UM Group, Community Members Visit Lynching Memorial

UM faculty and students, Oxford high school students and community members – visit the Equal Justice Museum and Memorial Park in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo by Dason Pettit

OXFORD, Miss. – A group of more than 50 people – including University of Mississippi faculty and students, Oxford high school students and community members – recently visited the Equal Justice Museum and Memorial Park in Montgomery, Alabama.

A student takes in exhibits at the Equal Justice Museum and Memorial Park. Photo by Dason Pettit

The trip, which took place Nov. 3 and was organized by the UM Slavery Research Group, allowed participants to visit the new museum that examines the history of lynching in America.

The trip was organized to take place one week after the dedication of the Elwood Higginbottom memorial in Lafayette County. More importantly, it allowed older community members to discuss historical information about Oxford and Lafayette County with high school students.

The creation of the Equal Justice Museum and Memorial Park was driven by the Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson. The best-selling author and social justice activist delivered the keynote address during the university’s Fall Convocation in 2017.

Business School Launches Networking Program

Business Connect will link students with former graduates for employment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Education Week Underway at UM

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi community is celebrating International Education Week the week of Nov. 12 with a number of events slated for campus.

“(International Education Week) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote the benefits of international education and exchange,” said Blair McElroy, UM director of study abroad and senior international officer.

“Each year, International Education Week is celebrated by universities nationwide, and the Office of Global Engagement is proud to put together a variety of activities and educational events together with units on campus to promote international education and global citizenship.”

With free events ranging from information sessions to lectures and films, International Education Week will have something for everyone. The schedule includes:

Monday (Nov. 12); 5:30 p.m.; Croft Institute, Room 107; Lecture: “On the Road with an Axe and a Pen: Temporary Migration to 19th Century Turkey in the Life Narrative of Central European Journeymen.” Richard Wittman, associate director of the Orient-Institut Istanbul in Istanbul, will discuss the life narratives of journeymen and how they afford new insights into how the temporary migration and stay in a foreign culture was made part of journeymen’s life stories and how it shaped their sense of belonging.

Tuesday (Nov. 13); noon, Lyceum, Room 200; Lunch and Learn with Khalid Al-Gudah, director of the Modern Arabic Language International Center in Amman, Jordan, who will discuss the Arabic language study abroad program at the center. RSVP required for this event.

Tuesday (Nov. 13), 6 p.m., Barnard Observatory, Film: “People’s Republic of Desire.” The documentary about the live-streaming culture in China will be screened and followed by a question-and-answer period with Hao Wu, director of the film.

Wednesday (Nov. 14); 3:30-5 p.m.; Lamar Hall, Room 131; Forum for UM Faculty: “International Students in Your Classroom.” The discussion will feature panelists and other colleagues-in-instruction who will talk about positive educational opportunities that international students bring to the Ole Miss campus. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday (Nov. 14); 6 p.m.; Croft Institute, Room 107; Student Panel: Ole Miss students are invited to attend a panel discussion at which Freeman grantees will talk about their experiential learning experiences in East Asia last summer. The Freeman grant provides $7,500 to students who want to participate in an internship in East Asia in summer 2019. All majors are welcome. Dinner will be provided and those interested in applying for this grant are encouraged to ask questions and hear from this year’s grantees about their experiences.

Thursday (Nov. 15), 1:30-2:45 p.m., Center for Manufacturing Excellence Boardroom, Pronunciation Session. All are invited to join Intensive English Program faculty and students who will discuss pronunciation in several different languages.

Thursday (Nov. 15), 6:30-8:30 p.m., Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, International Culture Night. All are invited to join student members of the International and American Student Alliance for IASA’s International Cultural Night. Attendees will learn about the many cultures represented on campus.

Friday (Nov. 16); 2-4 p.m.; Brevard Hall, first floor; Cultural Cafe. This come-and-go event provides an opportunity to socialize at the weekly Cultural Cafe, meet new friends and connect with other students. Pre-College Programs representatives will provide ice cream and information that can be shared with friends and family about opportunities for international high school-age students at UM.

