Faulkner Stories Selected for 2018 UM Common Reading Experience

Incoming students to read selections this summer

OXFORD, Miss. – Ten selected short stories of a University of Mississippi alumnus and one of the most acclaimed American authors of the 20th century will be the focus of the university’s 2018 Common Reading Experience. 

The Common Reading Experience will showcase Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner’s short stories, many of which are set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. All incoming Ole Miss freshmen and transfer students will get the collection of short stories with instructions to read selections before the fall semester begins.

Instructors will utilize the texts in their classes, and faculty and staff are also encouraged to read the works.

A committee of faculty, staff and students chose 10 thought-provoking stories, said Stephen Monroe, chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and of the Common Reading Experience Steering Committee.

“In reading the stories together, our community will engage invigorating themes and Mississippi realities,” Monroe said. “Before Faulkner became a Nobel laureate, he was a member of the university community, as both a special student and staff member.

“Everyone affiliated with UM should read at least a little Faulkner. I’m pleased that we’ll have that opportunity this fall.”

Faulkner studied at the university and wrote many literary classics at his home, Rowan Oak, which sits on 32 acres off Old Taylor Road. He lived and worked there from 1930 until his death in 1962.

In 1972, his daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers, sold the house to the university to secure it as a place for people to learn about her father and his work.

When the Common Reading Experience was created in 2012, the founders had envisioned focusing on a Faulkner work one year. This year, the committee worked with Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies, to choose several short stories from the “Collected Stories of William Faulkner,” which students will all receive. 

The CRE subcommittee met recently and selected the following stories for participants to read:

  • “Barn Burning”
  • “Two Soldiers”
  • “Shall Not Perish”
  • “A Rose for Emily”
  • “Hair”
  • “Dry September”
  • “Uncle Willy”
  • “Mule in the Yard”
  • “That Evening Sun”
  • “The Brooch”

Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” was the 2017 CRE selection. Previous selections include “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by UM professor Tom Franklin, “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan and “The Education of a Lifetime,” a memoir by Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat.

The Common Reading Experience is designed to acclimate new students to the academic life of the university, said Leslie Banahan,  assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and co-chair of the CRE selection sub-committee. 

“At its best, the Common Reading program helps us build a learning community and provides opportunities for discussion centered around one book,” Banahan said. “Reading is at the core of the college experience; what better way for a new student to begin his or her college career than by reading a great work of literature such as short stories written by Faulkner?”

For more information on the Common Reading Experience, go to http://umreads.olemiss.edu/.

Ole Miss Outdoors’ Dog Sledding Trip a Howling Good Time

Excursion to Ely, Minnesota, also includes visit to International Wolf Center

Dog sledding in Ely, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Logan Vaughan

It’s my first time dog sledding, and I’m standing on a platform, bundled up like a polar explorer and holding onto a bar behind a sled while five Canadian Inuit dogs eagerly wait to hear “Ready, hike!”

Most people think of “Mush” as the command for dog sledding. But “Ready, hike!” is better. “Ready” gets the dogs’ attention. Whether they’re chewing on a paw or socializing with one other or peeing on a bush, they stand at attention as soon as they hear that word.

The dogs react to “Hike” like racers when the starting pistol is fired. They take off and pull the sled up and down trails in snowy woods of pine and spruce. I’m just along for the ride.

A dog-sledding trip to Ely, Minnesota, was organized by Ole Miss Outdoors, a program of the Department of Campus Recreation. The nine-day trip, Jan. 12-20, cost only $600 per person, thanks to the planning of trip leaders-graduate students-intrepid adventurers Francis Liaw and Alison Walker.

Twelve of us, mostly Ole Miss undergraduate and graduate students, went on this adventure. And it was an adventure. To get to Ely, which is 1,148 miles and almost a 22-hour drive from Oxford – you’re practically in Ontario, Canada – we traveled in two Ole Miss SUVs and stayed in unique Airbnbs along the way.

People in Wisconsin and Minnesota seemed both baffled and tickled that a group from Mississippi traveled so far up north in the winter, and everyone we met was friendly and hospitable. One morning, we stopped for breakfast at the Milk Jug Cafe in Ontario, Wisconsin. There, a local named Tor Edess told us that he lived in the town because he had run out of money during vacation and never left. He handed out a business card that read “Tor Edess Music Co.: Live Country Music, ‘for weddings & funerals & most other events in between.'”

