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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veterans with Purple Hearts Honored with Reserved Parking

Dedication ceremonies scheduled April 24 in front of the Lyceum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drug, Alcohol Education Attracts Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Performance is directed by Cynthia White of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journalism Professor Releases Book Examining RFK’s Delta Visit

Ellen Meacham to sign copies new work Wednesday at Square Books.

Ellen Meacham

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi journalism professor Ellen Meacham details Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta in 1967 in her new book “Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi.”

Meacham’s book, published by University Press of Mississippi, examines the history, economics and politics of the Delta and how those factors influenced the lives of people whom Kennedy met there during that visit. She will sign copies at 5 p.m. Wednesday (April 18) at Square Books in Oxford.

The book was inspired by a description from fellow journalist Curtis Wilkie’s memoir of Kennedy in a dark shack trying to speak to a toddler who was paying more attention to crumbs on the floor.

“I wondered about the impact it had on Kennedy, because it’s mentioned as an important moment in all of his biographies,” Meacham said. “The next question I had was, ‘What happened to the baby?'”

After seven years of searching, Meacham found and interviewed children from the four families Kennedy encountered on his visit, including that toddler.

“As I got into the research, I realized pretty quickly that there was a big part of the story that had not been told,” she said. “Most of the contemporary news accounts and later historians had only looked at RFK on the stage. The people who were living the lives that moved him so were more of a ‘poverty stage set.'”

Meacham wanted to tell the stories of those people.

“It became very important to me to bring those families into the light and find out how they came to be in that place at that time, what struggles they faced and their accomplishments since,” she said. “I think it brings more balance.

“It’s not just a story of a hero or a saint, it’s about a real person meeting real people.”

The book also features about a dozen photos, including the cover, that are published for the first time.

“The photographs were essential to telling this story,” Meacham said. “They brought such a vivid realism that showed the impact of the visit on Kennedy in a powerful way.”

A working journalist for more than two decades, Meacham used her experience as a newspaper reporter in Mississippi, which gave her access to contacts within both politics and journalism in the state, putting her in a unique position to tell these stories.

“Ellen Meacham is a talented and perceptive journalist who recognized, nearly a half-century after the fact, the great impact of Robert Kennedy’s brief trip to the Mississippi Delta in 1967,” said Wilkie, a UM associate professor of journalism and fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“It was a mission that changed his life, the tortured history of that region and the nation’s attitude toward hungry people in America. Though Ellen was not old enough to have been there, her investigation of the story has brought it back to life, and it is an example of her valuable work.”

Jaz Brisack Named UM’s 15th Truman Scholar

Oxford junior was among three Ole Miss finalists for prestigious award

Jaz Brisack (center) is congratulated by Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (left) and Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, on being named the university’s 15th Harry S. Truman Scholar. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Jaz Brisack, a junior at the University of Mississippi, has been named the university’s 15th Harry S. Truman Scholar. Brisack was one of three UM finalists for the coveted scholarship.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter surprised the Oxford native and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student Wednesday (April 11) with the announcement in the Lyceum.

“Jaz Brisack is upholding our strong and distinguished tradition of student excellence and public service,” Vitter said. “We are so pleased to offer programs and learning opportunities that prepare our students to be competitive on a national stage.”

Brisack’s honors include having an article, “Organizing Unions as Social Policy,” published in the Global Encyclopedia of Public Policy, being a winner in the Creative Nonfiction division of the Southern Literary Festival and receiving the UM Outstanding Freshman award. A National Merit Scholar finalist, she is also a member of the UM debate team and a recipient of Honors College Extraordinary Research Funds and Penny Leeton Service Award.

Brisack’s plans include earning a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and later working with a small and independent union or network of unions to help empower workers to bring democratic processes to their workplaces. 

“I want to help create a network of independent locals with self-determination that retain nationwide leverage while maintaining a decentralized approach,” Brisack said.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, the federal memorial to the 33rd U.S. president, awards merit-based scholarships to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.

For more about the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, visit http://www.honors.olemiss.edu.

University’s 10th Annual Green Week Begins April 17

Campus and community organizations raise awareness of resource stewardship

UM Landscape Services and students celebrate Arbor Day with a hands-on tree planting ceremony in the Grove during Green Week 2017. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will host its 10th Annual Green Week April 17-22 with a series of events designed for students, faculty and staff and community members.

