Gift from Mississippi Scottish Rite Helps Fund Literacy Program

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, community children benefit from annual gift

Brad Crowe (left), co-director of the UM Speech and Hearing Center; Gloria Kellum, CSD professor emeritus; Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences; Lisa Ivy, clinical instructor and speech-language pathologist; Pam Michael, former interim CSD chair; and Bill Sloan, deputy of the Supreme Council for the Mississippi Scottish Rite, celebrate the establishment of the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent gift to the University of Mississippi established the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program, which will offer literacy programming for area children, with the potential for statewide outreach.

All literacy programming, provided by certified speech-language pathologists and graduate student clinicians from the UM Speech and Hearing Center, will be designed to improve children’s reading skills and make interventions available for children with reading disabilities. The program will provide quality services for children diagnosed with a reading disability and those at risk for learning to read, as well as clinical training for graduate students in the UM Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, or CSD.

This program expands the Mississippi Scottish Rite‘s support of children with language and literacy problems through direct service as well as through educating graduate students who will continue this work in their professional practices.

“On behalf of the approximately 2,400 Scottish Rite Masons of Mississippi, it is with great pleasure that we partner with the University of Mississippi to establish a literacy program for children, while enabling student practitioners to hone their skills,” said Bill Sloan, deputy of the Supreme Council for the Mississippi Scottish Rite.

“The Scottish Rite Masons work hard to help support the identification of dyslexia and literacy issues with children to improve their learning abilities at the earliest stage as possible,” Sloan said. “This leads to a more positive learning environment, enhancing their perspective and comprehension and bringing about better-prepared young adults and more productive citizens.

“We look forward to many years of supporting Mississippi’s youth and teachers in this field through this partnership with the University of Mississippi.”

Ann Michael, who just completed her term as interim chair of the CSD department, initially reached out to the group because of its strong record of supporting language and literacy programs at a state and national level.

The Scottish Rite is well-known for its philanthropy with programs that help children achieve their greatest potential, said Sue Hale, CSD alumna and advisory board member and former American Speech-Language-Hearing Association president.

“Scottish Rite has a distinguished history of providing funding to language and literacy programs nationwide, and I am grateful that CSD at Ole Miss will be able to extend its good work through their contribution to this partnership,” Hale said.

The Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program will directly address components of UM’s mission by creating, sharing and applying knowledge in a format that trains students to use evidence-based practice to serve the people of Mississippi.

The student training and client remediation for this program will be based on the latest research recommendations for reading instruction. Designed to meet the unique characteristics and needs of each child, the remediation will include explicit one-to-one instruction as well as some small-group interactions.

Offering comprehensive reading evaluations to identify targets for intervention is a top priority for the CSD department, which operates the Speech and Hearing Center. CSD is also focusing on creating an after-school literacy program, preventive programs in collaboration with local schools and summer literacy camps.

“We are incredibly grateful for this gift from the Mississippi Scottish Rite, because it allows us to provide a critical service to children and a clinical opportunity for our graduate students to expand their practical experience and research,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences.

For more information about the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program, call 662-915-7652.

To contribute to the program, send a check with the initiative’s name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

14 Educators Join 10th Class of UM Principal Corps

Elite K-12 leadership program attracts teachers from across Mississippi

Fourteen educators from across the state make up the 10th cohort of the Principal Corps. They are (from left) Chanda Jenkins, Suzanne Cain, Kristin Walters, Jamey Germany, Luke Daniels, Liza Hadden, Luke Daniels, Precious Malembeka, Matthew Magee, Megan Duff, Kama Smith, Dana Maharrey, Jamie Tiblier, Miranda Bishop and Katie Gilbert. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Fourteen educators from across Mississippi make up the 10th cohort of the Principal Corps, the University of Mississippi’s elite program in K-12 educational leadership.

Over the past decade, the program has produced 107 graduates, nearly 90 percent of whom are serving in leadership roles in school districts in Mississippi and beyond.

In June, the group gathered for the first time at UM to begin the 13-month program. The Principal Corps program comprises both graduate course work in educational leadership and two full-time internships during the fall and spring semesters, which allow recruits to gain hands-on leadership experience under the supervision of experienced mentors.

The 10th class of the Principal Corps includes Miranda Bishop of the Jackson County School District, Suzanne Cain of the Newton County School District, Luke Daniels of the Petal School District, Katherine Gilbert of the Pascagoula School District, Megan Duff of the Okolona School District, Jamey Germany of the Lauderdale County School District, Lisa Hadden of the Rankin County School District, Chander Jenkins of the South Pike School District, Matthew Magee of the George County School District, Dana Maharrey and Kama Smith of the Tupelo Public School District, Precious Malembeka of Jackson Public Schools, Jaimie Tiblier of the Biloxi School District and Kristin Walters of the Laurel Public School District.

