UM Space Law Moot Court Team Wins North American Championship

Trio set to compete in international finals this fall in Australia

Marshall McKellar (left), Alexia Boggs, Kent Aledenderfer, Kyle Hansen and UM law instructor Andrea Harrington show off the Ole Miss team’s trophies from the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition-North American Region. The team will compete for a world title in September in Australia. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Space Law Moot Court Team won big at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition-North American Region, bringing home three awards and advancing to the world championships.

“I’d like to thank these students for their hard work and representing our school so well during their competition,” said Deborah Bell, interim dean of the law school. “I am incredibly proud of all of them.”

The competition, conducted March 31-April 1 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., featured 16 teams and was divided into two divisions of eight teams each.

The Ole Miss team consisted of second-year students Kent Aledenderfer of Huntsville, Alabama, and Kyle Hansen of Issaquah, Washington, and third-year student Alexia Boggs, from Nashville, Tennessee. Andrea Harrington, the school’s air and space law instructor, served as faculty adviser and third-year student Marshall McKellar, of Hattiesburg, was the team’s student coach.

“I am incredibly proud of our team, who worked with extreme diligence leading up to the competition,” Harrington said. “The team members acted with impressive grace and respect – both with regard to each other and their competitors – throughout the process.”

Each team submitted written briefs for both applicant and respondent positions and had an opportunity to compete on both sides in the preliminary rounds. Scoring in the preliminary rounds consisted of 50 percent briefing scores and 50 percent oral scores, and the result determined rankings going into the tournament-style rounds.

The UM team earned the highest score overall in the preliminaries and was ranked first in Division A. As the tournament progressed, the team competed in the quarterfinals against fourth-ranked University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Ole Miss then advanced to the semifinals, competing as the respondent against McGill University in a tight round. The team then progressed to the final round, arguing as the applicant against the University of Nebraska.

UM earned three major awards: team awards for Best Brief and Best Team, and Boggs received the Best Oralist award.

“The competition was an amazing experience and a true team effort,” Boggs said. “For months, Kent, Kyle and I have been learning from each other and refining our skills in legal research, clear writing and oral argument.

“Marshall was a huge asset because he went to the competition last year and has an enormous capacity for encouraging others. And of course, we would only have gotten so far without Professor Harrington, who was an excellent coach in pushing each of us to learn every crevice of international law and to apply it to the facts in as many ways as possible.”

The Best Team title allows the team to compete in the international finals, set for Sept. 26-28 in Adelaide, Australia. Competing teams include the champions from Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa.

“I am very pleased that I get to continue working with this remarkable group of students in preparation for the international finals,” Harrington said.

Mississippi: The Dance Company Presents ‘In Real Time …’ this Weekend

Performance includes piece that garnered invite to regional gala

Students rehearse for their upcoming performance of “In Real Time…” at the Meek Auditorium April 7-9. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s resident modern dance company is set to perform seven works, including one that earned the troupe an invitation to a regional dance gala, this weekend in Meek Hall Auditorium.

Mississippi: The Dance Company presents “In Real Time …” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (April 7-8) and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (April 8-9). Tickets are $12.50 for general admission, $10 for Ole Miss students and $9 for children and senior citizens, available at the UM Box Office at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, http://olemissboxoffice.com/ or by telephone at 662-915-7411. Tickets also will be sold at Meek Hall Auditorium 30 minutes before each performance.

The concert includes “attic,” a piece choreographed by guest artist George Staib of Staib Dance Company. Staib’s work, about his experiences as a child in Iran at the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, earned the UM company an invitation to perform in the gala concert at the South Regional Conference of the American College Dance Association last month.

“Mississippi: The Dance Company has been attending ACDA since 1990 and we’ve been chosen for the gala seven times,” said Jennifer Mizenko, professor of movement and dance. “It’s always a high honor. I am very proud of these students.

“They have worked very hard and all of their work shows onstage. What you also see while watching these students dance is their passion for the art form and their deep investment in bringing this dance work ‘attic’ to life every time they perform it.”

Seven Ole Miss students participated in a five-day residency taught by Staib over Wintersession, spending five or six hours daily learning the 12-minute piece.

