Law Student Carries on Legacy of Admired Attorney

Nathaniel Snyder named first recipient of Edmonson scholarship

UM law student Nathaniel Snyder (back row, third from left) is greeted in Oxford by friends and family members of UM alumnus Richie Edmonson. Pictured are (front row, from left) Kevin Smith, Bob Coffin, Jep Pollard, Scott Hollingsworth and (back row, from left) Harry Park, Richie’s brother Will Edmonson, Snyder, Roger Aldridge, Bradley Shultz and Richie’s brother Stephen Edmonson. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Richard Edmonson lost his life to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, in 2015, but his memory is forever linked to the University of Mississippi. Nathaniel Snyder of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the first recipient of a UM scholarship established to pay tribute to Edmonson.

Snyder, who graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy in 2017, recently completed his first year at the School of Law using the Richard “Richie” M. Edmonson Jr. Memorial Scholarship to supplement his tuition.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be the first recipient of this scholarship and to know that I will be the first to carry on Mr. Edmonson’s legacy,” Snyder said. “His generosity has allowed me to pursue a career in law, a profession that Mr. Edmonson used to help others.”

Edmonson, of Madison, was a partner at Markow Walker law firm for 24 years and was an A-rated attorney by Martindale Hubbell.

“Richie was always very goal-oriented,” said Lisa Bane, Edmonson’s wife. “He would see something he wanted to accomplish and he would never give up until he had achieved his goals. He had a great drive and determination to succeed at everything he attempted.

“I think he would be very honored to know that this scholarship is helping other people reach their own academic goals at the university he loved so much.”

Edmonson chose UM for his college home, earning both undergraduate and law degrees. He excelled in academics, particularly in his pursuit of his legal education, and was active in Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Order of Omega, Mortar Board, Phi Delta Phi and the Mississippi Law Journal staff.

UM law student Nathaniel Snyder (center) is greeted in Oxford by brothers of the late Richard Edmondson, Will (left) and Stephen Edmonson. Submitted photo

In addition, the well-rounded student was active in intramural sports, with flag football as his favored activity.

After college, he enjoyed spending time with Lisa and their three daughters, as well as going mountain and road biking, running, hunting and whitewater rafting.

Fraternity brothers and family members sponsor a golf tournament in Oxford each year to raise money for the scholarship.

The Edmonson Scholarship Fund is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the fund’s name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information, contact Suzette Matthews, development officer for the School of Law, at suzette@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1122.

Jessica Muñoz Receives Andrew P. Mullins Scholarship

Mississippi Teacher Corps alumna pursues doctorate in Spanish at UM

Andrew P. Mullins Jr. (left) with Jessica Muñoz, who is the recipient of the Andrew P. Mullins Jr. Mississippi Teacher Corps Alumni Scholarship. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Jessica Muñoz, a 2018 graduate of the University of Mississippi, is the third recipient of the Andrew P. Mullins Jr. Mississippi Teacher Corps Alumni Scholarship.

The award, which is designed to support Teacher Corps alumni who wish to pursue advanced graduate study at UM, will provide $2,000 in financial support for Muñoz, who will begin doctoral studies in Spanish at Ole Miss this fall.

The award was endowed in 2016 by Teacher Corps co-founder Andrew P. Mullins Jr.

“Dr. Mullins has been a really strong influence for me as far as what it means to teach,” said Muñoz, a Grass Valley, California, native. “He’s one of those people I could go to for any problem because he probably can give you advice or the number of someone to call to help.

“I felt like a lucky person to have had him as a teacher and to receive this scholarship now.”

The endowed scholarship is available to Teacher Corps alumni and may be awarded twice to individuals. Recipients may pursue an advanced degree in any field of their choosing on UM’s Oxford campus. The inaugural recipients of the scholarship award were husband-and-wife Derek and Kelly King, who first received the award in 2016.

“I’m glad that Jessica could be the third recipient of this award,” Mullins said. “She was a great teacher and a great student, and this scholarship is designed to help Teacher Corps alumni like her advance their education at the University of Mississippi.”

Throughout her time in the Teacher Corps, Muñoz taught in Panola County, first as a science teacher at North Panola Junior High School and then as a Spanish teacher at South Panola High School.

A graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, she earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and Spanish before joining the Teacher Corps in 2016, a move that literally took her across the country to north Mississippi, sight unseen.

“I didn’t major in education in college, … ,but I knew that I really liked working with kids,” she said. “The Mississippi Teacher Corps really stood out to me because of its mission, vision and its structure, which gives you intensive training in the summer before beginning teaching in the fall.”

Founded in 1989, the Teacher Corps is an alternate-route teaching program that has placed more than 725 new teachers in critical-needs school districts throughout the state. The program is highly competitive and has attracted recruits from 239 colleges and universities around the country.

