former “SpongeBob SquarePants” writer, having written 10 episodes for the series during Season 9.

Both McRaney and Pendarvis have made great strides in the world of entertainment. I think a hearty “HYDR” are in order for these two Ole Miss talents that prove if you work hard and have passion for what you do – you can do anything.

Charlotte Parks Named Vice Chancellor for Development

Innovative fundraiser will oversee UM, UMMC and Athletics development activities

Charlotte Parks

OXFORD, Miss. – During his investiture in November 2016, Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter announced major initiatives for the University of Mississippi that will require significant philanthropic support and increase the school’s endowment support for faculty, staff and students.

During that same address, Vitter committed to increasing the university endowment from $600 million to $1 billion.

Less than a year later and following a national search, Charlotte Parks, a seasoned fundraiser with more than 25 years of experience in higher education advancement, has been named the inaugural vice chancellor for development at UM.

“Philanthropic support from our alumni and friends is the key factor in achieving and maintaining our success as a flagship university,” Vitter said. “Increasing our endowment is vital to long-term academic excellence and advancing our research endeavors.

“Charlotte Parks is an innovative and experienced development executive who brings a fresh perspective to this tremendously important and newly created position.”

As a direct report to the chancellor, Parks will lead development officers on the Oxford campus, in athletics and at the Medical Center in Jackson to ensure that all fundraising efforts are strategic and effective and support universitywide goals. Private support for the university has exceeded $100 million in each of the last five years, and Parks hopes to continue to advance that unprecedented support in her new role.

“It is exciting to see the incredible support from alumni and friends,” Parks said. “We will build on that generosity to help fund the university’s aspirations to become an even greater public international research university and to ensure that every qualified student admitted can enroll and gain an exceptional education.

“The support is also important for providing superb health care to Mississippians and taking care of those far beyond Mississippi.”

Parks comes to Ole Miss from the University of South Carolina, where she was senior associate vice president for development. At USC, she led fundraising for all colleges and oversaw principal gifts, donor relations and stewardship.

Before joining South Carolina, Parks directed a $300 million comprehensive campaign for Georgia State University and led all fundraising efforts for the university’s Robinson College of Business. Earlier in her career, she served as vice president for resource development at Roanoke College and associate dean for external affairs in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She began her career at Rhodes College, where she worked in admissions before moving into advancement.

Parks will officially assume her duties Sept. 1. She is eager to lead the university’s advancement efforts and support the initiatives crucial to a Carnegie R1 highest research activity institution.

“I cannot wait to meet all the people who make up the University of Mississippi: the students, faculty, alumni, staff and friends,” Parks said. “There is so much happening at Ole Miss that the excitement is infectious. I so much want to be a part of helping it reach its full potential.”

A 1983 Rhodes College graduate, Parks holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She received her master’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University in 1985.

UM Advisory Committee on History and Context Submits Final Report

University to implement contextualization of physical sites on Oxford campus

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi announced the recommendations it will be implementing from the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context. The communication outlining the accepted recommendations as well as the committee’s final report can be accessed at context.OleMiss.edu.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter established the CACHC in summer 2016 to address Recommendation 5 of the university’s 2014 Action Plan, a comprehensive set of recommendations related to improving the campus’ environment for diversity and inclusion. Recommendation 5 of the action plan urged the university to “offer more history, putting the past into context” and to do so “without attempts to erase history, even some difficult history.”  

“Contextualization is an important extension of a university’s responsibility to educate and provides an opportunity to learn from history,” Vitter said. “As an educational institution, it is imperative we foster a learning environment and fulfill our mission by pursuing knowledge and understanding. The CACHC embodied this approach in its work, recognizing that while our history is not by any means all that we are, it remains an important part of who we are.”

During the 2016-17 academic year, the CACHC worked to complete its two-phase charge. The initial task of the committee was to recommend which additional physical sites on the Oxford campus (beyond those already completed) should be contextualized, so as to explain the environment in which they were created or named.

Secondly, the committee was tasked with designing the content and format to contextualize the recommended sites. In the final report, the committee explained that “contextualizing the campus reminds us of the enormity and complexity of our shared past” and that “done correctly, and therefore carefully, contextualization is an additive process, not a subtractive one.”

