Streets Endow Scholarship to Honor Longtime UM History Professor

Education fund named after Harry P. Owens, professor emeritus and Civil War scholar

Dr. Harry P. Owens. Photo by Robert JordanPhoto by Robert Jordan

Harry P. Owens. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent gift from two University of Mississippi donors will provide scholarship opportunities for future UM secondary education majors while honoring Professor Emeritus Harry P. Owens, who taught history at the university for more than 35 years.

The Dr. Harry P. Owens Secondary Education Opportunity Scholarship Endowment was created with a $25,000 commitment from Bill and Ginny Street of Alabaster, Alabama.

Bill, a senior vice president at ServisFirst Bank, started his post-college career as a social studies teacher in DeSoto County in 1978 after receiving his undergraduate degree in secondary education from UM.

“The thing that I got from Harry was learning how to listen,” Bill explained. “Even if someone is on a different side (of the aisle) than you, you should hear what they have to say because you might learn something useful. I credit him with my ability to do that.”

Bill was a nontraditional college student. After initially losing interest in his studies at UM in 1969, he left the university to serve in the U.S. Navy, where he became a submarine petty officer. After being discharged in 1975, he returned to the university with two new things: a new resolve for his studies and tuition money from the G.I. Bill.

During this time, he was highly influenced by the Civil War historian. According to Bill, he and the professor just “clicked” and they bonded over their extensive interest and knowledge of Civil War history. The professor became a mentor for the sailor-turned-teacher.

Owens and his wife, MaryLou, still live in Oxford.

Bill and Ginny Street of Alabaster, Alabama (Submitted Photo)

Bill and Ginny Street. Submitted photo

“The most telling thing I can say about Bill is this: The first time I met him, I was teaching a new course that I had never taught before about the military history of the American Civil War,” Owens said. “I remember that there was Bill and one other student, who, if ever I had a single doubt in my mind about a particular fact, I could look at Bill for confirmation. He knew that much.”

Owens recently attended a meeting with Bill, Ginny and leadership from the UM School of Education, after finalizing the gift.

“Bill doing this in my name is a most gracious thing,” Owens said. “This reinforces the idea that teachers count.”

After college, Bill took a teaching and coaching job in Horn Lake, where he was named the school’s Star Teacher after his very first year in the classroom.

Although no longer a student, he kept in touch with his favorite professor. The two men often conversed via phone or would meet up when Bill and Ginny would return to the Oxford for sporting events.

To the Streets, this scholarship is also a way for the couple to help students who struggle with the tuition demands of college. Without the G.I Bill scholarship, Bill said would not have been able to afford his Ole Miss education.

A needs-based scholarship, each year recipients of the award will receive tuition support after being selected by the UM School of Education Scholarship Committee. The scholarship will support Ole Miss students majoring in secondary education.

“Harry had a profound impact on me and we want to put his name on this (scholarship),” Bill said. “We want to give someone an opportunity that they might not get otherwise. That’s what this is all about.”

UM Alumni Association Welcomes 2016-17 Officers

New leaders announced at Homecoming

The new officers for the Ole Miss Alumni Association are (from left) Kirk Purdom, Leon Collins, Dr. Hal Moore, Bobby Bailess, Andy Kilpatrick and Deano Orr.

The new officers for the Ole Miss Alumni Association are (from left) Kirk Purdom, Leon Collins, Dr. Hal Moore, Bobby Bailess, Andy Kilpatrick and Deano Orr.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association announced its officers for 2016-17 as part of recent Homecoming festivities on campus

Dr. P.H. “Hal” Moore of Pascagoula was named president, a one-year term that changes each Homecoming. Moore is president of Singing River Radiology Group. He serves on the board of directors of the Merchants & Marine Bank and formerly served on the boards of the Mississippi State Medical Association and Belhaven University.

“What a great honor it is to represent the Ole Miss Rebel nation,” Moore said. “There has never been a more exciting time at Mississippi’s flagship university, and I look forward to listening to, learning from and working with alumni, administration, faculty, students and other UM stakeholders during the coming year.”

Moore earned his Doctor of Medicine in 1976 from UM. He is past president of the medical chapter of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. He and his wife, Melanie, have three sons, Paul (BS 01, MD 05), John and Michael (BA 10, JD 13) and four grandchildren.

Outgoing association President Eddie Maloney (BS 78) of Jackson welcomed both a new chancellor and new Alumni Association executive director named during his tenure. Both Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter and Kirk Purdom (BA 93), the Alumni Association’s sixth executive director, joined the university leadership team this year.

“We have been blessed with great leadership teams,” he said. “It has been the experience of a lifetime meeting so many new friends.”

Bobby Bailess (BBA 73, JD 76), attorney and former president of the Warren County Bar Association in Vicksburg, was named president-elect. Augustus L. “Leon” Collins (BBA 73, JD 76), of Madison, chief executive officer for MINACT Inc., a job development and training corporation, was elected vice president.

Athletics Committee members include Andy Kilpatrick (BBA 87) of Grenada and Deano Orr (BBA 93) of Bartlett, Tennessee. Kilpatrick serves as counsel for the Mississippi State Board of Architecture. Orr serves as executive director of International Paper Foundation in Memphis. Purdom also serves as treasurer.

UM, Oxford Again Ranked Among Nation’s Best and Most Beautiful

University and its hometown pick up four new accolades

The University of Mississippi and Oxford have recently been recognized by several major publications for having the nation's most beautiful campus, the most unique tailgating experience and being among the nation's best college towns. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi and Oxford have recently been recognized by several major publications for having the nation’s most beautiful campus and most unique tailgating experience and for being among the nation’s best college towns. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Oxford often rank at the top of annual lists of beautiful campuses and best college towns, and this fall has brought a new set of national accolades upon the area.