Many Principal Corps recruits will complete their internships near their home school district. Internship placements are located across the state. During the academic year, Principal Corps participants come to Oxford for course work one week each month.

Smith, a 14-year English teacher at Tupelo High School, was attracted to the Principal Corps after seeing a colleague complete the program last year. She plans to complete her internships in the Tupelo Public School District and hopes to move into an assistant principal position after graduation next summer.

“The Principal Corps experience so far has been both exhausting and rewarding,” Smith said. “I say exhausting because the expectations are high and we are pushed to become better every day. But the reward of gaining so much knowledge from such experienced, intelligent instructors and knowing I will become an effective administrator outweighs the exhaustion.”

Graduates will earn either a Master of Education or Specialist in Education degree in educational leadership from UM. This degree, along with passing the School Leaders Licensure Assessment, will qualify them for a school administrator’s license.

The Principal Corps offers one of the most valuable leadership scholarships in the country. All cohort members receive full tuition, books and housing while at Ole Miss.

Besides earning an advanced degree in educational leadership, graduates receive a $10,000 bonus from the program upon accepting a principal or assistant principal job in a Mississippi public school and beginning work. Each graduate makes a five-year commitment to stay in Mississippi.

Magee, an English teacher from George County’s Star Academy dropout prevention program, also was attracted to the program after seeing a co-worker go through the Principal Corps.

“After learning of the opportunity to complete a yearlong internship, I was hooked,” he said. “I want to move into leadership to reach more students and advance their overall education. I have seen too many children overlooked, and I am ready to make a difference.”

The new cohort members have impressive credentials and diverse educational backgrounds. Many hold advanced degrees, national board certifications and have already taken a leadership role within their schools.

Before being accepted into the program, all recruits must receive an endorsement from their superintendents.

Daniels, a sixth-grade math teacher from Petal, was attracted to the program because it will allow him to complete his internships within his home school district, where he hopes to move into a leadership role after graduation.

“I have seen firsthand the impact of effective school leadership,” he said. “While early in my career I was turned off to the idea of a job in administration because of a perceived lack of direct contact with students, the more I have learned about the actual job of principal, the more I have realized that I was mistaken.

“While a principal is rarely leading a classroom of 25 students in learning, the impact and influence is still there.”

The Principal Corps was established in 2009 with funding from the Jim and Donna Barksdale Foundation. The program is also supported with funding from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson.

Pittman’s Gifts Provide Equity above Access

Supplemented scholarships help Grove Scholars stay in school

Renvy Pittman (right) chats with Grove Scholars Jontae Warren (left), a May graduate from Booneville, and Devante Yates, a senior from West Point. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – An afternoon spent visiting schools in the Mississippi Delta inspired a University of Mississippi alumna to make a series of gifts totaling nearly $1 million over the past six years, helping build a program that improves students’ chances of graduating.

Renvy Pittman’s most recent $350,000 gift further bolsters the Grove Scholars program, which facilitates academic success and job placement among Mississippi residents seeking degrees related to science, technology, engineering and math and who have also received Ole Miss Opportunity scholarships.

The Grove Scholars program is the brainchild of Stephen Monroe, chair and assistant professor of writing and rhetoric and former assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“Stephen is an amazing person; he is brimming with ideas about how to help more students from all types of backgrounds be successful at Ole Miss,” said Pittman, who grew up in Jackson and lives in Los Angeles. “After talking extensively with him, it became clear to me that I wanted to help ensure that more Mississippi residents come to the University of Mississippi and graduate with a STEM degree.”

Monroe and Pittman realized Ole Miss Opportunity recipients interested in STEM would benefit from a bridge program that would help orient them to the university and college-level work. With Pittman’s support, 12 scholars were selected for the summer program in 2014.

The program has grown to serve more than 70 students and consists of classes in math and sciences for academic credit as well as tutoring, social events and exposure to labs and lectures on campus – all occurring the summer before the students’ freshman year.

Because the Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship does not cover summer tuition, the Grove Scholars program also provides opportunities for students to take summer classes throughout their undergraduate career. The newest initiative provides financial support for Grove Scholars seeking a career-relevant internship during the summer term.

Students find that being introduced to college life before their freshman year gives them a chance to bond with each other and with the program’s director, Gray Flora.

“What’s so great about what Renvy’s done is she’s enabled a lot of students to have what they need over and above their scholarships,” Flora said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Yes, you can come to the University of Mississippi,’ but it’s another thing to give them the tools and the equity to really be able to thrive at a major public university.

