The Inn at Ole Miss Granted Qualified Resort Status

Designation will allow hotel to offer full range of food and beverage options for events

The Mississippi Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control has granted qualified resort status for The Inn at Ole Miss. Submitted photo by Pablo Corona

OXFORD, Miss. – The Inn at Ole Miss has been approved for qualified resort status by the Mississippi Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control. The state granted resort status July 25 to the hotel and conference center on the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus.

The shift in status was essential, given demand by customers and guests to have the option to serve all types of alcohol at special events held at The Inn, said Kirk Purdom, executive director of the Ole Miss Alumni Association.

Though The Inn was previously able to serve wine and liquor using third-party vendors, beer was not an option because the hotel, along with most of the university, is in the county, where beer sales are prohibited.

“This is a designation that is focused on enhancing the stay of our guests and alumni,” Purdom said. “It will specifically allow us to renovate our existing McCormick Cafe area, which we are in the early planning stage of, for guests of The Inn.

“We’ll also have the ability to serve beer in addition to wine and liquor at wedding receptions and other events held on the premises – an amenity that we believe will entice more families and groups to choose The Inn as they look to be able to eat, meet and sleep under one roof.”

A modern facility for use by alumni and friends of the university, The Inn at Ole Miss has undergone numerous renovations since its October 1951 opening as the Alumni House. To meet the demand for luxury accommodations in Oxford, a $21 million expansion was completed in 2008, boasting an eight-story all-suite facility complete with a new dining area, gift shop and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Inn has 146 guest rooms and 133,199 square feet of hotel and event space.

“We are so excited to be granted qualified resort status by the state of Mississippi’s Department of Revenue,” said Gaye Bukur, the facility’s general manager. “This will allow us to better serve our groups and events, and any existing groups that are already booked at The Inn can now add beer to their bar service.

“We have always been proud that we are able to accommodate large groups in a variety of meeting rooms and guest rooms. Since taking over the food and beverage operation, we have been able to offer an approved list of caterers to choose from, and having resort status is what we needed to be able to give our guests a complete food and beverage option.”

For more information on booking an event at The Inn at Ole Miss, contact MaryGrace Vasilyev, sales manager, at 662-236-4834 or

Welcome Month Offers Dozens of Activities for Students, Community

Expanded annual event scheduled through Sept. 14

Students dance the night away at the Silent Disco as part of 2017 Welcome Week festivities. Photo by Thomas Graning/ Ole Miss Digital Imagaing Services

OXFORD, Miss. – As the 2018-19 academic year draws near, members of the University of Mississippi community have plenty of activities to get them plugged in during Welcome Month, which runs through Sept. 14.

“The start of the year is always a special time for Ole Miss, with new students and faculty, new relationships and new classes,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “There’s an unmistakable upswing in the vibrancy of our campus when the student body returns in full force each fall; it’s truly energizing.”

Coordinated by the Ole Miss Student Union and Student Activities Association, the schedule features nearly 100 events and activities, ranging from movies in the Grove to fitness events.

“More programs and events are offered than ever,” said Bradley Baker, Student Union director. “We hope to welcome students to the Ole Miss campus with many ways to get involved and become engaged while here.”

Partners include the Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Center for Student Success and First Year Experience, Associated Student Body, Campus Recreation, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Fraternal Leadership and Learning, National Panhellenic Council and Office of Leadership and Advocacy.

Among the scheduled events:

  • Thursday (Aug. 16): Splash Into Ole Miss, 7 p.m., Turner Center
  • Friday (Aug. 17): Ole Miss Theatre Audition Workshop, 1 p.m., Isom Hall, Room 110
  • Saturday (Aug. 18): New Student Kick-Off Picnic, 5:15 p.m., the Grove
  • Sunday (Aug. 19): Grove-In Movie Series, 8 p.m., the Grove
  • Aug. 20: Ball Pit with Strangers and Bungee Jump, 10 a.m. in the Circle and Galtney-Lott Plaza, respectively
  • Aug. 21: Get Involved Fair, 11 a.m., Lyceum Circle; and Fall Convocation, 7 p.m., The Pavilion at Ole Miss
  • Aug. 22: Silent Disco, 9 p.m., the Grove
  • Aug. 23: Cards Against Hypnosis, 7 p.m., Student Union Ballroom
  • Aug. 24: StudentsFIRST Meet and Greet, 11:30 a.m., Martindale Hall, third floor; and Welcome Back Concert, 8 p.m., the Grove
  • Aug. 25 – Pride Camp, 10 a.m., Bryant Hall
  • Aug. 27: LOU Day, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 28: Creed Day, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 29: ASB Day: all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 30: Throwback Thursday, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Aug. 31: Flagship Friday, all day on Galtney-Lott Plaza
  • Sept. 5: Are You Ready? Dialogue Series: Let’s Start the Conversation, Bryant Hall, Room 209
  • Sept. 6: Rock Out the Grove, 6 p.m., the Grove
  • Sept. 9: Ole Miss vs. Southern Illinois: 3 p.m., Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
  • Sept. 11: Mini Destress Fest, time and location to be determined
  • Sept. 16: Fall Fair: Food and Fun with RHA, 4 p.m., Kincannon Hall yard
  • Sept. 28: Fall Favorites with Chicken-on-a-Stick, 11 a.m., Stewart Hall yard

Other activities include a double-decker bingo tour, campus recreation hiring fair, laser tag, passport to diversity, free challenge course, game night, African-American male networking luncheon, wellness day, fraternal leadership discussion, Greek forum, women’s soccer and volleyball games, a barbecue, water polo, paddleboard yoga class and snow cone giveaways.

The UM Student Activities Association is formed by students to promote special events, Homecoming and musical entertainment. For more details and a full list of events, visit

Matching Gift to Benefit Medgar Evers Scholarship in Law

Alumnus, former professor challenges others to contribute to endowment

Tara Ellis (left), managing partner of Balch and Bingham, and UM law Dean Susan Duncan (right) congratulate Kye Handy, the first recipient of the Medgar Evers scholarship. Photo by Suzette Matthews/University Development

OXFORD, Miss. – John Robin Bradley, a native of Inverness, is challenging the University of Mississippi Office of Development to raise $100,000 for the Medgar Evers Scholarship in Law Endowment. In turn, he has agreed to match up to the total goal amount himself.

Bradley, law professor emeritus, wants the scholarship endowment to grow and hopes this unique approach to fundraising will make that happen.

Bradley established the endowment in 2008 with gifts of more than $100,000 to provide financial assistance to law students, with special consideration going to graduates of Tougaloo College, Jackson State University and Alcorn State University – all historically black institutions of higher learning.

“The law school has a history of more than 50 years of offering legal education to all people, this after a much longer history of excluding African-Americans from this opportunity,” Bradley said. “When I joined the law faculty in 1966, I took pride in being part of this then-new role.

“The results have been gratifying and valuable to students of all backgrounds, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to join others in being part of that. The law school is better for the change, as are our profession and state. A signal of the school’s continuing commitment to inclusiveness remains important even these many years later.”

Fundraising efforts are underway, with $10,000 already raised toward the campaign goal, said Suzette Matthews, development officer for the law school. The Balch and Bingham law firm of Jackson was first to respond with a $2,500 gift.

“Once the generous support of alumni and friends of the law school help us meet our $100,000 goal, Professor Bradley will then provide a match, resulting in a $200,000 gift for the school,” Matthews said. “We are very grateful to Professor Bradley for his great interest in the perpetuity of the Medgar Evers scholarship.”

Bradley, a graduate of Mississippi College and the UM School of Law, was in private law practice for four years before joining the faculty at Ole Miss in 1966. He has been a visiting professor at Florida State University and the University of Richmond, and he taught in a Cambridge summer session.

Besides teaching courses on contracts and corporations, he taught about and is an authority on workers’ compensation, having written extensively on the topic. He served as chair of the Administrative Law and Workers’ Compensation section of the Mississippi Bar and as chair of the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council.