When we reached Ely, snow was falling heavily and covering the roads. One student from a Mississippi town commented that he had never seen this much snow. The cabin we stayed in, part of Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, was comfortable and cozy. Besides several bedrooms, it had one big dining table that seated all 12 of us, a great room with a gas fireplace, and modern kitchen and bathrooms.

We met our main guides, Isaak Ridge and Joe Gleiter, who were not only there for the dog sledding but also checked to make sure we had appropriate clothes, brought and made breakfast and dinner for us (including special meals for the vegetarian among us), as well as shared the meals with us each day.

Isaak loves to talk about everything and anything, and Joe is a mellow surfer-type dude from Illinois who loves salsa at every meal. He also enjoyed snow cream for the first time, which some of our group prepared one night, and we all wondered if snow cream is a Southern specialty since those among us from outside the South had never heard of it. We also met an unexpected guest, Kayuk, one of the sledding dogs, who enjoyed being petted and exploring the cabin.

Before leaving the cabin on the first day of dog sledding, we went over the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of driving a dog team, such as “DO stand firmly on the brake when stopped or your team may take off without you” and “DON’T panic if you lose the sled – yell “LOOSE SLED” and the guides will get it.” Besides “Ready, hike,” we also learned the all-important “Whoa,” as well as “Gee” (go right) and “Haw” (go left).

We then dressed for the -4 degrees Fahrenheit weather (we were lucky since the temperature had dropped to -30 the week before) and went to the dog kennel. I carried my phone to take photos, but I guess it wasn’t made to function in subzero temperatures. It immediately froze and turned off.

Front row: Wintergreen guides Joe Gleiter (left) and Isaak Ridge, and Ole Miss dog sledders Alison Walker, Rachel Whitehorn, Benita Whitehorn, Logan Vaughan, Pete Dawkins and Sarah Pringle; back row: Noah Allen, Lilli Gordon, Johnathan Taylor, Ashleen Williams, Francis Liaw and Tyler Tyree

At the kennel, we were asked to set up six dog sleds (two drivers each), harness our dogs and then hook them up on a line in front of the sled. For me, this was the hardest part! All these dogs love people, but they didn’t necessarily love one another. Sometimes, we had to pull at the dogs to keep them from fighting each other. It took about an hour, but my sled partner and I were ready with lead dogs Gabe and Millie, swing dog Inuk and wheel dogs Mudro and Okra, as were the other members of the group with their sled-dog teams, and our guides, who were traveling on cross-country skis.

(Note: While Siberian Huskies are known as the fastest sled dogs and are the breed of choice for racers, these handsome, thick-furred Canadian Inuit dogs are known as hardworking. Also, we were told to pair male and female dogs on the line since the males tend to fight and the same goes for the females.)

What a scenic and crazy ride. We rode through miles of wooded trails. Sometimes it was peaceful, and I could just enjoy the beauty of the surrounding northern woods, part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness*, made up of more than a million acres of wilderness and waterways. Other times, I felt like I was in a Space Mountain-type bumper car without a seatbelt when the sled would careen off a tree and/or the sled would tilt, and I’d have to lean the other way or go flying off – that was scary.

When going up steep hills, my sled partner or I would lessen the load for the dogs by jumping off the sled. Whenever it was my turn, I’d usually fall, and it was hard to stand back up and keep up with the sled while wearing heavy clothes and boots in powdery, foot-deep snow. Sometimes we went downhill, including one time when we had to duck to avoid an overhanging tree branch (and a major concussion).

More often than not, when we stopped, our dogs literally HOWLED with impatience. We would then pet and praise them to calm them down. They all have endearing personalities and habits. Inuk was steadfast and calm, for instance, while Mudro likes to bury his face in the snow any chance he gets.

We stopped for a campfire lunch, which also gave the dogs a chance to rest. We gathered twigs for the fire, and the guides cooked sugar-cinnamon bagels in a skillet and handed out cups of cocoa, frozen cheese sticks, meat sticks and Snickers bars. It was hard, if not impossible, to unwrap the snacks while wearing thick woolen mittens and outer mitts, but my hands instantly became red and frozen when I took the mittens off. That was the coldest part of the trip, just sitting still.

Toward the end of the day, we rode on the vast, frozen White Iron Lake. At one point I jumped off the sled and tried to walk a while and realized it would be frightening to have to walk across this lake alone, battered by snow, wind and cold, trundling along in my heavy boots and clothes. It wasn’t like a walk in the park. It was more like a walk in a frozen desert. Dog sledding is truly useful for those who live in harsh winter climates.