“It’s more than just being able to come. You have to know how to navigate this place. There are all these extracurricular needs that you don’t think about, and Renvy has enabled us to provide those for the students. That’s the difference between access and true equity.”

Jontae Warren, of Booneville, is a Grove Scholar who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and has already transitioned into the School of Pharmacy’s Pharm.D. degree program. After completing that, he plans to pursue a residency and ultimately specialize in pediatric pharmacy related to oncology.

“The Grove Scholars program allowed me to meet other students who had the same aspirations as I, and we were able to become a support system for each other,” Warren said. “I am still great friends with many in my cohort today.”

“It’s a community,” Pittman said. “Students need community to be successful in college. So Grove Scholars identifies these young people, brings them in and empowers them to unlock their potential and encourage each other.”

Warren said being a Grove Scholar helped him financially, academically and emotionally.

“Both (former program coordinator) Ben Pinion and Gray Flora have been great mentors, and anytime I needed advice on what to do next, their doors were always open,” he said. “I am very thankful to have been a part of this program and hope that it continues to grow.”

Pittman hopes so, too.

“I would like to look back after 10 years and see these kids, who are not children anymore at all, using their degrees in science, technology, engineering or math to make their communities in Mississippi a better place,” she said.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said he greatly appreciates the support of alumni such as Pittman who want to play an active role in the university’s vision to have a transformative influence in communities throughout the state.

“Our hope is that as students from disadvantaged areas graduate from Ole Miss, their lives and those of generations to come will be significantly enhanced, which will help advance their communities and make great improvements for our state and ultimately our nation,” he said.

“The Grove Scholars program is a key component of the big picture – to truly make a significant impact upon the world around us. Renvy has set an example of generosity that I hope others will want to follow.”

To help support the Grove Scholars program financially, contact Denson Hollis, executive director of development, at 662-915-5092 or dhollis@olemiss.edu. For more information and student profiles, visit Grove Scholars online.

UM Pharmacy and Alcorn State Partner in Admission Program

ASU becomes second state institution to join Preferred Admission Program

Alcorn State University has agreed to join the Preferred Admission Program for the UM School of Pharmacy, which will offer admission to qualified Alcorn State students. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has signed an agreement with Alcorn State University to offer admission to qualified Alcorn State students who excel in freshman pre-pharmacy courses and participate in service activities.

This partnership, called the Preferred Admission Program, is part of both the School of Pharmacy’s and Alcorn State’s more-than-century-old traditions of dedication to the health of the state and its communities.

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter praised the agreement, saying that it demonstrated a commitment to the university’s mission of contributing to the well-being of Mississippians.

“Facilitating broader access to education is one of the University of Mississippi’s foundational priorities,” Vitter said. “The School of Pharmacy’s Preferred Admission Program will benefit not only the students involved, but the overall pharmacy profession as well.”

Alcorn State is the second of three Mississippi institutions, along with Jackson State University and Tougaloo College, that are part of the Preferred Admission Program.

UM pharmacy students work in a skills lab on the Oxford campus. UM photo by Sydney Slotkin DuPriest

“Alcorn is incredibly excited to be launching this unique collaboration with Mississippi’s premier pharmacy school,” said Alfred Rankins Jr., Alcorn State president. “This engaging partnership will greatly benefit our high-achieving student scholars by providing direct access to post-graduate opportunities in a critically important health care profession.”

Once admitted, students in the Preferred Admission Program will be on the pharmacy school’s traditional graduation track to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

“This partnership is an integral part of our school’s commitment to educating pharmacists who will provide the best possible care for patients,” said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “We recognize that providing more opportunities for motivated students ensures the continued quality of pharmacy’s essential contributions to health care.”

For more information on the Preferred Admission Program, contact Kris Harrell, the School of Pharmacy’s associate dean for academic affairs, at kharrell@olemiss.edu.

Arianne Hartono Aces Academics and Athletics

After winning the NCAA singles tennis championship, the Ole Miss graduate is going pro

Arianne Hartono is the ultimate student-athlete, having graduated summa cum laude from Ole Miss this May and won this year’s NCAA women’s singles tennis championship. Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi student-athlete Arianne Hartono has faced such challenges as recuperating from a broken wrist her freshman year and missing as many as three out of five days of classes during the weeks when she had to travel to away matches.

Considering such challenges, Hartono’s accomplishments are all the more impressive – excelling equally in athletics and academics, she won this year’s NCAA women’s singles tennis championship and graduated summa cum laude in May with a major in psychology and minor in business administration.

She is the first women’s tennis player in the Ole Miss program to win the NCAA singles championship (Devin Britton won it in men’s tennis in 2009) and is also the first student-athlete in any sport at Ole Miss to be named a Honda Sports Award winner and the second player in program history to be named to the 2018 ITA Collegiate All-Star Team.