His book, “Mississippi Workers’ Compensation” is a Thomson/West publication (with co-author Linda Thompson) that is widely used and cited by courts. First published in 2006, the treatise is published in a new edition annually that is supplemented and updated.

Bradley has taught thousands of students, including former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove; Bill Waller, chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court; and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker.

Best-selling novelist John Grisham had his first class in contracts at the School of Law with Bradley and later took workers’ compensation from him. Likewise, Grisham’s son enrolled in the law school and his first class also happened to be contracts with Bradley.

In 2013, law students selected the professor as teacher of the year. Although Bradley retired later that year, he taught workers’ compensation courses for two more years and still supplements and updates his book annually.

“What is gratifying is watching students who come in not knowing the subject but then develop a really good touch and understanding of how to use it,” he said. “The maturation process, that’s what is really gratifying to me.”

Bruce Levingston, the UM Chancellor’s Honors College artist-in-residence, has known Bradley for many years and says the professor has a generous spirit and deep interest in the welfare of his home state.

“John Robin Bradley has always cared deeply about Mississippi and sought throughout his life, along with his wonderful wife, Laura, to make Mississippi a special place of opportunity for all people,” Levingston said. “His generous philanthropic support of scholarships and educational programs at the University of Mississippi will leave a lasting legacy that will nurture and inspire many generations to come.”

Bradley has served as president of the Lafayette County Bar, twice as chair of the university Faculty Senate and many times as a Faculty Senate officer.

UM Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said he believes Bradley’s teaching will leave a lasting legacy at the university.

“It was a very high-quality experience in his classroom,” Khayat said. “The lasting impressions students got from him were very positive and that will live on in the lore of the law school.”

To make a gift to the Medgar Evers Scholarship in Law, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit; or contact Suzette Matthews at 662-915-1122 or

Business School Closes Centennial Celebration at Jackson Event

Mississippi Department of History and Archives hosts alumni at 'History is Lunch'

Ken Cyree (left), dean of the School of Business Administration, chats at the event with fellow presenters Maj. Gen. Leon Collins, former adjutant general of Mississippi, and Candie Simmons, geography marketing strategist for Regions Bank. UM photo by Joe Ellis/UM Medical Center

JACKSON, Miss. – Some of the state’s most celebrated business and civic leaders of the past century took center stage at a recent celebration in Jackson, helping mark the centennial of the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration.

Ken Cyree, the school’s dean, was joined by alumni Maj. Gen. Leon Collins, former adjutant general of Mississippi; Dick Molpus, former Mississippi secretary of state; and Candie Simmons, geography marketing strategist for Regions Bank, for the Aug. 1 lunchtime event at the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at Two Mississippi Museums.

Welcomed by Chris Goodwin, the program organizer for “History is Lunch,” the audience watched a 20-minute feature video, narrated by Cyree, that includes a compilation of alumni. Also on hand were copies of “Ole Miss Business: The First 100 Years,” a 200-page illustrated history of the school published by Nautilus Publishing Co. in 2017.

“We were delighted at the great mix of regular attendees and people who came to ‘History Is Lunch’ specifically to hear the business school’s story,” Goodwin said. “Our series is built on programs just like this that examine a particular aspect of local Mississippi history, and the centennial publication makes this story even more special.”

“It was great to be a part of such meaningful and fun series on the history of the state,” Cyree said. “We had a terrific time working on the book, and it is fun to share it with people who are interested in our history and that of Mississippi.”

Graduates of the business school have become ambassadors, university presidents, technology innovators, financial leaders, sports legends, commodities pioneers, politicians and military leaders.

The book chronicles the century-long journey from the inaugural 1917 semester of the School of Commerce, guided by founding Dean James Warsaw Bell, through the 10 men who have led the school and culminating with Cyree, the 11th dean. It also tells the story of the men and women who passed through the doors as students.