USA Today’s Reader’s Choice travel awards contest has named UM the nation’s most beautiful campus, while Thrillist named the university on its unranked list of the 20 most beautiful public college campuses. The NCAA recognized Ole Miss’ tailgating environment as the nation’s best. FanSided, which is run by Sports Illustrated and owned by Time Inc., named Oxford the second-best college town in the nation.

Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter, who moved to Oxford from Kansas in January, said there’s a magic here that quickly grabs visitors.

“Over the last 34 years, I have lived and served in a number of great university towns, and there is something truly special about Ole Miss and Oxford,” Vitter said. “Ours is a unique place with extraordinary people. All it takes is just one visit here and you quickly realize why it captures the hearts and minds of so many.”

The university was the only Southeastern Conference school and the only one in Mississippi chosen in USA Today and 10best.com’s list of beautiful campuses. Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, came in second place and Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, came in third.

The USA Today/10best.com ranking notes Ole Miss “comprises 2,000 acres of expansive lawns, wooded trails and historic architecture, like the Greek Revival-style Lyceum.”

Thrillist, which ranks UM alongside the universities of Michigan and Hawaii and other schools, praised the Greek revival architecture of the Lyceum and the beauty of the surrounding buildings.

“When you think of great collections of Greek architecture, only one place comes to mind: Mississippi. No?” Thrillist writes. “Well, the original campus building, the Lyceum, is a classic white-columned structure with massive brick wings that anchors an entire historic district within the campus.

“The Circle, as it’s known, looks more like an area you’d find in D.C. than Oxford, with long, brick buildings stretching throughout. And Ole Miss’ beauty isn’t limited to the architecture, as anyone who’s spent a Saturday tailgating in the Grove can attest.”

Jeff McManus, UM director of landscape services, said the university and his team is “humbled and honored” by recognition of the campus’ beauty. He thanked the administration, including the chancellor, Provost Morris Stocks and Vice Chancellor Larry Sparks for supporting his efforts.

“Our Landscape Services vision, on the ground, in the weeds and trees is to ‘Cultivate Greatness’ – to inspire our students, faculty and staff – to give them an environment in which they can grow and produce,” McManus said. “We set our standards high and today, we are especially proud to be Landscape Rebels.”

The NCAA recently released a video of college football’s most unique tailgates, with the Grove being ranked No. 1, referred to as “the Holy Grail of Tailgating.” Others listed include University of California’s Tightwad Hill, which lets fans view into the stadium and see the game for free, and the University of Washington’s Husky Navy and University of Tennessee’s Vol Navy, which both allow partying near the football stadiums on boats.

FanSided ranks Oxford as the country’s second-best college town, bested only by Athens, Georgia, home of the University of Georgia.

“Ole Miss is another school where enrollment somehow outnumbers the town it resides in in terms of population,” FanSided writes. “The enrollment may be hovering around 23,000, but go to one tailgate in Oxford, MS and you’ll think it’s 100,000. Students and non-students alike love their Rebels.”

Of all the reasons Oxford is getting such attention, the biggest is that people love to call the city home, said Jon Maynard, president and CEO of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation. For decades, locals have been serious about making their growing community the best it can be, he said.

“Attention to detail, high expectations and adherence to a plan to be great is why we are what we are today,” Maynard said. “The university, the city and the county are all committed to making sure that the quality that we have now will remain quality into the future. The toughest challenge that our community faces is growing without messing up that which is Oxford.”

The area’s health care system, beautiful parks, artists and musicians, business owners, entrepreneurs and longtime residents have all helped attract new businesses and also new Oxonians, he said.

“Oxford is the place where great things can happen,” Maynard said. “People from all walks of life, some without any previous affiliation to Ole Miss or Oxford, are finding that they can come and be welcomed into the community.

“They are coming for many reasons, but they are staying because of the quality that is pervasive in our community.”

Alumni Association to Honor Distinguished Alumni at Homecoming

Group to be lauded at reception and on the field during Memphis game

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association is awarding seven distinguished alumni with its highest annual honors as part of Homecoming activities.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2016 are: David E. Brevard (BA 78) of Tupelo; Dr. James L. Cox (MD 63) of Atlanta; Thomas C. Meredith (EDD 71) of Oxford; Thomas J. “Sparky” Reardon (BAEd 72, PhD 00) of Oxford; and Constance Slaughter-Harvey (JD 70) of Forest.

T. Michael Glenn (BBA 77) of Memphis will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Patrick Woodyard (BA 10) of Nashville, Tennessee, is being honored with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows at 7 p.m. The honorees also will be recognized on the field during the Oct. 1 Ole Miss-Memphis football game.

David Brevard

David Brevard

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or the university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

Brevard is president and chief executive officer of B&B Concrete Co. Inc., a concrete materials supply company with plants throughout north Mississippi. He is also vice president of Concrete Industries Inc., a real estate firm with ready-mix concrete plant holdings in north Mississippi.

The 1974 graduate of Tupelo High School was a Carrier Scholar, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and a member of the Hall of Fame at Ole Miss. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia in 1981.

Brevard is active in the First United Methodist Church of Tupelo. He is a past president of the District

James Cox

James Cox

One Ole Miss Alumni Club and a past president of the UM Alumni Association. He served as chairman of The Inn at Ole Miss Campaign Committee; member of the Chancellor’s Trust and Pacesetters Committee for the Commitment to Excellence Campaign; member of the Campaign/Committee Chairs for the Momentum Campaign; and as an executive committee member for the UM Foundation. He received the Alumni Association’s Alumni Service Award in 2009.

Brevard is married to the former Shawn Robson Stewart of Glendale, Ohio. They have two daughters.