All participants receive job placement and two years of funding to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from UM. More than half of its alumni are still in education in some way.

The program is training its 29th cohort at Holly Springs High School, where incoming participants are trained by program alumni before entering the classroom.

Muñoz is working as a teacher this summer as part of UM’s Rebel Quest day camps, which provide summer learning for elementary-aged children. In the fall, she will teach undergraduate Spanish courses at UM as part of her graduate assistantship.

She hopes to finish her doctorate in five years and plans to stay in education in some way following graduation.

“I really enjoy teaching high school,” she said. “I imagine that in at least some capacity I will be back in the secondary education world. I am not sure if that’s tutoring or guest speaking or something else, but I am sure I will be involved.”

Seven Inducted into School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame

Ole Miss graduates honored for teaching, service and leadership

Tom Meredith (left), Sidney Henderson, Deborah McKinney, Kathleen Grigsby, Sylvia Ferguson, Bob Ferguson, Pam Smith and Ellen Shelton. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Education recently inducted seven Mississippians into the fourth class of its Alumni Hall of Fame.

Collectively, this year’s inductees have committed more than 240 years to improving education from preschool through college in Mississippi and across the nation.

The 2018 inductees include Kathleen Grigsby of Jackson, Thomas C. Meredith of Oxford, Ellen Shelton of Oxford, Pamela Smith of Jackson and the late Dorothy Henderson of Oxford. Tupelo residents Bob and Sylvia Ferguson, co-winners of the school’s Outstanding Service Award, were also honored during the ceremony on campus in May.

The School of Education Alumni Advisory Board selected honorees from nominations submitted earlier this year.

“Each of our Hall of Fame recipients is a model for our current students and alumni to emulate,” said David Rock, UM education dean. “With over two centuries of dedicated service among them, they represent the vast impact that educators can make over the course of their careers.”

Grigsby, the youngest person to be inducted into the education school’s Alumni Hall of Fame with 20 years of service, received both her bachelor’s degree in education in 1998 and her master’s degree in 1999 from UM.

She is the principal of Barack Obama IB Elementary School, formerly known as Davis Magnet IB Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi. The A-rated International Baccalaureate elementary school was the top-ranked elementary school in all of Mississippi in 2017.

“I still can’t articulate how much being inducted into the Hall of Fame means to me,” Grigsby said. “I’m grateful and thankful to everyone who selected me to be honored.”

Grigsby has a track record of transforming low-performing schools. She previously led Marshall Elementary School in Jackson from an F-rated school to a C-rated school in three years as principal.

Meredith, who has served more than 46 years in higher education, earned his doctorate from the School of Education in 1971.

Meredith progressed in roles throughout his career including high school teacher, high school principal, professor, vice chancellor of the University of Mississippi, president of Western Kentucky University, chancellor of the University of Alabama system, chancellor of the University of Georgia system and commissioner of higher education for Mississippi’s eight public universities.

“It’s a great honor,” Meredith said. “It is special to be honored by this school, but I’m more honored to just be recognized by this place because it is so special to me.”

Shelton, who is director of pre-college programs within the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education at Ole Miss, received a master’s degree in 1994 and a doctorate in 2000 from the School of Education.

Shelton is administrator of the online University of Mississippi High School, which has grown from 60 to 1,500 students in recent years. She has also served as an instructor at both high school and collegiate levels in past 26 years. In her role at UM, she has also mentored hundreds of K-12 Mississippi teachers through the UM Writing Project.

“I’m overwhelmed by this incredible honor,” Shelton said. “I hope I’m giving back a fraction of what I have been given by the School of Education.”

Smith, a longtime member of UM’s Education Alumni Advisory Board, earned her doctorate in higher education from UM in 2001. In 2004, she led the Mississippi Council on Economic Education as president for six years, increasing funding by more than 400 percent and teacher training by more than 250 percent.

She also served in several roles with the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, including chief public affairs officer.

Her husband, Jerome Smith, was inducted into the charter class of the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015.

“I’m extremely humbled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “I’m so thankful for this award. I hope to continue to do my part for the School of Education.”

Henderson, who died in 2015, is being inducted posthumously by special provision. She was the first full-time African-American to serve as a faculty member in the history of the UM School of Education.

She became a UM faculty member in 1978 and retired in 1998. With 43 years in public education, she began her career as a grade school teacher in Mississippi and Tennessee before settling down in Oxford. Henderson’s family accepted the award at the ceremony on her behalf.

“It is an honor to have my mother inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Deborah McKinney, Henderson’s daughter. “It’s an accumulation of everything my family has stood for. We’re very thankful and very grateful that she is being honored.”

The Fergusons, who have collectively dedicated more than 66 years to public education as teachers, coaches, principals and superintendents, received the Outstanding Service Award, which is a special recognition allowing UM to honor noneducation alumni.