Forty-four dances were submitted this year to the ACDA, but “attic” was among only 12 chosen to perform at the gala.

Genevieve Walker, a senior from Vicksburg majoring in secondary English education, attended ACDA with the company for the fourth time in her Ole Miss career.

“Being able to participate in dance at Ole Miss has been one of the greatest parts of my college career,” Walker said. “Mississippi: The Dance Company works as its own family unit. George’s piece exemplified that idea.

“The adjudicators all commented on the piece’s ability showcase that connection. We are all individuals onstage, but when we dance together, we feed off of each other’s strengths.”

For more information, visit http://theatre.olemiss.edu/olemisstheatre.html#msdco.

UM Honors College Dedicates Expanded Facility

Campus, community celebrate program's 20th anniversary with new building

UM alumnus and donor Jim Barksdale (left) is welcomed Thursday by Chancellor Jeffery Vitter during dedication ceremonies for the expanded Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A line of blustery, threatening weather moving through the area didn’t stop more than 100 University of Mississippi students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni from celebrating the successes of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College on Thursday (March 30) afternoon.

The crowd squeezed into the Honors College’s great room to dedicate the expanded and renovated building, putting the cap on a two-year project. The ceremony, which was relocated from outdoors because of the weather, also marked the 20th anniversary of the Honors College and was followed by a reception and open house.

“The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College is an incredible asset to our university,” Chancellor Jeffery Vitter said. “It distinguishes us among peer institutions and allows Ole Miss to offer exceptional personalized opportunities to extremely talented students. I am very excited to be celebrating its expansion and renovation today.”

Others making remarks during the ceremony were Dean Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez; David Buford, director of risk management for the State Institutions of Higher Learning; Honors College alumni Dr. Marc Walker and Christin Gates Calloway; and Jim Barksdale, who helped launch the Honors College when he and his late wife, Sally McDonnell Barksdale, donated funds to expand the university’s Honors Program in 1997.

Moving into the new space was “a 10-year dream come true,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said.

“The new building represents a great blend of classroom and study space to go deep into conversation with peers on the tough questions of the day,” he said. “We are grateful for the new and renovated space at the SMBHC.”

The $6.9 million project added 15,000 new square feet to the existing building, bringing the total to 32,290 square feet. The renovated section includes seven new classrooms, a new kitchen, study area, a great room, computer lab, three new study rooms and new faculty offices.

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter welcomes the crowd at the dedication of the new and renovated Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“This is great and I’m so proud of what has been accomplished here during the past 20 years,” Barksdale said. “In life, you always want the chance to do something significant and different.

“This opportunity came along at the right time, the right place and with the right people. What a wonderful return upon our investment.”

Both Calloway and Walker said their Honors College experiences have proven invaluable to their careers.

“My professional path for the past 11 years has been built upon my Freshman Ventures at Weyerhaeuser Paper in Seattle and my medical missions trips to Bolivia, all made possible through the Honors College,” said Walker, a 2006 alumnus who earned his bachelor’s degree in biology with minors in chemistry, religion and philosophy. He earned degrees from both Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School and is set to become chief resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital next year.

“I’ve learned that surgery is a lot easier with the right tools and a committed team. That’s exactly what the Honors College offers.”

A Kosciusko native who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2011, Calloway said the Honors College is where she “grappled with some of the toughest social, educational and political challenges of our time.”

“The Honors College is one of the most unique and enriching opportunities I’ve ever experienced,” said the doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Had I not attended here, I wouldn’t have had the courage, determination and tenacity to continue my education at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.”

The Honors College has grown tremendously from its humble beginnings. Opening with an initial class of 121 students in 1997, its student body has grown to more than 1,400.

The program annually attracts high-performing students from across the state and country. The average ACT score for incoming scholars last fall was 30.9, and their average high school GPA was 3.92.

For the last two years, more than 400 freshmen have joined the SMBHC each year. To accommodate the growing student body, the Honors College broke ground on its expansion in 2014, and the new addition opened in March 2016. The original building was then renovated, and work was completed in December.

“Our students enjoy deep conversations, and this is a welcoming space that encourages us to take time to engage in meaningful discussion,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “This provides the needed infrastructure to assure that this program will be the ‘tip of the spear’ to lead the university’s academic charge for years to come.”

