Ole Miss Women’s Council Goes Global

Philanthropy group spearheads international opportunity for UM students

Members of the Ole Miss Women’s Council and their scholars celebrated the organization’s 15th anniversary recently in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy at the University of Mississippi has introduced the Global Leadership Circle, a philanthropy program through the UM Foundation that provides opportunities for donors to support students with plans to study abroad or intern with national or international organizations and businesses.

“It is all about creating an opportunity for our scholars to study abroad or to intern because it will take them beyond this great state of ours, and even this great nation, and ultimately expand their worldview,” said Mary Haskell, chair of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy, or OMWC.

Following a board meeting with Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter in attendance, former OMWC Chair Karen Moore, of Nashville, Tennessee, agreed the classroom is just one dimension of a student’s learning experience, compelling the council to implement the GLC.

“The Ole Miss Women’s Council has always focused its energies on the needs of the student scholars,” said Barbara Daush, the foundation’s regional development officer. “The Global Leadership Circle is a robust addition to the services that are already provided.

“Donors to the GLC are providing opportunities of a lifetime for students. It is truly an exciting time.”

Members of the GLC can be individuals, families, organizations or businesses who commit $25,000, payable at $5,000 a year for five years. Each fund established may be named at the donor’s discretion. Gifts pledged before July 2018 will designate donors as founding members.

“One of the ways we want to recognize the founding members is by displaying their names on a plaque in Memory House,” Haskell said. “They will always know that they took the first step.”

Kimberley Fritts, an OMWC board member from Arlington, Virginia, is among six donors who have already made a gift to establish the GLC.

“I wanted to give at a level that would be meaningful and impactful for a deserving student,” she said. “It is my hope that this gift will allow intellectually curious students to broaden their horizons and embrace the cultural diversity the world has to offer.”

Donors will complete a pledge agreement to formalize their financial commitment to become a GLC member. The gift of $5,000 per year for five consecutive years will provide for an endowment to aid students based on their eligibility and provided they maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Preference will be given to existing OMWC scholars.

For more information or to join the Global Leadership Circle, contact Nora Capwell, OMWC program manager, at 662-915-2384 or ncapwell@olemiss.edu or Barbara Daush at 662-915-2881 or barbara@umfoundation.com.

Noel Wilkin Named UM Provost, Executive Vice Chancellor

Respected education visionary and longtime faculty member to lead academic affairs

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

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

The appointment was announced Friday (Sept. 22) by Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter after the university concluded a national search.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Higher Education Literacy Council Advances Teacher Preparation

Kellogg, Hardin grants fund training for elementary reading educators

Guyton Hall houses the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Members of Mississippi’s Higher Education Literacy Council, a group of college and university literacy professors, are part of a statewide effort to help new teachers use cognitive and educational research in the classroom.

The project is funded by a $725,450 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, and a $60,000 grant from the Phil Hardin Foundation of Meridian.

The three-year project, which commences this fall, focuses on improving the quality of pre-service content and instruction at the college and university level. Goals include reducing the cost of retraining teachers after they enter an elementary classroom and of retaining teachers over time.

“The Higher Education Literacy Council’s full involvement in this project places Mississippi ahead of other states by acknowledging the challenges associated with teacher preparation,” said Angela Rutherford, the council’s president and director of the University of Mississippi’s Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction.

“This grant will enable us to build a replicable model for transforming teacher preparation in early literacy instruction. We are already getting calls from other states about our work here.”

Like all elementary teachers serving in K-3 classrooms, Mississippi elementary education professors also will receive training in Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. The Kellogg grant complements the LETRS training by providing campus-based coaching and seminars specifically designed for this higher education audience.

The Legislature has taken steps in recent years to improve children’s reading achievement in Mississippi.

“The grants provided by the Kellogg Foundation and the Hardin Foundation will make a tremendous difference in our state by helping to transform teacher preparation and improve literacy,” said Glenn Boyce, commissioner of higher education. “There is no doubt that early literacy instruction builds the foundation for all learning as children continue to progress through school.

“This project demonstrates the Higher Education Literacy Council’s commitment to ensuring all children are provided this foundation.”