Just past sunset, we finally unharnessed the dogs and leashed them at a wooded spot down the hill from our cabins in the dark. We put out hay for them to lie on and gave them food and water. 

Back at the toasty warm cabin, I don’t think I ever appreciated warmth, food and sleep as much as I did that night.

The next day, after breakfast, we went out on our second dog-sledding adventure. Unlike the previous cloudy day, this day was sunny and several degrees warmer. In fact, it got up to 14 degrees, the same temperature as Oxford that day.

Video by Lilli Gordon

During another campfire lunch, the dogs lay down in the snow and napped peacefully. We went on a different, even more challenging but fun trail that included a long downhill run. I was getting the hang of this dog sledding thing. It was only when all the dogs were back at the kennel that I realized that I’d only known them for such a short time and I’d miss them.

The day didn’t end there, though. The end of a dog sledding trip at Wintergreen includes an “optional” activity. We put on our bathing suits and socks and went into a very hot sauna, six at a time. Then when we felt like we might faint, we ran down a hill and jumped in icy water, cut out with a chainsaw. It sounds crazy, but all 12 of us did it, and it truly did feel exhilarating.

The next day, we all received diplomas for completing our dog-sledding adventure. Then we packed up and left for the International Wolf Center, also in Ely, where we stayed overnight and were able to watch a pack of “ambassador” wolves in a wooded enclosure though an observation window, as well as learn all about wolves through the center’s educational program.

The following day, we headed home, staying at two Airbnb houses along the way in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and St. Louis, and we made it back to Oxford’s balmy 40-degree weather. On a trip like this, we all got to learn a bit about one another, had a lot of laughs and shared an unforgettable trip. We even learned a secret handshake, but I can’t tell you what it is because it’s secret.

More about Ole Miss Outdoors

Past weeklong Ole Miss Outdoors trips have including backpacking in the Grand Canyon, skiing and snowboarding in the Colorado Rockies, kayaking and snorkeling in the Florida Keys, and another dog sledding trip in Canada. OMOD also schedules daylong and weekend hiking, caving, rock climbing and whitewater rafting trips as well as other types of trips.

For a spring 2018 schedule and more information about Ole Miss Outdoors, go to https://campusrec.olemiss.edu/ole-miss-outdoors/.

*On our first night in Ely, some of us attended an environmental lecture about efforts to save the Boundary Waters from being poisoned by sulfide-ore copper mining. For more information about that effort, go to https://www.savetheboundarywaters.org/.

Benita Whitehorn is an assistant director/editor in University Communications.

UM Makes Kiplinger’s ‘Best Values’ List for Fifth Year

State's flagship university among nation's Top 100 public institutions

The University of Mississippi is ranked No. 75 on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s top 100 best values in public colleges list for 2018. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications.

OXFORD, Miss. – For the fifth straight year, the University of Mississippi has been named among the nation’s best values in higher education. The editors of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine placed UM on its “Top 100 Values in Public Colleges” list for 2018.

The university was ranked No. 75, a jump of 13 spots from the 2017 list. It is the only public institution in Mississippi to be named a “Best Value.”

“We are committed to offering outstanding academic programs and to helping students succeed while keeping tuition affordable,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our inclusion on this list, for the fifth year, is a testament to the commitment of our faculty and staff to meet these goals.”

Kiplinger’s process in naming Best Values relies on measurable criteria, such as student-faculty ratios, admissions rates, on-time graduation rates, sticker price and financial aid. Non-U.S. schools and specialty schools, such as military academies, medical specialty schools and art schools, are not included.

“Our rankings, which weight affordability alongside academic quality, are a great resource for students and their parents when sorting through college choices,” said Mark Solheim, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “We start with a universe of nearly 1,200 schools and trim the list using measures of academic quality.

“We then rank the schools based on cost and financial aid data. All 300 schools on our list are worth a look.”

For more information on the Kiplinger’s reports, visit https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php.

Finance Executive Mentors Students to Land Jobs with Personal Approach

Blair Bingham returns to UM this month to present tips for acing job interviews

Blair Bingham

OXFORD, Miss. – Finance executive Blair Bingham returns to the University of Mississippi this month to educate, inspire and direct students on how to develop and tell their story to stand out in the job interview process.

Bingham will speak on this approach at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Conner Hall, Room 113, and at 11 a.m. Feb. 23 in Holman Hall, Room 30. All Ole Miss students are welcome to attend.