Cox was born and raised in Fair Oaks, Arkansas. He was recruited to Ole Miss by Johnny Vaught and from 1960 to ’64 played baseball and freshman basketball, was president of Alpha Epsilon Delta and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

After turning down baseball contracts from the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, he enrolled at University of Tennessee Medical School in 1963. He received his medical degree in 1967 and was awarded outstanding student in his graduating class.

Cox trained in cardiothoracic surgery at Duke University. He spent the majority of his career as the first Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.

Tom Meredith

Tom Meredith

He is best known for his work in the field of cardiac arrhythmia surgery and the development of the eponymous “Cox-Maze Procedure” for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. He lives in Atlanta and serves as a senior consultant to eight medical device companies and on the board of directors of four of them.

Meredith has served as the head of three university systems and as a university president during his 41-year career in higher education.

He has been commissioner of higher education for Mississippi’s eight universities; chancellor of the University System of Georgia, responsible for the state’s 35 public colleges and universities; chancellor of the University of Alabama System; and president and professor of education at Western Kentucky University.

He also served as a vice chancellor at Ole Miss. Meredith holds a bachelor’s degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College, a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University and a doctorate from UM. He also completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and the Higher Education Roundtable at Oxford University. He has twice been selected as the Ole Miss School of Education Alumnus of the Year.

Sparky Reardon Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Sparky Reardon

Meredith’s wife, Susan (BA 72), and sons Dr. Mark Meredith (BS 97, MD 01) and Matthew Meredith (BA 00) are an Ole Miss family.

A 1968 graduate of Clarksdale High School, Reardon served the university in several positions within the area of student affairs. Most notably, he served as dean of students from 2000 to 2014. Before that, he served as coordinator of pre-admissions, assistant director of student activities, associate director of student services and associate dean of students.

Reardon received his bachelor’s degree in education from Ole Miss in 1972 and his doctorate in 2000. He also earned a master’s degree at Delta State University.

Reardon initiated the adoption of the Ole Miss Creed in 2000 and served as co-chair of the Creed Committee. He received the initial Thomas Frist Award for Outstanding Service to Students and was honored by the Class of 2008 with a scholarship in his name.

Reardon resides in Taylor and serves on several local, regional and national boards.

Constance Harvey Slaughter

Constance Harvey Slaughter

Slaughter-Harvey, former assistant secretary of state and general counsel, is founder and president of Legacy Education and Community Empowerment Foundation Inc.

Slaughter-Harvey was the first African-American female to receive a law degree from the university and first female African-American to serve as judge in Mississippi. The Black Law Student Association at the UM School of Law was named in her honor, and she received the Law School’s Public Service Award, becoming the first female and first African-American to be so honored.

She was an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College for more than 36 years. She is president of the Scott County Bar and prosecutor for Scott County Youth Court.

Slaughter-Harvey is the mother of Constance Olivia Burwell and grandmother of James A. Emmanuel “Tre” Burwell III.

Glenn, the Alumni Service Award recipient, is executive vice president of market development and corporate communications for FedEx Corp.

Mike Glenn

Mike Glenn

He is a member of the five-person executive committee, responsible for planning and executing the company’s strategic business activities. Glenn also serves as president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corporate Services, responsible for all marketing, sales, customer service and retail operations functions for all FedEx operating companies, including FedEx Office.

A native of Memphis, he earned his bachelor’s degree from UM and his master’s degree from the University of Memphis. Glenn previously served as a member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association Executive Committee and serves on the Athletic Committee. He was inducted into the UM Alumni Hall Of Fame in 2008.

The Outstand Young Alumni Award recipient, Woodyard is a 2010 graduate of the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies and Spanish.

While at Ole Miss, Woodyard was inducted into the Student Hall of Fame and served as the ASB director of community service, and as philanthropy chair and vice president of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Patrick Woodyard

Patrick Woodyard

After graduating, he pursued an opportunity through Peru Mission to work in microfinance in northern Peru. While there, Woodyard was introduced to a massive community of shoemakers, and with a vision to support the Peruvian footwear industry, he co-founded Nisolo in late 2011.

For his work with Nisolo, Woodyard recently was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, recognized as an “Innovator Changing the South” by Southern Living magazine and named a Global Accelerator Entrepreneur by the United Nations.

Woodyard resides in Nashville with his wife, Sally Ward (BA 10), and serves as a founding board member of the Nashville Fashion Alliance and the Nashville Social Enterprise Alliance.

For more information about the Ole Miss Alumni Association, visit http://www.olemissalumni.com.

Local Senior Citizens Invited to Learn Something New this Fall

Variety of noncredit classes available through UM Communiversity Program

Oxford residents can learn more about taking and sending photos, texts, and much more during the UM Communiversity class, 'iPhone, iPad, iWhat?' offered Thursday (Sept. 8) in Weir Hall. Communiversity is a noncredit enrichment program open to the community with no tests, papers, or grades.

Oxford residents can learn more about taking and sending photos, texts, and much more during the UM Communiversity class, ‘iPhone, iPad, iWhat?’ offered Thursday (Sept. 8) in Weir Hall. Communiversity is a noncredit enrichment program open to the community with no tests, papers or grades.

OXFORD, Miss. – Senior citizens in the Oxford area who would like to try out a new hobby or learn a new skill are invited to check out the University of Mississippi’s fall Communiversity schedule, which is packed with a variety of classes that anyone in the community can try.

Senior citizens can take advantage of a special discount for people ages 55 and over.

“There are no tests, papers or grades,” said Sandra Sulton, UM Communiversity coordinator. “These classes are for those who want to have fun and learn something new.”

If you are still trying to figure out your iPhone or iPad, a special course for senior adults will be offered from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 8) in Weir Hall. The course, “iPhone, iPad, iWhat?” is designed to help users feel comfortable with basic settings and navigation of your devices. The cost is $45.

“We have a lot of grandparents enroll in this class so that they can communicate with their grandkids through their cellphones,” Sulton said. “They want to learn to take photos and send them and to keep in contact via their phones, computers and iPads.”

