UM Native American Artifacts on Display in New Orleans

Six pots from campus collection are part of the Historic New Orleans Collection's exhibit

These ceramic objects from UM’s Davies collection, dating back to 1400, were used by Native Americans in the Mississippi Valley. The objects are on display at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology has loaned six ceramic vessels from its collection to The Historic New Orleans Collection for an exhibit about this region of the country.

This is the first time the department has loaned these objects for display by a non-university entity. Each artifact is part of the “New Orleans, the Founding Era” exhibit, which celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city beginning with Native American groups of the area through European arrival and the forced migration of enslaved people.

The native objects loaned by the university are from the Walls site in northwest Mississippi and date back to around the year 1200. Other items in the exhibit come from museums in Spain, France and Canada as well as from other U.S. institutions, including the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

“We are very excited to be part of The Historic New Orleans Collection’s exhibit on display in the French Quarter,” said Robbie Ethridge, professor of anthropology. “We hope this will allow our collection to gain some exposure to generate interest and let people know what we have here at the university.”

Ethridge was instrumental in allowing these objects to be on display at THNOC. She was initially contacted to write descriptions of several artifacts already in the exhibit and suggested THNOC also exhibit these pots, which were most likely used as part of rituals and religion for Native Americans.

“This exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on the complicated and often messy nature of New Orleans’s birth and early years,” said Erin M. Greenwald, historian and exhibition curator. “It examines the lived experiences of the settlement’s earliest inhabitants, a majority of whom – including French and Canadian soldiers, French convicts and enslaved Africans – were unwilling participants in France’s colonization of the lower Mississippi Valley.”

These ceramic effigy vessels are on loan to The Historic New Orleans Collection by UM’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The vessels are on display through the end of May. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The Center for Archaeological Research at UM houses an extensive collection of 1,300 boxes filled with objects from more than 500 sites, many of which are Native American. The collection also includes Inuit artifacts, baskets and beadwork from Native Americans in the Southwest and military objects from the Civil War and World War I, among other items.

“It is exciting for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Center for Archaeological Research to share these incredible resources with a wider audience,” said Maureen Meyers, assistant professor of anthropology. “We hope it spurs more interest in Mississippi’s native past and present communities and is the first of many more exhibits of our collection.”

The exhibit is on display through May 27 at The Historic New Orleans Collection, at 533 Royal St. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m Sundays.

For more information about the exhibit, visit https://www.hnoc.org/exhibitions/new-orleans-founding-era.

Ole Miss Women’s Council Gift Honors a Legacy of Generosity

Scholarship endowment is tribute to parents' life of grace and gratitude

Prescott Sherman

OXFORD, Miss. – A major gift to the Ole Miss Women’s Council will benefit young scholars while honoring the legacy of the late Prescott and Betty Sherman of McComb, both 1938 University of Mississippi graduates.

Betsy Sherman Shelton, of Covington, Louisiana, made a $125,000 gift to establish the Betty West Sherman Ole Miss Women’s Council Leadership Scholarship Endowment. The endowment, given to commemorate what would have been her mother’s 100th birthday, also serves as a memorial to her life.

“When asked throughout the years what has meant the most to me, I have come to realize that it was my mother’s life as seen through my 21 years of experiencing it as her daughter and the impact it has had on me 43 years since she passed away,” said Shelton, a McComb native who graduated in 1977 from the UM School of Business Administration.

“The journey of life as experienced through seeing the love of Christ lived out through my mother gave me the deepest desire for helping others find their way, which in turn brings forth a deep sense of contentment.”

The endowment will be combined with the Prescott Alden Sherman Leadership Council Scholarship Endowment, established by Shelton with a $100,000 gift in 2004 to honor her father and commemorate his retirement.

“My hope is to honor my parents’ legacy of valuing education and cultivating the ideas that God brought forth in their hearts that they so willingly shared with others,” she said. “May God deeply bless the recipients of the scholarship and help them find their way for Him.”

First preference will be given to students from Pike County. The scholarship may be received for a maximum of eight semesters, as long as the student maintains at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

OMWC scholarships are awarded to both male and female students based on academic achievement, leadership and a desire to give back to society through community service.