The week is filled with programming to raise awareness about the importance of resource stewardship and includes events ranging from the annual Sustainability Fair to a transportation-related lunch-and-learn.

“Green Week is an opportunity for our university and the Oxford community to come together and celebrate our relationship with the natural environment,” said Kendall McDonald, project manager for the UM Office of Sustainability. “I think the most fundamental first step to fostering a healthy, sustainable world is to be curious and learn, and this year’s Green Week is full of opportunities to do so.”

The events kick off Tuesday (April 17) with a lunch-and-learn on “UM Master: Planning for a Pedestrian-Friendly Campus,” featuring Ian Banner, university architect and director of sustainability and facilities planning, and Mike Harris, the UM parking and transportation director. They will discuss the updated campus master plan as it relates to transportation and mobility.

Green Week culminates April 22, which is Earth Day, when award-winning poet and essayist Camille Dungy will deliver the 2018 Earth Day keynote address. The event, at 7 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Dungy is editor of “Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry” (University of Georgia Press, 2009), the first anthology dedicated to nature writing by African-American poets. Other works by Dungy include “Guidebook to Relative Strangers” (W.W. Norton, 2017), a collection of personal essays that explores the complicated relationships between history, race and landscape.

Interactive events include the annual Sustainability Fair on Wednesday and the 2018 Arbor Day celebration on Thursday, during which attendees can participate in a hands-on tree planting in the Grove, hosted in collaboration with the Department of Landscape Services and the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. Champion catalpa tree seedlings will be available while supplies last.

“Part of the mission of Green Week is to educate and empower, and we think that this year’s programming accomplishes that goal,” said Lindsey Abernathy, UM associate director of sustainability. “There are events for those interested in learning a little more about sustainability, as well as opportunities to explore topics more in depth, through events like the lunch-and-learn event and the keynote address.”

Community and campus organizations are hosting events in conjunction with Green Week, including the Oxford Community Market’s spring launch, a volunteer day at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs and Earth Day Yoga, hosted by Campus Recreation on the South Campus Rail Trail.

 “We work collaboratively with campus and community partners to plan Green Week, a nice reminder of the collaborative nature of sustainability and environmental work as a whole,” McDonald said. “We cannot address complex environmental problems without teamwork, and Green Week is a great way to bring everyone to the table.”

To encourage the community to experience sustainable activities firsthand, the Office of Sustainability is also hosting a Green Week social media challenge. Participants are asked to complete four tasks and share them on social media to be entered to win a $50 Patagonia gift card.

Green Week is hosted in collaboration with sponsor Jim Keras Subaru; the university’s environmental studies minor; departments of Facilities Planning, Parking and Transportation, Landscape Services and Campus Recreation; the Oxford Community Market; and the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. For more information, visit https://greenweek.olemiss.edu/

The Green Week schedule of events features:

Tuesday (April 17)

  • “UM Master Plan: Planning for a Pedestrian Friendly Campus” lunch-and-learn: 12:15 p.m., Center for Manufacturing Excellence multipurpose room (third floor). Lunch and coffee provided.
  • Oxford Community Market Spring Kickoff: 3-6:30 p.m., Old Armory Pavilion.
  • First Feast Fundraiser Dinner for the Oxford Community Market: 6:30-9:30 p.m., Old Armory Pavilion (tickets required)

Wednesday (April 18)

  • Sustainability Fair: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Galtney Lott Plaza

Thursday (April 19)

  • Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Planting: 1 p.m., the Grove

Saturday (April 21)

  • Give Back to SPAC: Volunteer Work Day: 9 a.m.-noon, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs

Sunday (April 22)

  • Earth Day Yoga: 4 p.m., South UM Campus Rail Trail. Admission is $5 for students, $10 for community members.
  • “It’s all Environmental Writing,” 2018 Earth Day keynote address by Camille Dungy: 7 p.m., Overby Center Auditorium

Crowdfunding Campaign to Fund Literacy Program

Communication Sciences and Disorders' 'Ready to Read' fundraiser to benefit children

UM communication sciences and disorders graduate students Emily Reedy (in red), of Pontotoc, and Lauren Stantz (in blue), of Houston, practice reading skills with area youth in preparation for the upcoming Ready to Read Literacy Program. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

OXFORD, Miss. – The speech-language pathologists who operate the University of Mississippi’s Speech and Hearing Center are bringing their expertise to a communitywide literacy program designed to improve children’s reading skills before they reach third grade.