The opportunity to learn more about computers and computer programs such as Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint will be offered 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 13, 15 and 20 in the computer labs in Weir Hall. The cost for all three sessions is $85.

“Digital Photography Basics” will be led by award-winning UM photographer Robert Jordan. The class meets 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 9-11:30 a.m. Oct. 15. The cost is $85.

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

If sewing is a hobby you always wanted to explore, check out two classes being offered this fall by Oxford artist Andi Bedsworth. Learn more about the basics of using your sewing machine with “Sewing 101: Introduction to Using a Machine,” offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 12 in Lamar Hall, Room 133. The cost is $59.

“I’ll show you what all the buttons and knobs on your sewing machine are for,” Bedsworth said. “You’ll learn how to sew in zippers and button holes, thread your machine, change out your bobbin and all those little things that may be intimidating when you take your machine out of the box.”

Bedsworth’s next course in the series, “Sewing: Basics and Beyond,” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25, and Nov. 1. The cost is $145 for all five sessions and will show participants how to use patterns, make simple garments and upgrade their sewing skills.

Ann Saxon from Oxford’s Knit1 store will lead the “Knitting for Beginners” class from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20 and 27 and Nov. 3, 10 and 17 in Lamar Hall. This class will cover beginning knit and purl stitches, how to cast on and bind off, and increasing and decreasing. The cost is $45.

New this year are the “Happy Holiday Hour” lecture-and-learn classes held during the noon hour for those who want to explore new decorating ideas for this holiday season, but are short on time. The classes cost $10 each.

Kicking off the series on Oct. 26 will be tutorials for taking the perfect Christmas card photo with photographer Robert Jordan. The class meets in the HR Training Room at Insight Park.

If you have always wanted to have a Christmas tree like the ones you see on Pinterest, stop by the Oxford-University Depot on Nov. 16 for the “Tips for Trimming Your Tree” class.

On Nov. 30 at the Depot, Whitney Pullen from Oxford Floral will show you how to transform your mailbox into a festive decoration that your whole neighborhood will enjoy.

The final holiday hour class will be, “Designing a Christmas Tree for the Birds.” This class will demonstrate what beautiful elements to use in decorating a tree that can later be moved outside for the birds to enjoy. This will be taught Dec. 14 at the Depot.

The fall Communiversity class schedule is full of many more great classes, including the popular CPR certification and Safe Sitter courses, public speaking and self-defense for mother and child.

To find out more, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/communiversity or call 662-915-7158.

 

UM Honors Five at School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame Induction

Honorees lauded for teaching, service and leadership

The 2016 UM School of Education Hall of Fame includes (left to right): Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Suzie Adcock of Jackson; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; Jahnae Barnett of Fulton, Missouri and Cecil C. Brown, Jr. of Jackson.

The 2016 UM School of Education Hall of Fame inductees are (left to right): Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Suzie Adcock of Jackson; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; Jahnae Barnett of Fulton, Missouri; and Cecil C. Brown Jr. of Jackson.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has inducted its second class of alumni into its School of Education Hall of Fame. Collectively, the group has more than 178 years of experience, commitment and public service to education.

The 2016 honorees are Suzie Mills Adcock of Jackson; Jahnae H. Barnett of Fulton, Missouri; Charles Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; and Cecil C. Brown Jr. of Jackson. Brown received the School of Education’s first-ever service award for noneducation alumni.

“Our alumni board of directors selected our 2016 alumni award recipients for their distinguished careers as educational leaders and practitioners,” said David Rock, UM education dean. “Each of these five alumni are models for our current university students and graduates to emulate.

“We believe there is no more important or greater area of service in our state and nation than in the practice and advocacy of education.”

The ceremony was May 13 at the Inn at Ole Miss. Honorees were selected after being nominated by their peers and colleagues earlier this year.

Adcock, who graduated from UM in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, has taught in both public and private schools for more than 31 years and is still teaching. She serves as the lower elementary school librarian and media specialist at Jackson Academy.

Her service work includes the direction of “Read for Need” service projects, which have benefited school libraries that have burned and the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. In addition, she has served on the UM School of Education’s alumni advisory board in various capacities throughout the years, including the presidency.

“I’m so humbled by this honor because I know so many teachers who should be in this spot; I really do,” Adcock said. “I am a teacher because I genuinely love what I do. I do everything that I do for my students. They are my heart. They really are.”

Barnett, who earned a master’s degree in business education from UM in 1967 and a Ph.D. in higher education in 1972, is president of William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, a position the alumna has held for more than 26 years. Before her presidency, Barnett was a vice president and a department chair at William Woods.

When Barnett received her doctorate, she was only 24 years old and was the youngest individual to receive a Ph.D. from Ole Miss at that time. She was also the first female president of William Woods, an institution that has grown from a few hundred students to more than 3,000 during her tenure and grown from college to university status.

“I cannot imagine anything more rewarding that your peers, your colleagues and your academic institution saying that you’ve done exactly what you were supposed to do in your life,” Barnett said. “We just had our own alumni weekend at William Woods where we inducted some alumni into the hall of fame, and I knew exactly what that meant to them because of this honor.”

Depro, who earned a master’s degree in secondary education from UM in 1970, has taught history and social studies for more than 50 consecutive years and has taught more than 10,000 students in his career. From 1966 to 2000, he served as a social studies teacher and departmental chair at Sikeston Senior High School. He still teaches as an instructor in history at Southeast Missouri State University’s Sikeston campus, as part of a dual enrollment program with area high schools.

Among his other professional accomplishments include being named the Missouri Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year in 1988.

“This is an honor that I never even in my wildest dreams thought that I would receive,” Depro said. “There are a lot of really good teacher out there; I teach with some of them every day. I accept this on behalf of all really good teachers.”