Betty Sherman

Two OMWC staff mentors meet weekly with each scholarship recipient. In addition, scholars are paired with peer mentors during their freshman years and in sophomore years, career and life mentors. These individuals help guide the students in their future careers, enhance life skills and network with alumni.

Scholars also participate in a series of leadership symposiums using the philosophy of servant leadership as the core curriculum.

Shelton said the OMWC’s philosophy aligns with her mother’s lifelong values: “My mother found true joy and personal fulfillment in sincerely loving others and in cultivating ideas to enrich the lives of others and then in working very hard to implement the ideas.”

Betty Sherman’s niece, Kim West, of Seattle, agreed.

“My aunt Betty was a true Southern lady, very dignified and full of grace,” West said. “She had a sense of caring for others in a quiet, gentle way.

“She was astute at discovering what others might need or want, what their struggles might be, and would find a way to help. She was very generous, and I would imagine way more generous than I was aware of. She did not want anyone to know that it was she who helped so many.”

Individuals and organizations can make gifts to either or both Sherman endowments by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655; visiting http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or contacting Barbara Daush, OMWC development officer, at 662-915-2881 or barbara@umfoundation.com.

In its 18th year, the OMWC has attracted more than $13.1 million for scholarships. The $32,000 OMWC scholarships – $8,000 annually for four years – are among the largest on campus. Thus far, 119 OMWC scholars have benefited from the program, which features mentoring, leadership development and cultural activities.

For more information on the OMWC and its awards, contact Nora Capwell, program coordinator, at 662-915-2384 or ncapwell@olemiss.edu. Information on the Women’s Council can also be found at http://www.omwc.olemiss.edu.

UM Libraries Celebrates Anniversary as a Federal Documents Repository

GPO superintendent Laurie Hill to speak April 25 in Faulkner Room

Laurie Hall

OXFORD, Miss. – Laurie Hall, superintendent of the U.S. Government Publishing Office, will visit the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library on April 25 for a special celebration event.

“Becoming a Citizen” will begin at 2 p.m. in the Faulkner Room of the library. With funding from a Mississippi Humanities Council grant, UM Libraries has been celebrating 135 years as a federal depository library. This is the last event recognizing the important anniversary.

“Hall, who leads the GPO in providing public access to government information published by the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and the federal courts, will deliver the keynote address,” said Cecilia Botero, dean and professor of university libraries. “There will also be two representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services there who will discuss the steps to naturalization and answer questions about the process.”

The program will also highlight the U.S. Citizenship Resource Corner.

“This center contains free information, forms and study materials for anyone interested in becoming a citizen,” said Ashley Dees, research and instruction librarian and regional depository coordinator. “The resource corner is located on the first floor of the J.D. Williams Library.”

Through the Federal Depository Library Program, approximately 1,150 libraries nationwide work with the Government Publishing Office to provide public access to authentic, published information from all three branches of the federal government in print and electronic formats.

The program’s antecedents can be traced back to the act of Congress dated Dec. 27, 1813 (3 Stat. 140), which provided that one copy of the journals and documents of the Senate and House be sent to each university and college and each historical society in each state.

The J.D. Williams Library, main library at Ole Miss, has been a federal depository library since 1883.

For more about the 135th anniversary of the Government Depository Library at UM, visit http://guides.lib.olemiss.edu/FDLP135.

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.”

‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ Comes to Ford Center Tuesday

Tony Award-winning show features dazzling costumes and scenes from the classic fairy tale

Featuring dazzling costumes and musical numbers, the national touring production of ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ comes to the Ford Center for a performance at 7:30 p.m. April 24. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” for one performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 24).

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, from the creators of “The Sound of Music,” puts a contemporary twist on the classic fairy tale. Featuring dazzling costumes and scenes, the performance transports viewers back to their childhood through memorable moments, including the pumpkin, the glass slipper and the masked ball.

A live orchestra will perform some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner” and “Ten Minutes Ago.”

Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director, said she is excited to bring this funny and romantic Broadway experience to Oxford.