The Barksdales made the idea of an Honors College possible, enabling the purchase and renovation of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority building to house the new program. That first gift also endowed 16 scholarships and provided funding for operating expenses.

Other generous donations include endowments from the Parker estates to fund scholarships, and from Lynda and John Shea to support study abroad fellowships.

With the death of Sally McDonnell Barksdale in December 2003, the Honors College was renamed in her memory in spring 2004.

“The University of Mississippi and, indeed, all of the state’s citizens are indebted to the Barksdales for their continued and transformative support,” Vitter said. “For 20 years now, the impact of the Honors College has been far-reaching, helping create a vibrant legacy of attracting the best and brightest to Ole Miss.”

For more information on the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, go to http://www.honors.olemiss.edu.

PLATO Offers Students Personalized Learning

Program tailors lessons based on individual student needs

The PLATO program allows students in large lecture classes to get a personalized learning experience. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s College of Liberal Arts is implementing a method of personalized learning for students in large courses.

The Personalized Learning and Adaptive Teaching Opportunities Program, or PLATO, uses adaptive and interactive lessons to personally engage students in classes such as biology, chemistry, writing and rhetoric, and mathematics, all of which generally have high enrollment.

PLATO is funded by a $515,000 grant awarded by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will oversee the initiative.

Through adaptive learning, instructors incorporate online lessons with class lectures. Coursework through the online system recognizes student responses and provides follow-up assignments based on each student’s answers.

Kerri Scott, instructional associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, began using online homework in her Chemistry 101 sections in 2008. As the classes grew to more than 200 students, she sought ways to expand learning methods.

“I am always on the lookout for new and better ways to communicate with students, and technology that adapts to their needs is ideal,” Scott said. “It allows us to tailor the assignments based on the needs of the student.

“Instead of me standing in front of a chalkboard telling 200 students to solve the problem a certain way, now they’re getting targeted with their own individual assignments and study plans.”

Additionally, modules include content basics of the course as well as assessments, so class time can be used for deeper discussion of the material or active practice. The courseware also gives instructors additional data on student performance on assignments beyond a single grade, allowing them to identify students who are struggling with the material before the first high-stakes exam.

This strategic use of technology improves traditional learning and strengthens the general education curriculum, said Stephen Monroe, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“We are grateful to the APLU and the Gates Foundation for their support,” Monroe said. “Our project is succeeding because of our wonderful faculty and Patti O’Sullivan’s leadership.

“Our students will be the ultimate beneficiaries. Adaptive courseware personalizes learning for our students, who can receive customized pathways through their homework assignments and then arrive to class better prepared for lectures and activities.”

Six other Ole Miss faculty members are piloting the program this semester: biology professor Tamar Goulet and instructor Carla Carr, college algebra instructor Michael Azlin, trigonometry instructor Jon-Michael Wimberly and statistics lecturer Lanzhen Song and instructor Cody Harville.

Carr is using the LearnSmart technology of the courseware, which offers students an active reading experience.

Before each topic, students are assigned text to read in their eBook for the course. The adaptive courseware provides questions for students to answer as they read, making class preparation an assignment.

“Hopefully, the students are now gaining comprehension of what they’re reading, which will enhance lectures, rather than arriving to class unprepared,” Carr said.

Azlin is piloting the ALEKS adaptive courseware system in two sections of college algebra this semester. ALEKS provides an initial knowledge check that allows an individualized pathway through the homework goals of the course for each student.

“This initial knowledge check also allows me to see where each student, as well as the class as a whole, stands on each topic in the course,” Azlin said.

The grant will allow PLATO to expand across other sections of Chemistry 101 and writing and rhetoric courses in the fall semester.

UM Campus Recreation to Host Third Annual Color My College 5-K

Event benefits Special Olympics Mississippi

The UM Department of Campus Recreation will host the Color My College 5-K run, featuring a run and a UV glow paint party, April 1. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Campus Recreation will host the Color My College 5-K run April 1 as part of a full day of activities.