“We know that if kids aren’t reading on grade level by the time they get to the third grade, they are four times more likely not to graduate high school,” said Suzanne Ryals, Oxford School District early childhood reading development director.

Opportunities are limited for many first- and second-graders to continue advancing their reading skills over the summer, Ryals said. Faculty in the UM Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, recognizing the deficit of programming geared toward this particular age range, have launched an initiative to fund a summer and after-school literacy program addressing the problem.

A 30-day Ignite Ole Miss crowdfunding campaign is being launched to provide financial resources for the “Ready to Read” program. Those interested in contributing to the campaign can choose from six levels of giving: $25 Sight Word Level; $50 Phonics Level; $75 Chapter Book Level; $100 Novel Level; $250 Graduate or $1,000 Ph.D. Level. Contributions to the campaign will directly benefit program participants by covering the costs of materials, books and scholarships.

The Ready to Read summer camp will serve rising second- and third-grade children and will operate for six weeks, June 4-July 27, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily.

“Before camp begins, the children will be scheduled for a reading diagnostic assessment, followed by a series of criteria-referenced assessments where the child’s skill level in five different areas – phonological awareness, phonetics, word attack skills, reading fluency and reading comprehension – will be identified,” said Brad Crowe, UM Speech and Hearing Center co-director and clinical instructor. From these assessments, each child will have a list of reading goals that will be taught during camp.”

Following the summer camp, the speech-language pathologists and graduate clinicians hope to provide an after-school reading program for children with reading disabilities.

“Since we can identify children at risk for reading disabilities with greater reliability than ever before, we would like to offer a preventive program for kindergarten and first-graders in the long term,” Crowe said.

One clinical faculty member will be present at all times to supervise up to four graduate students as they provide individualized and small-group instruction to the children, said Ann Michael, interim chair for CSD.

“First, the faculty member will observe the instruction and interact with the student and the child,” Michael said. “They will then meet with each graduate student to review each child’s achievement for the day and work with the graduate student to modify the child’s plan as needed for the next day.

“This process will ensure the children receive quality services and that the graduate student is pushed to develop critical thinking and research skills in order to transform the lives of others.”

Gloria Kellum, CSD professor emeritus and vice chancellor emeritus for university relations, explained the camp’s importance to UM graduate students studying to become speech-language pathologists.

“It has long been known, and the research is very clear that a child with any type of speech, language or hearing difference is going to have reading challenges, so speech-language pathologists need to be educated about that,” Kellum said. “Part of our program is to educate SLPs and audiologists on the necessary role of early speech and language intervention for children to be sure that they are hearing, speaking correctly and learning the language skills.”

“We have the skill set to work with children who have reading difficulties,” said Lisa Ivy, literacy program director, speech-language pathologist and clinical instructor with the Speech and Hearing Center. “We know that the sounds that we use to talk are the same sounds we match with letters when we are sounding out words, and that helps with reading.”

The camp is centered on themes, such as ocean animals, community helpers and insects. The camp clinicians also make time for science experiments, snacks, crafts and playground time.

“We will read books together and discuss vocabulary,” Ivy said. “The children will have breakout sessions where they work on their individual skills. Then we may read as a group.”

Kelle Sumrall, a seventh-grade science teacher at Lafayette Middle School, understands firsthand the critical importance of early literacy for future educational success. Her son Ben attended three weeks of literacy camp during last summer’s pilot program.

“As a teacher and a mother of someone who struggles with reading, I think the program does a wonderful job of attending to my child’s needs and helping him grow, build better self-esteem and be more successful,” Sumrall said.

“Ben loved the themes of the week. He was very excited about what he was going to take, what they were going to talk about and what they were going to do each day. That was one of the things that got him really excited about going.

“When SLPs are running this program, they have a better grasp of what to connect to the child, and they get to know the child personally. They realize their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can develop the program to better suit the needs of the child.”

For more information about giving to this campaign, visit http://ignite.olemiss.edu/literacy. Those who prefer to contribute by mail can do so by writing the program’s name in the check’s memo line and sending it to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

For more information about attending the literacy summer camp or after-school program, contact Ivy at lisa.ivy@speechandhearingcenter.org or 662-915-7950.