“Cinderella is such a fun story, and this is the same production that won a Tony when it was on Broadway in 2013,” she said. “We are sure that our audiences will enjoy it and have a magical time.”

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center or online at https://olemissboxoffice.com/.

They are $75 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $69 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $63 for the balcony level. A 10 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. UM student tickets are $25 for the orchestra/parterre level and $17 for the mezzanine/balcony level.

Pharmacy Student Going ‘Over the Edge’ for Fundraiser

Meghan Wagner will rappel down a building to raise money for Batson Children's Hospital

Meghan Wagner

JACKSON, Miss. – Meghan Wagner isn’t taking the traditional route to raise money for Friends of Children’s Hospital. The University of Mississippi third-year student pharmacist is rappelling down a 14-story building instead.

Wagner, from Grenada, will rappel down the Trustmark corporate office building in downtown Jackson on April 21 as part of the Over the Edge event, for which she has raised over $1,000. Friends of Children’s Hospital is hosting the event to support Batson Children’s Hospital, and the organization is aiming to raise $200,000.

“I’ve never been particularly afraid of heights, but as a small human being, 14 stories seems a bit daunting,” Wagner said. “I think excitement will win out, though, because it gives me courage to think about how brave all of the kids, families and staff at Batson are while trying to make the world a little bit brighter.

“When you compare it to what they conquer every day, I think I can take the plunge.”

Wagner plans to descend the 14 stories as a representative of the pharmacy student group PediaRebs, which focuses on pediatric pharmacy. She knows the group’s success stems from its mission to help kids in all stages of health.

“I have worked with kids for many years and have always been incredibly inspired by their unwavering confidence that they have the ability to make their dreams and goals come true,” Wagner said. “I hope to work as a pediatric pharmacist one day so I can be a part of the health care team that helps these kids achieve their goals, because without obstacles like illnesses or uncontrolled conditions, kids are unstoppable.”

“It’s great to see Meghan and PediaRebs support such a great cause,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “Their passion for helping children will continue to impact pediatric health care in our state, and I’m excited to see the chapter continue to thrive in Oxford and Jackson.”

For more information about Over the Edge, visit http://overtheedgeglobal.com/. Wagner is accepting fundraising donations at https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/meghan-wagner-2/overtheedgewithfriends

Veterans with Purple Hearts Honored with Reserved Parking

Dedication ceremonies scheduled April 24 in front of the Lyceum

Veterans Association students and their dependents gather in the new Veterans Resources Center on campus. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Most University of Mississippi students are restricted from parking in certain areas of campus, but that is about to change for Don Zielenski and other Purple Heart recipients at Ole Miss.

The sophomore from south Texas is the first to receive the new Purple Heart Parking Pass, which allows owners to park anywhere on campus. The permit will be unveiled during the university’s Purple Heart Recognition Program at 10 a.m. April 24 on the Lyceum steps.

The event will highlight efforts by the Office of Veteran and Military Services to honor the university’s veteran community and promote access across UM’s official Purple Heart University campus.

“The Purple Heart Recognition Program allows students, faculty, staff and retirees the opportunity to exchange their current parking pass for a Purple Heart Parking Pass,” said Andrew Newby, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and UM assistant director of veteran and military services. “This pass allows the recipient to park in any lot within any space on campus.

“We will have a dedicated space in the Lyceum Circle that is marked with a Purple Heart placard, which will allow visitors with proper proof of Purple Heart credentials to access the space as well.”

The April 24 program schedule includes the March of the Colors by the ROTC Color Guard and the official party, the national anthem performed by the University Low Brass Group and opening remarks from Evan Ciocci of Sandwich, Massachusetts, a sophomore information systems management and computer science major and president of the Student Veterans Association.

Newby will discuss VMS programming, present the parking pass and unveil the parking spot on the Circle as the ceremony ends.

Zielenski was a cavalry scout in the U.S. Army. While on deployment as a turret gunner on mounted vehicle patrol, he was struck during a mortar attack. Pushing through his injuries, Zielenski continued to fire on the enemy, which resulted in a Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and a Purple Heart.