The following Oxford campus sites will be contextualized with plaques: Lamar Hall, Barnard Observatory, Longstreet Hall and George Hall. The antebellum sites of Barnard Observatory, the Croft Building, the Lyceum and Hilgard Cut (a railroad cut on campus) will be collectively contextualized with one plaque to be placed just west of Croft, within sight of the three buildings, noting that these four projects were built with slave labor.

In addition to contextualizing these sites, the university will seek to rename Vardaman Hall. In applying guidelines developed by the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming at Yale University, the CACHC found that James K. Vardaman was an exceptional case for his time because he was an individual who “actively promoted some morally odious practice, or dedicated much of [his life] to upholding that practice.”  

Vardaman Hall was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning in May 2016 for substantial renovation, an event that often results in consideration of renaming the building. After fundraising and renovation are completed over the next several years, renaming of Vardaman Hall will occur through university processes and be subject to IHL approval.

Additionally, signage at the Paul B. Johnson Commons will be altered to add “Sr.” to clarify that it is named after Paul B. Johnson Sr.

In addition to the seven contextualization sites, the committee’s final report put forth two supplemental sites of university history for contextualization. The first is a plaque for the stained-glass windows in Ventress Hall dedicated to the sacrifice of the University Greys, a company of primarily UM students who fought in the Civil War and suffered 100 percent casualties. The second is for the Confederate Cemetery and related memorial, for which the committee recommended adding individual gravestones to recognize the sacrifice of each person known to be buried there as well as a marker in an appropriate location to recognize the men from Lafayette County who served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.

These two supplemental sites were not part of the original list of seven contextualization sites accepted by Chancellor Vitter in February 2017 and were therefore not included in the online form to receive public input. To ensure continued community engagement, the university is seeking public input at context.OleMiss.edu prior to taking any action related to the Ventress stained-glass windows and the Confederate Cemetery.

“Throughout this process, the university has sought to listen and engage in constructive and transparent conversations with all university stakeholders,” Vitter said. “In the past year, the product of the CACHC has been enriched and informed by the hundreds of individuals who provided feedback in person, through online web forms, and through individual letters, emails and calls. I am confident that our decisions with regard to these two supplemental items will be equally enhanced by public input.”

The public review and comment period for the two additional items recommended by the CACHC will be open at context.OleMiss.edu through July 31, 2017.

The university’s contextualization approach was established as an academically focused and fact-focused process with the 14 CACHC members selected from nearly 100 nominations received from the university community. CACHC membership was based upon expertise in relevant subject matters such as history, sociology, English, law or race relations; a demonstrated track record of consensus building and collaboration; a deep understanding of the UM community and culture; experience in commemoration and contextualization of historic sites; and a commitment to a process that is inclusive, respectful, civil, candid, transparent and honors the UM Creed.

“As the work of the CACHC concludes and our formal contextualization process draws to a close, we extend profound thanks to the CACHC members for their tremendous work on this challenging but extremely important task for our university,” Vitter said.

“I also want to commend our university community for staying engaged and supportive throughout the process. Even when our views differ on issues of vital importance to Ole Miss, Mississippi and the nation, we remain inextricably bound together by our belief in the university’s ability to positively transform lives, just as it has changed many of our own lives for the better.”

The university has tasked the vice chancellor for university relations and the vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement with oversight and coordination of implementation of the recommendations including funding and timeline for ordering and installing plaques and markers.

UM Community, Friends Mourn Passing of Carolyn Ellis Staton

University's first female provost remembered as trailblazer, mentor and friend

Carolyn Ellis Staton

OXFORD, Miss. – Carolyn Ellis Staton, respected and beloved as a University of Mississippi law professor and administrator, was fondly remembered by family and friends Monday (May 22) during memorial services in Paris-Yates Chapel. Staton, 71, died May 19 at her home in Oxford.

A trailblazer who became the university’s first female provost, Staton joined the Ole Miss faculty in August 1977. During her 32-year tenure, she served as a professor and interim dean in the School of Law, associate provost and provost before her retirement in 2009.

“She was truly remarkable in every way,” Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said. “Nobody ever had a better partner at work. She was straightforward, but always kind and treated people with respect.

“I will always remember her for her intellect, creativity, kindness, tolerance and strong value system.”

Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor emeritus of university relations, remembers Staton as a “dear friend and transitional leader who helped change the face of Ole Miss.”