This year, the event runs day to night with the color run starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by the first-ever UV glow paint party after dark, said Amanda Alpert, assistant director of intramural sports and sport clubs for the Department of Campus Recreation. 

“Each year, we try to add something new to attract new participants,” Alpert said. “We are excited to see how this new addition will enhance our event and hope everyone is as excited as we are.”

Color My College asks the Department of Campus Recreation each year to choose a nonprofit organization for the race to benefit.

“We have a very close partnership with Special Olympics,” Alpert said. “These partnerships not only provide opportunities for Special Olympic athletes, but also (for) Ole Miss students, so that is why we chose them.”

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness and share those experiences with others around them.

Participants can sponsor a Special Olympic athlete this year for $20 and those funds go directly to Special Olympics.

The activities begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Grove with contests, giveaways and a Zumba pump-up exercise led by Elise Jones, a senior marketing major.

“Zumba is one of my passions, and I couldn’t be happier to lead the warmup,” Jones said. “I love seeing everyone’s smiling face before the run.”

All participants are required to register. The fee is $34.99 for individuals and $31.99 apiece for a team of four. Ole Miss students, with a valid student ID, can register for $29.99 or $26.99 each in a team of 4 through March 31.

Onsite registration will be $50 for every participant. For those interested in registering for just the paint party, registration is $15 through March 31 and $20 onsite.

“I love the color run because I love to run and it really brings the Oxford community together,” Jones said. “I would tell people unsure about signing up that they would miss out on a good time and an easy, fun way to be active.”

For more information, visit the Color My College website for the Ole Miss race. 

UM Honors College to Dedicate Expanded Building Thursday

Project added classrooms, study areas and space to 'dive deep' into discussions

UM officials will dedicate the expanded and renovated Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College during ceremonies Thursday afternoon. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Students, faculty and administrators will gather Thursday afternoon (March 30) at the University of Mississippi to celebrate the dedication of the expanded and renovated home of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

The ceremony, set for 3 p.m. in the building’s great room just inside the west entrance, officially concludes a project that doubled the size of the Honors College’s physical space and renovated the existing structure.

The expansion added 15,000 square feet, including new classrooms, study areas, offices and student lounges. Moving into the new space was “a 10-year dream come true,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, Honors College dean.

“The gift of the new and renovated building provides extraordinary public spaces for our students to dive deep into the questions that challenge us all,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “Our students enjoy deep conversations, and this is a welcoming space that encourages us to take time to engage in the thorny issues of the day.”

The ceremony is to feature remarks by Marcus Thompson, chief administrative officer and chief of staff for the State Institutions of Higher Learning; Honors College alumni Dr. Marc Walker and Christin Gates Calloway; and Jim Barksdale, who helped launch the Honors College when he and his late wife, Sally McDonnell Barksdale, agreed to invest $5.4 million to expand the university’s Honors Program in 1997.

A public reception follows the program, and student ambassadors will conduct tours of the facility.

The program has grown tremendously from its initial class of 121 students in 1997 to a student body of more than 1,400 this year. The Honors College annually attracts high-performing students from across the state and country; the average ACT score for incoming scholars last fall was 30.9, and the average high school GPA was 3.97.

Praised as one of the nation’s best honors programs, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College attracts acclaim for its blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

“The Honors College is an example of the extraordinary personalized opportunities available to students at the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Across our campus, faculty and staff are dedicated to transforming lives through education and service to the community, and this program helps us attract the ‘best and the brightest’ to Ole Miss.”

The $6.9 million expansion and renovation project positions the Honors College to continue its leadership role on campus and across the region, Sullivan-Gonzalez said.

“This provides the needed infrastructure to assure that this program will be the ‘tip of the spear’ to lead the university’s academic charge for years to come,” he said.

For more information on the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, go to http://www.honors.olemiss.edu/.

Center for Manufacturing Excellence Receives Gifts from Milwaukee Tool

Wisconsin-based manufacturer delivered tool sets, equipment for UM students' use

UM engineering students Ashley Irons (left) and Vera Gardner (right) enjoy opening Milwaukee Tool packages as Satoka Watanabe (center), adjunct associate professor, shares the moment. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi received a generous gift Thursday (March 23) from Milwaukee Electric Tool Co.