Months later on the same deployment, he was on foot patrol when an improvised explosive device triggered a set of explosives placed on top of a building. The building collapsed onto Zielenski, rupturing his spleen, which was removed in transit aboard a helicopter, collapsing a lung and crushing his skull. His injuries left him deaf and blind on the left side of his face, and he was awarded a second Purple Heart.

“Don recovered from his injuries and is now majoring in psychology,” Newby said. “He intends to work with veterans experiencing PTS and TBI. We look forward to great things from Don, and are excited to honor him here at this Purple Heart campus.”

Zielenski said he is honored to have been chosen as the first student to receive the Purple Heart Parking Pass.

“Andrew has helped our Student Veterans Association progress by leaps and bounds in the short time he has been here,” said the veteran, who was stationed at Camp Hovey South Korea in 2008, then deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. “Being part of the Student Veterans helped tremendously upon arriving my freshman year. This organization gave me a great group of people I could associate with.”

Three years ago, UM, the city of Oxford and Lafayette County were named a Purple Heart University, a Purple Heart City and a Purple Heart County for their efforts to create a welcoming environment for veterans and Purple Heart recipients. The Purple Heart is a military decoration given only to those wounded or killed in combat.

While UM is one of four SEC institutions to hold the Purple Heart University designation, it is the first university in Mississippi to receive the designation in conjunction with the city and county in which it is located.

“The special things that Ole Miss does specifically for veterans that attend the university are what qualify them to become a Purple Heart University,” said Ben Baker, commander of the Oxford Purple Heart Chapter.

The university’s Office of Veteran and Military Services was created in April 2013 to provide comprehensive resources for veterans, active members of the military and their dependents, and to assist them in becoming successful as Ole Miss students.

“Being named a Purple Heart University means we support, honor and welcome veterans to this great campus,” said Matt Hayes, senior military instructor for Army ROTC and a Purple Heart recipient. “When you have a campus that is supportive of your goals and ambitions, it really gives the veteran the inspiration and drive to succeed.”

Ole Miss is home to 1,355 military-connected students, 959 of whom are using GI Education Benefits.

To learn more about veteran and military services at Ole Miss, visit https://vms.olemiss.edu/.

Drug, Alcohol Education Attracts Support

Grassroots effort surpasses $1 million for UM's new William Magee Center

David Magee (front center) visits with members of UM chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity, including (front, from left) philanthropy co-chair Nick Egorshin of Hoover, Alabama; Campbell Hillard of Fort Worth, Texas; and philanthropy co-chair Miller Frazier of Clarksdale, at the group’s house. The fraternity’s members have increased their support of the university’s new William Magee Center for Wellness Education, putting fundraising efforts over the million-dollar mark. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – When William Magee, a University of Mississippi young alumnus, lost his battle with drug addiction, parents Kent and David Magee, of Oxford, shared his story and started an ongoing movement to help students.

Student organizations, alumni, parents, aunts, uncles, faculty, staff, friends, a foundation, a corporation and a church congregation have collectively given more than $1 million in a 12-month period to establish the William Magee Center for Wellness Education Endowment, with the hopes of making a difference in the lives of other young people with similar struggles. The goal is to build a minimum endowment of $1.5 million to support the center’s programming and operations.

The first student organization to make a major gift of $25,000 to the Magee Center, Sigma Nu fraternity, has followed up with another $50,000 commitment to take fundraising over the million-dollar mark. Another fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, hosted weekend events to increase its original $30,000 gift, and Phi Mu fraternity has stepped forward with a $25,000 gift.

“What has been so exciting about this campaign has been the level of engagement and support from our campus community,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “I am especially impressed with our student-led support.

“Their willingness to contribute to the opening of the William Magee Center for Wellness Education indicates their interest in helping reduce the alcohol and other drug culture, and their desire to support educational efforts at the University of Mississippi.”

David Magee responded: “To pass our first milestone of $1 million in such a short time shows how much the Ole Miss family cares about providing the very best in alcohol and other drugs education to its students. The hard work from students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends has been amazing.