For more information about International Education Week, contact the Office of Global Engagement at 662-915-7404 or email

Lambda Sigma Society Earns National Recognition

Iota Chapter receives prestigious distinction

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi chapter of the Lambda Sigma National Honor Society has been named as an Honor Chapter by the organization’s national board.

Lambda Sigma is a sophomore honor society based upon four main ideals: leadership, scholarship, fellowship and service. Among 38 chapters nationwide, the Iota Chapter at Ole Miss received the Honor Chapter distinction “based upon the chapter’s service to the community and the overall functioning of the chapter,” according to a letter from national President John R. Hauser.

Iota Chapter adviser Ryan Upshaw was quick to praise the student members for this prestigious recognition.

“This work is all the students” said Upshaw, assistant dean for student services in the School of Engineering. “It’s really the students’ work in terms of what they are doing in the organization. They’re the ones who should be commended for any awards and recognition.”

Membership in the society is limited to just 50 second-year students who not only excel in the classroom, but who are actively involved in the campus community. New members are initiated in April, as the chapter operates on an academic calendar.

Upshaw and new chapter president Cade Slaughter point out that the award reflects the job of last year’s group of chapter officers.

“Branden Livingston, last year’s president, deserves credit for this distinction,” Slaughter said. “Moving forward, I hope to continue this year of service and fellowship in the same way that last year’s group of Lambda Sigma members at Ole Miss were able to do.”

When it comes to the chapter sustaining this level of success, Upshaw said he isn’t worried. He knows the stellar reputation and commitment to the organizational ideals will keep students interested.

“One of the things I think that makes our chapter really strong is the commitment to service,” he said. “It’s been really outstanding, and I think it’s what helps us stand out.

“We also typically attract students who are leaders on campus, such as ASB President Elam Miller and Black Student Union President Jarvis Benson. It distinguishes Lambda Sigma because people see a lot of leadership potential coming out of the members.”

Famed Mississippi Author to Share Inspiring Message with UM Students

Clifton Taulbert on campus to speak with CEED Innovation Scholars

OXFORD, Miss. – The McLean Institute of Public Service and Community Engagement will host “An Evening with Clifton Taulbert” from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Bryant Hall gallery to discuss his career as an entrepreneur, businessman, Pulitzer-nominated author and U.S. Air Force veteran.

Taulbert’s books illustrate the power of incorporating community engagement into education and workforce development. The Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program at the McLean Institute uses Taulbert’s book “Who Owns the Ice House” as a framework in the classroom to teach entrepreneurial lessons and how to foster an entrepreneurial mentality.

Taulbert has a direct link to the work at the McLean Institute and the CEED program because of his experience of taking entrepreneurial opportunities that were presented to him in the Washington County community of Glen Allan, said J.R. Love, project manager for CEED at the McLean Institute.

“Clifton will provide insight into the power of our individual mindset and how that connects to building community,” Love said. “CEED students will have the opportunity to engage and learn from an entrepreneur from Mississippi who shares a similar philosophy of the McLean Institute regarding the power of community and economic development.”

Joshua Baker, an Ole Miss sophomore math and economics major and CEED Innovation Scholar, said he is looking forward to Taulbert’s keynote discussion on entrepreneurship and economic advancement in Mississippi’s low-income regions.

“As an entrepreneurial-focused organization, when given the opportunity to host Mr. Taulbert, we agreed immediately,” Baker said. “(Taulbert) embodies many of the community-centered values we hold, all while being a phenomenal example of the talent Mississippi possesses.”

The event is hosted for CEED Innovation Scholars, the chancellor, vice chancellors, department heads across campus and community partners.

The McLean Institute’s mission is to advance transformative experiences for university students and to fight poverty through education in Mississippi.

The CEED program works with Ole Miss students and faculty to build actionable partnerships with Mississippi communities to increase entrepreneurship and promote economic development.

To learn more about the event, call the McLean Institute at 662-915-2052 or email

Versatility of Wheat in Cooking Topic for October Science Cafe

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi professor Susan Pedigo will lead a program Oct. 16 examining “The Versatility of Wheat in Cooking” at this month’s Science Cafe.