After retiring in 1997, the couple established the Tri-County Educational Foundation in 2000, which is funded by charitable bingo operations in the northeast corner of the state. The foundation has donated almost $12 million – providing scholarships to 3,000 students at 33 different schools and almost $2 million to 114 Ole Miss students.

“I’m so flattered to be honored with this award, especially considering all of the people we are being honored alongside,” Sylvia Ferguson said.

“In my career, I have always been the one honoring people and acknowledging their success, so this is a little different for me to be the one being honored,” Bob Ferguson said. “We do appreciate the recognition though, even though that’s not what we do it for, but it certainly is appreciated.”

The previous Alumni Hall of Fame inductees include Suzie Adcock, Jahnae Barnett, Cecil Brown, Thomas Burke, Robert Depro, Laura Dunn Jolly, Robert Khayat, Milton Kuykendall, Carole Lynn Meadows, Judith Reynolds, Jean Shaw, Jerome Smith, Cathy Stewart and Theopolis Vinson.

 

 

UM School of Education Honors 2018 Practitioners of Distinction

Four education alumni recognized for providing exemplary service

Patrick Wilcher (left), LaTonya Robinson, Kevin Allemand and Whitman Smith. Submitted Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Education recently honored four alumni as 2018 Practitioners of Distinction.

This is the second year UM’s education school has recognized Practitioners of Distinction, early-to-mid-career professionals who have demonstrated measurable and positive service in education. The UM Education Alumni Advisory Board selected honorees from nominations submitted earlier this year.

The 2018 honorees are Kevin Allemand, a teacher at Hancock High School in Kiln; LaTonya Robinson, principal of Green Hill Elementary School in Sardis; Whitman Smith, director of admissions at the University of Mississippi in Oxford; and Patrick Wilcher, a mathematics instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport.

“We call them the Practitioners of Distinction awards to recognize early-to-mid-career impact performers, providing exemplary service in the field of education,” said David Rock, UM education dean.

Allemand received his bachelor’s degree in education from UM in 2005. He is completing his 13th year at Hancock High School teaching U.S. government, economics, Mississippi studies, world history, geography, ACT preparation and advanced placement U.S. government and politics.

He distinguished himself as an exemplary alumnus by creating an undergraduate-level research seminar on the American civil rights movement and instituting a “Look Around Mississippi” trip for students. The event is a four-day trek across 20 Mississippi towns and cities to see firsthand antebellum, Civil War, civil rights, musical and literary landmarks.

“I come to Ole Miss close to 10 times a year from the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Allemand said. “It still feels like home every time. Being honored by the School of Education is almost like your family saying you have made them proud.”

Robinson received her bachelor’s degree in education from UM in 1998 and her master’s degree in 1999 and is in UM’s Doctor of Education in educational leadership program. She began as an elementary school teacher early in her career and then advanced to become an award-winning principal at Oxford Elementary School and Della Davidson Elementary School in Oxford.

She was named the district’s Administrator of the Year in 2016, the same year her school was in the No. 1 ranked school district in the state.

In 2017, she began as principal of Green Hill Elementary School in Sardis, a D-rated school that she hopes to transform into a high-performing school through her exemplary leadership skills.

“Being honored by this award has been overwhelming,” Robinson said. “It’s amazing. You don’t really expect to be doing something that other people pay attention to. I have just been doing what is right and doing it for the children. I’m very humbled.”

Smith, UM director of admissions, received his bachelor’s degree in education in 1989 and his master’s degree in higher education in 1994 from UM.

During his tenure, he has led record application, admission and enrollment growth, and conceptualized and implemented the new student convocation at the university.

“I’m humbled and floored and still surprised that I have been honored by this award,” Smith said. “There are so many people that are School of Education alums who have very accomplished careers. It means that somebody feels that I represent the University of Mississippi and the School of Education that other people can look to as an example. It’s a huge deal.”

Wilcher received his bachelor’s degree in 2003 and his master’s degree in 2004 from UM. He has been a mathematics instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College since 2006.

While he was an undergraduate at Ole Miss, the UM faculty named him Outstanding Student in Mathematics Education, and he was later honored as Outstanding Master’s Student in Secondary Education. Wilcher also served as a basketball coach for 10 years, but then decided to devote his career full time to teaching in 2016.

“I’m not sure if there’s anything more special than being honored by your alma mater,” Wilcher said. “It’s very humbling that after 14 years, I still mean something around here – especially in education because we kind of have to be the unsung heroes a lot.”

The School of Education Practitioners of Distinction award was established in 2017. Its charter class included Shelley Clifford of Atlanta, Jessica Ivy of Starkville, Jay Levy of Canton and Wanikka Vance of Chicago.

