Music Students, Faculty Stand Out at Regional Competition

UM well-represented in final rounds of the National Associate of Teachers of Singing event

Among the group performing ‘Master Class’ at this year’s NATS competition are (from left) Erik Gudiel, Patricia O’Neill and Sandra Moon of Louisiana State University; Nancy Maria Balach and Amanda Johnston of UM; Susan Ruggiero from the University of Southern Mississippi; and Kyle Davis, a UM alumnus on the faculty at the University of Alabama. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Several University of Mississippi students fared well in the recent 2017 National Association of Teachers of Singing Southern Regional Competition in Hattiesburg, which draws voice teachers and students from universities, high schools and private studios in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Senior music major Lacey Hindman was a finalist and placed third in her category, Senior Women.

“I felt accomplished,” said Hindman, of Atoka, Tennessee. “Senior Women has always been filled with amazing talent and tough competition.”

Of more than 50 competitors in Hindman’s category, only 19 advanced to the semifinals and only five qualified for the finals.

“I cannot express the amount of support I have from the amazing music faculty,” Hindman said, crediting associate professors Nancy Maria Balach and Amanda Johnston with preparing her for the performance.

Balach noted how hard-working and dedicated Hindman is to her craft, saying that Hindman is the “whole package” when it comes to musical talent.

Six other music majors were semifinalists in their respective categories. They are: master’s students Melanie Culhane, from Cordova, Tennessee, and Caitlin Richardson, from Mahomet, Illinois, in the Younger Advanced Women category; Madilyn Morris, a freshman majoring in music from Pheba, Freshman Women category; Lawson Marchetti, a freshman music major from Jackson, Freshman Men category; Carley Wilemon, a sophomore music major from Aberdeen; Sophomore Women category; and Jocelyn Sanabria, a senior music major from Atoka, Tennessee, Senior Women and Upper College Music Theatre Women categories.

Lacey Hindman, a senior music major at UM, was a finalist in her division, Senior Women, and placed third overall at the 2017 NATS Southern Regional Competition. Submitted photo

Besides several student competitors, Ole Miss had three faculty members from the Department of Music serve as judges: Balach, Brad Robinson and Jos Milton, all associate professors. Cynthia Linton, an emerita faculty member, also helped judge the competition, and Johnston served as a collaborative pianist for the competition.

The competition provides many opportunities for the student performers, Balach said. They get to see how they stack up against other singers at their level, receive feedback from other teachers and get an opportunity to network.

“I am extremely proud of all of our students. They represented themselves and our university with great artistry, confidence and poise,” Balach said.

Several UM faculty members, students and alumni also were invited to perform the Tony Award-winning play “Master Class” at this year’s NATS competition. This production was a collaborative effort with Sandra Moon and Patt O’Neill, faculty members from Louisiana State University; Susan Ruggiero, a faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi; and Kyle Davis, a UM alumnus who is on the faculty at the University of Alabama.

The show featured Balach and Johnston, along with student performers Culhane, Hindman and Sanabria.

The play was selected as a showcase event for this year’s competition after its October 2016 production with LSU and Theater Baton Rouge. It was produced by Ole Miss’ Living Music Resource, an effort to produce an online library of interviews and music, led by Balach and partially funded by a Southeastern Conference Travel Grant.

UM Launches New Bachelor of Economics Degree

University is the sole state institution to offer program

Thomas Garrett, associate professor of economics, is the director of the new Bachelor of Science in Economics program at the University of Mississippi. Staff photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications.

OXFORD, Miss. – Two years in the making, a new Bachelor of Science in Economics degree program is being offered at the University of Mississippi.

The only one of its kind in Mississippi, the program was approved recently by the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. Expected to enroll a minimum of 90 students over a six-year period, the program uses existing economics and mathematics courses, with the former being designated as requirements for the B.S. rather than as electives for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

Thomas Garrett, associate professor of economics and program coordinator, said he was “quite pleased” when he received news of the IHL approval.