“Not a day goes by without someone new reaching out and saying, ‘I want to help.’ Our speed in achieving this first $1 million is energizing for the hard work ahead.”

Sigma Nu members made the gifts to pay tribute to William’s life, David and the family’s other son, Hudson, all Sigma Nu members. William Magee also was a member of the Sally McDonnell Honors College, the Croft Institute for International Studies and a letterman on the Ole Miss track and field team.

John Green, a Sigma Nu chapter adviser, said when David Magee shared the center’s mission with the chapter, it was a natural decision.

“When David described his vision for the William Magee Wellness Center and the impact it could have on the young men and women at Ole Miss, Epsilon Xi Chapter of Sigma Nu immediately agreed to be a partner in providing the center early support,” Green said.

“We are pleased the early financial commitment encouraged other Greek-letter organizations on campus to make financial commitments, which have totaled almost $250,000 from fraternities and sororities to date, with follow-up commitments to come from the Greeks in the future. We look forward to a long-term relationship between Sigma Nu and the William Magee Center.”

Phi Kappa Psi president Harris Jones, of Franklin, Tennessee, agreed that the center will be a significant resource.

“Substance abuse is not something that only affects addicts; it affects their friends, family and peers as well,” Jones said. “We focus so much on helping the outside community that we often forget about helping each other, so we want to pour into the Ole Miss community by providing education and resources to combat an issue that adversely impacts our community.

“We believe that a healthier Ole Miss community will ultimately be more prosperous and able to help the outside community in a greater capacity as well.”

The William Magee Center is slated to open in early 2019 at the university’s new South Campus Recreation Facility. A second Ignite Ole Miss crowdfunding campaign is underway, led by seniors Tucker Fox, of Cordova, Tennessee, and Savannah Smith, of Corinth – named Mr. and Miss. Ole Miss for the 2017-18 academic year – and the Class of 2018 senior class officers.

“After hearing the late William Magee’s story and the purpose of this, it was clear that being a small part of helping the William Magee Center come to life would be the best way to achieve our goal,” Fox said.

Senior class president Guy Thornton, of Hattiesburg, shared that officers agreed that wellness is a common denominator that affects every student in one way or another and that contributing to the center provides a meaningful way for the class to leave a legacy.

“We realize that wellness education is a real need here at Ole Miss,” Thornton said. “We want to do something to engage students with a center that promotes a holistic approach to wellness.”

Phi Mu president Erin Larkin, of McKinney, Texas, said, “The benefits from giving our support to this program are endless. There is complete peace of mind in knowing that the girls in Phi Mu will have somewhere to go if they have struggles, where they will feel supported and listened to, without judgment.

“It is no secret that many students on this campus feel constricted by the obstacles of alcohol and drug abuse, so to know that there are people working endlessly to create a safe place of holistic healing is beyond encouraging. With all of the recent tragedies in Greek life across the nation, I think it will also be the change that the college culture needs.”

Hephner LaBanc said she believes many have offered their financial backing for the William Magee Center because people value individual wellness, but so many individuals struggle to make healthy choices – especially during college.

“I have fully appreciated everyone’s willingness to talk about a traditionally taboo topic and then respond with support for a comprehensive initiative aimed at reducing the risk surrounding alcohol and other drugs,” she said. “I am incredibly thankful to those who have helped us develop an effective and sustainable intervention.”

In-depth planning and curriculum development for the student body is being completed, and the campaign to seek more funds will continue, David Magee said.

“This is only the beginning. This first $1 million ensures that this center is becoming a reality, on its way to opening in 2019. Important work is underway and it’s making a difference. With more resources, there’s so much more we can do.

“We hope and believe that others who care about this cause will continue to step forward. Ultimately, such support can help Ole Miss build a wellness center that’s on the cutting edge in supporting and educating students about alcohol and other drugs.”

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

The William Magee Center for Wellness Education is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations by mailing a check with the center’s name in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For more information contact Brett Barefoot, development director, at bmbarefo@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2711.