Hartono is philosophical about her success and quite willing to share the glory.

“I think it’s the process of it all,” said Hartono, a native of Meppel, Netherlands. “Obviously, you can’t become a national champion from one day to the other. There’s so much work that went into it.

“I believe that everything happened for a reason, even that injury I had my freshman year. That was part of the road I had to go on to, to be where I am right now. So I think all the work, all the effort, not just from me but everyone else that’s worked with me, worked with the team, has led up to this.”

Everyone else includes professors, administrators, coaches, family, teammates, and tutors and counselors/advisers at the FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Success Center.

“We have a wide range of services available to student-athletes for continued success,” said Derek Cowherd, senior associate athletics director for student-athlete development.

Those services include scheduling of tutorial support for upper-level courses, assisting with four-year graduation plans, monitoring NCAA eligibility and assisting with busy spring travel schedules.

Hartono is a special student-athlete and a credit to Ole Miss, Cowherd said.

“Zvonimir Babic (a player on the men’s tennis team) tweeted that she is an inspiration to all student-athletes across the nation. And she should be,” Cowherd said. “Her demeanor, friendship to her teammates, her grace in which she carries herself, humble but confident nature, her wonderful spirit are all testaments to how her parents raised her … and she can play tennis, too.”

Hartono’s drive to excel comes partly from a sense of responsibility.

“Every year, we come together as a team, and we sit down and set up goals for ourselves,” she said. “… I’m just grateful for everything that’s been given to me, and I want to make the most of it. I think especially this year, knowing it was the last opportunity to represent Ole Miss for one more season, I’m not playing for myself but for this greater entity, so to speak. It just gives you more motivation to push harder.

“Our coaches and advisers, they all tell us that we student-athletes, we’re all leaders, so we have to act like them. We are held accountable for everything that we do. Keeping that in mind, we try to show the best of ourselves.”

As for her classes, Hartono took a no-nonsense approach.

“I just sit down and do the work that needs to be done. At the beginning of the semester, the teachers tell you what the semester is going to look like, and I think that’s like, just listen to the teacher! Just listen to the teacher, and basically you’ll do well.”

Hartono said time management was the greatest challenge in tackling her classes, because she had to miss so many classes due to her tennis schedule that included not only matches but also two hours of practice and one hour of fitness or strength and conditioning each day.

She said she was lucky to have taken classes taught by supportive professors and named three professors in particular as her favorites: Matthew Reysen, associate professor of psychology; Kate Kellum, associate director of institutional effectiveness and assistant professor of psychology; and Scott A. Gustafson, director of the UM Psychological Services Center.

“I’d be falling behind, especially in the spring when we were in season; we’d be traveling so much,” Hartono said. “I’d meet up with Dr. Reysen all the time. He was always willing to help me out. … I liked Dr. Kate’s class (Applied Behavior Analysis) because it was so interactive. … Definitely, one of my other favorite teachers is Dr. G.”

And the feeling is mutual.

“Arianne was one of those students that only come along every five to 10 years in a professor’s career,” said Gustafson, who taught Hartono in two advanced psychology classes. “She clearly had prepared for her classes and asked questions based on her readings that would be more expected in an advanced graduate seminar than an undergraduate lecture hall.

“On a personal level, Arianne is one of those students that made me, as a professor, feel like my job was rewarding. Rather than being a passive part of the crowd, her interest and competency and hard work made me look forward to the classes she was in, because I felt like I was making a difference.”

Reysen agreed that Hartono is bright, personable and a pleasure to have in his Cognitive Psychology class.

“Arianne was an outstanding student who was always able to maintain a high level of academic excellence despite the numerous obligations that came with being a student-athlete,” he said.

Hartono did a good job of using the skills she learned in class to make the atmosphere around her more fun, Kellum added.

“Her ability to take what she was learning in class out into the world was really good,” she said.

Classes, studying and tennis took up most of Hartono’s time, but she did manage to be on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, composed of two or three representatives from each team on the Ole Miss campus.

“Our job was basically to keep up with NCAA rules, with regulations, whatnot, but also about student-athlete development, any areas that we could improve. … Another thing we were concerned with was community service. That’s one of the things I really enjoy doing because I believe it’s so important to give back for everything that we’ve been given here.”

Because she completed a lot of her classes and requirements in her freshman and sophomore years, Hartono had time in her last semester to do something else she truly loves.

“I love to bake, and especially knowing that I have a team of seven hungry athletes, it’s easy to get rid of stuff,” Hartono said. “Before a trip, I’d hop on the bus and have brownies, or Oreo balls and all this other stuff. They appreciate it, and it just makes me happy, and it’s relaxing at the same time.”