“Only four other universities in the SEC offer the B.S. in economics,” Garrett said. “Now, the University of Mississippi will be in a position to compete for the best students looking to pursue a technical degree in economics.

“The program will enhance the reputation of the Department of Economics and the College of Liberal Arts.”

The approval process involved establishing a curriculum that will provide students with a technically comprehensive background that will both increase their probability of acceptance into graduate school as well as successfully completing a graduate degree in economics. Completion of the program will require 120 credit hours and involve all faculty teaching existing courses.

No additional cost is associated with the program and funding will come from enrollment revenue.

The new degree program is a welcome addition to the department, said John Moen, chair and professor of economics.

“The new degree will give technically advanced students the chance to display their skills,” Moen said. “It will help those students who want to go to graduate school in economics or seek employment in high-tech industries.”

The new degree program is definitely an asset to the College of Liberal Arts, Dean Lee Cohen said.

“We are pleased to be able to offer our students interested in the field of economics a new degree option,” Cohen said. “As the only B.S. degree housed in a social science department at the University of Mississippi and the only B.S. degree in economics in Mississippi, this program will help to prepare future professionals and leaders who possess a strong foundation in the sciences and mathematics.

“Given the greater quantitative emphasis of the B.S. degree, I believe this path will better prepare our students who wish to pursue graduate training in the field.”

Matt O’Keefe to Head UM Center for Manufacturing Excellence

Veteran administrator assumes duties in January, envisions growth and expansion

Matthew J. O’Keefe has been hired as executive director of UM’s Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Submitted photo by Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T

OXFORD, Miss. – With decades of professional and research experience, Matthew J. O’Keefe has been named the new executive director of the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi.

A native of Rolla, Missouri, O’Keefe assumes his duties Jan. 1. Besides administrative oversight of personnel, facilities and operations, he is responsible for leading the center’s academic unit, including curriculum development; providing leadership and strategic guidance for the center; and developing relationships with industry and within the university to enhance opportunities for students and faculty.

“I was very honored and grateful for the opportunity to be associated with such an outstanding program and university,” said O’Keefe, who earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees, both in metallurgical engineering, from Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Illinois, respectively.

William Nicholas, assistant director of the university’s Insight Park who chaired the search committee, shared how important it was to find someone of O’Keefe’s caliber to lead the center.

“Matt O’Keefe brings exceptional experience and skills to ensure that the CME continues developing synergies with the business community resulting in long-term economic impact,” Nicholas said.

O’Keefe began his career as a manufacturing engineer at AT&T Microelectronics. He transferred to AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he conducted applied research and development for manufacturing locations.

He earned his doctorate while working for the Air Force Research Laboratory and continued in-house research and program management before taking a faculty position at his undergraduate alma mater.

Before joining UM, O’Keefe was an academic department chair, a research center director and the assistant vice chancellor supervising the campus distance education program at Missouri S&T.

“In many ways, each of these positions have prepared me to lead CME,” O’Keefe said. “I applied for the position for many reasons, but the main one was that it is a unique program that provides an opportunity for students in accountancy, business and engineering to learn and work together in an area of national need: manufacturing.

“The curriculum that CME students experience provides a breadth to their major degree program that prepares them to have successful careers and enhance the manufacturing industry.”

O’Keefe’s goals include augmenting the existing program by increasing undergraduate student participation and developing a graduate program focused on helping develop the local, state and national manufacturing professional workforce.

“People are the most important asset of any organization, and for educational institutions it is the success of students that is paramount,” he said. “To achieve student success and grow the undergraduate program, as well as initiate a graduate program, will take additional staff and faculty along with keeping the facilities state-of-the-art.”

UM administrators are pleased to welcome O’Keefe to the university.

“Dr. O’Keefe is an accomplished engineering faculty member and administrator who brings valuable perspectives to the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academics. “We are fortunate to have him as the leader of this center, which has outstanding faculty and staff. We look forward to the CME reaching the next level of success under his leadership.”