Crowdfunding Effort Aims to Offer Music as Medicine

Columns Society campaign focuses on pediatric health care

Batson Children’s Hospital School teacher Allyn Self works with patient Colin Henderson of Brandon. Photo courtesy UMMC

OXFORD, Miss. – Organizers of an online crowdfunding campaign want to supplement medicine with music for young patients being treated at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Members of the Columns Society, a group of UM students who serve as the university’s official hosts and hostesses, have created an Ignite Ole Miss campaign, hoping to raise $1,400 to cover the cost of Rhythm Pax gifts for children undergoing treatment at Batson.

A Rhythm Pax is a canvas sack filled with age-appropriate percussion instruments and other music-related items. The proposed gifts include a kalimba, a thumb piano; sound shapes; rain sticks; bells; triangles; hand bells; a Blue Man Group/”Stomp” DVD; finger drum; an iTunes gift card; and more.

“The therapeutic benefits provided by music are endless and allow families to cope and be together while creating and enjoying the gift of music,” said Ingrid Valbuena Alcina, philanthropy chair of the Columns Society and a senior majoring in integrated marketing communications.

Though acknowledging the role of music in addressing illness is not new, recent research is illuminating how music affects the brain and other body systems in a measurable way. Using that knowledge, practitioners can now integrate music with medicine to augment healing.

Leading the research in this area is the Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine in Baltimore.

“It’s fascinating and powerful to think that music, something that has been floating around in our environment forever – that this natural, omnipresent human activity has demonstrable benefit as treatment,” said Sara Hoover, the center’s co-director.

Batson Children’s Hospital is the only medical facility in Mississippi devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured children and adolescents. The hospital averages 9,000 admissions a year and nearly 80,000 children are treated in its clinics and emergency room annually.

Patients come from all of Mississippi’s 82 counties to receive comprehensive medical care for everything from common childhood illnesses to serious trauma and life-threatening or chronic illnesses.

Batson Hospital provides care in more than 30 specialty areas, including newborn medicine, pediatric cardiology, neurology and surgery. It houses the state’s only pediatric intensive care unit and emergency department along with Mississippi’s only pediatric treatment programs for cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, congenital heart defects and more.

Ground has been broken on a $180 million new pediatrics tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital, further expanding top-tier medical care for Mississippi’s youngest citizens.

To join the Columns Society’s effort to provide Rhythm Pax to hospitalized children, click here to visit the campaign’s Ignite Ole Miss page.

Ten Seniors Named UM Hall of Fame Inductees

Recipients honored for service, achievement and potential for success

The 2018 University of Mississippi Hall of Fame. Photo by by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Ten University of Mississippi seniors have been inducted into the university’s 2017-18 Hall of Fame, one of the highest honors afforded students at Ole Miss.

The inductees were honored Friday afternoon (April 6) in a ceremony at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. A campus committee chooses Hall of Fame members in accordance with policy developed by the Associated Student Body. Selections are based on outstanding contributions in all aspects of campus life.

This year’s Hall of Fame members are Allen Coon of Petal; Christopher Feazell of Mendenhall; Terrence Johnson of Shuqualak; Jiwon Lee of Oxford; Megan McLeod of Highlands Ranch, Colorado; Savannah Smith of Corinth; Austin Spindler of Savannah, Tennessee; Elizabeth Taylor of Whitesboro, Texas; Jacob Thrasher of Birmingham, Alabama; Ingrid Valbuena of Maracaibo, Venezuela.

“Each of the students selected for Hall of Fame has a record of scholarship and service to the university community and has impacted the Ole Miss campus in a positive way,” said Mindy Sutton Noss, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students. “Hall of Fame is a fitting way to recognize the legacy that each of them leaves at the University of Mississippi.”

The 10 students were among 200 seniors recognized for inclusion in Who’s Who Among Students at the University of Mississippi.

“The Hall of Fame is a time-honored process that has identified students who have gone on to make a true difference in the world,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This year’s inductees have made a mark on our institution and have developed abilities that will serve them well in their careers.”