“The Ole Miss business school taught me something that was extremely important,” said Simmons, who received a bachelor’s degree in 2002 and an MBA in 2015, and received the Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year Award in 2017.

Maj. Gen. Leon Collins (right) signs a copy of ‘Ole Miss Business: The First 100 Years’ at the ‘History is Lunch’ event commemorating the centennial of the UM School of Business Administration. Photo by Joe Ellis/UM Medical Center

“It is not something you learn in the classroom or from a textbook, but you just learn it by building the relationships with people from day to day, and that key word and valuable asset I learned was ‘networking.’ The business school taught me to not be afraid to talk to people and share your career aspirations – especially when asked.”

“I have made thousands of decisions in my lifetime,” said Collins, incoming president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association. “Some were good and some were bad.

“Enrolling at the University of Mississippi was one of the best decisions I have made. Ole Miss provided a quality education and a network of graduates to interact with over the years.

“As the incoming president of the Alumni Association, I would like to mobilize that network to help all students approaching graduation to secure their first job prior to graduation day. What better way to show your love for your university than to lend a helping hand to a future alum.”

Molpus, chairman of the Molpus Woodlands Group and 2013 inductee into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame, charmed the crowd in recounting how he failed his first test in college, in beloved professor Jimmy Davis’ class, to take a girl on a date, and she dumped him two weeks later.

Molpus discussed professors who opened his mind to new ways of thinking.

“In 1968, Professor Fenstermacher said in 25 years, cash would be obsolete and everyone would be using something called ‘credit cards.’ Then in 1969, Professor Runnelling spent a whole class on how outdated Mississippi’s economic development was by exploiting cheap labor and tax breaks to attract businesses to the state.”

In closing, Molpus stressed that the most important lesson he learned while an Ole Miss student was a sense of social responsibility in business.

“I was taught the best businesses do well for their bottom line, but those that help society as a whole stand the test of time,” he said.

Former UM Students Find Pathway to College Degree

Complete to Compete graduates honored at campus celebration

The University of Mississippi honored its first recipients of the new Bachelor of University Studies degree program Aug. 4 at the Jackson Avenue Center. Among the graduates honored at the event was Oxford police officer Hardie Meeks, accompanied by his wife, Katrenia, and their children Hayden, Ty, and Ani. Photo by Larry Agostinelli/UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Police officers, pro football players, substitute teachers, stay-at-home moms and Nissan employees are just a few of the professionals who took part in a special event Aug. 4 at the University of Mississippi’s Jackson Avenue Center.

The special graduation celebration event honored adults who applied to the Mississippi Complete to Compete, or C2C, program and had previously completed the full slate of college coursework, making them eligible for the university’s newest undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of University Studies.

“Finally holding this degree is going to help me get off the line,” said Aspen Cannon, of West Point.

Cannon works full time on the assembly line at the Nissan plant in Canton, but was part of the drum line for the “Pride of the South” marching band and a music and business major at UM from 2004 to 2007.

“Life happened,” Cannon said, reflecting on leaving the university without completing his degree. Family obligations and student loan debt played a part of his decision to leave school, but he said he always regretted not getting his diploma.

At the celebration event, Cannon just happened to sit next to a former bandmate and friend whom he had not seen since leaving Oxford. Timothy Stine, from Millington, Tennessee, also left the university before finishing his degree.

After apply to C2C, Stine received an email from Ole Miss in the spring about the B.U.S. program, and he jumped at the chance when he found out that he met the requirements to receive this degree.

“I’m hoping having this piece of paper will give me better job opportunities,” Stine said. “I’m about to start sending out my updated resume.”

Former UM ‘Pride of the South’ band members Aspen Cannon (left) and Timothy Stine catch up with each other at a graduation celebration for the new Bachelor of University Studies program. Both left the university in the mid-2000s but found out this past spring that they had enough completed credits as part of the statewide Complete to Compete initiative to receive their degrees. Photo by Larry Agostinelli/UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education

The B.U.S program was created this spring to work in conjunction with the statewide C2C program that began in August 2017. C2C was created by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the Mississippi Community College Board to help adults who have been out of college for at least two years to finish their postsecondary degrees.