Three representatives from one of the nation’s leading power tool manufacturers delivered more than a dozen toolboxes, power tools and accessories to the CME. University administrators and students welcomed the visitors and thanked them for the donations.

“The CME team is honored and humbled by this most generous gift from Milwaukee Tool,” said Scott Kilpatrick, CME associate director of internal operations. “We are thankful to the company leadership for their commitment to supporting our students and this manufacturing program.

“These tools will provide an outstanding environment for our students to use on a daily basis, and will hopefully be just the first step of many forms of collaboration between the university and Milwaukee Tool.”

A Brookfield, Wisconsin-based subsidiary of Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., Milwaukee Tool is a manufacturer and marketer of professional, heavy-duty power tools and accessories. The company has three facilities in Mississippi: manufacturing operations in Greenwood and Jackson, and a distribution facility in Olive Branch.

Jack Bilotta, director of the company’s Greenwood plant, was accompanied by Chris Greer, continuous improvement manager at Greenwood, and Dale Russell Sr., manager of human resources at Greenwood.

“Our objective is to recruit the best talent possible and preferably people with Mississippi ties,” Bilotta said. “The addition of the CME and their growth strategy aligns very well with what our business needs. There is no question that Ole Miss is turning out some of the very best every year.”

Discussions leading to Thursday’s donation began last fall when company officials visited the center.

“Some members of the Milwaukee Tool leadership team visited the campus and immediately recognized the value in partnering with the university,” said William Nicholas, director of economic development at UM’s Insight Park.

“The donation of power tools and equipment helps cultivate brand awareness among students and provides Milwaukee Tool a great opportunity to hire some of our best and brightest after graduation. They provide an innovative company culture that will appeal to many of our students.”

The company’s engagement is not intended to be a one-year involvement, but to build a partnership that grows over the years, the representatives said.

The donation of tools will be crucial in supporting various labs and course projects that are part of the center’s program, Kilpatrick said.

“For example, when senior capstone teams are working on their final projects, they will be using the best tools available on the market,” he said. “From a functionality standpoint, it is hard to quantify how immensely helpful that will be.”

Additionally, from a cultural viewpoint, the Milwaukee Tool brand will be present in the minds of Ole Miss students, Kilpatrick said.

“This is a company that is a global leader in their industry but also has a very strong presence here in Mississippi,” he said. “This will certainly send an encouraging message to students about potential future professional opportunities with the company, as well.”

“We want the CME to have the very best of what is available in Mississippi,” Bilotta said. “A world-class facility should only have world-class equipment.”

UM administrators, faculty and students welcome representatives from Milwaukee Tool as they deliver power tools and equipment to the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Pictured are (front row, from left), UM students Ashley Irons and Vera Gardner; Sakota Watanabe, adjunct associate professor; Cris Greer, continuous improvement manager for the company’s Greenwood plant; Chancellor Jeffery Vitter; Jack Bilotta, director of the Greenwood plant; and William Gottshall, CME interim director; and (rear, from left) Scott Kilpatrick, CME associate director of internal operations; Alice Clark, vice chancellor for university relations; William Nicholas, director of economic development at Insight Park; Tyler Biggs, CME admissions counselor; UM student James Halbrook; Dale Russell, manager of human resources at the Greenwood plant; and James Vaughan, CME director emeritus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Administrators anticipate future collaborations with Milwaukee Tool, Kilpatrick said.

“From the perspective of the CME, this is the type of partnership that can benefit all parties and clearly serves the mission of our center,” he said. “One of our primary goals is to support and serve manufacturers here in Mississippi, and an essential method that we use to accomplish that goal is to provide an educational and experiential program that prepares graduates to serve as leaders in the manufacturing industry.

“So the aim here is clear; we plan to provide Milwaukee Tool with talented graduates to help lead their operations while also exposing our students to fantastic career opportunities as well.”

Several CME students present expressed their appreciation for the new tools and equipment.

“This is like Christmas in so many ways,” said James Halbrook, a sophomore chemical engineering major from Madison. “Milwaukee Tool has given us everything we need and more to do our best work.”

Vera Gardner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Memphis, Tennessee, agreed.