Path to the Win

Arianne Hartono

Hartono remembers a pivotal conversation she had when she was about 6 years old. She and her mom had stopped to pick up her 9-year-old brother, Adriaan, who was finishing his tennis practice, and she helped pick up the tennis balls.

“So, what do you do? What are you into?” her brother’s coach asked her.

“Well, I’m a ballet dancer,” answered Hartono, having just left a ballet lesson.

“Ballet? That’s nothing. Why don’t you try to play tennis?” the coach said.

And so she did, with support from her parents, Lieke and Okki Hartono, who had moved from Indonesia to the Netherlands in the 1990s. (Hartono speaks fluent Indonesian, Dutch and English, and took Chinese while at Ole Miss, reaching the conversational level. She also took French and German in high school.)

“(My parents) always told me, ‘As long as you love to play, we’ll support you in whatever you want to do,'” Hartono said. “With all the successes, they came to realize, ‘Oh, she’s actually good. She could be successful at it.'”

A love for tennis runs in Hartono’s family. Her uncle Deddy Tedjamukti and aunt Lukky Tedjamukti from Indonesia played professional tennis, and cousin Nadia Ravita played for the University of Kentucky women’s tennis team.

Hartono said her brother still enjoys tennis and is very supportive of her, though she has surpassed him in skill.

“I mean, he’s good, but he chose to focus more on his education instead, so he wasn’t practicing as intensely as I was. He would practice like twice a week, whereas I would practice four or five times a week. We were basically known as the Hartono tennis players around the region where we played. … I remember when I was younger, I tried so hard because I wanted to beat him so badly. But he’s a good sport, he can handle it,” she laughed.

Until college, Hartono trained at small clubs rather than tennis academies. She said she struggled to find sparring partners until she came to Ole Miss, where she suddenly had eight other women who were as good, if not better than her.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for them,” Hartono said. “When you spend so much time with a group like them, they become family.”

Mark Beyers, Ole Miss women’s tennis head coach, who is also from the Netherlands, recruited her, Hartono said.

“He watched me play, and one of his former players – she was from the same hometown as I was, and so we kind of got in touch that way. That’s one of the main reasons I chose Ole Miss. I just loved the campus. I loved the team, just the entire atmosphere.”

Trying to win tennis matches in the NCAA, where all players are top-notch, is pressure-filled, but Hartono remembers a key moment that helped her de-stress.

“Grant Roberts, our assistant coach, was on my court most of the time whenever I was playing. … In times of trouble, so to speak, we’d sit down on the break, and he’d come and we’d talk about strategies or whatever, but for me it was important to keep things simple. I tend to overthink or make things overcomplicated for myself, and that’s not necessary.

“In the finals, (Grant) would ask me, ‘So, what is our one word this tournament?’

“Fun” is the word that popped up.

“Because at the end of the day, I’ll play my best tennis when I’m having fun, when I’m enjoying the challenge. And so I think that’s the most important thing that happened, not winning the national championship. Of course, that’s great. I’m not complaining,” she laughed. “But I think that was the result of me enjoying what I was doing.

“That’s a great achievement for myself. I was able to put winning and the result aside, for me to know I was doing what I love. In anything anyone does, I think that’s just so important because, otherwise, why are you doing it? And to know that I can succeed at that is mind-blowing, unbelievable and amazing.”

Arianne Hartono is the first Honda Sports Award winner in Ole Miss history. With a record of 37-6 this season, she finished the year winning 17 straight matches. Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

What’s Next?

Hartono is going pro. After graduation, she went back to the Netherlands for a short while to spend time with her family and enjoy her mom’s cooking. She was scheduled to play her first professional match in Portugal and one in Indonesia, where she also planned to visit family.

She said as long as she loves to play, she’ll keep at it.

“If not, then I’ll find something else to do. That’s why I have a college degree,” she laughed.

She also plans to return to Ole Miss in the fall to visit with the tennis team and friends.

“I can never say goodbye to Ole Miss. We (she and her teammates) always tell each other, ‘Once a Rebel, always a Rebel.’ I truly believe that.”

Whatever successes and challenges lie ahead for Hartono, she can always look back at her college days and feel joy.

“At the end of the day, it’s not just about winning or losing,” she said. “It’s not just about holding that trophy. I got to spend four years of my life doing what I love.”

Alice Clark Retiring as UM Vice Chancellor for University Relations

Clark leaves nearly 40-year legacy of shaping the university as a researcher, mentor and leader

Alice Clark and late husband Charlie Hufford enjoy some downtime during a professional conference they attended as colleagues. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Alice Clark, a senior University of Mississippi administrator whose nearly four decades of visionary leadership have driven major advancements, is retiring at the end of June. Clark is an F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Pharmacognosy and the university’s vice chancellor for university relations.