 

 

Bowlin Named Inaugural Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy

Distinction honors professor's excellence in teaching and research

Kendall Bowlin (at podium) teaches a class in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy has named Kendall Bowlin as the inaugural holder of its Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy.

An associate professor and UM alumnus, Bowlin joined the faculty of the accountancy school in 2008 after earning a doctoral degree at the University of Texas. His primary teaching and research interests are in the field of auditing.

Before his doctoral studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the UM School of Business Administration and a master’s degree in accountancy from the Patterson School in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He worked four years as an auditor with Ernst & Young in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Being named the first Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful for Mr. Krei’s generous support of our school, faculty and students,” Bowlin said. “The success that our students and faculty have had, and continue to have, is a result of the wonderful financial support and friendship provided by Ed Krei and other alumni.”

Barbara and Ed Krei, of Edmond, Oklahoma, established the Edward Krei Lectureship in Accountancy in 2009. In 2015, they generously elevated their endowment to the chair level, with more than $1.5 million committed to sustaining and strengthening the school’s faculty.

The endowment provides salary supplements, research and creative activity support, and other funding deemed appropriate by the dean.

“We are deeply grateful to Barbara and Ed Krei for establishing the Krei Chair of Accountancy at Ole Miss,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “Ed has enjoyed an exceptional career, and we are proud to have him as an alumnus and also as a member of the Patterson School Hall of Fame.

“We are humbled by the Kreis’ generosity. Their vision to support our faculty will enable the Patterson School to continue building on its strong teaching and mentoring tradition, a trademark of our program and a key reason for the successes that we enjoy.”

All three degree programs at the Patterson School are among the top 10 in the 2017 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are all ranked No. 8 nationally.

The master’s program leads the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the conference. One or more Ole Miss accountancy programs have led the SEC in the rankings in each of the past seven years.

Bowlin’s appointment to the chair is well-deserved, Wilder said.

“Dr. Bowlin is enjoying an outstanding career at Ole Miss,” he continued. “He is one of the bright young minds in our profession and is a national leader in auditing research. His presence on our faculty has enabled us to attract other top faculty and doctoral students to the Patterson School.”

Bowlin’s research focuses on the strategic aspects of interactions between auditors and client managers. He is particularly interested in the ways in which institutional features of the audit environment affect the auditor’s ability to anticipate and respond to the manager’s possible tendencies toward financial misreporting.

Ed Krei

“I very much appreciate Mr. Krei’s and Dean Wilder’s confidence in appointing me to hold the Krei Chair, and I hope to justify their confidence through a devotion to our students, our alumni and my colleagues in the Patterson School,” Bowlin said.

“The establishment of the chair represents continued and growing faculty support from our alumni. This support allows the Patterson School to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, who will, in turn, commit to the development of our students and accounting leaders of the future.”

Krei enjoyed an outstanding career as managing director and board member for the Baker Group in Oklahoma City. The Baker Group is an institutional fixed-income firm that serves community banks throughout the nation. For 21 years, he has represented the Baker Group, helping client organizations develop strategies and plan for the future.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accountancy from Ole Miss in 1973. He said the endowment is meant to provide an “eternal flame,” commemorating the education he received.

“I think the Patterson School is an excellent investment because of its faculty members,” Krei said. “Their passion is so evident, and they really excite students about their field. And now, with the speaking engagements I have, I find myself emulating what I learned from them.”

The Kreis met at UM as freshman members of the Pride of the South Marching Band. Barbara Krei graduated from what is now the School of Applied Sciences and has enjoyed a career as a speech pathologist in the Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City.

“The Kreis’ investment in our faculty will provide benefits for many generations of future Ole Miss accountancy students,” Wilder said.

The Ed Krei Lectureship in Accountancy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information on ways to support the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Denson Hollis, executive development director, at 662-915-5092 or dhollis@olemiss.edu.

Former Drum Major Still Helping Lead the Band

Alumna's gift supports Ole Miss Pride of the South, seeks to help recruit top student musicians

Layne McGuire

OXFORD, Miss. – As former drum major for the University of Mississippi Band, Layne McGuire is used to having people follow her lead. In supporting the band with a recent gift, she hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“I was approached about making a gift to the university beyond my usual giving,” McGuire said. “When I found out the option of a scholarship was doable, I wanted to pursue it. I know from working with David Willson (University Bands director) that scholarship money is always a challenge.

“This was a way to give back to something that has given me so much.”

Named in honor of her parents, the Vincent G. and Maxine McGuire Band Scholarship will be available to full-time entering freshmen band members, with first preference given to students from Oxford.

A resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, McGuire plays alto saxophone and serves as treasurer of the Charlotte Concert Band. She also rings and serves as secretary of the Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble. 