“We are all very pleased to learn of the grant support provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to undergird the state’s commitment to increase literacy outcomes for Mississippi children,” said Ann Blackwell, recently retired education dean at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Blackwell and Thea Williams Black, of Tougaloo College, co-chaired a Governor’s Task Force Working Group that inspired the idea for professional development for early literacy professors.

Space Law Team Prepares for World Championship

Moot court group heads to Australia to compete for university's second international title

The UM moot court team celebrates its North American championship at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Georgetown University. The team includes (from left) assistant coach Marshall McKellar, Alexia Boggs, Kent Aldenderfer, Kyle Hansen and Andrea Harrington, the team’s faculty adviser and coach. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Since winning the North American championship in April, the moot court team at the University of Mississippi School of Law has been busy preparing for its next challenge: the World Championship.

The team’s win at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Georgetown University Law Center earned it the right to compete in the international finals this month in Adelaide, Australia. The team began preparing immediately, but with two members graduating in May and everyone going different directions for summer break, they had to find ways to continue practicing remotely.

The Ole Miss team consists of third-year students Kent Aldenderfer of Huntsville, Alabama, and Kyle Hansen of Issaquah, Washington, and recent graduate Alexia Boggs (JD 2017), from Nashville, Tennessee. Andrea Harrington, the school’s air and space law instructor, serves as faculty adviser, and recent graduate Marshall McKellar (JD 2017), of Hattiesburg, is the team’s assistant coach.

“Over the summer, it was difficult to get many practices in, but we did fit in a few practices on Google Hangout because everyone was pretty much in a different city,” Harrington said. “But once we got back from the break, we had a couple of practices on campus with Kent and Kyle and a couple of online practices with Alexia.

“We also scheduled the week of Labor Day for Alexia and Marshall to come back, and we had an intensive week of practices.”

During the week the team was all back in Oxford, it conducted two practices a day most days. Several professors came to judge the team and give members a variety of perspectives. After the week concluded, the team will have a few more online practices before leaving for Australia.

Although the moot court problem is the same from the North American championships, this round features unknown factors for the team.

“The way this competition is different from a lot of moot courts is you have to prepare both sides of the argument, so you have to prepare a brief for both sides and oral argument for both sides, which is why there are three on the team,” Boggs explained. “Once we’re there, it’s a flip of the coin as to which side we will argue each round.”

The preparations were greatly enhanced by help of several faculty and staff members as well as the dedication of McKellar, who was a member of the 2016 team, Harrington said.

The team is scheduled to arrive in Australia on Sept. 22 and 23 and begin in-person practices once they are all there. The semifinal round of the competition is Sept. 26, and the final round is Sept. 28.

The team will be vying for the university’s second world championship in the competition. An Ole Miss team won the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Jerusalem, beating teams from India and Greece.

Several Construction Projects Progressing on Campus

Work includes new facilities for students, faculty and staff to learn and work

Site work has begun on the new STEM building along All-American Drive. This is one of several construction projects underway on the Ole Miss campus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, and campus planners are working to create the best possible space for students to learn, discover and live.

Several construction projects are underway on campus that, when completed, will provide state-of-the-art facilities for students, faculty and staff. These projects include:

Ole Miss Student Union

A redesigned and renovated Student Union, which was built in 1976, includes a 60,000-square-foot addition on the north side of the original 97,600-square-foot structure. The expansion is the first phase to open and provides food court dining services.

Construction is continuing to complete the ballroom, support kitchens, loading dock and transportation hub, as well as a total renovation of the original building, which will be the home base for student activities. Completion of the project is anticipated in early 2019.

North Parking Garage

The new parking structure in the north area of campus behind Kinard Hall has opened. The seven-level parking garage provides 1,300 additional parking spaces for on-campus residents.

STEM Building

The university received a $25 million lead gift in 2015 from the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation for construction of a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics building in the science district. The building will provide 207,000 square feet of space for classrooms and laboratories.

Last year, the site was prepared for the massive project by removing the Smith Engineering Science Building, Central Heating Plant and Old Power Plant along All-American Drive. All existing utilities in the area also are being relocated.