A recognized asset for the growth of advanced manufacturing in Mississippi, the CME was established in June 2008 to provide unique opportunities for students interested in manufacturing. The opportunities developed are considered distinctive to the center and are not available to undergraduate students at other universities.

The CME is developing interdisciplinary educational opportunities within an innovative academic learning model that provides students with the practical experiences, fundamental knowledge and creative skill sets needed to lead the world of modern manufacturing.

UM Community Called to Bless Books and Bears

Donations sought for 20th annual distribution for children of Facilities Management employees

Associate Provost Don Cole, standing, calls the numbers of recipients who select items at the annual Books and Bears distribution for UM Facilities Management and custodial employees. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

‘Tis the season to be good and not naughty. It’s time to add a little “ho-ho-ho!” to your “Hotty Toddy.”

Donations for the 20th annual Books and Bears program are being accepted through Dec. 14. Toys and books received by then will be given away Dec. 15 to children of UM Department of Facilities Management and custodial employees.

The distribution will take place at the Gertrude Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. Distribution will start with two books, two bears, one toy and one game in the first round.

Drop-offs can be made at the following locations: third floor of the Khayat Law Center; Graduate School; second floor of Vardaman Hall; first Floor of Ventress Hall; the Office of the Provost in the Lyceum; Howry Hall, Room 308; Hume Hall, Room 305; Farley Hall; the Career Center on the third floor of Martindale Hall; Luckyday Residential College; Department of History in Bishop Hall, Room 310; Lenoir Hall; first floor of Summerville Hall; the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement in Stewart Hall; the Department of English in Bondurant Hall, Room C135; the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education at the Jackson Avenue Center and the first floor of Powers Hall.

“Special thanks go to Kat and Margaret King for their monetary donation of $300 and to Facilities Management for their monetary donation of $654.58,” said Jacqueline Certion, coordinator of enrollment and advising in the Foundations for Academic Success Track Program. “Ole Miss athletics will collect items on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. during the men’s basketball game.”

Emails have been sent to Greek Life, student organizations and first-year students to encourage a stronger participation.

Bicycles are always in high-demand during the Books and Bears distribution each year. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“We are looking forward to an amazing celebration this year,” said Donald Cole, associate provost and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs. “Thank you for having a big, big caring heart and a burning desire to be a blessing to others in your UM family as we enter the holiday season!”

So, be a Santa and not a Scrooge this Christmas. While you’re rushing out to Wal-Mart, Toys ‘R Us, Target or wherever you do your Christmas shopping, pick up an extra bike, doll, teddy bear, computer or board game or book (or two).

Knowing that some child’s Christmas morning will be a lot brighter because you cared enough to support the Bears and Books program should make you feel really good.

UM Museum, Ford Center Host Weekend of Holiday Festivities

Music, activities and a winter wonderland on tap to help families get into the spirit

The Holiday Village, featuring an enchanting array of edible structures, is open Dec. 1-15 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Mississippi Museum have a weekend of fun-filled holiday activities scheduled for the whole family.

The Ford Center invites families to an evening celebrating the holiday season Friday, (Dec. 1) with “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and “Handel’s Messiah.”

Gian Carlo Menotti’s renowned one-act opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” shows how faith, charity, unselfish love and good deeds can produce miracles. The performance is a collaborative project involving alumni, students and community members.

Ole Miss alumnus Paul Gamble will sing “Balthazar” during the performance and university opera theatre and dance students will perform in several roles. Six community guests also will join opera students in the Shepherds’ Chorus, including Oxford dentist Walker Swaney, emeritus music faculty Cynthia Linton, College of Liberal Arts project coordinator Patti O’Sullivan, theatre arts staff member Ed Neilson, alumna Sissy Neilson and Oxford attorney Jim DeLoach.