“The college band experience is totally different from high school, and I have many friends who tell me they would have kept playing had they continued after high school,” she said. “I think part of the reason that I still play is that I never stopped. So I hope the scholarship helps recruit a student who might otherwise decide to put their horn away.”

Willson said the Pride of the South could not exist without private support like McGuire’s.

Pride of the South drum major Layne McGuire (center), graduate assistant Pam Crump Jackson (left) and band member Angela Davis-Morris prepare to play at an Ole Miss football game at the University of Tennessee. Submitted photo

“We live in a state that has a small band population compared to most SEC schools and we have eight universities, 15 community colleges, four private schools and out-of-state schools competing for musicians, and trust me, they know the market,” Willson said. “Without being competitive in the marketplace, we cannot compete with even modest quality.

“The mid- to upper-level players are essential to having the large marching band and excellent basketball pep bands. The Ole Miss Band operates with one of the lowest budgets in the conference, and private donations help us maintain a margin of excellence.”

McGuire graduated from Oxford High School before continuing her education at Ole Miss. She was an accomplished student, and her membership in the UM band segued into a scholarship and, by the time she graduated, she was the drum major. 

“I have been in band since the sixth grade and it was such a huge part of my college experience,” McGuire said. “I loved band and my band directors were some of my biggest influences.”

In college, McGuire also was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and the Air Force ROTC.

“Layne was one of the first students I met on campus, and I hold her in the highest regards,” Willson said. “Layne had a clear understanding on the state of the band and helped guide me through the first three years. Her love for this band is enough to motivate anyone around her to do the same.”

McGuire graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1990 and a master’s degree in history in 1992. She taught junior high and high school math in the South Panola County School District before returning to UM to earn a master’s degree in accountancy in 1999.

She has since worked as a consultant for the accounting firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO USA, Ernst & Young and Dixon Hughes Goodman, and leads the community banking internal audit and regulatory compliance practice in the Carolinas for RSM US.

The Ole Miss Band has had a tradition of excellence since 1928. In 2014, the Pride of the South Marching Band reached its largest enrollment in school history at 315 members.

“The gift Layne McGuire established will directly support students in the Pride of the South Band, and we are extremely grateful for her generosity,” said Denson Hollis, executive director of development. “The band is an integral part of the university’s fan experience and elevates the level of enthusiasm and school pride wherever it performs. Gifts to the band directly affect its ability to grow and thrive.”

The Vincent G. and Maxine McGuire Band Scholarship is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information on ways to support the Pride of the South, contact Denson Hollis at 662-915-5092 or dhollis@olemiss.edu.

Alumni Association Names New Board Additions

Members serve three-year terms that expire at Homecoming

The Ole Miss Alumni Association welcomes 16 new board members. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association has named new members of its board of directors. One-third of the board is appointed each year by the association president and serves a three-year term.

New members are: LaToya Green (BBA 02) of Seattle; Ravonda L. Griffin (BAccy 01, MEd 05, JD 12) of Olive Branch; Tiffany Cox Hawkins (BBA 99) of Canton; Lawrence B. Johnson Jr. (BBA 79) of Madison; Stephen D. Johnston (BA 93) of Jackson; Mary Catherine McClinton (BA 11) of New Albany; Lt. Col. Sheldon Morris (BBA 00) of Fort Benning, Georgia; Linda Moore Newell (BAEd 77) of Greenwood; Abb Payne (BBA 98) of Hattiesburg; Forrest C. Phillips Jr. (BBA 82) of Hattiesburg; Bill Reed (BA 72, JD 77) of Jackson; Woody Sample (BBA 79, MURP 72) of Oxford; Ivory Shelby (BS 78, MURP 80) of Laurel; Jody Varner (BAccy 85, MAccy 86, JD 88) of Jackson; Bruce Ware (BBA 99) of Dallas; and Jill Waycaster West (BA 06) of Tupelo.

“We are very fortunate to have these individuals as board members,” said Bobby Bailess (BBA 73, JD 76), Alumni Association president. “They have already contributed invaluable advice and insight, both individually and collectively. They are proven sources of energy and wisdom.”

The new members are set to participate in their first board meeting Friday (April 6) at the Triplett Alumni Center.

Green recently relocated to Seattle with Amazon Consumer Retail. She serves as the global leader of performance for retail systems. She previously was director of technology for Walmart Point of Sale and Payments in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Griffin is a partner at Perry Griffin PC in Southaven. She serves as the city attorney and prosecutor for the town of Como.

Hawkins recently relocated to Madison, where she was promoted to regional vice president for FCCI Insurance Group’s Gulf Coast Region. She is immediate past chair of the Ole Miss Insurance Advisory Board and past president of the Ole Miss RMI Society.