“These will come in very handy as we complete our senior design capstone project,” she said. “We will definitely use the equipment in the production phase.”

Milwaukee Tools officials said they are certain UM graduates can and will find employment within the company’s Mississippi plants.

“We have a year-over-year need for the top engineering talent, adding as many as 10 or more to our facility each year,” Bilotta said. “We want to be a part of keeping Mississippi talent in Mississippi. It’s a ‘win-win’ for all involved.”

The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence was established in June 2008 to provide unique opportunities for students interested in manufacturing. The opportunities developed are considered distinctive to the CME and are not available to undergraduate students at other universities in the United States.

For more information about the CME, visit http://www.cme.ms/.

For more information on the full line of Milwaukee power tools and accessories, call 1-800-SAWDUST or visit http://www.milwaukeetool.com.

UM Museum Readies Major Exhibition Honoring Kate Freeman Clark

Curators hope to broaden awareness of painter's works and raise support for conservation

University Museum workers hang a portrait for the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The largest exhibit in more than two decades featuring works by acclaimed Mississippi painter Kate Freeman Clark is set to debut March 28 at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark” includes more than 70 paintings from the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery and several artifacts from the Marshall County Historical Museum to illustrate different times and aspects of the artist’s life.

The exhibition was developed by Guest Curators James G. Thomas Jr., associate director for publications at the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Annette Trefzer, UM associate professor of English.

“The fact that there was an accomplished and prolific female artist in our neighborhood whose name I had never heard before was the magnet that drew me first to the Holly Springs museum,” said Trefzer, also owner of Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley.

“And visiting there, I was overwhelmed by the quality and depth of her work: hundreds of canvases of landscapes, portraits and still lifes reside in the little museum. What a treasure and what a story!”

The exhibition is a major event for the University Museum and for art lovers across north Mississippi, said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“The University Museum is honored and thrilled to have developed this major exhibition of the work of Kate Freeman Clark, in partnership with our guest curators, the Holly Springs lending institutions and our donors who so graciously provided the required funding,” Saarnio said.

“The compelling story of this exceptional artist and the beauty of her work will captivate audiences and inspire a renewed appreciation for one of Mississippi’s artistic treasures.”

A colorful garden scene from the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28 at the University Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

A Holly Springs native, Clark spent many years in New York City, where she studied under teacher, mentor and well-known American impressionist William Merritt Chase. She produced hundreds of paintings and had major exhibits at the Boston Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Corcoran Gallery, Carnegie Institute, New York School of Art, National Academy of Design and the Society of American Artists.

After 27 years of painting and following the deaths of Chase and her mother and grandmother, Clark stored her entire collection in a New York City warehouse in 1923 and returned to Holly Springs, where she remained until her death in 1957. She left her collection and estate to the city.

“I was first drawn to Kate Freeman Clark’s fascinating life story, and as I examined her vast body of work, she became all the more intriguing to me,” Thomas said. “How could a person with such great talent and obvious drive to create, and who had achieved a not inconsiderable measure of success, suddenly abandon her passion?”

An opening reception is set for 6 p.m. March 28 in conjunction with the Oxford Arts Crawl. The city’s double-decker busses will stop at the museum every 20 minutes for guest convenience. The event is free and open to the public.

A landscape from the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28 at the University Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“The main concept of our show is to highlight her work as that of a woman artist,” Trefzer said. “We also want to show the variety of work in terms of styles, themes and media that she created as a student. We call the show ‘Lasting Impressions’ because we want the viewer to confront her ‘impressions’ of the world around her, a domestic life largely dominated by her mother and grandmother, and her love of the landscapes, both cultivated and natural, that she painted.”

Only a fraction of Clark’s paintings have been exhibited for many years, so the exhibit represents a rare opportunity for art lovers to view the works, Thomas said.

Both Thomas and Trefzer expressed special thanks to Walter Webb, director of the gallery in Holly Springs, for his assistance in developing the exhibit. They also hope the showing will boost support for continued conservation of the artist’s works, Trefzer said.