Stewart, who is a three-time graduate of UM, earned a bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in elementary education in 1978, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 1981 and 1995, respectively. Besides serving 20 years as an elementary teacher in the Lafayette County School District, Stewart also served as an adjunct professor at UM and as the founding director of the university’s World Class Teaching Program and director of the UM Writing Project.

She and her husband own and operate Wild Rose Kennels, the much-acclaimed breeder of British and Irish Labradors.

“I knew in first grade that I wanted to be a teacher,” said Stewart. “I never changed my mind and I never wavered. My advice for future teachers is to never quit learning and to always be open to learning a better or different way to do and improve the way you teach.”

Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and mathematics from UM in 1966, has been a public and private sector leader in Mississippi for more than 25 years. A Certified Public Accountant and the owner of his own accounting firm, Brown’s public service includes a stint at Mississippi State Fiscal Officer and a 16-year tenure as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served as the chairman of the House Education Committee for seven years.

More recently, Brown was elected to serve as the state Public Service Commissioner in 2016.

“I’m very thankful for this award,” Brown said. “My hope is that somehow children will continue to benefit from the work that I have been able to contribute in service to education. They are the most important thing.”

The School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2015, when UM inducted its charter class of three alumni: Milton Kuykendall of DeSoto County, Judith Reynolds of Clinton and Jerome Smith of Jackson.

Derek and Kelly King Honored with Inaugural Mullins Scholarship

Mississippi Teacher Corps alumni pursue graduate degrees with help from new scholarship

Derek and Kelly King stand with Andy Mullins in Lyceum at UM. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Derek and Kelly King stand with Andy Mullins in Lyceum at UM. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Just ask University of Mississippi alumni Derek and Kelly King about their students in the North Panola School District in Sardis, and the husband and wife team light up with excitement.

As the instructional coach for North Panola High School (Kelly) and the assistant principal at North Panola Middle School (Derek), the Kings can personally name more than 710 students between their two schools this year – just ask them.

“Both of us love teaching and being in the classroom,” said Kelly, who provides instructional leadership to more than 32 faculty members at her school. “Once you get into teaching, it’s really addictive. I’ve directly taught at least three-fourths (of those students) myself.”

The Kings are UM’s inaugural recipients of the Andrew P. Mullins Jr. MTC Alumni Scholarship, which supports Mississippi Teacher Corps alumni who wish to pursue advanced graduate study.

The endowed scholarship is available to Teacher Corps alumni with at least three years’ of teaching experience in K-12 education and may be awarded twice to individuals. Recipients may pursue an advanced degree in any field of their choosing on the Ole Miss campus.

Founded in 1989, the Teacher Corps has placed more than 630 new teachers in critical-needs school districts throughout the state. The alternate-route teaching program is highly competitive and has attracted recruits from 216 colleges and universities around the country. All participants receive job placement and two years of funding to earn a master’s degree in education from UM.

Derek and Kelly were selected for the honor by a committee of administrators within the School of Education and will each receive $1,500 per semester toward tuition throughout the next academic year.

“It’s an honor to receive anything with Dr. Mullins’ name on it,” said Derek, who has also served as head coach for men’s track and football at North Panola. “I think (Dr. Mullins) is proud to see Teacher Corps people who are still working in education here in Mississippi. It’s an honor to just to be a small part of what he originally envisioned for the program.”

In addition to their full-time jobs at North Panola, Derek and Kelly – who met during their first year in the Mississippi Teacher Corps – are enrolled in UM graduate programs in K-12 leadership. Derek hopes to finish a doctorate within the next two years, and Kelly is on track to claim her second Ole Miss diploma in December when she finishes a Specialist in Education degree that will grant her a state school administrator’s license.

“It warms my heart to see this scholarship awarded to two such worthy recipients,” said Mullins, Mississippi Teacher Corps co-founder and former chief of staff to the chancellor. “They have both been valuable resources to the school districts in which they have served.”

As 2010 recruits for the Teacher Corps, the Kings came from very different parts of the country before joining the program and landing their first teaching jobs at Byhalia Middle School.

Kelly, a Boston native, received a bachelor’s degree in black studies from Amherst College. Derek, a native of Fairfield, Alabama, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhodes College, where he played football and baseball and even began his coaching career as an undergraduate while working for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School.

Back then, the Teacher Corps offered opportunity for the two aspiring educators to enter the classroom after college. After an intensive summer training program, Kelly took a job teaching social studies. Derek taught English and coached men’s track and football.

They did not, however, expect that it would lead to a whole new life. After dating for four years, the couple found themselves both working at North Panola High School and soon married. The couple, alongside numerous other current and former Teacher Corps members, played key roles in the school’s drastic graduation rate turnaround. Between 2010 and 2014, the school increased its graduation rate by nearly 30 percent and rose from failing to “B” status.

“This is my sixth year in education,” Kelly said. “I have been able to see how Teacher Corps has transformed (North Panola) over the years. It’s as close as you can get to a ‘Teacher Corps School.’

“There are several other Teacher Corps people at my school. One in her seventh year of teaching and one in her fifth, and before that we had other people who stayed at least four or five years. The program has made a strong lasting impact in that district.”

After their graduate studies, the Kings hope to continue pursuing opportunities in education. Kelly hopes to pursue a leadership position at the district level, helping teachers develop and coordinate curricula, and Derek hopes to one day serve as a full principal or perhaps a career in academic development for student-athletes.

“When two people are doing graduate school at the same time, it’s definitely a big investment,” Derek said. “So, it is amazing to receive this first scholarship. Any amount of scholarship helps, but to have one named after Dr. Mullins makes us both very proud.”