Johnson is the energy efficiency manager for 45 counties and public affairs executive for Entergy Mississippi Inc. He also serves as a lobbyist for the Mississippi Legislature.

Johnston is CEO of Global Development Group, a strategic advisory firm headquartered in Jackson. He is also the producer of “Same Kind of Different as Me,” a feature film released in October 2017 by Paramount Pictures.

McClinton is pursuing a second degree from Ole Miss in elementary education and serves as the Union County Alumni Club president.

Morris recently assumed command of 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. He previously served as the director of strategic communication for the U.S. Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Newell is a former communications and public relations officer. She serves as a member of the UM Education Alumni Board.

Payne is CEO and president of Camellia Home Health and Hospice. He is also a founder of InfusionPlus and is the chairman of the Area Development Partnership for the Hattiesburg Chamber of Commerce.

Phillips is a sales representative for the Robert Allen Duralee Fabric Group.

Reed is a shareholder in the law firm Baker Donelson and served as president and COO of the firm from 1998 to 2005.

Sample is a real estate agent for Sample and Poole Properties LLC in Oxford. He previously was founder and owner for 32 years of Sample and Associates, a consulting firm in Jackson.

Shelby is a resource development specialist for the Laurel Housing Authority. She previously served as the executive director for Community Connections Inc. in Hattiesburg and as the deputy chief administrative officer and director of housing and community development for the city of Jackson.

Varner is an attorney with Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes PLLC in Jackson, where he practices tax law.

A native of Newton, Ware is a corporate vice president with DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500 health care company. He also serves as an advisory board member for the UM McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

West serves as an adviser for WestGroup, an owner-operator in the garment and textile manufacturing sector. She previously served as a regional development officer for the university.

Terms of the new members expire at Homecoming 2020.

Education Alumna Proves She’s ‘Not a Quitter’

Oxonian Bettye Butler receives diploma at 87

Oxford resident Bettye Butler receives her UM diploma at a private ceremony at Guyton Hall with UM education Dean David Rock. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – When Oxford resident Bettye Butler decided she was going to finish her bachelor’s degree after a 38-year hiatus from the University of Mississippi, she picked up the phone one morning to ask about her remaining few credits.

“I’m not a quitter,” she told Billy Crews, development officer for the UM School of Education.

Days later, after a little digging and transcript analysis, Butler learned from Crews that due to shifts in university curricula and degree requirements since her last enrollment in 1979, she no longer was six credits short of qualifying for a bachelor’s degree in education. Education Dean David Rock could authorize her graduation based on her existing credits.

“This is truly an amazing story,” Rock said. “When we decided to take a look at her transcripts, I got a call from our director of academic advising and she said, ‘I think you need to look at this,’ because, it turned out, she actually had more than enough credits for her degree.”

Butler, 87, was presented her Ole Miss diploma by Rock at a private ceremony Dec. 1 in Guyton Hall, with her children and friends by her side. The presentation of Butler’s degree brings the total number of UM degrees in her immediate family to eight; it’s even more if you count her grandchildren, she is quick to point out.

“It’s almost impossible to describe this feeling; I didn’t know it would mean this much to me,” she said at the ceremony. “There was always that little voice in the back of my head saying ‘Go for it,’ but I didn’t ever think this would come true. I can’t help but think that this was supposed to be.”

The Butler family has deep roots in the Oxford and UM community.

Bettye and her husband Jim, former director of the Ole Miss Alumni Association who passed in 2013 at age 86, first came to campus as a couple in 1961, when they moved into temporary housing in Northgate Apartments.

Bettye Butler (second from right) is joined by her family, including children Mitzi, Lance and Carole, for her UM graduation ceremony Dec. 1 in Guyton Hall. UM photo by Bill Dabney

Jim, who played football for the Rebels as a freshman guard in 1944 before serving in the U.S. Army during World War II and returning to UM to finish bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, was returning to Ole Miss to begin a career in the Alumni Association as the alumni secretary.

Before joining the LOU community as a couple, the Butlers ran a small family restaurant in Pontotoc and later moved to New Albany, where they started a family and Jim worked as a teacher, coach and principal.

In 1962, the Butlers bought a house on Bramlett Boulevard – the only house for sale in Oxford at the time, Bettye said – and there they raised three children: Carole, Mitzi and Lance.

The Butlers were an inseparable pair during their 64 years of marriage. During Jim’s tenure as alumni director, the association grew by more than 7,000 members and the Butlers traveled the nation as a team, visiting almost every state, to promote and grow the organization.

Bettye is the School of Education’s newest alumna and has plans to hang her family’s latest Ole Miss diploma on the wall of her home this holiday season.

“There was something inside of me that morning that said, ‘Make the call,'” Bettye said. “So I called, and it’s still hard to believe, but I am so glad that I did.”