Allen Coon

Pursuing a double major in public policy leadership and African American studies, Coon is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. As an ASB senator, Coon worked with NAACP student organizers to remove the Mississippi state flag from campus and co-organized the #OccupytheLyceum protest, a spontaneous sit-in demanding an administrative response to campus racism. He previously served as president of UM College Democrats and UM Voters Everywhere. After graduation, he plans to attain both a master’s degree in public policy and a law degree and become a community organizer and civil servant. Coon’s parents are Kay Kolwe Coon and Howard Coon, both of Petal.

Christopher Feazell

Feazell, an accountancy major, is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He served in several roles over the course of his education, including vice president of programming for the National Association of Black Accountants, vice president of the Black Student Union, treasurer of the Accountancy ASB, Luckyday Scholar and the Columns Society. Fezell plans to pursue a master’s degree in taxation in the university’s Patterson School of Accountancy, pass the CPA exam and begin a career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Atlanta upon graduation. His parents are Stephanie Berry of Mendenhall and Christopher Eugene Feazell of Mt. Olive.

Terrence Johnson

A journalism major, Johnson has served as president of the Men of Excellence, the largest male minority organization at the university. He also served as public relations director for the Columns Society, anchor for NewsWatch TV, co-president of the UM Association of Black Journalists, an orientation leader and coordinator. After graduation, Johnson plans to pursue a master’s degree in video storytelling and narrative writing at the University of California at Berkeley. His parents are George Lee and Angela Johnson of Shuqualak.

Jiwon Lee

Lee is a music performance major with an emphasis on flute and violin performance. She was drum major for the Pride of the South Marching Band, principal flutist of the Ole Miss Wind Ensemble and ensemble violinist for the LOU Symphony. A member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Lee was president of the Korean Student Association and recipient of the Marcus Guinn Spirit Award. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in music education and music performance at the university. Lee’s parents are Jongbok and Aeran Moon Lee of Oxford.

Megan McLeod

McLeod, an economics major with a minor in chemistry, is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Columns Society, and founder of the Hotty Toddy Tutors LLC, a student-run tutoring company. She is founding vice president of the UM chapter of the American Medical Women’s Society, vice president of chapter development for Phi Mu fraternity and recipient of the Trailblazer Award from Fraternal Leadership and Learning. After graduation, McLeod plans to pursue a medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her parents are Bill and Christine McLeod of Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Savannah Smith

Smith is completing a double major in journalism and public policy leadership. A member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Trent Lott Leadership Institute scholar, she is Miss Ole Miss, executive director of the Big Event, vice president of the Columns Society, an orientation leader and an executive officer in Chi Omega sorority. After graduation, Smith will attend New York University to pursue a master’s degree in journalism with a magazine emphasis. Her parents are Tim and Tracy Smith of Corinth.

Austin Spindler

Spindler is a public policy leadership major in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. He has served as assistant director of the Big Event, senior executive assistant to the ASB president, ASB secretary, staffing director of the UM Food Bank and IFC vice president of public relations. Spindler plans to move to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career in consulting. His parents are Richard and Dana Spindler of Savannah, Tennessee.

Elizabeth Taylor

A sociology major, member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Taylor served as a mentor in the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement. She also served as a peer educator for Rebels Against Sexual Assault and was the first junior-entry student to receive the Barksdale Award. After graduation, Taylor plans to pursue a doctorate in sociology at the University of Missouri. Her parents are Elizabeth A. Taylor of Sadler, Texas, and the late Marshall Lee Taylor.

Jacob Thrasher

Thrasher, a chemistry major in the biochemistry track, served as president of Omicron Delta Kappa, past president of Rebels Against Sexual Assault and a panelist for the Huffington Post’s Listen to America Tour. An editorial cartoonist for the Daily Mississippian and Oxford Eagle, he received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Region 12 Award for best political cartoonist. Thrasher has been accepted to graduate school at Yale University. Where he plans pursue a doctorate in biology and biological sciences. His parents are Christy Branton Thrasher of Birmingham, Alabama, and the late Michael Aaron Thrasher.

Ingrid Valbuena

Valbuena is an integrated marketing communications major and a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She served as vice president of administration for Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and was an orientation leader and coordinator. A member of the Columns Society, Valbuena also hosted “sad girls, bad girls,” a weekly program on Rebel Radio. Her plans are to earn a master’s degree in IMC and advertising and become a college professor. Valbuena’s parents are Marcos Valbuena and Omarly Acina of Maracaibo, Venezuela.