In less than a year’s time, UM academic advisers have received C2C applications from over 1,200 former students who had some college coursework, but had not completed a full degree program.

“The first thing I ask people interested in this program is, ‘Tell me your story,'” said Audra Trnovec, UM academic counselor and C2C coach. “I ask for the background on their educational journey so I can help them put together a plan to be successful.

Many C2C students have shared stories about the reasons surrounding the pause in their education.

“Some students needed to stop taking classes so that they could care for their children, some were supporting wives or supporting husbands; they might have been serving in the military or needing to financially take care of their families,” she said. “They all have a unique background and a unique goal.”

Fhan Cooper, of Crystal Lake, Illinois, played right tackle for Ole Miss during the banner 2014 and 2015 seasons, but he left Oxford for the NFL just a few credits shy of graduation.

“As a transfer student, I had a lot of credits, but my playing time was limited, and I needed to make the move to the pros,” Cooper said.

Jennifer Reeves (back row, middle) and her family drove nine hours from Houston, Texas, to celebrate her recent graduation from UM after a 20-year hiatus from college. Photo by Larry Agostinelli/UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education

Cooper, who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and later traded to the Indianapolis Colts, is a free agent looking for his next opportunity.

“I want to be ready for what is next in my life,” he said, noting that he is considering coaching, scouting and training as his next career move.

“I’d like to earn my master’s degree in education so that I can become a good teacher. I think this will help me in a coaching role if I know how to teach concepts and information in an understandable way. And I think completing a degree shows people you take pride in what you do, and you value the work.”

During the past year, staff in the Office of General Studies have identified 150 C2C applicants who had completed all of the requirements for the new B.U.S. degree without taking additional courses. Many of these students had changed majors or completed the bulk of coursework but were never able to finish their chosen degree, so they were encouraged to consider the B.U.S. program.

“We just felt that these students did the work and deserved to be honored like other UM graduates,” said Terry Blackmarr, assistant to the dean for general studies. “One student is so excited to have earned his college degree that he invited 48 family members to the celebration.”

“We can already see that completing this degree means so much to these students, and it’s going to make a positive impact on their lives.”

Coffeeville native Jennifer Reeves, who lives in Houston, Texas, drove 600 miles to Oxford to be honored after 20 years since her enrollment.

As an English major in the early ’90s, Reeves married and moved away before graduating. Her husband became an engineer with Exxon Mobile, and his position took them around the globe. They lived in the Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand before landing in Houston. During that time, they added five children to their family.

“I made my mother a promise that I would finish my degree when I got married,” Reeves said. “I’m so happy that this program honors the credits I had already earned and gave me the opportunity to have my diploma.”

“The government, the state of Mississippi and Ole Miss, they don’t owe me anything. I feel that this program is just grace extended to people like me who were so close to finishing but needed a little extra assistance to get across the finish line.”

The B.U.S. program is available for students 21 and older, with a minimum of 90 degree-applicable credit hours who have not been enrolled in college in the past 24 months and have not earned another bachelor’s degree. All applicants must meet the university’s admissions requirements and apply to the C2C.

Designed to provide adult students with a flexible pathway to complete a baccalaureate degree, the program allows an individualized curriculum for a student to complete up to three emphasis areas that will position them favorably in their career.

During the celebration, Tony Ammeter, associate provost for the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education and dean of general studies, addressed the graduates.

“It is our hope that the courses you took and the degree you now hold better your life,” he said. “You represent the best work of UM and even though for some of you, it may have been a while ago, we hope Ole Miss has helped you become a leader – a leader who especially understands that success isn’t about the riches you gain, but the people you help.”

Since the program was new this year, this celebration event will make way for future B.U.S graduates to be honored during the university’s official commencement exercises in May, when graduates will walk alongside Bachelor of General Studies students to receive their diplomas.