Committed Community Servants Honored at University

'Hickman girls' pay tribute to parents' lives, examples with two scholarships

Known while growing up as the ‘Hickman girls,’ Jenny Hickman Poole (left), Debbie Hickman Little and Lisa Hickman Tollison have created two scholarships at the University of Mississippi to pay tribute to their parents, Dewey and Will Hickman, pictured in the portraits. Photo by Heather Cosby Poole

OXFORD, Miss. – The late Dewey and Will Hickman were known for their committed service to the University of Mississippi and the state’s other universities, the Oxford-Lafayette County community and its economic development, local schools, their church and – most of all – their three daughters.

“Our parents led by example, with the message being to us that demonstrating love and loyalty to each other is an important value,” said daughter Jenny Hickman Poole of Batesville.

Those daughters – known around Oxford as the “Hickman girls” – are expressing that affection and devotion by establishing two scholarships at Ole Miss to pay tribute to their parents. Poole and sisters Debbie Hickman Little and Lisa Hickman Tollison, both of Oxford, have funded the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Law Scholarship Endowment for full-time students in the School of Law who are Mississippi residents and have financial need.

The second scholarship is the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Scholarship Endowment designated for full-time students who are community college transfers and Mississippi residents with financial need; first preference will be given to students in the School of Business Administration.

“When we lost our parents, we knew we wanted to do something for these special people who did so much for others,” Poole said. “Their love for Ole Miss was so strong and such an important part of their lives that establishing something at the university in their names seemed appropriate.”

“Our parents left a wonderful legacy of dedication and service, which we want to memorialize with this gift,” Little said.

The designation of the new scholarships models the Hickmans’ paths in higher education. After losing his father at the age of 12, Will Hickman, a native of Monticello, attended Hinds Community College on a basketball scholarship while doing custodial work on campus. Meanwhile, Dewey Hickman graduated as salutatorian of Meadville High School and enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“They educated three daughters, who earned degrees from Ole Miss, and were instrumental in educating their seven grandchildren,” Tollison said. “Although we were blessed, not everyone gets the same opportunity to receive a formal education. Our parents would be very pleased to know these scholarships will aid other young men and women.”

Will Hickman, a senior law partner with Hickman, Goza and Spragins, made far-reaching contributions as part of the leadership on the board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning for 13 years, where he served a term as president. The IHL is the governing body for policy and financial oversight of Mississippi’s eight public universities.

His experience in desegregation and civil rights cases within public schools and with Ole Miss made his service “valuable” on the board of trustees during the Ayers case, a civil rights case that sought to correct inadequate funding for Mississippi’s three historically black universities, Little said. “My dad was an advocate for educational opportunities for everyone.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter praised the daughters for choosing to honor their parents through student scholarships.

“Dewey and Will Hickman were outstanding alumni who will always be part of this university,” Vitter said. “We are extremely grateful to their daughters for this gift of scholarships bearing their names and reflecting their parents’ strongly held belief in extending educational opportunities to others.

“Will Hickman provided transformational leadership and service to the IHL board that will be felt for generations of students attending Mississippi’s eight public universities. Likewise, Dewey Hickman was a source of unwavering support to her husband throughout this meaningful service and also worked tirelessly to strengthen Ole Miss, local schools and other institutions. Their generous spirit could be seen in that they often opened their home for Ole Miss events.”

Hickman also was uniquely poised to influence the community as the board attorney for the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, Oxford School District, Oxford-Lafayette County Hospital and Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association. He was president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and the North Mississippi Industrial Foundation, as well as chairman of the education committee of the Oxford Economic Development Foundation.

Will Hickman served in the U.S. 5th Army, commanded by Mark Clark, in the Italian theater during World War II, fighting all the way to France. Afterward, he enrolled in Millsaps College, where he met the love of his life, fellow student Dewey Cobb. After graduation they married, moved to the Oxford campus and lived in the “Vet Village” while Hickman earned his law degree from Ole Miss.

Dewey Hickman taught school in Abbeville for five years and earned a master’s degree in business administration from UM. They had planned to move back home to south Mississippi but chose to remain in their adopted hometown of Oxford.

Will Hickman served Oxford as mayor pro tempore and as an alderman for two terms. Appreciation for his contributions was recognized in 1986 when he was honored as Oxford’s Citizen of the Year. Hinds Community College named him Alumnus of the Year in 1988. He was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the university in 1996. The Ole Miss School of Law selected him as its 1998 Alumnus of the Year.

“They fell in love with Ole Miss and Oxford,” Little said. “They were the typical Southern couple, stately and courteous. Mom was the serious one, and Dad had an excellent sense of humor. He was a good man to have on your team.