Clark earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacognosy at UM and joined the university as a research associate and faculty member in 1979. She later served as the first director of the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research.

As a result of her strategic efforts, the center grew from a small unit to one of the world’s preeminent research centers for natural products drug discovery. The success of NCNPR has led to longstanding collaborative partnerships with industry and federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“It was my privilege to work for 35 years with Alice in various capacities – as a collaborator when she was professor in pharmacognosy, as associate director during her time as director of the NCNPR and as a researcher under her leadership in the administration,” said Larry Walker, who became the center’s director following Clark’s tenure. “She has been a great pillar in this university, with vision, boundless energy and drive to excel. But on top of all that, she’s a mentor to me and to so many, and a cherished friend.” 

In 2001, Clark became the university’s first vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. In this role, she championed the university’s research enterprise while overseeing its growth with strategic vision.

The results of these efforts helped the university attain “R1: Highest Research Activity” designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education, the definitive honor for doctoral research universities in the United States, representing only 2.5 percent of universities nationwide.

“The first time I met Alice Clark, she was a young faculty member in the School of Pharmacy,” Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said. “The gleam in her eyes told me that she was very bright. As I followed her career, I learned about her acclaimed reputation as a scientist.

“It was an easy decision to invite her to join our dynamic team as vice chancellor for research. Our research programs prospered during her leadership years. The designation as a Carnegie R1 research institute is a tribute to her life’s work.”

As vice chancellor, Clark sought and secured support for several new research centers and institutes on campus. She was instrumental in securing more than $23 million in funding for the establishment of the university’s research park, Insight Park, and the Innovation Hub at Insight Park.

She built a Division of Technology Management (now Office of Technology Commercialization) to assist university researchers in bringing their discoveries to the marketplace.

In 2016, at the request of Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter, Clark assumed the role of vice chancellor for university relations, where she continued to oversee the university’s economic development and federal relations efforts. She also became the chief administrator for development, public events and communications, and served as a key figure in implementing recent universitywide strategic initiatives.

“Alice is well-known for her steadfast commitment, visionary leadership and immense institutional knowledge,” Vitter said. “She has had a tremendous role shaping so many of the university’s successes during her decades at Ole Miss.

“As the longest-serving member of the university’s leadership team, the impact of her retirement will most certainly be felt at the leadership level and across so many different facets of our university.”

Alice Clark

A renowned pharmaceutical scientist, Clark has published extensively on the discovery of novel biologically active natural products and pharmaceuticals, authoring and co-authoring more than 100 original research articles, reviews and book chapters. As a principal investigator, she received continuous peer-reviewed NIH funding from 1984 to 2014 to conduct research related to the discovery and development of new drugs for opportunistic infections. The grant, one of the longest continually funded antifungal research programs in NIH history, led to the identification of many new natural products.

Her late husband, Charles D. Hufford, associate dean emeritus for research and graduate programs and professor emeritus of pharmacognosy, was a longtime collaborator. In total, Clark secured more than $20 million in research support.

Clark’s scientific expertise has informed public policy at the federal and state levels. She has testified to Congress on issues related to antimicrobial resistance and the safety and quality of dietary supplements.

She served on the charter advisory council for the NIH Center for Scientific Review and is a member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health for NIH. She has also served on many expert review panels for NIH, chairing panels on AIDS and related research and drug discovery and antimicrobial resistance.

In 2010, she received the Marcy Speer Outstanding Reviewer Award, the highest honor for commitment to peer review given by the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review. She was the 1996 Rho Chi National Lecturer and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Clark has also served in several leadership positions in national and international professional associations, including chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

In 2017, Clark was named recipient of the UM Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award. This annual award, which was instituted during Clark’s time as vice chancellor for research, recognizes an Ole Miss faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and creative activity. 

Clark’s impact extends beyond research and leadership roles to service and mentorship. She was a founding member of the Ole Miss Women’s Council, a group of philanthropic women committed to developing UM students through leadership, scholarship and mentorship.

She has served on the board of the CREATE Foundation and also served as a mentor to dozens of undergraduate and graduate students.

“Alice Clark is the reason I went into science,” said Melissa Flagg, U.S. Army Research Laboratory Northeast lead and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for research. “She ensured I was never apologetic for having questions, encouraged me to think beyond the traditional career pathways and reminded me that we can be both excellent and kind as leaders. 

“She set me on a career with a foundation of personal responsibility – that I’m responsible for my impacts on those around me, but also responsible for setting my own bar and being true to myself, cultivating excellence in myself and others.”