“Since the university hosts only one commencement ceremony per year, and we were unable to confer degrees for the B.U.S. students until that date had passed, we decided for this year only to host this special event to encourage and celebrate these new graduates who had already waited so long to hold their degree,” Blackmarr said.

Former Ole Miss students who are interested in learning more about this program can visit

UM Museum Named to List of 51 ‘Most Astounding University Museums’

Facility in national spotlight for fourth time in five years

The University of Mississippi Museum has been named one of EdSmart’s ‘51 Most Astounding University Museums.’ Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum and its extensive collection of art, scientific equipment and Greek and Roman antiquities are in the national spotlight once again, this time being named to EDsmart’s list of “51 Most Astounding University Museums.”

The latest recognition is the fourth time in five years the museum has been named to an esteemed ranking of national academic museums. It came in at No. 17 on the EDsmart list, one spot ahead of Princeton University’s facility. Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History ranked No. 1 on the list. 

The museum was the highest ranked Southeastern Conference institution on the list and only one of three SEC schools mentioned. Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts was listed as No. 22, and the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History came in at No. 26.

Robert Saarnio, director of the University Museum and Historic Houses, is proud of the recognition, which he said is entirely a credit to the “brilliant professional staff and the ecosystem of support and goodwill” that surrounds the museum on campus and in the community.

“The exceptional strengthening of the museum in recent years is notably a tribute to highly supportive university leadership, to the Friends of the Museum board and all of our members, and of course to our team here for such dedicated commitment to our well-being,” Saarnio said. “Suffice to say, the campus-based museums that appear in these rankings are those whose parent institutions understand the power of arts and culture to enrich and augment a teaching, research and service mission.”

EDsmart said it recognized university museums that provide a gateway to the past and to culture, and choose to house important objects from science, art and more. Each and every object weaves a thread into a tapestry of humankind’s history, EDsmart said. These museums also add research opportunities to the universities they inhabit. 

“The University of Mississippi Museum is located in Oxford and offers a wide variety of collections, which include 19th-century scientific instruments, such as telescopes and models,” EDsmart said. “You can also find a collection of American Art, which includes items from Mark Tobey, John Marin, Arthur G. Dove and many others.

“You will also find several paintings, folk art and more at this museum. One of the highlights this museum offers is William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak.” 

Earlier this year, the UM Museum was named to College Rank’s 50 Most Amazing College Museums in the country, which was then the third time the museum appeared on national rankings lists in five years – a first in the museum’s 78-year history.

The museum provides the campus and Oxford community with unique collections, annually rotating temporary exhibitions and acclaimed educational programs for lifelong learners of all ages. Its programming for children, schools and families reaches 14,000 young north Mississippians each year.

The Seymour Lawrence Collection of American Art includes an exceptionally significant Georgia O’Keeffe painting, as well as work from other 20th century artists including Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley.

Students learn about Barlow’s Planetarium at the UM Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The museum’s collection of Greek and Roman antiquities contains more than 2,000 sculptures, terra cotta and bronze artworks, decorated pottery and coins, and a variety of artifacts that date from 1500 B.C. to 300 A.D. The majority of this internationally renowned collection was donated to the university by archaeologist and professor David M. Robinson in 1958.

The Millington-Barnard Collection of Scientific Instruments originated with the university in the 19th century. About 500 instruments that were used to teach Ole Miss students from 1848 to 1861 are housed in the museum.

The museum also has a collection of Southern folk art from the late 19th to 20th centuries by artists using a range of nontraditional materials. The permanent collection contains work by Theora Hamblett, Sulton Rogers, James “Son” Thomas and Pecolia Warner, among many others.

Also part of the museum are historic houses, including Rowan Oak, home of Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner. This iconic site has attracted visitors from all 50 states and 58 different countries in a recent 12-month period.

Besides its collections, the museum also offers many educational opportunities for members of the community through lectures, adult studio workshops, family activity days, children’s art classes and summer programs.

For more information about the museum, its programs and scheduling a visit, go to

Law Professor to Lead National Academic Organization

Ron Rychlak will serve as president of SEALS for the upcoming year

Ron Rychlak

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi law professor will lead an organization representing more than 100 institutions as head of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools for the coming academic year.