“Dr. Staton definitely strengthened the academic community here,” said Kellum, recalling the professional camaraderie and abiding friendship the two shared. “As the first two women on UM’s executive management team at one point, we worked together on various university projects.

“I have always had an immense respect for how much she loved the university and its students. She was truly a champion who created many educational opportunities for them.”

Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, described Staton as “a powerful and strong leader on campus, tender mother, dedicated spouse, scholar, thinker and crafty seller of books.”

“We celebrate Carolyn Ellis Staton’s extraordinary life,” he said. “She truly made a lasting, positive impact upon all of us who worked with her and knew her well.”

Along with university administrators, faculty, staff and alumni, the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton paid her respects. The former U.S. Secretary of State and three other Yale University alumni flew in to offer condolences to the family of her longtime friend and law school roommate.

“It is always hard to lose a friend – someone who made you a better person,” a tearful Clinton said during her remarks. “No matter what else I may have been, to Carolyn, I was always just a friend.”

Clinton remembered Staton as “a kind of surrogate confessor and godmother” to a lot of their fellow students. She also said that Staton was a leader in the Barrister’s Union and one of the few women who could hold her own in a debate.

“Carolyn was sympathetic, but she was also very clear that each of us had to prepare to play our part in whatever was coming in the future,” Clinton said. “And boy, could she make people laugh!”

Born in Vicksburg to the late John and Marguerite Shibley Ellis, Staton earned her bachelor’s degree at Tulane University, a master’s degree at Columbia University and her Juris Doctor from Yale University.

Staton was warmly remembered by both her predecessor and her successor in the provost’s position.

“She was an unusually outgoing person, and we became immediate friends,” said Gerald Walton, provost emeritus and Staton’s predecessor. “Carolyn Ellis Staton will be recognized because of her intelligence, vision, professionalism, dedication, loyalty, commitment, good judgment, organizational skill, understanding of higher education, commitment to academic excellence, professionalism and collegiality.

“Ole Miss is a stronger institution because of her skill, understanding and drive.”

Morris Stocks, UM professor of accountancy who served nine years as provost, said Staton spent her life improving the lives of others.

“She reminded us of the privilege we have to create opportunities for others,” Stocks said. “I’m thankful for what she taught me. Through Carolyn Staton’s example, many of us have grown to love and cherish the unique challenges we have at this public institution.”

As provost, she facilitated the creation of the university’s residential colleges and Croft Institute for International Studies. She expanded on the ideas of others in building the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Staton was a dedicated and loving wife of 33 years and a loving mother to three boys. She found great joy in her travels overseas and prided herself on enabling her children to travel.

She was a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve JAG Corps, where she achieved the rank of captain. She served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service in the 1990s at the Pentagon.

Staton is survived by her husband, William Staton of Oxford; sons William Staton and his fiance, Katrina, of Washington, D.C., Thom Staton of Asheville, North Carolina, and Michael Staton of Hooksett, New Hampshire; and brothers David Ellis of Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Robert Ellis of Memphis, Tennessee.

Memorial contributions in Staton’s memory may be made to the Carolyn Ellis Staton Scholarship in Law Endowment, University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

Lecture Examines Links Between Faulkner Classic and Book of Daniel

UM McCool fellow to share findings from dissertation research on Thursday

Barry Hudek’s dissertation examines the ‘solitary furnace experience’ undergone by a character in Faulkner’s classic ‘Absalom, Absalom!’ Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – This year’s Frances Bell McCool Fellowship Lecture in Faulkner Studies at the University of Mississippi examines connections between an iconic William Faulkner novel and the Biblical book of Daniel.

The lecture, titled “Thomas Sutpen’s ‘Solitary Furnace Experience’: The Book of Daniel in William Faulkner’s ‘Absalom, Absalom!'” is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday (May 4) in Bishop Hall, Room 112. Barry Hudek, a doctoral candidate in English, will present the talk based on his research.

Faulkner writes in “Absalom, Absalom!” that one of the main characters, Thomas Sutpen, undergoes a “solitary furnace experience,” Hudek said.

“When I first read the novel, I thought the phrase was strange, but I thought it might reference the ‘fiery furnace’ story in the Old Testament book of Daniel,” he explained.

The lecture will focus on the implications and meanings of that phrase and why the connection to the book of Daniel is important.