Construction on the STEM building is scheduled to start in 2018. If this schedule is not interrupted, the facility can be built in 24 months, with an opening date in fall 2020.

Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field

The area behind home plate is being renovated to create a Dugout Club with club seating. A two-story Performance and Operations Center also will be added to provide player facilities. This work will be done in phases and completed by March 2018.

Garland, Hedleston and Mayes Renovation

These buildings, constructed in 1938 as men’s dormitories, are no longer viable as housing options, but they are appropriate for academic and administrative use. The buildings are undergoing a full renovation, including the replacement of windows, roofs and mechanical, electrical, fire-protection and plumbing systems.

The School of Applied Sciences is scheduled to move into the space by August 2018. A two-story addition will provide classroom space, and the north entrance will be updated with an elevator and stair connector. The south courtyards will be updated with more plaza space with an ADA entrance.

Johnson Commons East

Following its partner to the west, Johnson Commons East is receiving a full renovation. The upper floor will continue to provide banquet and large meeting spaces. The lower floor, formerly the Department of Human Resources, will be renovated to house the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Developmental Studies and the Center for Student Success – First-Year Experience.

Construction is expected to finish by August 2018.

South Campus Recreation Facility and Transportation Hub

The university acquired a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, the old Whirlpool factory, on 68 acres on the southwest edge of campus. Portions of the existing building will be repurposed to provide space for fitness activities, departmental offices, classrooms, food service and a hub for Ole Miss Campus Recreation and the Department of Parking and Transportation.

Renovations to the exterior will transform the manufacturing plant into an active destination for students. This project is ongoing and is expected to be complete in October 2018.

Indoor Tennis Facility

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is adding an indoor tennis facility to the east of the track-and-field stadium and south of the Manning Center. The building will contain six indoor courts for competitions, spectator seating, sports storage and bathroom facilities.

Letterwinner Walk and Bell Tower

The Letterwinner Walk will provide recognition space for every student-athlete who has ever represented Ole Miss. The plaques will be mounted on brick pillars organized radially around the final yards of the Walk of Champions on the north side of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. A bell tower also is being added to the plaza area.

When visitors look north toward the Grove from the Letterwinner Walk, through the opening in the bell tower, they will see the relationship between these two elements and the STEM building, National Center for Natural Products Research, Faulkner Garden, and Shoemaker and Faser halls, all organized along a north-south axis. The space will be even more striking from the Grove, with a clear view of and straight path to the stadium.

Faulkner Memorial Garden

This garden, in memory of author William Faulkner, is in design and will be a part of the STEM building construction contract. It will serve as a place of reflection but will be adjacent to the busy north-south pedestrian path between the Grove and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Walk of Champions will form its western edge, and it will be bordered by the STEM building to the west and the National Center for Natural Products Research to the east.

Mojo Triangle Anthology Launches Saturday at Rowan Oak

Collections celebrate short story as literary art and showcase contemporary authors

OXFORD, Miss – A two-volume anthology series titled “Mojo Rising,” edited by a University of Mississippi graduate and UM professor, will be launched Sept. 23 at Rowan Oak.

The focus of the books, published by Sartoris Literary Group, is the Mojo Triangle – most of Mississippi, Memphis, New Orleans and Nashville. This area is known for blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz, but also some of the America’s most innovative fiction writers.

“Mojo Rising: Masters of Art” was edited by Ole Miss alumnus and Sartoris Literary Group publisher James L. Dickerson. This volume includes stories by renowned writers such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Richard Wright, Shelby Foote, Willie Morris and Ellen Gilchrist.

“As an art form, the short story has been shunted to the fringe of literary expression,” Dickerson said. “We want to keep the short story alive – and the best way to do that is to provide it with a loving home.

“To that end, we plan to publish each year an anthology of contemporary writers who are associated with the Mojo Triangle.”

The books are available in hardcover, paperback and e-book formats. Several family members of the authors will attend the launch event at 5 p.m. at Rowan Oak. The event is free and open to the public.