Brokaw Touts Service, ‘Real’ Life Experiences to UM Graduates

Veteran newsman delivers Commencement address to thousands in the Grove

Journalist and former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw addresses graduates during the University of Mississippi’s 163rd Commencement. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Journalist and former ‘NBC Nightly News’ anchor Tom Brokaw addresses graduates during the University of Mississippi’s 163rd Commencement. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Respected journalist Tom Brokaw warned the University of Mississippi’s graduates that they’re living in an age of violence and social media noise and he challenged them to cherish “real” experiences and help make their world a better place.

Brokaw, best known as the longtime anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” gave the university’s 163rd Commencement’s main address Saturday morning in the Grove under powder blue skies that turned overcast. He stood at the podium wearing an Ole Miss baseball cap.

He reminded the 4,000-plus graduates that though social media is a big part of their lives, many experiences transcend anything that comes from inside an iPhone. Those are the moments that should be cherished the most.

“No text will ever replace the first kiss,” Brokaw said. “No email will ever compete with the spoken phrase, ‘I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.’ No selfie can ever take the place of holding a first child moments after birth. Life will always be most rewarding when real, not virtual, emotions are involved.”

Ole Miss is where a lot of the important nondigital experiences Brokaw referred to have occurred for Saturday’s graduates. For many, the friendships and memories made in college will be cherished for the rest of their lives.

Not much in life compares to being beneath Grove’s oaks on a Saturday in the fall, Brokaw said.

Suggested caption: Tom Brokaw delivers the 2016 Commencement address to more than 4,000 University of Mississippi graduates on Saturday, May 14. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Tom Brokaw delivers the 2016 Commencement address to more than 4,000 University of Mississippi graduates on Saturday, May 14. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“For the rest of your life, Ole Miss will be a prominent part of your formative years,” Brokaw said. “You’ll go to great parties and you’ll think, ‘Not bad, but it’s not the Grove.'”

Brokaw is very familiar with the university, which he calls a “special place” in the state. He served as a guest lecturer in UM’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media in 2010 and discussed presidential politics in a campus program before the first 2008 presidential debate between then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. John McCain, which was held in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Brokaw has also visited campus several times over the last decade, often attending football and baseball games. He was here for the football victory over Alabama in 2014, which he enjoyed. A verbal jab directed toward the University of Alabama drew laughter from the Commencement crowd.

“I’m so relieved to be speaking to a graduating class from Ole Miss,” Brokaw said. “If I were speaking at Alabama, I would have to use smaller words and shorter sentences.”

Brokaw, who holds a political science degree from the University of South Dakota, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career, including covering the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. He also served as host of the “Today” show from 1976 to 1982, when he became an anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”

Since retiring as anchor in 2004, he’s kept busy with journalism projects. He worked on documentaries for the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and Fox Sports Net and also moderated the second McCain-Obama presidential debate at Belmont University in 2008.

He is also author of “The Greatest Generation,” which is about those Americans who grew up during the Great Depression, went on to fight World War II, won and came home to transform their country.

As a young journalist, he witnessed the many struggles of people of color to find equality in the United States. He sees great progress at the university, which was the scene of deadly riots over James Meredith’s enrollment as the first black student in 1962.

“As a reporter in the South in those days, I must tell you I could never have imagined I’d be here one day with the affection I have for Ole Miss and speaking to a student body that is ever more diverse, or that I would walk into the chancellor’s box during a football game and find James Meredith as the guest of honor, or that the president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association would be an African-American mother of a student here who also happened to be an executive at FedEx,” Brokaw said.

“These are important, historic steps forward in Mississippi but in most of the country, in every state and in every institution, the issue of race, reconciliation, resolution – these are the unfinished businesses of our time. It’s not confined just to states in the great South, but it’s across state lines, from sea to shining sea in our nation.”

Continuing to address these issues is critical, he said.

“The dream of equality for all is not an obligation of one race or another,” Brokaw said. “It is a common calling in our unique society. We are still a nation of immigrants, where the rule of law is inadequate if the rule of the heart is not also an equal part. All shades of the American palette matter.”

The graduates live in a country where mass shootings in schools and other public places, police-involved killings, terrorism and racially motivated violence are common. Brokaw said he owns “a closet full of guns” and is an active sport shooter, but he supports more stringent gun control laws to help lessen the violence.

He said no one will take his guns away, but he’s “appalled” by an ongoing movement to arm more people with even more lethal weapons without considering the consequences.

“More guns and more firearm tolerance will mean more homegrown acts of terror,” Brokaw said. “Yes, you have a constitutional right to own guns. I believe strongly in the Second Amendment, but with that right comes the personal obligation to be on guard against the promiscuous use of guns, not to pretend no limits means no trouble.”

He called graduates to use their skills to address the state and nation’s problems. Noting that social media wields great influence over communication, social, scientific, academic, commerce, political and research endeavors, Brokaw urged graduates take what they’ve learned at Ole Miss and dedicate part of their life to working for increasing tolerance, education, economic opportunity, social acceptance for all Mississippians.

“Take as much pride in where Mississippi ranks on those metrics as it does on the national football standings,” he said.

UM Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter, presiding over his first Commencement at the university, took a panoramic photo of the Grove full of graduates to post on his Twitter account. He wished them luck.

“Today, you complete your work as students at the university when you graduate,” Vitter said. “You also begin the next chapter of your life at Commencement. Our collective prayer for you is a life filled with joy, good health, successful, meaningful careers and peace. God bless each of you.”

Edward C. Maloney, president of the UM Alumni Association, paraphrased the biblical parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30 to charge graduates to live up to their potential.

“Some of you were given five talents,” Maloney said. “Some of you were given two talents; some, one talent. Whatever talent you have been given, be the best you can be.”

Mary Katherine Berger, president of the senior class, said that during their time here, classmates have had to be Rebels by making tough decisions and standing up for what they believe is right.