“These canvases have lasted more than 120 years, and we hope that with ongoing restoration efforts, more of them will be preserved for the future,” she said. “This is why we are also showing unrestored work. We want to make the public aware of this woman’s tremendously accomplished work so worth preserving and of her unique story that should be included in books of art history.”

A panel discussion on “The Art of Kate Freeman Clark” is slated for 1:30 p.m. March 30 at the museum, as part of the Oxford Conference for the Book. A reception will follow the discussion.

Panelists include writer, editor and scholar Carolyn Brown, who published award-winning biographies of Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker, as well as “The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark” (University Press of Mississippi, 2017). She will sign copies of the book at the reception.

Other panelists are Thomas, Trefzer and Beth Batton, an art historian and executive director of The Oaks House Museum in Jackson.

Funding for the exhibition was provided by Lester and Susan Fant III, Tim and Lisa Liddy, David B. Person, the Bank of Holly Springs, Ellis Stubbs State Farm Insurance, First State Bank and Tyson Drugs Inc.

The museum, at Fifth Street and University Avenue, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Pulitzer Winner Jon Meacham to Give UM Commencement Address

Presidential historian to address graduates May 13 in the Grove

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Jon Meacham will give the University of Mississippi’s 2017 Commencement address May 13 in the Grove. Photos courtesy Royce Carlton.

OXFORD, Miss. – Pulitzer Prize-winning author, presidential historian and one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals Jon Meacham will deliver the University of Mississippi’s 164th Commencement address May 13 in the Grove. 

Meacham, a former editor of Newsweek and a contributor to Time and The New York Times Book Review, speaks to graduates and their families at 9 a.m.

Also a regular guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he is respected for his great depth of knowledge on current affairs, politics and religion. He possesses a rich understanding of the way issues impact American lives and also why each event’s historical context is important. 

Having Meacham on campus for such an important event in the lives of students and their families is a “tremendous honor” for the university, Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. 

“It is an amazing opportunity for our graduating students to hear from a person of his caliber – a highly accomplished, prize-winning author and renowned presidential historian,” Vitter said. “Mr. Meacham joins a long list of distinguished Commencement speakers who have graced our flagship university with their insight and knowledge over the years. We look forward to welcoming him to Ole Miss and Oxford.”

A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Meacham earned an English literature degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He serves as a distinguished visiting history professor at his alma mater and also a visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University.

He has written multiple New York Times bestsellers and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” (Random House, 2008). His most recent presidential biography, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” (Random House, 2015), debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. 

Meacham has also written other national bestsellers on Thomas Jefferson, the relationship between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and on the Founding Fathers and the role of their relationships with God during the creation of the nation. He is working on a biography of James and Dolly Madison. 

“The Long View” column in The New York Times Book Review, which “looks back at books that speak to our current historical moment” and being a contributing editor at Time keep Meacham busy these days. He also was Newsweek’s managing editor from 1998 to 2006 and editor from 2006 to 2010. He is “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business,” according to The New York Times. 

He appeared on Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” and Fox News Channel aired an hourlong special on Meacham’s “Destiny and Power” in 2015. He has appeared on various other current affairs TV programs and news shows. 

The World Economic Forum named Meacham a “Global Leader for Tomorrow,” and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians and chair of the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. 

Noel Wilkin, UM interim provost and executive vice chancellor, said he looks forward to hearing the respected author and historian speak. 

“Commencement is a significant event for our students that commemorates their accomplishments and the development that they have experienced while at our institution,” Wilkin said. “I am pleased that Jon Meacham will be with us to celebrate this occasion and share his perspectives and insights on this significant day.”

Saturday Collaborations Unlock Possibilities for Marks Students

Weekend program brings middle schoolers to UM campus for tutoring, mentoring and fun

Ole Miss student-athletes mentor a group of fifth- to eighth-grade students from Quitman County Middle School during the weekend sessions on the UM campus.

OXFORD, Miss. – Most students regard Saturday school with dread and contempt, but a group of middle schoolers from the Delta community of Marks looks forward to its weekend tutoring sessions at the University of Mississippi.  For some of these students, the sessions have become life-changing.

For six Saturdays between February and April, 53 students from Quitman County Middle School travel nearly an hour by school bus from Marks to the Ole Miss campus for a day of tutoring and fun activities.