“Mojo Rising: Contemporary Writers” was edited by Joseph B. Atkins, professor of journalism. The volume contains the work of New York Times bestselling author Ace Atkins, writer Sheree Renee Thomas, author William Boyle, among others.

“Edgar Allan Poe considered the short story the highest literary art, yet the best practitioners of that art have fewer and fewer venues today to showcase their craft,” Atkins said. “Publisher Jim Dickerson had a great idea with these two volumes: a place for readers to discover some of the best short stories written by Deep South `Mojo’ writers, both past and current.

“People who read these stories will discover, if they didn’t know already, that Poe was right.”

Two UM Faculty Win Inaugural National Science Foundation Fellowships

Ryan Garrick and Saša Kocić among 30 nationwide selected for competitive research program

Ryan Garrick, UM assistant professor of biology, examines insects as part of his research on the effects of environmental change. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi professors have been honored for innovative research in their respective fields by being selected for fellowships in a competitive new National Science Foundation program.

Ryan Garrick, assistant professor of biology, and Saša Kocić, assistant professor of mathematics, have been chosen for funding under NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. The Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 4 program is designed to help junior investigators in EPSCoR-eligible states develop career-spanning collaborations through extended visits to other premiere research institutions around the nation.

Garrick will conduct his fellowship at Ohio State University, while Kocić will visit the University of California at Irvine.

Of 136 proposals considered by NSF in this competition, only 30 awards were made across 27 universities, for a funding rate of 22 percent. UM was among only three institutions receiving two fellowship awards in the competition.

Both recipients said they were pleasantly surprised by their selection.

“After many attempts to secure federal funding to support research and career development, during a time that appears to be a particularly difficult period for faculty doing basic research, finally having some success was a relief,” Garrick said.

“This award is certainly very special to me,” Kocić said. “Many people at University of Mississippi and beyond have helped me in that process. I am extremely grateful to all of them and glad that all that effort was not in vain.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter congratulated Garrick and Kocić for their achievements.

“We are so pleased to see the success of our researchers in this highly competitive program,” Vitter said. “Their tremendous achievements help drive discovery and creativity on our campus and enhance our undergraduate and graduate education.

“I congratulate Drs. Garrick and Kocić for how their innovation, collaboration and research bolster UM’s role as a Carnegie R1 highest research activity institution.”

The awards reflect the promise shown by both researchers’ work, said Josh Gladden, interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

“That the university received not just one, but two awards in this crowded competition is especially gratifying and shows that the National Science Foundation sees the same great potential that we do in the research careers of both Dr. Garrick and Dr. Kocić,” Gladden said.

“NSF EPSCoR funding has helped to launch the careers of many successful researchers at Ole Miss and across the state, with more than $80 million in research infrastructure investments in Mississippi over the last 25 years.”

Each institution was allowed to submit only three applications. Garrick and Kocić each discussed the scope and goals of his particular research project.

Saša Kocić, UM assistant professor of mathematics, is continuing his study of dynamic systems and mathematical physics, which promises to help scientists better understand such diverse phenomena as heart function and stock market fluctuations. Photo by Thomas Graining/Ole Miss Communications

“Biodiversity, or the variety of species in an ecosystem, is declining in many areas of the world due to environmental change,” said Garrick, principal investigator on a project examining “Enhancement of technical and analytical skills for the application of genomics to research in molecular ecology and comparative phylogeography.”

With $110,413 over the next two years, he will collaborate with colleagues at Ohio State to understand how the numbers and genetic variability of four invertebrate species found in southern Appalachian forests change as their environment changes.

“This fellowship will enable research using genetic techniques to study how organisms have responded to past and present environmental change,” he said. “It will also generate new opportunities for sustained collaboration with the host institution.

“Findings will advance understanding of whether whole communities have the ability to respond to environmental change together, or as individual species. This information will aid in conservation and management of U.S. forest fauna.”

Kocić is the principal investigator on a project focusing on “Sharp arithmetic transitions and universality in one-frequency quasiperiodic systems.”

