UM-Tupelo Alumni, Executive Director Among Tupelo’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’

Former business students and administrator honored for 2018

Albine Bennett

TUPELO, Miss.­­­ – Two former University of Mississippi at Tupelo students and the campus’ executive director have been named to northeast Mississippi’s “Top 40 Under 40” list of influential leaders.

Business, civic, and community leaders who are 40 years of age and under are nominated by community members and evaluated by an independent panel. Hosted by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, the official awards ceremony was Oct. 25 at Tupelo’s “The Hub” in Journal Business Park.

Among those selected for the honor were Tupelo regional campus graduates Albine Bennett and Blakley Moore Young and UM-Tupelo Executive Director Derek Markley.

Bennett is a 2011 graduate of the Tupelo campus with a bachelor’s degree in managerial finance. She serves as director of communications for the CREATE Foundation in Tupelo, where among other duties, she coordinates the annual “Imagine the Possibilities” career expo.

“My time as a student at UM-Tupelo helped me not only gain knowledge in my field, but it also helped me gain confidence in myself,” Bennett said. “I was able to meet different people from all walks of life, which helped me to broaden my horizons.”

Bennett said she appreciated the connections she made in the community as an active member of various student organizations at the Tupelo campus. She volunteers for several area nonprofit groups, including Sanctuary Hospice House and the Salvation Army. She is also a board member for the local women’s leadership group New Expectations for Women in Mississippi.

Derek Markley

Markley has been executive director of the university’s Tupelo and Booneville regional campuses since 2014. He is also an assistant professor of leadership and counselor education, and enjoys volunteering as a youth soccer coach and with several Tupelo-area organizations including the Community Development Foundation and CREATE.

“It is a humbling experience to be included with such a great group of hardworking people,” Markley said. “As a university, I think we’re fortunate to have campuses in northeast Mississippi so we can be a part of the growth and development of this region.

“I was very honored to be in the same room with so many people committed to the success of Tupelo and the surrounding areas.”

Young is a 2007 graduate of the Tupelo campus with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She is the digital sales manager for television station WTVA, where she was named one of the Top 50 Leading Business Women in the state by the Mississippi Business Journal.

“The University of Mississippi Tupelo campus helped prepare me in so many ways,” Young said. “The classes that I took there provided me with the education and insight I need to now assist my digital agency clients as they look to grow their businesses.

“As a leader in my organization, my management classes were invaluable to the work I do now.”

Blakley Young

Young serves as a board member with the Tupelo Sanctuary Hospice Junior Auxiliary and volunteers with The Shepard’s Hands organization, which provides assistance to at-risk women and children in north Mississippi. She also is involved with several other professional organizations, including the Public Relations Association of Mississippi and Tupelo Young Professionals.

“My time at UM-Tupelo helped to lay the foundation for being involved in my community and giving back,” Young said. “It also provided lifelong relationships both personally and professionally that I am forever grateful for.”

For more information about the UM Tupelo regional campus, visit

Matching Gift to Benefit Medgar Evers Scholarship in Law

Alumnus, former professor challenges others to contribute to endowment

Tara Ellis (left), managing partner of Balch and Bingham, and UM law Dean Susan Duncan (right) congratulate Kye Handy, the first recipient of the Medgar Evers scholarship. Photo by Suzette Matthews/University Development

OXFORD, Miss. – John Robin Bradley, a native of Inverness, is challenging the University of Mississippi Office of Development to raise $100,000 for the Medgar Evers Scholarship in Law Endowment. In turn, he has agreed to match up to the total goal amount himself.

Bradley, law professor emeritus, wants the scholarship endowment to grow and hopes this unique approach to fundraising will make that happen.

Bradley established the endowment in 2008 with gifts of more than $100,000 to provide financial assistance to law students, with special consideration going to graduates of Tougaloo College, Jackson State University and Alcorn State University – all historically black institutions of higher learning.

“The law school has a history of more than 50 years of offering legal education to all people, this after a much longer history of excluding African-Americans from this opportunity,” Bradley said. “When I joined the law faculty in 1966, I took pride in being part of this then-new role.

“The results have been gratifying and valuable to students of all backgrounds, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to join others in being part of that. The law school is better for the change, as are our profession and state. A signal of the school’s continuing commitment to inclusiveness remains important even these many years later.”

Fundraising efforts are underway, with $10,000 already raised toward the campaign goal, said Suzette Matthews, development officer for the law school. The Balch and Bingham law firm of Jackson was first to respond with a $2,500 gift.