The second half of the night features “Handel’s Messiah.” The hourlong production includes performances by the UM Choir, a select orchestra and alumni guest artists as soloists, including Allison Stanford, Viola Dacus and Kyle Davis.  The orchestra of professional musicians and students is conducted by Selim Gray, professor of music and orchestra, and UM Choirs, conducted by Don Trott, professor of music and director of choral activities, also will perform.

These performances are made possible through funding by Nancye Starnes and the Kite Foundation.

Tickets for the show are available at the UM Box Office, inside the Ford Center. They are $30 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $26 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels, and $18 for the balcony level. A 20 percent discount is available for Ole Miss faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. Tickets also can be purchased online at

The UM Museum will host a Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day on Saturday (Dec. 2). The drop-in workshop, set for 9 a.m.-noon, will allow participants of all ages to create seasonal art, eat holiday snacks and learn about winter wonders, including holidays from around the world.

The museum also will have a sensory play area for the youngest artists, and all ages are welcome to participate.

Children create their own holiday-inspired art at last year’s installment of the UM Museum’s Santa’s Workshop. Submitted photo

“Santa’s Workshop is one of our favorite events as we celebrate the magic of winter, snow and holidays,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “We also hope to expand our horizons this year and look at what is happening around the world during the winter holidays.”

Santa does not attend the event, but participants can take a Flying Tuk sleigh ride between the museum and the Ford Center’s Holiday Village, a collection of locally-themed gingerbread houses.

“We are so thrilled to have the Flying Tuks partnering for rides to the Holiday Village again, as that was a highlight from last year’s event,” she said.

The museum’s Family Activity Days are sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and the Ignite Ole Miss campaign. For more information about Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day, contact McCauley at To keep up with museum exhibits and upcoming events, visit

The Holiday Village will feature 19 gingerbread houses, made entirely from edible confections. The Ford Center also is adding a miniature Christmas Village to celebrate holiday traditions from around the world.

The village is also open for group reservations, which can be scheduled by contacting marketing director Kate Meacham at 662-915-6502 or

Here is the full schedule of Holiday Village Hours:

Friday (Dec. 1) – 1-7:30 p.m.

Saturday (Dec. 2) and Sunday (Dec. 3) – 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Monday (Dec. 4) – 1-7:30 p.m. Guests can visit the village after the Oxford Christmas parade for hot chocolate.

Tuesday (Dec. 5) through Friday (Dec. 8) – 1-5 p.m.

Saturday (Dec. 9) – 1-5 p.m. The Oxford Civic Chorus will perform at 1 p.m., and Santa will be in the village from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday (Dec. 10) – Noon-3 p.m.

Monday (Dec. 11) through Friday (Dec. 15) – 1-5 p.m.

For more information, visit

Natural Products Center to Collaborate with Beijing Hospital

NCNPR scientists will help with chemistry-related analysis of traditional Chinese medicines

Ikhlas Khan (center), director of the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, meets with officials from Beijing 302 Hospital to sign a memorandum of understanding setting up formal collaborations between the groups. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and Beijing 302 Hospital of China have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the quality of traditional Chinese medicine.

The Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine Beijing, located at the hospital, analyzes traditional medicines taken by hospital patients and screens for any contaminants that may have contributed to a patient’s condition. As per the agreement, NCNPR will use its technology and expertise to help with the chemistry-related needs of this analysis.

“This certainly plays to the strength of our program at NCNPR,” said Ikhlas Khan, the center’s director. “Our experience analyzing complex natural products will allow us to look at the quality of the products used in Chinese medicine.”

Jia-bo Wang, associate director of the hospital’s Institute of Chinese Herbal Medicine, said he is excited to work with NCNPR on the quality control of herbal medicines, new drug development from traditional Chinese medicines and safety assessments, specifically with herb-induced liver injuries.

“We expect many opportunities for collaborative research between us, and have every reason to be hopeful for the future,” Wang said. 

This most recent research collaboration comes just after NCNPR signed an agreement in August with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia that gave the UM center research connections on every inhabited continent. Since 2000, more than 200 visiting scholars have come to NCNPR as part of these research exchanges.