“As we leave the spot that ever calls, I charge each of you with the task of remaining a Rebel in your everyday life,” Berger said. “To take a stand for what you believe in, to always uphold the Creed, to go against the status quo and to always shout ‘Hotty Toddy’ at the random person you see in the street wearing an Ole Miss T-shirt wherever life may take you.”

UM Alumnus Begins New Career with Service Dog Arliegh at Side

Ben Stepp applies personal experiences in military to new role as counselor

UM graduate student Ben Stepp and service dog Arliegh have attended every class together since 2014. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

UM graduate student Ben Stepp and service dog Arliegh have attended every class together since 2014. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – When graduate student Ben Stepp walks across the stage during the University of Mississippi’s Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 14), he will do so in the company of his canine companion, Arliegh, a service dog who rarely leaves his side.

A retired U.S. Army staff sergeant and an infantry veteran of the Iraq War, Stepp, 36, is set to receive his third UM diploma – a master’s degree in community and mental health counseling. But what makes this accomplishment even more thought-provoking is that Arliegh, a nearly 3-year-old Labrador retriever mix, has attended virtually every class alongside her owner since 2014.

“(Arliegh) is a highly trained medical device,” explained Stepp, a husband and father of two. “When my heart rate gets elevated, she can sense it and places her paw or head on my leg for me to pet her. You might see me petting her a lot on graduation day.”

Stepp and Arliegh are preparing to begin a new career in which Stepp plans to eventually become a Licensed Professional Counselor, hoping to specialize in counseling veterans adjusting to life after military service.

As a service dog, Arliegh helps Stepp manage anxiety related to the effects of PTSD, one of two wounds the Fairbanks, Alaska, native received during his 15 years of military service. Stepp’s other injury is a still-bothersome grenade wound to his right ankle, which resulted in long-term pain from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or RSD, a type of nerve damage that causes a burning pain in the injured area among other symptoms.

Stepp joined the LOU community in 2006 when he returned from his service in Iraq. While deployed, first in 2003 then later during parts of 2004 and 2005, he served as the leader of an infantry fire team, a group of four to five soldiers.

After transferring from the regular Army into the Mississippi Army National Guard, Stepp enrolled in undergraduate courses at UM with a plan to finish a bachelor’s degree in economics – which he had started at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke – and return to active duty as an officer.

However, Stepp faced challenges he did not expect as a tried to “normalize” into life as a college student and war veteran.

“I was in a lot of denial about my problems at the time,” he recalled. “I was easily agitated, easily set off. I had nightmares and flashbacks.”

At the urging of Ole Miss ROTC faculty, Stepp began seeing a therapist on campus and later at the VA office in Memphis, Tennessee. It was an important and necessary decision for Stepp, but it was also a decision that set his life in a new direction.

“I was then medically disqualified from being an officer,” he said. “They said I could stay as an enlisted man, but I couldn’t be an officer.”

This was a hard blow to Stepp, who had first joined the military at age 17 with the consent of his mother. But, after refocusing his efforts on academic pursuits, Stepp earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2009 and a master’s degree in criminal justice in 2011, while working as a University Police Department officer, a position he held from 2007 to 2013.

The same year he earned his bachelor’s degree, Stepp also married his wife, Erin. The couple welcomed their first child in 2010 and carved out a life together in Oxford.

However, Stepp still had personal battles to fight. He was becoming increasingly frustrated with the care offered through the VA. He struggled privately with chronic anxiety and longed for therapists who better understood issues faced by veterans. And, there was also his lingering ankle wound, which he continued to manage with regular nerve block injections and opiates prescribed by VA physicians.

“I was tired of being treated like a science experiment,” Stepp said. I wasn’t happy with the way any of us vets were being treated. So I decided to seek out my own treatment.”

Soon after in 2013, Stepp resigned from UPD, a position he felt passionately about but could no longer complete to the best of his abilities due to personal difficulties.

“I was in a lot of pain, physical pain,” he said. “I thought I was doing a good job of covering it up. But it all finally kinda came to a boil, I guess, and I decided that the best thing for me was to really get help and ‘get right.'”

After seeking out a pain specialist, Stepp began to wean off opiates and underwent new treatments to manage his pain. He wears a device that allows him to walk more freely without help from drugs.

He also continued seeing local counselors, including Marc Showalter, an assistant professor of counselor education at the UM School of Education. It was during this time that Showalter approached Stepp about a potential career move into counseling. It was one of multiple ideas he put in front of Stepp as he planned to the future.

“What I saw in Ben early on was perseverance,” Showalter said. “I have seen him grow and overcome so many difficulties, and always with the desire to help people. Even as he was trying to find his own way, I always heard from him that he wanted to find some way to help others, especially veterans. So I put the idea of becoming a counselor in front of him.”

Before beginning UM’s Master of Education program in counseling in 2014, Stepp connected with Arliegh through the K9s for Warriors organization in Pontre Vedra, Florida. Through his experience with the Wounded Warriors Project, he’d become aware of other veterans with similar backgrounds who use service dogs to help manage anxiety related to trauma.

After some soul-searching, Stepp decided to pursue using a service dog for his own anxiety. The application process took about a year.

“(Having a service dog) was hard at first,” Stepp said. “For a lot of vets … you sometimes feel like you are always being watched and the need to make sure there is no one trying to hurt you. Then, once you get a dog, everyone actually is always looking at you. Well, actually they are mostly looking at the dog. But you feel like ‘Oh, all eyes are on me.’ That was a struggle at first.”

K9s for Warriors supports veterans by connecting them with specially trained service dogs that help manage and address anxiety related to stress. The program brings in former warriors for an intensive three-week orientation and training period, during which they learn about working with service dogs. Most service dogs are rescued from shelters and trained for months before being paired with a veteran.

“The saying is, ‘We rescue them so they can rescue us,'” Stepp said.