“Once the generous support of alumni and friends of the law school help us meet our $100,000 goal, Professor Bradley will then provide a match, resulting in a $200,000 gift for the school,” Matthews said. “We are very grateful to Professor Bradley for his great interest in the perpetuity of the Medgar Evers scholarship.”

Bradley, a graduate of Mississippi College and the UM School of Law, was in private law practice for four years before joining the faculty at Ole Miss in 1966. He has been a visiting professor at Florida State University and the University of Richmond, and he taught in a Cambridge summer session.

Besides teaching courses on contracts and corporations, he taught about and is an authority on workers’ compensation, having written extensively on the topic. He served as chair of the Administrative Law and Workers’ Compensation section of the Mississippi Bar and as chair of the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council.

His book, “Mississippi Workers’ Compensation” is a Thomson/West publication (with co-author Linda Thompson) that is widely used and cited by courts. First published in 2006, the treatise is published in a new edition annually that is supplemented and updated.

Bradley has taught thousands of students, including former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove; Bill Waller, chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court; and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker.

Best-selling novelist John Grisham had his first class in contracts at the School of Law with Bradley and later took workers’ compensation from him. Likewise, Grisham’s son enrolled in the law school and his first class also happened to be contracts with Bradley.

In 2013, law students selected the professor as teacher of the year. Although Bradley retired later that year, he taught workers’ compensation courses for two more years and still supplements and updates his book annually.

“What is gratifying is watching students who come in not knowing the subject but then develop a really good touch and understanding of how to use it,” he said. “The maturation process, that’s what is really gratifying to me.”

Bruce Levingston, the UM Chancellor’s Honors College artist-in-residence, has known Bradley for many years and says the professor has a generous spirit and deep interest in the welfare of his home state.

“John Robin Bradley has always cared deeply about Mississippi and sought throughout his life, along with his wonderful wife, Laura, to make Mississippi a special place of opportunity for all people,” Levingston said. “His generous philanthropic support of scholarships and educational programs at the University of Mississippi will leave a lasting legacy that will nurture and inspire many generations to come.”

Bradley has served as president of the Lafayette County Bar, twice as chair of the university Faculty Senate and many times as a Faculty Senate officer.

UM Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said he believes Bradley’s teaching will leave a lasting legacy at the university.

“It was a very high-quality experience in his classroom,” Khayat said. “The lasting impressions students got from him were very positive and that will live on in the lore of the law school.”

To make a gift to the Medgar Evers Scholarship in Law, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit; or contact Suzette Matthews at 662-915-1122 or

UM Again Named Among ‘Great Colleges to Work For’

University included on annual ranking for past decade

The University of Mississippi has once again been named to the ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ list by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – For the 10th consecutive year, the University of Mississippi was named to the “Great Colleges to Work For” list compiled annually by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Chronicle has published the “Great Colleges to Work For” list for the last 11 years, with UM recognized in 10 of those years. In the 2018 report, released Monday (July 16), Ole Miss was among 84 institutions honored from the 253 colleges and universities surveyed. Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with UM included among the large universities with 10,000 or more students.

Earlier this year, the university participated in the survey, which is designed to recognize institutions that have built great workplaces. The surveys designed specifically for higher education were sent to a sample of each institution’s full-time faculty, administrators, and exempt and nonexempt staff.

In the survey results, UM employees noted their job is meaningful to them and the university, and they have good relationships with their supervisors and department chairs. Employees also reported they have opportunities to develop their skills and understand the requirements for career advancement.

“It is quite an accomplishment and honor to receive this recognition for a decade now,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “The people of Ole Miss are at the heart of what makes our university so extraordinary.

“We have outstanding faculty, staff and administrators with a rich diversity of talents and backgrounds. Day in and day out, they play an integral role in shaping our caring campus culture, vibrant work environment and stellar academic community.”

The Chronicle, based in Washington, D.C., is a major source of news and information for college and university faculty members and administrators. The annual “Great Colleges to Work For” survey is one of the largest workplace recognition programs in the country and recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies.

“This recognition did not just happen,” Provost Noel Wilkin said. “Many people contribute to making our university a great place to work. I credit our human resources staff with developing programs that contribute to a positive workplace and our faculty, staff and administrators with building a culture in which we care about the people who are the university.”

UM faculty and staff are encouraged to walk on campus as part of the university’s promotion of healthy lifestyle choices. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

UM employees’ broad utilization of the many professional development opportunities offered by the university is appreciated, said Andrea Jekabsons, associate director of human resources.

“In recent years, the university has been intentional about promoting a lifelong learning environment for our employees,” Jekabsons said. “It’s satisfying to see the impact of our programs specifically in the areas of job satisfaction, professional/career development programs and supervisor/department chair relationship.”