The internationally-renowned National Center for Natural Products Research was founded in 1995 to research, develop and commercialize potentially useful natural products. Based at the UM School of Pharmacy, NCNPR collaborates with academia, government and the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to create natural products that can be used to improve human health and agriculture as crops, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and agrochemicals.

For more information, visit

Dean of Local Photographers to Retire in December

Robert Jordan has shot more than a million photos across his 33-year career

After 33 years of shooting photographs for the university, Robert Jordan is looking forward to a slower pace. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For more than three decades, Robert Jordan has profoundly shaped how the world perceives the University of Mississippi. His photographs have documented the natural beauty of the Oxford campus through all seasons, captured critical moments of thrilling athletic triumphs and conveyed the dedication and achievements of its faculty, staff, students and alumni.

But after shooting more than a million photos, Jordan, director of university photography, is looking forward to a slower pace. He’s retiring at the end of the fall semester and already has a few goals for the coming months.

“I’m looking forward to sleeping late, playing some golf, reading some books and spending time with my wife,” he said. “I’ll always have that itch, and I’ll be taking photographs as long as I’m able, but it will be for fun, not how I make my living.”

University Communications is hosting a retirement reception for Jordan from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 29) in the Farrington Gallery of Bryant Hall. The event is open to the public.

Jordan’s work played a critical role in the university’s rise as a respected public university, Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said.

“I knew at the outset in ’95 that Robert would be a key player in what we were doing here at Ole Miss,” Khayat said. “I knew we had a beautiful campus, attractive people and gorgeous trees and buildings and spaces, and we just needed to show everybody.

“Robert is a gifted artist. He could make that camera talk. He is quiet, unobtrusive, humble, kind and patient. He would take the time to shoot an assignment over and over until he got exactly what we needed, and he made remarkable contributions to the university that will be treasured and studied forever.”

In a field where people frequently change jobs, Jordan has spent virtually his entire professional career at Ole Miss. He graduated in December 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and got a job in Greenville as a photographer at the Delta Democrat-Times.

“Newspaper work is exciting, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my degree,” he recalled.

So barely four months later, when somebody from the UM Department of Public Relations called with the news that Jack Cofield was retiring as university photographer, Jordan jumped at the opportunity to return to his alma mater.

“The thing that’s so cool about being a university photographer is that you never know from one day to the next what you’re going to be doing,” he said. “You may be shooting an event for the chancellor’s office one day and then going into a lab to photograph some researcher’s work the next. And then you may shoot outstanding students right after that.

“The challenge every day is to see the campus with new eyes and see something you’ve never seen before. I still get excited when I see something new.”

Over his 33 years on campus, Jordan has shot an estimated 10,000 assignments and mentored dozens of rising young photographers. Among them are Kevin Bain, who has worked as one of the university’s photographers for 18 years, and Thomas Graning, the department’s newest photographer.

Bain began working for the old Imaging Services Department as a student, answering phones and helping customers with orders.

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat says this 1998 image of him walking with students and staff members is his favorite photo of himself. The photo, shot by Robert Jordan, was distributed statewide by the Associated Press. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“That was back in the film days, and if he saw I didn’t have much to do, he was cool about saying, ‘Here’s a roll of film. Go out and see what you can do,'” Bain said. “I was an English major, and he was really good about showing me how to get different kinds of shots.”

Jordan also befriended Bruce Newman, photographer at the Oxford Eagle for the past 31 years, shortly after he started working for the newspaper.

“He’s always been very helpful to me, whether we’ve been shooting games together or just hanging out talking about photography,” Newman said. “He’s very technically gifted, and he likes to help solve problems and figure out how to get the best shot.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with him, but more importantly I have always valued his friendship.”

During Jordan’s time on campus, advancing technology has dramatically changed how the job is done.

In the beginning, his job was primarily to shoot and develop black-and-white photos to accompany news releases. He took on the task of shooting color for recruiting materials and other publications, and later helped convert the entire operation to digital when that technology replaced film.