After 38-plus years of service, multitudes of new programs and initiatives, millions of research and philanthropy dollars raised, and hundreds of educational and career paths shaped in her role as a mentor, Clark is looking forward to a slower pace and spending lots of time on her new back porch that is under construction. She also expects to burn up the roads to Huntsville, Jackson and Nashville to spend time with her beloved family.

“I am deeply grateful for the wonderful opportunities given to me to serve the University of Mississippi in many ways over 38-plus years and for the rich and fulfilling life I’ve enjoyed as a result of being part of this extraordinary community,” Clark said. “Coming to Ole Miss as a graduate student changed the course of my life.

“It has been a privilege and honor to work with some of the finest, most dedicated people anywhere who are committed to providing such opportunities to others. I want to especially thank the countless friends and colleagues who have been so helpful to me throughout my professional life – you all have made the years fly by!”

Online Master’s in Hospitality Management Opens Doors for Workers

Application deadline for those interested in beginning new program in August is July 15

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is rolling out a new online Master of Science degree in hospitality management to help meet the needs of a growing industry. The program is designed for people working in the industry in management roles to develop more effective operational and analytical skills, talents needed for top-level jobs in a global hospitality marketplace.

“There was no program like this in the state for working people in the hospitality industry to advance their careers,” said Jim Taylor, UM associate professor of nutrition and hospitality management. “We have established an incredibly strong graduate program here in Oxford, but offering this program 100 percent online allows people from all over to benefit from our comprehensive curriculum and faculty experts.”

With the hospitality industry’s projected growth at 6 percent in lodging, 11 percent in meetings, conventions and events, and 9 percent in food service from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, businesses are looking for tomorrow’s leaders. From hotels and travel companies to restaurant groups and tourism, the need for executive-level professionals who have skills to oversee complex operations is increasing.

Joey Vasilyev, a 2003 graduate from the hospitality management program, understands the demands of the industry and sees great value in offering this advanced course of study in an online format.

Work schedules of the hospitality workforce are wide-ranging and unique, said Vasilyev, CEO of V2 Inc., a franchisee of Taco Bell.

“The online program will offer a solution to hospitality management individuals who seek an alternative method of educational advancement in the industry,” Vasilyev said. “It is very exciting to see the program continue to grow and evolve since my time as the first freshman to enroll in hospitality management.

“This program, with its competitive tuition cost and flexibility of schedule, will promote retention for hospitality professionals.”

Advanced food-service, lodging and service quality management classes coupled with advanced marketing, leadership and research course work are at the core of the curriculum. Faculty members tout expertise in sustainability practices, menu analysis, social media marketing, service quality management, consumer behavior, nutrition, human resources and financial analysis, so graduate students will have mentorship and support across a wide array of research interests.

Research is an important part of the program, and students will learn the methods and statistics needed to conduct meaningful studies for their organizations. Students will conduct professional research or complete a thesis on an industry topic important to them or their employer.

“We encourage people interested in this program to talk to their employers about tuition reimbursement for this endeavor,” said Mary Roseman, professor of nutrition and hospitality management and director of the hospitality management program. “They will bring to their organizations a new level of expertise that benefits both the employee and the business.”

The average cost of a master’s degree is between $30,000 and $120,000, according to FinAid.org. Tuition for the online M.S. in hospitality management costs $16,740 for a 36-hour program that students complete over the course of two academic years.

“Yes, this degree is one of the most affordable you will find of its kind, but beyond that, it is flexible,” Roseman said. “We’ve designed this program specifically for working people in an incredibly busy industry to log in according to their schedule.

“Our faculty made a commitment to be available to help students in an online format to the same extent that we make that commitment to our students in a live classroom setting every semester. We have to meet our students where they are. For people in this industry already in management positions, that could be any time of day or night they find in their schedule.”

Online graduate programs at Ole Miss are already garnering national attention for graduating exceptional professionals with advanced degrees. With the online MBA ranked No. 20 and the School of Education’s online graduate programs tied for No. 35 in the nation this year, according to U.S. News and World Report, UM is gaining a solid reputation for providing quality graduate-level programs in an online setting.

The application deadline for those interested in beginning the program in August is July 15.

For information about the program, the application or any other details, visit http://nhm.olemiss.edu/onlinemshm or call 662-915-1505.

 

University of Mississippi Joins The Common Application

Starting Aug. 1, new online system will make it easier for students to apply to UM

The Common Application will be available starting Aug. 1 for those students applying to the University of Mississippi. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – Students applying to the University of Mississippi will have the ability to do so through The Common Application, an online college application platform that serves and supports more than 3 million applicants, teachers and counselors across the United States and around the world every year.