Ole Miss Theatre Presents ‘Macbeth’ this Weekend at the Ford Center

Performance is directed by Cynthia White of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

UM students Riley McManus, as Macbeth, and Karen Ann Patti, as Lady Macbeth, perform in the Ole Miss Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’ this weekend at the Ford Center. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi theater students will bring Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” to life this weekend with a performance at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The classic Shakespeare tale, set in medieval Scotland, chronicles the rise and fall of the warrior Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, as they lust for power and grab an easy opportunity to kill the reigning king, leading to a civil war in the kingdom.

The Ole Miss Theatre production opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday (April 20), but there are multiple chances to catch the show throughout the weekend. Performances are also set for 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The production is led by guest director Cynthia White, from the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, whose expertise in Shakespearean tragedies creates a unique opportunity for both the student actors and audiences. White has directed several Shakespearean plays at regional theatres and universities across the country.

“I think it’s especially great that Ole Miss brought in a woman director for this large production at the Ford Center, since it’s important to give the students the opportunity to work with a wide range of professionals in their field – and after many years in the field, it still seems to be of note that I am a woman director,” White said.

Joe Turner Cantu, Ole Miss professor of theatre arts, taught White many years ago at Southern Methodist University. She has since directed him in two Shakespeare productions, and he recommended her to the department as a guest director because of her extensive knowledge.

“Last year I recommended Cynthia, first, because she is an exceptional director and, second, because I felt it would be great for our students to work with a professional female director,” Cantu said.

White hosted on-campus auditions in January and has cast 21 students in the production. The performance stays true to the story itself, but the design, costumes and lighting are influenced by the HBO drama “Game of Thrones.”

“In Shakespeare’s time, all the actors were men and costumes were basically their everyday Elizabethan clothing,” she said. “For our production, some of the warriors are women because some of the women in the theatre department are very good at working with the period weapons and because our world is more diverse than Shakespeare’s world was.”

White said she is creating a hybrid world that has strong elements of medieval Scotland, including violence, manipulation and immorality, all of which reflect the present day.

“It is nearly impossible to tell the tale of Macbeth without noticing certain similarities with our current world,” she said. “And that’s what makes theatre powerful: we tell old stories that shed light on our contemporary lives.”

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center or online at https://olemissboxoffice.com/. They are $21 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $18 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $15 for the balcony level. A 20 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. All Ole Miss student tickets are $7.

Former Arkansas Senator Named UM Pharmacy Alumnus of the Year

Consumer advocate and children's rights champion Percy Malone wins honor

Percy Malone (center), who founded AllCare Pharmacy in 1972, is the UM School of Pharmacy’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – State senator, state representative, pharmacist and University of Mississippi alumnus – of all Percy Malone’s titles, the one which he is proudest of is advocate.

The former Arkansas state senator and 1965 pharmacy graduate is the School of Pharmacy‘s 2018 Alumnus of the Year. He has spent his career fighting to represent the interests of those who may be otherwise overlooked: namely, children, sick or incapacitated people and those living below the poverty line.

Originally from the small Mississippi Delta town of Rosedale, Malone’s parents had little education, but a strong work ethic.

“I came from a meager background,” Malone said. “My mother told me, ‘The way out of poverty is through education.'”

As a sixth-grader, Malone began working as a soda jerk in his local pharmacy, Lewis Drug Store. It was there he decided he wanted to become a pharmacist. After graduating from Rosedale High School, he completed his pre-pharmacy requirements at Delta State University before coming to the School of Pharmacy.

“I had people tell me that I would never get into Ole Miss, and if I did, I would never get out,” Malone said. “I didn’t spend my energy trying to prove them wrong. I spent my energy on telling myself I could do it.”

Malone recalls that he was not prepared for college, but that his professors at Delta State and Ole Miss spent extra time with him. His sister, who worked at a factory, gave him a credit card to buy gas for his old car. When he left Ole Miss on weekends to work at Lewis Drug Store, his mother sent him back with enough food to eat for the next week.

“It wasn’t easy, but I had a lot of people helping me, and I credit that for being able to get a good education,” Malone said. “I’m not a self-made man.”