Meet Katherine Slone, May’s Staff Member of the Month

Katherine Slone

Katherine Slone, executive assistant in the Office of the Provost, has been selected as Staff Council’s Staff Member of the Month for May. To help us get to know her better, Slone answered a few questions for Inside Ole Miss.

IOM: How long have you worked at Ole Miss? 

Slone: Six years.         

IOM: What is your hometown?

Slone: Oxford, born and raised!

IOM: Talk about your favorite Ole Miss memory. 

Slone: When Ole Miss beat Alabama in 2014!

IOM: What do you enjoy most about your position or the department in which you work?

Slone: My co-workers and the diverse visitors that come through the university.

IOM: What do you like to do when you are not at work?

Slone: I enjoy spending time with my family and working on DIY projects with my husband.

IOM: What is one thing on your bucket list?

Slone: To retire!

IOM: What is your favorite movie?

Slone: “Just Go with It.”

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss tradition?

Slone: Hotty Toddy! I love the enthusiasm of the cheer.

IOM: What is a fun fact about you?

Slone: I completed my first half-marathon last year.

IOM: If you could have lunch with anyone alive or dead/fictional or real, who would it be and why?

Slone: My brother – I would love to see him again and exchange stories about everything that’s happened in the past 26 years.

IOM: What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Slone: Compassionate, dependable and resourceful.

IOM: If you could visit one time or place in world history – past, present or future – what would it be?

Slone: The future in 100 years. I would like to see all the technological advances and how they impact daily society.

IOM: If you could be an animal for a day you would be _____.

Slone: A dolphin.

To nominate a colleague for the Staff Member of the Month, email with the name of the individual you’d like to nominate as well as why you feel he or she should be recognized.

Crutchfield Presented UM Online Teaching Award

Social work faculty member recognized for excellence in distance instruction

Tony Ammeter (left), UM associate provost for outreach and continuing education, presents Jandel Crutchfield, assistant professor of social work, with this year’s Paragon Award for Excellence in Online Instruction. UM photo by Pamela Starling

OXFORD, Miss. – Jan Crutchfield, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Mississippi, has been honored with the Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching, which rewards online instructors who have exhibited good practice in course design and innovative use of technology.

Each year, the Office of Academic Outreach within the UM Division of Outreach seeks to encourage and highlight faculty members’ contributions to online instruction with the award, which is in its eighth year. Nominees’ efforts are acknowledged for engaging students, as well as for their commitment to providing students with a quality education.

Crutchfield was honored April 13 at a ceremony on the Oxford campus.

“Dr. Crutchfield’s online courses stood out to the award selection committee for student-centered teaching, diversified student learning experiences and strong instructor presence,” said Mary Lea Moore, UM assistant director of academic outreach.

“The award selection committee felt that her course assignments promoted critical thinking, were relevant and encouraged students to make a connection between the materials and their personal experience.”

Andrea Hannaford, a senior social work major from Senatobia, said that as a participant in Crutchfield’s online Social Work Research course last fall, she felt connected to the class and material.

“Her style of online teaching was so different,” Hannaford said. “I felt like I was really learning how to do research and not just doing work to keep busy. I loved that she videoed her lectures so that it felt like we were in a classroom atmosphere.”

Crutchfield said two of the staples of her online courses incorporate the use of Zoom recorded video lectures that include computer screen sharing and subsequent creation of YouTube links for students to view.

“I feel that integrating these two platforms in a way that brings my presence to the online classroom helps to make students feel more engaged in the courses and as if they had more guidance than in a strictly written online course,” Crutchfield said.

“I think video lectures can even aid those busy students who may need to listen to a lecture in the car while commuting to work or school. It’s all about flexibility.”

Crutchfield understands the need of flexibility when it comes to education. She herself was employed and caring for her family while completing her doctorate at Louisiana State University.

“From my own online course experiences, I wanted to help take some of the anxiety of online classes away and show students how to stay on track and stay engaged throughout the flexible environment of online courses,” Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield said her teaching philosophy is based on the social work concept of meeting clients where they are.

“I like the challenge of engaging students in a way that has to be more dynamic,” Crutchfield said. “I’ve tried to be creative in my online courses and work to be just as accessible to online students as I would be for those in a live class.”

At the presentation ceremony, Daphne Cain, chair of the Department of Social Work, said that Crutchfield continues to prove herself to be a dedicated student mentor, advanced researcher and collaborative colleague.