Ron Rychlak, professor of law and Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government, will serve as president of SEALS for 2018-19.

“It’s both an honor and a challenge,” Rychlak said. “I believe this type of professional development is important, and it reflects well on the university to have so many of our faculty involved in organizations like this.”

SEALS began in 1947 as a regional association of law schools that came together to host an annual meeting each summer. The meeting features panel discussions, debates and lectures from members of the legal community around the world, giving law faculty an opportunity to present their research, attend workshops and receive feedback from peers and mentors.

The organization has grown beyond the Southeast and includes more than 100 member schools.

Rychlak has been active in the organization for the last 20 years, serving on multiple committees. In 2012, the association honored him with its Distinguished Service Award. He will be installed as president Aug. 11 at the conclusion of this year’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Also UM’s faculty athletics representative, Rychlak will give presentations at the conference about NCAA legislation, as well as bar exam performance and what can be done to better prepare students.

“I’d like to have a successful academic conference where people feel they have been nourished intellectually, but also maintain the family-oriented feeling that SEALS is known for,” Rychlak said.

His goal as president is to continue to develop the organization, specifically helping young faculty members who are just beginning their careers.

“It’s a great chance for young people to develop their presentation and writing skills while getting feedback from those in legal academia,” Rychlak said. “That’s what really separates us from other groups.”

Ben Cooper, a professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Law, also has been actively involved in SEALS, serving as chair of the program formatting committee, where he edits the full conference program and daily schedule. Cooper said he is proud that his colleague will lead the organization for the coming year.

“I think it’s a great honor for him and it’s an appropriate recognition of his contributions to the success of SEALS over the years,” Cooper said.

Throughout the history of SEALS, four other Ole Miss faculty members have served a term as president.

For more information about SEALS, visit

David A. Puleo Named New Engineering Dean

Former Kentucky associate dean brings years of leadership experience, vision to position

David Puleo

OXFORD, Miss. – David A. Puleo, an administrator nationally respected for his activities in both academics and research, has been named the new dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

“Thanks to its leaders over the past 120 years, the (UM) school has a strong foundation, educating generations of engineers, computer scientists and geologists,” said Puleo, who assumes his duties at Ole Miss on Aug. 27. “The School of Engineering will play a key role in the university’s inspiring Flagship Forward strategic plan, and I believe my experiences at a large, public flagship university in the Southeast enable me to lead the school forward to ‘ever-increasing excellence.'”

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, he was the associate dean for research and graduate studies at the University of Kentucky. Puleo, who was a professor in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering at UK, also founded Regenera Materials LLC, in Lexington, Kentucky.

In providing leadership for research activities, Puleo’s responsibilities included approval of all proposal submissions, oversight of College of Engineering centers and institutes, management of facilities and cultivation of research partnerships with academic and nonacademic units. Related to graduate programs, Puleo supervised academic policy development and implementation, new course and program development, graduate student recruitment in partnership with UK’s Graduate Studies Team, selection and awarding of College of Engineering graduate student fellowships and graduate program assessment.

“Our School of Engineering remains an integral component of academic excellence and scholarship at the University of Mississippi,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “David Puleo’s direction will enhance our already strong and competitive position among institutions of higher learning around the country and beyond its borders.”

Puleo’s plans are to immerse himself in the culture of Ole Miss and the engineering school. This exercise will set the stage for drafting a strategic plan for the school using a “collaborative visioning” approach that involves stakeholders from all constituencies.

“A key strength of the school is the broad-based and ‘high-touch’ approach to undergraduate education,” Puleo said. “We must maintain that quality of educating the next generations of engineers, computer scientists and geologists while also expanding our graduate programs and the highly-related research enterprise.

“The close proximity of multiple other schools, as well as the not-too-distant UM Medical Center, provide outstanding transdisciplinary educational and research opportunities.”