In addition to providing a single online application and 24/7/365 support for all students applying to member colleges and universities, the Common App connects applicants to financial aid and scholarship tools, digital portfolios, virtual mentors, a Virtual Counselor and a library of resources for counselors, advisers and recommenders working with students to complete their college applications. It now also includes Spanish language translations.

Starting Aug. 1, the Common App will be available to students applying to Ole Miss.

“The user-friendly interface of the Common Application will allow more prospective students to learn about the University of Mississippi and apply to be a part of our incredible community,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs. “By leveraging this enrollment tool, we hope to broaden our reach in order to recruit students who may not have been aware of the outstanding academic programs, dedicated faculty and staff, or our beautiful campus here at Ole Miss.”

Common App makes the application process, including fee waiver, more efficient. As a member university, UM will reach students who may not have otherwise considered the institution. One-third of the more than 1 million Common App applicants are the first in their family to pursue a college degree.

“The diversity of our membership is one of our greatest strengths,” said Jenny Rickard, president and CEO of The Common Application. “Through membership with The Common Application, the University of Mississippi has demonstrated a shared commitment to pursuing access, equity and integrity in the college admission process. Thanks to our members, all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to easily apply to the college or university that will help them achieve their best future.”

Students can create a Common App account now because their account will roll over from year to year. Beginning this year, Common App members will also begin using the newly introduced Common App for transfer, a separate application designed exclusively to meet the needs of transfer and adult student populations.

About the University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university. Included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, it has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics and business. With nearly 24,000 students, Ole Miss is the state’s largest university and is ranked among the nation’s fastest-growing institutions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school, nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy, and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

For more information about UM, visit https://admissions.olemiss.edu/. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About The Common Application

The Common Application is a not-for-profit member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity and integrity in the college admission process. Each year, more than 1 million students, one-third of whom are first-generation, apply to college through the Common App’s online application. Founded in 1975, the Common App serves more than 800 member colleges and universities worldwide.

To learn more, visit commonapp.org, follow @CommonApp and #CommonApp.

UM Hosts Rebel Upward Bound Institute

Program helps 32 students from area schools better understand math

Audra Parsons, a graduate student in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education, instructs RUBI students during a recent classroom session. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss – Thirty-two students from area schools benefited from a new summer math program at the University of Mississippi.

The Rebel Upward Bound Institute, which ran June 1-22, was conducted by UM’s Department of Mathematics and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education. The outreach project, affiliated with the federally funded education program Upward Bound, met on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Jackson Avenue Center, Room B01. Participants were rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors from Bruce, Calhoun City, Coffeeville and Vardaman high schools.

“The program was created for underserved communities to have an opportunity to expand their understanding of mathematics,” said Audra Polk of Mobile, Alabama, a master’s student in the CMSE who served as RUBI’s event organizer and an institute instructor. “We are focusing on critical-thinking skills and mathematical perseverance in problem solving, which are important in any higher-level math course.”

Each session focused on a different aspect of mathematical knowledge. Topics included algebra, geometry, probability and statistics.

UM faculty serving as instructors in the program included James Reid, chair and professor of mathematics; Laura Sheppardson, associate professor and associate chair of mathematics; and Thái Hoàng Lê, assistant professor of mathematics and co-lead instructor of the institute. Michael McCrory, an assistant professor of mathematics at Blue Mountain College, was the other co-lead instructor.

“Summer programs like this keep students engaged in math and give them a head start on the fall semester,” said McCrory, who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in mathematics from UM. “We try to keep it fun and engaging while remaining educational.”

The students said they enjoyed RUBI.

“I came because I wanted to begin preparing for college,” said Marissa Petitgout, a sophomore from Bruce High School. “It’s taking me out of my comfort zone. I’m learning how to better work with numbers.”

Tavarius “Bob” Ford, a sophomore at Calhoun City High School, said he sees the program helping him achieve his personal goals one day.

“I want to go to college (on) an athletic scholarship, playing either basketball or football,” Ford said. “Here, I’m learning how to manage money and be more mature. Those skills will definitely be useful when I start my own business in the future.”

Two attendees had participated in a previous Upward Bound program in Coffeeville and joined this summer’s program partly to share what they had learned.

“Without Upward Bound, I wouldn’t have chosen to go to college at all,” said Joshua Bailey, a junior finance major at Jackson State University. “I’m a first-generation college student. Upward Bound changed my life.”

Tonesha Johnson, a recent JSU graduate who earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, agreed.

“Thanks to Upward Bound, I was able to attend and graduate from college debt-free,” she said. “I wouldn’t have known I could even do that without this program.”

 

Seven Inducted into School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame

Ole Miss graduates honored for teaching, service and leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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