With his $161,681 two-year grant, he and a graduate student will initiate a new collaboration between the university and UC-Irvine, in particular with Svetlana Jitomirskaya, one of the top experts in dynamical systems and mathematical physics. The project will develop and apply state-of-the-art tools for studying dynamical systems, which will allow mathematicians to obtain new results by looking at systems at different spatial and time scales, revealing shared properties.

“Dynamical systems is a large area of mathematics that concerns the evolution of different systems and phenomena, ranging from the motion of celestial bodies to heart function to fluctuations in the stock market,” Kocić said. “The project is centered around a powerful tool called renormalization that acts as a ‘microscope’ and allows one to look at systems at different spatial and time scales, revealing properties of the systems that are universal, that is, shared by a large class of systems.”

There is a broad range of phenomena where these tools have led to an explanation. The transition between the liquid and gas phases – boiling and evaporation – is one familiar example.

A particular focus of this project will be on sharp transitions and universality in two types of systems: relatively simple systems that underlie more complicated systems, and systems arising from quantum physics, Kocić said.

“This project will lead to advancement of both areas, strengthen the research program in dynamical systems and mathematical physics at UM, and enhance its undergraduate and graduate education,” he said.

“This collaboration will be very important not only for my career and the field of research, but also for my current and future students, our dynamical systems group, the mathematics department and the whole of the University of Mississippi.”

Garrick’s fellowship is funded by NSF grant 1738817; Kocic’s by NSF grant 1738834.

The mission of EPSCoR is to enhance research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions – states, territories or commonwealths – by strengthening STEM capacity and capability. EPSCoR envisions its targeted jurisdictions as being recognized as strong contributors to the national and global STEM research enterprise.

Ford Center Hosts Artrageous Interactive Performance

Audiences get to be a part of the sensory art experience

The Artrageous troupe combines a variety of art forms into its performances, including live painting, music, dance and life-size puppetry. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi will host Artrageous, billed as “the interactive music experience,” for one show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 21).

The interactive performance incorporates a variety of art forms, and audiences experience live painting, music, dance and life-size puppetry, as well as getting to be part of the show.

The cast of artists, musicians, singers and dancers combine vocals, choreography and audience interaction to bring the patrons on a visual journey of art, pop icons and musical genres. The result is a gallery of finished paintings, making the performance a crossover experience.

“I would encourage you to bring your children and grandchildren to experience how much fun it can be to directly participate in the arts,” said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director. “This show is for the young and the young at heart.”

Tickets, priced at $30 for the orchestra, parterre and Tier 1 box seats, $26 for the mezzanine and Tier 2 box seats, and $22 for balcony seating, are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center.

For more information, visit http://fordcenter.org/.

Nishanth Rodrigues Joins UM as Chief Information Officer

Administrator to lead efforts to enhance campus technological infrastructure and capabilities

Nishanth Rodrigues

OXFORD, Miss. – Nishanth Rodrigues, an award-winning leader in information technology, has been named the University of Mississippi’s new chief information officer.

With more than 24 years of IT experience in academia, manufacturing and professional health care, Rodrigues assumed duties at the university Sept. 5. As CIO, his responsibilities are to provide leadership, management and strategic direction to the Office of Information Technology and provide strategic leadership to the university and other state agencies on all matters related to information technology.

He will work with internal and external stakeholders to provide technology tools, infrastructure and services to support and enhance student services, traditional and online education, research, student recruitment and enrollment, business and administrative processes, and outreach and community service.

“We are truly pleased that Nishanth Rodrigues has joined our leadership team in academic affairs,” said Noel Wilkin, the university’s interim provost. “Information technology is critical to everything that we do. His breadth of experience will be a valuable asset as we continue to innovate and enhance our campus infrastructure and technological capabilities.”

Rodrigues said he is “ecstatic and honored” to become a part of the Ole Miss community.

“The mission of the University of Mississippi aligns very well with my objectives, and the Creed of UM articulates the spirit of the institution, which goes along with my belief system,” Rodrigues said. “Today, technology plays a central role in everything we do, and my challenge is to leverage the best technologies and information systems to enhance the student experience and ensure the continued success of the university, a flagship institution and a powerhouse in the state of Mississippi.