He’s also experimented with underwater camera housings, special lenses, infrared film and camera drones to shoot campus scenes and activities.

“I’ve just tried to stay up with the technology and find new ways to capture Ole Miss,” he said. “I feel like I was in the right place at the right time to have a great career. I’ve had fun and most days, I feel like I’ve made a difference.”

Besides shooting assignments, Jordan supervises the department’s other photographers and helps maintain equipment and technology. He also puts those organizational skills to work for the University Photographers’ Association of America, serving on the organization’s board for the last 14 years.

“He’s the best,” said Glenn Carpenter, the association’s president. “He’s been a tremendous asset in helping organize events and programs, and being able to see things clearly and offer advice on how to make them run better.”

Jordan frequently has helped new members become oriented to the group, and also helps fellow members figure out the best way to get difficult shots, Carpenter said. He also has been honored many times for his creativity in the Nikon Shoot-Out, a competition sponsored at the group’s annual convention by the camera maker.

“In our group, Robert has won that contest more than anybody else,” Carpenter said. “He’s that good at taking somebody else’s idea and transforming it into a finished photo.”

Jordan can visualize how a photo will turn out even before shooting a single frame, Bain said.

“He’s one of the best, if not the best, photographers in the South,” he said. “He’s a wizard with light. I can set up lights and flashes to get a good shot, but Robert can always tweak it and make it better. That’s a big part of why his shots look so great.”

Around Oxford, many people know Jordan for this work with Nine Lives Cat Rescue and the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, where he photographs cats available for adoption. Jordan and his wife, Clarissa, have had cats in their home for more than a decade, so this work came naturally, he said.

“Some people are cat people, some people are dog people,” he explained. “I’m a cat person. I don’t dislike dogs; I just like cats better.”

Surprisingly, Jordan’s career almost took a far different path. In his hometown of Ocean Springs, he worked as a bank teller through a high school co-op program, so he initially enrolled at the University of South Alabama to major in banking and finance.

Jordan assembled this photo illustration of UM physicist Luca Bombelli for a story on gravitational physics research at the university. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

But his parents had gotten him a Canon AE-1 as a Christmas gift during his senior year in high school, and he later landed a job at the student newspaper at South Alabama.

“I had a horrible GPA because I was skipping all my business classes to shoot photos,” he recalled. He transferred to Ole Miss as a journalism major and quickly began winning accolades for his work in the department’s annual awards program.

Although he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, who retired seven years ago from the North Mississippi Regional Center, Jordan concedes that he’ll probably be a frequent visitor to campus, and notes that he’s available to help shoot Commencement and special projects.

“I’ll be available, but I’m leaving the office in the capable hands of two fine photographers,” Jordan said. “They’re doing a great job, and I’m going to enjoy watching their work.”

Alice Clark, vice chancellor for university relations, credits Jordan’s longtime leadership at the university for a seamless transition.

“In my 35 years at UM, I have had the privilege of sharing the years with Robert, working with him and watching him as he captured the heart and soul of Ole Miss,” she said. “His images and his talent have been instrumental in communicating to the world about the university’s role in transforming lives. The impact of his work will be felt for decades.”

Josh Magruder Named Counselor of the Year

State association honors UM professor for service

Joshua Magruder

OXFORD, Miss. – Joshua Magruder, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Mississippi School of Educationhas been named Counselor of the Year by the Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselor Association, a division of the Mississippi Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association.

Magruder, interim clinical coordinator at UM’s Clinic for Outreach and Personal Enrichment, or COPE, will be honored in November at the association’s annual conference in Tupelo.

“Josh is a dedicated counselor who spends much of his professional and personal time working to help students and professional counselors,” said Morgan Bryant, the association’s president. “The skills and qualities that make him a fabulous counselor are also the skills and qualities that make him a fabulous professor.

“Joshua has worked tirelessly in the field of counseling, and this is why we chose him for the honor.”