“Dr. Crutchfield’s innovative spirit in online education is inspirational to those around her,” Cain said. “I’ve enjoyed watching her move social work online education forward.”

Explore Photography with UM Communiversity Series

Award-winning photographer set for four sessions this fall

Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – Famed Mississippi author Eudora Welty once said, “A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”

Robert Jordan, award-winning director of photography services at the University of Mississippi, will show participants how to capture their own memories during a series of photography classes being offered through the UM Communiversity program this fall.

“It’s reinvigorating for me to see others learn something new and watch their enthusiasm for photography expand,” Jordan said. “There are so many ways to express your personality and view of life from behind the lens.”

Jordan will inspire class members to compose and take great photos with their digital cameras during the “Digital Photography Basics” class offered from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 13) and 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 15).

“People who attend this class have made a financial investment in their camera, and this course will teach them how to get the most out of it,” Jordan said.

Topics include efficient use of manual modes, quick-shooting techniques for more professional-looking shots and, most importantly, how to have fun with your camera. Jordan will touch on post-production editing and enhancing images, as well as hardware options for archiving and printing. The cost is $85.

“Most people struggle with the technology when they are learning about a new camera,” Jordan said. “Engineers usually write the manual books, so they’re not really written for the everyday person. I aim for this class to take the guesswork out of getting started with your digital camera.”

If most of your photos are taken on your cell phone, you might want to sign up for “iPhone Photography,” meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 and 22 at UM’s Insight Park, off Hathorn Road.

Jordan will share tips and tricks to improve point-and-click phone photos and how to enhance photos using applications such as SnapSeed and Camera+. The fee is $75.

On Oct. 22, experiment with Adobe Photoshop and learn to change the size and resolution of photos, color correct, remove red eye, restore photos and much more. Amanda Keys, owner of Bright Ideas and Solutions, will teach this course from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Weir Hall.

Participants will learn tips for restoring old family photos, as well as how to apply artistic and textural photo effects. The cost for this class is $89.

A new class offering this fall that should be a great resource for the upcoming holiday season is Jordan’s “Capturing the Perfect Christmas Card Photo.” This class will meet noon-1 p.m. Oct. 26 at Insight Park. As part of the Holiday Happy Hour series, the cost is only $10.

From what to wear to camera settings, Jordan has rounded up some of his tried-and-true tricks for family photos, kids, babies, and even pets, plus some fun Christmas card photo ideas.

Find out more and register for these or any of the other fall offerings at

Symposium to Highlight Eggleston Exhibit at UM Museum

Panel discussions to examine photographer's influence and experiences

Eggleston’s work is now on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.

Eggleston’s work is on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit ‘The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.’

OXFORD, Miss – “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston” presented by the University of Mississippi Museum features 36 works from the fine art photographer in an exclusive exhibition of the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition, sponsored by Friends of the Museum, runs through Jan. 14, 2017. The public is invited to an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

To further highlight Eggleston’s remarkable color and black-and-white photographs, the museum will host a symposium Oct. 7 at UM’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, featuring notable panelists across different disciplines.

“The University of Mississippi Museum and the Friends of the Museum are exceptionally pleased to present this convening of distinguished panelists and scholars, offering an exploration of the career and influence of the extraordinary William Eggleston,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director.

The first panel at 10 a.m. will feature William Ferris, Maude Schuyler Clay and Megan Abbott, with Lisa Howorth as moderator. The second panel, at 2 p.m., with Ferris as moderator, will feature Emily Ballew Neff, Richard McCabe and Kris Belden-Adams.

The morning panel will approach Eggleston and his work from a perspective of those who have known him personally and have been significantly influenced by his images, Saarnio said.

“Enriched by anecdotes and personal reflections, the panel’s content will include consideration of formative influences and experiences, career highlights and the longitudinal development of an artist, as evidenced by this particular life in visual art and image-making,” he said.

“The afternoon panel will focus on the body of work across Eggleston’s career, with content including the influence of the work on the field of photography, its influence on other artistic and creative fields, the evolution of critical reception to Eggleston, how the work has had shifting meaning over time, and the meaning of the work today to contemporary audiences and contemporary practitioners.”

Howorth, a native of Washington, D.C., has called Oxford home since 1972. She and husband Richard Howorth opened Square Books in Oxford in 1979. After earning master’s degrees in library science and art history, she worked at Ole Miss as a reference librarian and an associate professor of art and Southern studies. She is editor of “The South: A Treasury of Art and Literature” and other books on Southern culture, writes for Garden & Gun and Oxford American magazines, and published “Flying Shoes,” a novel, in 2014.