“It’s a true privilege and honor to join the University of Mississippi, an institution with a rich history of academic and research excellence. I’m proud to be a part of such a talented and dedicated team of administrators and educators and look forward to helping the University of Mississippi to grow and succeed.”

Acknowledging that he is still on the “learn and understand” trajectory, Rodrigues shared his short- and long-term goals in the position.

“My short-term goals are to help the Information Technology department continue to create efficiencies in daily operations and refine our processes to benefit our stakeholders and the larger organizational community,” he said. “My long-term goals include, among others, developing standards and policies for expectations and accountability, maintaining a secure IT infrastructure and working with key stakeholders on a go-forward strategy for the institution’s ERP system.”

Formerly assistant vice president and chief technology officer at Michigan State University, Rodrigues led a team responsible for all aspects related to infrastructure: Data Center, Electronic Medical Record, Service Management and Operations.

Before that, Rodrigues was director of IT technology/interoperability at Bronson Healthcare in Kalmazoo, Michigan. For his service, he was awarded the Bronson President’s Leadership Award and earned the highest employee opinion survey results in 2013.

“The President’s Leadership Award is an honor bestowed on only one individual in the company per year in recognition of their contributions to the hospital system,” Rodrigues said. “To me, this was a hallmark following years of hard work and effort to gets teams and departments to work together to seamlessly roll out an ERP for Bronson Healthcare.

“To me, strong leadership is about building consensus and bringing people together to benefit a common objective, and the award qualified the achievement as a valued outcome acknowledged by the top leaders in the organization.”

Other positions Rodrigues has held include global systems engineering manager at Perrigo Inc. in Allegan, Michigan, and director of operations and infrastructure/site service delivery director and clinical systems team manager at Borgess Health in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Rodrigues earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University and his bachelor’s degree in network engineering from Davenport University. His professional memberships include the Intel Corp. Mobility Advisory Board, Michigan Healthcare Cybersecurity Council, Big Ten Academic Alliance and several committees at MSU.

Rodrigues and his wife, Mary, have one daughter, Celestina.

UM to Host Communitywide Rosh Hashanah Services

Observances Wednesday and Thursday open to all

The UM Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Oxford will host Rosh Hashanah observances of the Jewish New Year in two services at Paris-Yates Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Oxford will host the first local Rosh Hashanah observances of the Jewish New Year in a long time, if not the first ever, this week.

The holiday, which celebrates the Jewish New Year, is the beginning of a 10-day period of reflection culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Maya Glasser, a student rabbi from New York’s Hebrew Union College, will lead two services at Paris-Yates Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 20) and 9:30 a.m. Thursday (Sept. 21).

“Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are considered the holiest days on the Jewish calendar,” said Richard Gershon, UM law professor and spokesman for the Jewish Federation of Oxford. “The new year brings us the opportunity for a fresh start through repentance, prayer and charity.”

The holiday is observed as the birthday of universe, the day God created Adam and Eve, which is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. 

The first two days of Rosh Hashanah are called Tishrei 1, which begins Wednesday at sundown, and Tishrei 2, which is Thursday. Members of the Jewish faith observe Rosh Hashanah with services and candle lighting. A ram’s horn, called a shofar, is sounded at prayer services. 

In prayer, God is asked for peace, prosperity and blessings, and those who practice the faith also acknowledge God as the ruler of the universe.

Historically, many locals who practice the Jewish faith have traveled out of town for Rosh Hashanah services. It’s likely Rosh Hashanah services haven’t been held locally before, organizers said. 

“Synagogues in Memphis and Tupelo have always welcomed UM students to services for the high holidays and for sabbath services, for that matter,” said Jason Solinger, UM associate professor of English and faculty adviser for the university’s Hillel. “But we are fortunate to have such a beautiful chapel on campus, where students can gather closer to home.”

The on-campus event is open to everyone, not just those who practice Judaism.

“We would welcome members of the university and the broader Oxford community who wish to attend,” Gershon said. 

Parking is open for the Wednesday night event, and parking passes will be available for those attending the Thursday service. For more information about the services or parking, email the Jewish Federation of Oxford at oxfordfederation@gmail.com.