The new dean’s track record includes being a fellow in the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. A member of the Advisory Board for Viking Scientific Inc., Puleo received UK’s Excellence in Teaching in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2013.

During his 20-year tenure at UK, Puleo also served as assistant and associate professor of biomedical engineering, adjunct associate professor in the College of Dentistry and professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery for Content Management, both in the College of Medicine at the UK Medical Center. He also served as director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering before becoming chair after its conversion to a department.

Puleo and his wife, Sue, have two adult children, Nick and Angie, who are in medical school and college, respectively.

For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit

Archives and Special Collections Displays Jack Reed Sr. Gift

Aug. 23 event spotlights artifacts of the late Tupelo business leader, civil rights movement icon

The papers and memorabilia of the late Jack Reed Sr. of Tupelo have been donated to the UM Department of Archives and Special Collections. A public preview and announcement is scheduled Aug. 23 on campus. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Selected memorabilia and artifacts belonging to the late Mississippi business leader and civil rights movement icon Jack Reed Sr. will be displayed this fall at the University of Mississippi.

A display prepared from a larger collection of Reed’s papers opens Aug. 23 on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. Scheduled presenters for the 5 p.m. event include Scott Reed, Jack Reed’s youngest child; Andy Mullins, the UM chancellor’s chief of staff emeritus; Vaughn Grisham, professor emeritus of political science and founding director of the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement; and Jennifer Ford, the library’s head of archives and special collections.

Other members of the Reed family expected to attend include children Jack Reed Jr., Camille Reed Sloan and Catherine Reed Mize, and several grandchildren and cousins.

“Special Collections is extremely honored to house the papers of Jack Reed Sr., and we are indebted to the Reed family for this gift,” Ford said. “Work has already begun to catalog the extensive collection to make it available for scholarly use by early 2019.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to announce the recent donation, as well as draw attention to the significance of Mr. Reed’s life and work.”

Reed was a Tupelo retail owner who became a strong voice and guiding light that significantly affected the peaceful integration of Mississippi schools in the 1960s.

“Our father was chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee that created the Mississippi State Board of Education and served as its chairman for most of the 1980s,” Scott Reed said. “He was also a part of the Methodist Church National Committee on Religion and Race that charted the course for the Methodist response during that time.”

Reed Sr. served as chairman of President H.W. Bush’s National Advisory Committee on Education Research and Improvement. He was known for his excellent public speaking skills and his ability to combine humor, wit and insight into very serious subject matter.

In 1987, Reed ran as the Republican nominee for governor, using his staunch support of public education as a major platform for the election, which he eventually lost to Ray Mabus. He also was active throughout his career in the Mississippi Economic Council, serving as president in 1964.

Throughout his career, Reed’s contributions in the realms of public education, economic and community development, and race relations spanned the state and region.

For more information on the Jack Reed Sr. Collection, call Jennifer Ford in the Department of Archives and Special Collections at 662-915-7408 or email

Four UM Students Accepted into Rural Physician Scholarship Program

Scholars agree to serve in small Mississippi communities after graduation

University of Mississippi students (from left) Steven Smith, Katelynn McGowen, Conner Ball and Megan Buchanan have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. Submitted photo

JACKSON, Miss. – University of Mississippi seniors Conner Ball, Megan Buchanan and Steven Smith, and junior Katelynn McGowen, have been selected to participate in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program.

Ball is the son of Janyce and Scott Ball, of Madison. Buchanan is the daughter of Terri Buchanan, of Collinsville. Smith is the son of Brian and Denise Smith, of Terry. McGowen is the daughter of Hugh and Robin McGowen, of Moselle.

Created in 2007, Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become rural primary care physicians in the state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting.

Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the UM School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

During medical school, each Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program scholar is under consideration for $30,000 per year, based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program translates to 60 medical students receiving $1.8 million to support their education this fall.

Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support. 

Upon completion of medical training, the scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. The program scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive Medical College Admission Test preparation, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

For more information, contact Dan Coleman, MRPSP associate director, at 601-815-9022, or