Magruder was selected for the award for his past service to the association, which includes serving as its president and providing board supervision training for counselors, a service that allows early career counselors to earn their independent licenses.

“For me, this is all about service,” said Magruder, a native of Florence, South Carolina. “I am happy that my service has paid off to the point where I’m being honored, but I am more happy that there are good things happening in the world of counseling, and it’s good to be part of that.”

Magruder’s specialties include trauma, psychosis and play therapy, and he is working toward becoming a Registered Play Therapist. Play therapy is a form of mental health counseling that allows children to express their emotions constructively in a playroom setting.

At COPE, he serves as the clinical and administrative leader for the unit that provides a variety of mental health services for community members and training experience for UM counseling students. The clinic serves hundreds of clients from the Lafayette County-Oxford-University community each month.

“I am fortunate to work with great colleagues.” he said. “I love the day-to-day process of training counselors. That’s why I entered the professorate: to help aspiring counselors learn how to develop their skills.”

Magruder holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in counseling and a doctorate in counselor education, all from the UM School of Education. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in Mississippi and is a National Certified Counselor of the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Estate Gift to Benefit UM Patterson School of Accountancy

Major contribution will establish new chair, among other support

Mary and Lucian Minor share a moment during the dedication of Minor Hall in 2013. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A recent $6.3 million gift from the estate of alumnus and University of Mississippi supporter Lucian S. Minor will establish a new chair within the Patterson School of Accountancy while also providing scholarships and supporting the school’s academic programs and activities.

The Lucian S. Minor Chair of Accountancy Endowment will support the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty to ensure that quality teaching, research and service will be available for generations of UM students, Dean Mark Wilder said.

“We are extremely grateful to Lucian Minor for his foresight to include the Patterson School of Accountancy in his estate planning,” Wilder said. “The generosity of Mr. Minor will enable us to ensure a quality education for students through scholarships, faculty support and operating funds for our program.

“We are honored to have the Lucian Minor name and legacy forever associated with the Patterson School of Accountancy.”

Planned gifts award donors membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university welcomed its first students. The society recognizes those who thoughtfully provide for the university through bequests and deferred gifts.

Minor’s gift also establishes the Lucian S. Minor Accountancy Endowment, which will provide funds for academic programs and activities, and supplements the existing Lucian S. Minor Scholarship in Accountancy Endowment, established by Minor and his wife, Mary, in 1998.

“He was a remarkable individual whom I was very proud to have known well for many years,” said Larry Hardy, of Memphis. Hardy earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ole Miss in 1968 and a master’s degree in accountancy in 1969. Minor hired Hardy to work for him at Ernst & Young right out of college.

“To have worked with him and then to have known him personally after working with him … he just became a really good friend,” Hardy said. “I was so pleased that he chose Ole Miss and the School of Accountancy to be the beneficiary of his will.”

A UM residence hall bears the Minor name – an honor awarded the couple in 2013 to acknowledge their generous and continued financial support.

“I’ve enjoyed my relationship with Ole Miss for many, many years,” Minor said at the time. “Many of the courses I took at Ole Miss contributed to my success in the business world, particularly the accounting field.

“I’m glad to share some of my success. Hopefully, some needy students will benefit from our gifts.”

Minor graduated from Ole Miss in 1937 with a degree in accounting. He was recruited by General Mills Inc. to join the company’s internal audit staff in Minneapolis, where he worked until beginning his service in the U.S. Navy in 1942.

He was stationed with Douglas Aircraft Co. in Los Angeles as a cost inspector and passed the CPA exam during his enlistment.

Minor was discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1946 and opened his own accounting firm in Memphis. During the next 20 years, his firm, Minor and Moore, grew to be the city’s largest accounting firm. In 1969 he merged his firm with the international accounting firm of Ernst & Ernst and became partner in charge of the Memphis office until his retirement in 1978.

He was inducted into the Patterson School of Accountancy’s Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

He served as a mentor to young professionals such as Hardy all his life.