Bryce Warden, the AmeriCorps VISTA working in the UM School of Education, coordinated the initiative after attending a meeting last fall about the Marks Project, a 501c(3) organization dedicated to restoring the Marks community. He previously had helped launch a program that pairs college students with North Panola High School seniors to help them apply for college.

“I saw the benefit of those interactions, where students – many of them potential first-generation students – could find out what college life was really like and I was eager to create such an environment for the kids from Marks,” Warden said. “Now, these middle school students get to receive tutoring on a college campus, which they may have never seen.”

The students, ranging from fifth to eighth grades, were chosen for the program based on test scores and their need for additional learning assistance.

In the morning, 19 Ole Miss students from the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program work with the students for two hours in reading, language and math.

Kendall Kern, a freshman in the METP program from Lewisburg, tutors the students in language arts. She was eager to become involved in the program when she heard about it.

“I went down to Marks and really got to see the school and realized I needed to give back,” she said. “If I can do anything for them and provide a positive impact, that’s going to mean so much.”

Kern added that she’s learned from the experience, as well.

“Getting to have our own classroom time with them has really helped me with my teaching experience,” she said. “We’re able to teach interactive lessons and experiment with different teaching methods. I love all the amazing opportunities that METP and the School of Education provide us with.”

Although the educational component is the core of the program, Warden realized that the students needed activity time, too. He sought additional partnerships with Ole Miss Campus Recreation and the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for afternoon activities.

Each group is providing programming for three Saturdays, including physical activities in the Turner Center, student-athlete mentorship and a tour of the Field Level Club at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the Manning Center.

Middle school students from Quitman County visit the UM campus as part of a spring program that provides academic tutoring and activities with student-athletes and Ole Miss Campus Recreation.

The Freeze Foundation, a charitable organization started by football Coach Hugh Freeze, has acted as liaison between the School of Education and the athletics department to provide student-athlete mentorships for the group. Alice Blackmon, the foundation’s executive director, serves as Marks Project co-chair of the tutoring and mentoring program.

After Freeze learned about the economic, educational and community issues in the Mississippi Delta, he wanted to become involved, Blackmon said.

“These issues weighed heavily on his heart,” she said. “He wanted to invest time in serving the children through building relationships and encouraging them in hopes of making a positive impact.

“We have served internationally in Haiti and Africa, but he was really passionate about shining a light into the communities that are right in our backyard in Mississippi.”

The program has been a double-sided ministry, also making a positive impact on the athletes, she added.

The Marks Project is an umbrella organization of all the volunteers within the Marks community. Jaby Denton, co-founder of the project with Mitch Campbell of Taylor, is working to revitalize the largest town in Quitman County by providing educational and recreational opportunities.

Denton, who owns a farm in Quitman County, moved back to the community from Oxford in 2015. He started a youth group that year and realized many students were behind academically.

“Marks was a town where a wagon pulled by mules led the Poor People’s Campaign in D.C.,” Denton said. “It was the epicenter of the civil rights movement.

“Dr. (Martin Luther) King visited Marks, saw extensive poverty and realized something had to be done. 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the mule train, and we are doing everything we can to fulfill Dr. King’s dream to provide opportunities for residents and students.”

Cortez Moss, an Ole Miss alumnus and principal of Quitman County Middle School, identified educational needs and approached the Marks Project for assistance in recruiting teachers and tutoring students.

When Moss became principal in August, he recognized that students at the school, which received an “F” rating last year, lacked exposure and academic support, he said.

“Our school’s motto is ‘Our Education is Freedom,’ and I knew I needed to give them liberating experiencing that would make our vision come true for scholars and families,” Moss said. “My original intent was for academic support; however, in the planning process I realized that my scholars needed exposure.

“This truth was evidenced one Saturday (at UM) when one of the scholars did not recognize an elevator and found joy in just being able to ride an elevator.”

After only a few trips to the Ole Miss campus, Moss has seen improvement in his students.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with our scholars – socially, emotionally and academically,” he said. “Many of our scholars come back from the Saturday experience seeing Ole Miss as an opportunity. Ole Miss and college is now their goal. Many of them feel empowered by the experience.”