Pedigo, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will speak on the subject at 6 p.m. at Uptown Coffee. The event is free and open to the public.

Susan Pedigo

The Oxford Science Cafe features monthly conversations about science known and unknown. Speakers and topics are scheduled through the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

This month’s discussions will center on the genetic rewiring of wild wheat to promote convenience in harvesting and planting, and how those changes promoted wheat’s meteoric rise in importance as a major food in civilization.

The event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, University of Mississippi Women in Physics, Uptown Coffee and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-7046.

MFA Ceramics Student Selected to Represent University in China

William McKinney is among seven artists chosen for fair

William McKinney

OXFORD, Miss. –William McKinney, a Master of Fine Arts student in ceramics, is representing the University of Mississippi this month at the Taoxichuan Creative Fair in Jingdezhen, China.

Selected by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, McKinney is among seven students chosen to represent universities in the United States.

“It’s a huge honor … it was pretty amazing I got this opportunity to do this,” said McKinney, who received his bachelor’s degree in ceramics from West Virginia University. “It will be good to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve been at Ole Miss for two-and-a-half-years, and this trip is going to challenge me.”

His work in ceramics is experimental in nature and investigates function versus abstraction, and explores environmental changes that are happening across the country, specifically in his home state of West Virginia.

McKinney is looking forward to new artistic ideas and perspectives and hopes that his experimental approach to ceramics will bring something special to the fair.

“I’m hoping to show people that this is a traditional material for pottery, but it can be adapted into very sculptural means and push those boundaries,” McKinney said.

Fall Webinar Series Aims to Improve Entrepreneurs’ Businesses

Series hosted by UM McLean Institute and Mississippi Development Authority

OXFORD, Miss. – A series of webinars to help fledgling and seasoned entrepreneurs across Mississippi improve their business profiles is hosted this fall by the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and The Entrepreneur Center of the Mississippi Development Authority.

The webinars began Sept. 11 and continue Tuesday (Sept. 25), Oct. 9 and 23, and Nov. 6. On average, the webinars attract more than 70 participants. The Sept. 11 kickoff for the fall series, which focused on brand and social media marketing, hit a webinar series record with an audience of 115.

J.R. Love, project manager of the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, Initiative at the McLean Institute, works with students to create actionable partnerships that promote entrepreneurship and economic development.

“The webinars are a great venue to help share knowledge and best practices on how to start your own business or strengthen your existing business,” Love said. “We are thankful to the Robert M. Hearin Foundation for providing a financial gift to support the CEED initiative in bolstering community and economic development in Oxford and around the state.”

Nash Nunnery, development specialist at Mississippi Development Authority, has partnered with the McLean Institute for the past three years to host the webinar series.

“Both entrepreneurs in Oxford and on the Ole Miss campus, as well as those across Mississippi, can benefit greatly from the information disseminated from the webinars,” Nunnery said. “Our topics range from branding/social media to legal matters to attracting investment for small business.”

The 2018 fall webinar series schedule, with registration links, includes:

Sept. 25 – “Essentials of Advertising,” with Darren Schwindaman, of Creative Distillery –

Oct. 9 – “Legal Matters: IP, Copyright and Patents,” with Jeremy Smith, Bradley Arant –

Oct. 23 – “Attracting Investment in Your Business,” with Dean Didato, InnovaMemphis –

Nov. 6 – “Business Model Canvas,” with Michael Harris, The Entrepreneur Center –

For more information on the webinar series and how to register, visit

Politics Dominate Autumn Schedule at UM Overby Center

Twelfth year of programing continues with Wednesday evening discussion

OXFORD, Miss. – Fresh off the success of bringing the popular MSNBC program “Morning Joe” to Oxford, the University of Mississippi’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics is preparing a slate of election year-themed discussions on campus.

The center’s 12th year of programs at Ole Miss began Friday (Sept. 14), with an evening at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts featuring “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, along with historian and commentator Jon Meacham and biographer Walter Isaacson.