After graduating, Malone found himself in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, one Sunday afternoon, speaking with I.B. Fuller, owner of a local drugstore, about a job. Fuller was looking to pass down the business, and Malone was looking to set down roots. Soon thereafter, Malone had stock in his first pharmacy.

“I worked very hard for many years to say yes to patients who needed me,” Malone said. “If they called me on Thanksgiving or Sunday or at night needing medicine, I wouldn’t tell them I was busy. I would go.”

From there, Malone went on to become one of the state’s top pharmacy innovators. He founded AllCare Pharmacy in 1972, which has grown to more than 17 community pharmacy locations across Arkansas.

He had one of the first pharmacy computer systems in Arkansas and expanded his business to fill prescriptions for long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and correctional facilities, as well as specialty prescriptions for complex diseases.

As a pharmacist and businessperson, he focused on finding ways to be more efficient and patient-oriented. Malone’s concern for the consumer stemmed from the understanding his background had given him of not being able to afford medicine.

In an effort to do more for patients, he ran for state government, and in 1995, began his first of three terms as an Arkansas state representative.

“As a representative, Percy worked to bring generic drugs into Arkansas pharmacies, and the traditional pharmacists did not like that,” said Donna Malone, Percy’s wife. “But he fought and he prevailed, and now every drugstore in America has generic drugs available. He passed his savings on to the consumer.”

Percy Malone served three terms as an Arkansas state representative and five terms as an Arkansas state senator. Submitted photo

As one of the only people in the Arkansas Legislature at the time with a health care background, he also advocated to allow pharmacists to administer immunizations and worked to pass evidence-based medicine in the state.

Besides health care advocacy, Malone stumbled upon what would become his other focus while in the Legislature. On his first day as a state representative, Malone read a news article he couldn’t forget about an abused and neglected child. From then on, he made it his mission to introduce at least one measure per legislative session aimed at protecting children.

Along with his wife, he helped expand the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, where children could go to report abuse. Because of this, as well as the numerous child protection laws he initiated, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas honored him with the first Senator Percy Malone Child Protection Award in 2010, which is given to someone in Arkansas each year.

He spent 18 years in the Legislature, eventually becoming a senator for five terms, befriending then-future President Bill Clinton and continuing to fight for the vulnerable. He also has been lauded for his work pioneering innovative health care solutions that benefit assisted and long-term care facilities and their residents.

“Being in the Legislature, I was able to speak the words of the people who couldn’t speak for themselves,” Malone said. “There are a lot of people that deserve a hand up and not a handout.”

Malone’s generous spirit and care for those in need is well-known throughout the state.

Misty Huerkamp, staff pharmacist at AllCare Pharmacy, is an Ole Miss pharmacy alumna and Arkansas native who grew up hearing about Malone.

“He pretty much goes by the name Percy, and everyone knows who you’re talking about,” Huerkamp said. “He has done so much for the profession of pharmacy and so much to serve those around him, giving to those who need help or a little encouragement.”

Another Ole Miss pharmacy grad, Lauren Lyles, met Malone in 2014 during her second year of pharmacy school at the National Community Pharmacists Association annual meeting, after which Malone became a mentor to her.

“Percy values more than anything doing what is right instead of doing what is convenient,” Lyles said. “He has given back to broken communities that have suffered from generational poverty, domestic violence and limited access to health care through his businesses, philanthropic efforts and legislative work.”

Malone credits his Ole Miss education and the people he’s encountered for helping him to reach a place where he can freely give back.

“Ole Miss gave me the opportunity to fail, and no one wants to fail,” Malone said. “It’s been a marvelous life, and I’m very fortunate to be able to give. My upbringing taught me that once you’re on top of the ladder, you don’t pull the ladder up behind you.”

Malone will be honored Saturday (April 21) with the Alumnus of the Year Award at the School of Pharmacy’s awards banquet and reunion dinner at The Inn at Ole Miss.

“The School of Pharmacy is humbled and honored to call Percy an alumnus,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “He is beyond deserving of this award, not only for his contributions to our profession, but for the way he embodies the Ole Miss spirit.

“He earned his influence by being a champion for vulnerable and forgotten people and has continued to use his time and resources for their benefit.”