“I’m glad now to see his name around campus on the building and on the scholarships that have been given out every year and soon to be associated with the chair of accountancy,” Hardy said. “I’m very pleased that he was able to do all that and pleased that he did it.”

Minor’s nephew Jim Moore, of Memphis, said his uncle’s decision to give back to the university likely stemmed from his upbringing.

“He came up during the Depression, so he was able to go to college when it wasn’t easy, and he knew how his own education helped him in his life and career,” Moore said. “He always had a strong desire to help people who wanted to get an education and improve themselves.

“He was very supportive of those who really wanted to work to get ahead. Also, he loved the accounting profession and was very dedicated to that.”

Moore said Minor enjoyed watching Rebel football, playing golf and entertaining friends while hunting quail and other game birds at his family’s Circle M. Ranch near Macon, his hometown, and later at his farm, “the Old Rainey Place” near Blue Mountain. Additionally, he was a member of Menasha Hunting and Fishing Club in Arkansas for more than 50 years and the Memphis Hunt and Polo Club.

“Private giving from extraordinary alumni and supporters like Lucian Minor is so vital to ensuring the margin of excellence for which our university has become renowned,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “We are very appreciative of Mr. Minor’s generous gift, which will have a tremendous impact upon our highly-ranked Patterson School of Accountancy.

“It will help maintain accountancy’s stellar academic profile and accelerate its path of excellence, as well as extend Mr. Minor’s legacy.”

For information on including the university in long-term estate and financial plans, alumni and friends can visit or contact Sandra Guest, UM Foundation vice president, at 662-915-5208 or

UM Alumna Clara Turnage Receives Chronicle of Higher Education Award

Former DM editor honored for excellence in her in-depth and breaking news coverage

Clara Turnage

OXFORD, Miss. – Clara Turnage, an alumna of the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, received The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2017 David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists, a $3,000 prize given to the publication’s top intern each year.

Turnage, a New Hebron native, began interning for the Chronicle shortly after graduating in May. She was recognized for her breaking news coverage of the violence at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, her in-depth coverage of the firing of Texas A&M University’s provost and an article she wrote about mental health challenges faced by international students on U.S. campuses.

She said she worked with other accomplished interns from around the country and was surprised to receive the award.

“Many of their interns come from Ivy League schools and have had multiple professional internships before this one,” she said. “It was an honor to work with the reporters and editors at the Chronicle, but receiving the Miller Award is just incredible.”

Turnage developed her passion for education reporting because of its importance in Mississippi. This led to her to initially seek the internship at the higher education newspaper earlier this year.

“I believe it is incredibly important to a state like Mississippi, where there are fewer large cities or economic drivers to lure big businesses, jobs and opportunities,” Turnage said. “The more educated the population is, the more our students and youth can achieve, which in turn benefits our state. If we wish to lower poverty rates, I think education is a good place to start.

“I knew that, at the Chronicle, I would get to provide articles that mattered to readers who cared. I thought them a little out of my range when I first applied, and I was incredibly honored to join their intern team over the summer.”

Turnage said she enjoyed her time interning for the publication, where other reporters and editors created a learning work environment and offered feedback and new perspectives. She said her experience covering the events in Charlottesville, while scary, gave her a journalistic focus that she credits to her time at The Daily Mississippian.

“It was a joy to watch Clara blossom as a young journalist in her four years at The Daily Mississippian,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media at the UM journalism school. “She learned so much from the student editors who mentored her.

“Clara won top awards for her leadership as editor-in-chief, and for news reporting, feature writing, enterprise reporting, op-ed column writing and in-depth projects. She did stunning work that had a major impact on this campus and community. She worked hundreds of hours each semester, while at the same time maintaining a high GPA in her rigorous journalism and computer science classes.”

Turnage is telling important Mississippi stories as the education reporter for The Natchez Democrat. She primarily covers elementary and high school, while still covering higher education.

For more information about The Chronicle of Higher Education and Turnage’s work, visit