“Dad always gave credit to Mom whenever he was recognized. Mom was the creative, behind-the-scenes person. She had a servant’s heart and wrote notes of encouragement to people all her life. They believed the family unit to be critical, with Dad often saying, ‘If you don’t maintain close family ties, you’ve lost something that will be difficult to regain.'”

Poole said the words that come to mind when describing her parents are “commitment, hard work, determination, giving and family.”

That family also includes their three sons-in-law: Ray Poole, Larry Little and Grady Tollison.

Dewey Hickman was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Oxford. She taught business communication at Ole Miss for a year. She was active in the community and the First Presbyterian Church for many years. Leadership positions included chair of the Easter Seal Campaign, secretary of the Lafayette County Library Board, member of the V.F.W. Auxiliary and the Oxford Army Advisory Committee and president of the Cosmopolitan and Oxford Garden clubs.

“Our parents were heavily involved in all our activities,” Poole said. “They drove us to everything – cheerleading, Girl Scouts and more. They gave so much of their time and resources to the community but they were always present for their daughters.”

Both the Will A. and Dewey C. Hickman Memorial Law Scholarship and the Will A. and Dewey Hickman Memorial Scholarship Endowment are open to accept gifts from individuals and organizations. Send checks to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund(s) noted in the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or give online at http://umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information contact William Kneip, development officer for the College of Liberal Arts, at 662-915-2254 or Kneip@olemiss.edu.

Daniel Roberts Reflects Upon His Days with UM Black Student Union

Organization provided support, fellowship and opportunities for many African-American students

Daniel Curtis Roberts, a 2014 UM public policy graduate from Moss Point, now works as an account executive for Edelman, the world’s largest communications marketing firm,in New York. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – While others may have questioned Daniel Roberts’ decision to enroll at the University of Mississippi, the Moss Point native felt no apprehension about being on campus. And any doubts about whether he belonged soon disappeared, thanks to his involvement in the Black Student Union.

Black Student Union was a safe space for black students,” said Roberts, who graduated in 2014 with a degree in public policy leadership and a minor in political science. “It provided a place to talk about the challenges we saw on campus and strategize ways to address them.

“BSU allowed us to be ourselves and stay in touch with the culture that we experienced growing up, while navigating a predominantly white university. It taught us about the different hues of blackness and the varied experiences many of us have.”

Most importantly, the organization, which celebrates its 50th year in 2018, helped African-American students maneuver through campus while being unapologetically black, said Roberts, who lives in New York City.

“I appreciate BSU for that,” he said. “I continue supporting the university by playing an active role in the internship program. I work with the staff twice a year to speak with students who are interning in my city and help connect them with professionals in their fields of interest.”

Roberts said he had always told himself if he didn’t go to college on the East Coast, he’d go to the best school in Mississippi: Ole Miss. After being accepted to the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Trent Lott Leadership Institute and receiving a full scholarship, it was a no brainer.

“I didn’t have any apprehension, but there were a lot of people who questioned my decision because of the university’s history involving integration,” Roberts said.

Roberts is remembered by UM staff members as a leader who worked with purpose.

“Daniel was personally motivated to make a difference for the active students in the Black Student Union,” said Valeria Ross, associate dean of students and director of the Office of Leadership and Advocacy. “He wanted to contribute however he could.

“What I remember most about Daniel was the intentionality with which he approached his support for the Black Student Union. He was very creative and he helped students pursue, oftentimes, unique opportunities … definitely ones that many times the student had not considered.”

Roberts pushed the importance of networking, internships and planning for the next step beyond the undergraduate experience with members of the Black Student Union, Ross said.

“He was one of the Black Student Union leaders who I remember passionately pushing study abroad, summer internships, connecting with alumni, all in an effort to encourage intentionality in charting the student leader journey so that it would connect to the student’s overall future career and/or graduate school plans,” she said.

As a student, Roberts served as chief of staff to BSU President Quadray Kohlhiem.

“My most memorable moment in BSU was during the university’s 50th year of integration,” Roberts said. “Our school received a great deal of international media coverage – noting the progress we made – and brought monumental speakers including Attorney General Eric Holder and civil rights leader Harry Belafonte.

“During this time, BSU leaders played a huge role in sharing stories of progress, while pointing out areas that still needed addressing.”

An account executive at Edelman, the world’s largest communications marketing firm, Roberts’ work includes doing a mix of public relations such as crisis management, executive visibility and celebrity engagement for several major brands.

“Ole Miss prepared me for this path by providing me countless opportunities to engage in global thinking through studying abroad three times (Ecuador, Germany and South Africa) and interning with first lady Michelle Obama at the White House,” he said. “Those experiences led to me securing a full-time role at the White House where I worked in communications and legislative affairs before starting my current role.”

Roberts’ parents, Ruben and Debra Roberts, and sister, Rachael Roberts, still reside in Moss Point.