All remaining Overby Center programs this season are slated for the center’s auditorium, where events are free and open to the public. Arrangements have been made for free parking in the lot next to the auditorium.

“A broad array of nationally recognized journalists and commentators will give our audiences valuable insights,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center.

The fall lineup features:

  • Wednesday (Sept. 19), 5:30 p.m., “In the Dark” Investigative journalists for an acclaimed podcast will talk about their yearlong probe into the reasons why a Winona man has been tried six times for a quadruple murder. Curtis Flowers has been in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman for 21 years even though he has won repeated appeals. Madeleine Baran and Samara Freemark will reveal how their work focused on the prosecutor, the witnesses and how justice works – or doesn’t.
  • Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m., “Deep South Dispatch” – John Herbers was a Mississippi reporter who covered the early stages of the civil rights movement for United Press International before moving to a distinguished career at The New York Times. At the end of his life, he collaborated with his daughter, Anne Farris Rosen, on a memoir about his experiences in the South in the 1960s that was published this year. Rosen will talk about her father with other journalists in Mississippi during that period.
  • Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m., “Showcasing an Outstanding Alumnus” – James Autry, an Ole Miss graduate who rose to become editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens and then took over as general manager of the Meredith Corp.’s magazine empire, returns to Oxford to talk about his years as an executive, educational speaker, consultant and poet. His latest volume of poetry, “Mississippi,” has just been published.
  • Oct. 19, 11 a.m., “Election Thoughts” – Two-and-a-half weeks before this fall’s critical congressional elections, political journalist Peter Boyer will be on hand to discuss the chances of a Democratic takeover on Capitol Hill. A native Mississippian, Boyer attended Ole Miss. His background ranges from The New Yorker to Newsweek, from Frontline to Fox News. He is a national correspondent for The Weekly Standard.
  • Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m., “Reading the Returns” – A pair of veteran Mississippi political handlers with opposing partisan interests – Republican Austin Barbour and Democrat Brandon Jones – will debate the outcome of the Nov. 6 election as well as a prospective runoff later in the month for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Thad Cochran.

Jon Meacham, MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe Live’ Coming to Ford Center

Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski join author at 5 p.m. Friday

OXFORD, Miss. – Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski wake up the nation each weekday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Experience the Joe and Mika dynamic, called “revolutionary” by Time magazine, live at 5 p.m. Friday (Sept. 14) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Presented by Mississippi Today and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, this event offers an up-close-and-personal experience with nationally recognized voices in the news media.

Best-selling author and historian Jon Meacham, who returns to Ole Miss after delivering the keynote address for the university’s 2017 Commencement, will lead a discussion with Joe and Mika around current events and how news is reported and consumed in the 21st century.

Questions will be taken from the audience during the hourlong program.

Tickets are $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Joe Scarborough, co-host

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) is co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” alongside Mika Brzezinski. The show features interviews with top newsmakers and in-depth analysis of the day’s biggest stories. The New York Times has ranked “Morning Joe” as one of today’s top morning news shows and has praised Joe and Mika’s natural repartee and off-the-cuff commentary. The New Yorker has described the show as “appallingly entertaining.”

Mika Brzezinski, co-host

Mika Brzezinski is co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” founder of “Know Your Value” and author of four best-selling books. Most recently, she was awarded with the New York Women in Communications’ Matrix Award. Mika, along with co-host Joe Scarborough, was inducted into the Cable News Hall of Fame. She and Joe also served as visiting fellows at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School in fall 2017. Mika’s expanded book “Know Your Value,” which includes timely material, statistics and interviews, will be released Sept. 25.

Jon Meacham, contributor

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian. A contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine, he is author of the New York Times best-sellers “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power,” “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” “American Gospel” and “Franklin and Winston.” Meacham lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Joe and Mika Live at the Ford Center with Jon Meacham” is co-presented by Mississippi Today and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics with support from the Dick Molpus Foundation, UM, John Palmer, Lisa and Jack Reed Jr. and the Mississippi Book Festival.