“The hardest part of the lecture is paring down 50 pages of material to 16 pages,” Hudek said. “But all of that fosters stronger work, so I am happy where the project currently is.”

The McCool Fellowship Lecture is delivered by a student studying Faulkner in his or her dissertation, coming in the final year of dissertation work, said Jay Watson, the university’s Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies. The lecture represents an important professional development opportunity for the fellowship recipient, he said.

“It is great practice to address the general public and not just a specialized audience of scholars,” Watson said. The purpose of scholarship, after all, is “not just to study and learn privately, but to create knowledge and to share knowledge.”

The endowment for the fellowship and lecture was established by Campbell McCool, a 1985 UM graduate, in honor of his mother, the late Frances Bell McCool. A 1959 Ole Miss graduate and one of the first recipients of the Robert M. Carrier Scholarship, she spent more than 30 years teaching high school mathematics in Jackson and New Orleans.

“We chose to establish a Faulkner scholarship in the English department and the writing program because we truly believe it is one of the areas where Ole Miss has a growing national reputation and can go head-to-head with any school,” McCool said in 2004, when the fellowship endowment was announced.

A native of Crest Hill, Illinois, Hudek said he is honored to be a McCool fellow. He is on track to receive his doctoral degree in August.

“What Barry is doing as the McCool fellow is part of what faculty, grad students and even undergraduate students are all doing at the university,” Watson said. “It’s a part of the mission of the university and it’s an important learning opportunity for the audience as well.”

Student Activities Association Spring Concert Canceled

OXFORD, Miss. — The Student Activities Association has canceled the annual spring concert in the Grove due to current weather conditions and the threat of inclement weather throughout the day on Sunday, April 30.

The decision was made after consulting with university officials and event personnel after taking into consideration current weather conditions and the continued threat of severe weather forecast by the National Weather Service throughout the afternoon on Sunday.

“While we were excited about having Gucci Mane and Mix Master Mike in the Grove this afternoon, our primary concern is the safety of our students, concert attendees, the artists and event staff,” said Brady Ruffin, Director of the Student Activities Association. “We have been looking forward to a great show, but with the threat of flash flooding and potential for tornadoes this afternoon, we decided to do what is best for everyone involved.”

There is no alternative event scheduled for the spring concert.

UM, Georgia Music Professors Team Up for Teaching, Performance

Joint saxophone event funded by SEC travel grant

Adam Estes

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi saxophone studio traveled to the University of Georgia last month for a joint event that included a teacher swap, master class and collaborative concert.

Adam Estes, UM assistant professor of music, traveled with seven of his students to Athens, Georgia, where they worked alongside Connie Frigo, associate professor of saxophone at Georgia, and her students. The event was funded by a travel grant from the Southeastern Conference as part of its academic initiative.

“Our goal was to create as much student-to-student interaction as possible throughout this event,” Estes said. “We were delighted and inspired by the quality of work that our students completed.”

Estes and Frigo, who met while in graduate school at the University of South Carolina, proposed the idea last spring to gather students from both institutions for a joint event.

Generally, SEC travel grants are used for faculty support. Estes has previously used the program to travel with a pianist to various SEC schools and provide master classes to students there.

The board liked the idea that Estes and Frigo’s proposal was not only faculty-centric, but focused on student as well, Estes said. The grant had funded student travel expenses for the collaboration, which was structured differently from other events.

The event included Estes and Frigo teaching saxophone fundamentals and helping students improve their sight-reading skills. Students then engaged in peer-to-peer coaching under the supervision of both instructors. In addition, both instructors conducted a formal faculty master class, working with selected students from each studio in front of the entire class.

Finally, the combined students performed a large ensemble of a piece titled “Three Images.”

“Learning how to break the ice with people from other places is an invaluable tool and will serve me well in my future as I network with peers, colleagues and pedagogues from other universities,” said Ryne Anderson, a UM sophomore from Purvis who is majoring in history and music.

“The students weren’t simply the audience here but also the participators and the teachers in certain sessions. It was an interactive setting, making it tremendously more engaging for all of the students involved.”

Estes and Frigo agreed that the event has potential to grow. They are both open to expanding it in the future and inviting other SEC universities to participate.

“As always, the feasibility of these events relies almost exclusively upon funding, and we are grateful for the funding that is supporting us to create a special event like this that brings together our two studios,” Frigo said.