Ferris is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South and a history professor at the University of North Carolina. He is also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at UM, where he served as a faculty member for 18 years. A longtime friend of William Eggleston and a collector of his work, Ferris donated all pieces that are on display at the UM Museum. He has written or edited 10 books and will sign his new photography book, “The South in Color,” inspired by Eggleston, at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at Square Books

Acclaimed photographer, first cousin and Eggleston protege Clay served as a consulting adviser for the exhibition. In 2015, Clay’s own photography collection of portraits titled “Mississippi History” was produced by German photo book publisher Steidl. The publisher discovered her photographs while working with Eggleston on the multivolume set “Chrome” (2011) and “Los Alamos Revisited” (2012). Clay was the 2015 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Visual Arts.

Detroit native and author Abbott also guest curated the exhibition. As the former John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence, she has drawn her own inspiration from Eggleston’s work. Abbott is an Edgar Award-winning author for her novels “Queenpin,” “The Song Is You,” “Die a Little,” “Bury Me Deep,” “The End of Everything” and “Dare Me.” Her latest novel, “The Fever,” was chosen as one of the best books of the summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the best books of the year by several media outlets.

Neff , executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum, spent nearly 20 years as curator of American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, where she organized numerous major exhibitions. Neff also served as director and chief curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.

McCabe, curator of photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, has curated more than 30 exhibitions and is also a photographer whose work has been the subject of several exhibitions. He has also taught photography courses at Xavier University in New Orleans, the Pratt Institute in New York, Montclair State Institute in New Jersey and Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Belden-Adams, an assistant professor of art and art history at UM, earned a doctorate in modern and contemporary art history, specializing in the history of photography, at the City University of New York. Additionally, she earned an master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Belden-Adams is the editor of the book “Photography and Failure” (2017). Her scholarly work in art history and photography has been published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many journals.

UM Ranked Among Nation’s Best MBA Programs

Campus and online programs rise in prestigious Businessweek and U.S. News listings

Holman Hall

Holman Hall

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Business Administration has risen significantly on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2015 list of Best MBA programs.

UM ranked No. 69 this year in the second year that Bloomberg Businessweek has compiled the list. This is up seven places from its No. 76 position a year ago. Bloomberg compiled data from more than 13,150 students, 28,540 alumni and 1,460 recruiters. The university ranked highest in the student survey and job placement areas of the five-part survey.

“We are excited about the ranking, and it indicates the wonderful work of our faculty and staff in recruiting exceptional students and creating meaningful educational opportunities,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM business school. “The ranking will help our academic reputation, but is more of a reflection of what is already happening in the school and MBA program.”

The Ole Miss MBA program is an exceptional value for students, said Ann Canty, associate professor of management and faculty director of the MBA program.

“Students get an outstanding educational experience from an internationally accredited and highly respected business school at an affordable cost,” Canty said. “Most MBA programs are much more expensive.”

Cyree attributed much of the business school’s success to hiring talented faculty who understand its mission of providing high-quality teaching and research, as well as the engagement of its MBA board who have diligently worked to create an environment of learning the soft skills – such as speaking, writing and job-seeking – to help bolster solid academic preparation.

“Of course we could not do this without the intentional effort to recruit the best students, and our staff has been instrumental in raising the bar for admissions, which helps enhance our success,” he said. “Most importantly, it is rewarding that our graduates will benefit from the MBA degree and this ranking helps indicate the value that is obtained through earning an Ole Miss MBA.”

MBA_LogoTypeUM also recently was ranked among the Top 14 online MBA programs by U.S. News. The 36-hour online program, designed for working professionals, is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The program may be completed in two years by taking two courses in fall, spring and summer. There is no residency requirement and students are not charged nonresident fees. More than 70 percent of the online students complete the MBA program in two years.

“Support from the MBA Alumni Board makes our program unique,” said Del Hawley, associate professor of finance and senior associate dean of the business school. “The board is made up of alumni who work at successful businesses, such as FedEx, Auto Zone and KPMG. Members come to campus several times a year and work one-on-one with our students.”

Alumni also lead professional development workshops for students with the goal of making Ole Miss MBAs stand out.

“They want Ole Miss graduates to have a polished resume in their hand, to walk with confidence into an interview and to be a valued employee in their company,” said Ashley Jones, director of MBA administration. “Recent exit interviews with students indicate the MBA students are successful in their job search. According to interviews conducted with May and August graduates, 67 percent had jobs prior to degree completion. The average compensation was $63,000.”

For more information about Bloomberg rankings, visit

For more information about UM’s online MBA program, go to