Like any dog, Arliegh can be playful and enjoys attention from others. But when her service vest is on, Arliegh is at work. As a rule of thumb, it’s OK to pet and play with Arliegh when she is not wearing her vest. Otherwise, she is on duty.

Besides helping lower anxiety, service dogs can help individuals identify “triggers,” the sights, sounds or smells that can cause panic or flashbacks among individuals recovering from PTSD. Having a service dog gives those who need it a specialized tool to identify sources of stress and learn to process them in a productive way.

Throughout Stepp’s latest experience in graduate school, Arliegh has been a constant companion as he worked as a full-time student. The program is intensive and rigorous, requiring students to complete year-round, full-time coursework over two years.

During this time, Stepp has gained experiences through internships, including one at Oxford Counseling Center, where he will begin working full time following graduation. He hopes to finish the requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor within the next year.

“You know, for me, (becoming a counselor) isn’t very different from a lot of my experiences,” Stepp said. “When you’re a squad leader, you have people who always look to you. You become their dad, brother, friend, teacher or even banker. Everyone needs something different.

“As a police officer, you find people who just need some help from someone, even when it’s 2 a.m. and a confused student desperately needs someone to speak to and you are the first one they find. I did these things for such a long time that when I decided to become a counselor, it wasn’t the huge leap you might imagine.”

Yates Wins Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneurship Award

Annual recognition honors graduate advancing family-owned construction firm

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the School of Business Administration honor William Yates as the 2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year during a reception at the Farrington Gallery in Bryant Hall. Pictured are Dean Ken Cyree, Jan Farrington, Yates and Lawrence Farrington. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

The UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the School of Business Administration honor William Yates as the 2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year during a reception at the Farrington Gallery in Bryant Hall. Pictured are (from left) Dean Ken Cyree, Jan Farrington, Yates and Lawrence Farrington. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – William G. Yates III, president and CEO of W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co., is the recipient of the 2016 Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneurship award, presented by the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration.

The award, named for Ole Miss alumni Jan and Lawrence Farrington, is given annually to a graduate who exemplifies the best of entrepreneurship.

Yates, a Philadelphia native who graduated summa cum laude in business administration from UM in 1993, calls the recognition “truly an honor.”

“This selection is really a reflection of the wonderful people that I work with at Yates Construction and I share this award with them and accept it on their behalf,” Yates said. “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an amazing and committed team.”

The Farrington Distinguished Award was created to honor successful entrepreneurs who carry on the tradition of the Farringtons in creating businesses that make a difference.

“Jan and Lawrence Farrington have been involved in innovation and entrepreneurship in the state of Mississippi for many years and have been an integral part in funding a number of businesses,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM business school.

“They are keen business people who help other entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition, thereby providing valuable goods and services, as well as creating employment for Mississippi citizens. They give back their time as well to the university and are great ambassadors for the business school and the university.”

Yates said that this award differs from others he’s received because it recognizes entrepreneurship.

“To me, entrepreneurship means how you identify and manage risk and then how you can do that while still providing true value to your customers,” he said. “That is what we do every day at Yates: we work hard to understand what is important to our clients, provide value to them and do it in way that equitably shares risk.”

Yates’ father, William G. “Bill” Yates Jr., and grandfather, Gully Yates Sr., started the family-owned company in 1964. In its 52nd year, the firm has offices in eight states and Mexico. Its portfolio includes projects from arts and culture, civil, commercial, education, entertainment and gaming, federal, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, municipal, retail and technology.

Ole Miss was truly a great experience for me,” Yates said. “It helped prepare me for my professional life in many ways, both technically from a business perspective but, just as importantly, it introduced me to people that have been lifelong business associates and friends.”

Before becoming president, Yates served several years as executive vice president of the Gulf Coast division of Yates Construction. He is the incoming 2017-2018 chairman of the Mississippi Economic Council.

Yates, who also earned a master’s degree from Arizona State University, has served on the board of directors for Trustmark National Bank and Trustmark Corp., where he is chairman of the Wealth Management Committee. He is immediate past chairman of the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development and is also on the board of directors for the Gulf Coast Business Council. He is the immediate past president of the Board for the United Way of South Mississippi and was the 2013-14 co-chairman of the Southeast U.S.-Japan Association annual meetings.

He also has served on the Millsaps College board of trustees, the Blueprint Mississippi advisory council and the MEC’s board of directors. He is also on the UM Foundation’s board of directors and has been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization since 2004.

He is a past chairman of Mississippi Associated Builders and Contractors and served as a member of the Associated Builders & Contractors national board of directors. He has served as co-chairman of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Pacesetter Campaign, and was the 2011 chairman for the American Heart Walk for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In 2016, Yates received the United Way’s President’s Award and was recognized by the Mississippi Business Journal as a Mississippi Top CEO. He has also been featured in the Mississippi Business Journal and the Sun Herald as a Top Businessmen Under Forty and was inducted into the Roland Weeks Hall of Fame Outstanding Community Leaders Class of 2010. He was also a recipient of the Coast Young Professionals 4 Ever Young award in 2011.

In 2009, Yates was named the Construction Person of the Year by the Mississippi chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. He has served on the advisory council of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture and on the advisory committee of the University of Southern Mississippi School of Engineering Technology.

Yates is married to Tara Duett Yates, a former teacher. They reside in Biloxi with their daughter, Abby, and their son, Gully.

For the Farringtons, lending a helping hand is all part of their desire to give back.

“Lawrence and I want to do everything we can to encourage entrepreneurs in Mississippi,” Jan Farrington said. “We have so many bright, talented entrepreneurs in our state who have had the vision and tenacity to start their own companies. These businesses can and will make a difference in the future of our state if we can keep them here in Mississippi.

“Encouragement from the government, universities, organizations such as Innovate Mississippi, investors and individuals can help make this happen. This award was just a small way that we thought we could contribute.”