Bingham, chief financial officer for the Alabama Housing Finance Authority, helps college graduates develop their personal story for use in interviews. He guides clients through a process of examining their college and high school experiences to identify skills employers are looking for in job candidates.

He visited Ole Miss in September 2017 at the invitation of the business school’s advisory board, and his presentation was well-received. His talk last year was titled “Your Story and How It Gets You Hired,” and he received rave reviews from students who attended.

“More lectures like this one would be very helpful, not just for a business major, but for all majors, because it is beneficial for everyone to have good interviewing skills,” wrote one student in his/her evaluation.

“We are excited that Blair Bingham is coming back to enrich our students’ understanding and abilities in their career preparation,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “Our students greatly benefit from Blair’s expertise and enthusiasm, and we are glad that he will continue to add value to our efforts in careers and job placement.

“The business school is delighted to offer all UM students the opportunity to benefit from Blair’s knowledge and wisdom.”

Developing a personal story to prepare for interviews is a solid approach for graduates in all fields, not just business, Bingham said.

“Every graduate entering the workforce has a story to tell: their own story,” he explained. “That story is much more than reciting a resume. This hour is designed to show how to take your own experiences and make you a much more attractive candidate in the interview.”

Bingham earned a bachelor’s degree accountancy and a Master of Business Administration from Millsaps College. He lived in Jackson for 37 years, working in finance for the Mississippi Home Corp., WorldCom and Regions Bank.

While serving as the CFO of Mississippi Home Corp. for 10 years, Bingham interviewed numerous candidates for corporate positions. This experience led to an avocation in mentoring and coaching students to enter the work force quickly and with great success.

“We know we have a great product in graduates and we want to help land their dream job,” said Melanie Dowell, president of the Business Advisory Board. “The board established several outreach programs we call ‘Rebel Connect’ to help connect our graduates land their dream jobs.

“Through the devotion to Rebel Connect board members Bill Andrews and Stan Viner, we have launched what we expect to be a very integral part of our students’ career paths.”

Overby Center Begins Spring Program Series

First panel discussion Feb. 20 focuses on the integration of churches in Jackson

Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center, will speak on several panel discussions this spring. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics will host several discussions and lectures this spring, beginning with a discussion Tuesday (Feb. 20) about a campaign 50 years ago to integrate churches in Jackson.

The panel discussion “Integrating God’s House” will feature Carter Dalton Lyon, author of “Sanctuaries of Segregation: The Story of the Jackson Church Visit Campaign,” Ole Miss graduate Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center, and Warren Black, retired pastor of Oxford-University United Methodist Church.

Lyon explored the topic as a graduate student several years ago while working on his dissertation, which turned into a book last year. His research concentrates on civil rights activists from Tougaloo College and their mission to integrate Methodist churches in the 1960s because they believed the national denomination of the church would not approve of segregation.

Overby was in high school in Jackson during this time and witnessed attempts to integrate his church where many black people were arrested while trying to worship. Black was known as one of community’s progressive leaders during his time at the church in Oxford.

The schedule also includes other programs that reflect on the racial turmoil in the state in the 1960s, marking the 50th anniversary of many historic dates of the civil rights movement.

“It’s hard to believe it has been 50 years since the tumultuous events of 1968,” Overby said. “Our programs this spring will give us an opportunity to look at the politics of the 1960s and compare it to today.”

All Overby Center events begin at 5:30 p.m., with a reception following. The programs are free and open to the public. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Overby Center auditorium.

Other events in the series are:

March 6 – “Bill Rose Tells All”: Mississippi journalist Bill Rose is retiring after serving as an Overby fellow and journalism instructor at Ole Miss. He will discuss critical news stories and experiences during his long career.

March 28 – “A Conversation About Race”: Gene Dattel, author of “Reckoning with Race: America’s Failure,” and Otis Sanford, former managing editor of The Commercial Appeal and instructor at the University of Memphis, will discuss the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as the 50th anniversary of his death approaches.

April 3 – “Delta Epiphany”: Journalism instructor Ellen Meacham will discuss her new book that suggests Robert F. Kennedy’s politics were changed by his 1967 visit to the Mississippi Delta, where witnessed poverty and hunger. That visit led to his 1968 presidential campaign, during which he was assassinated. Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie, who covered Kennedy’s Delta trip for the Clarksdale Press Register, will join Meacham in the discussion.

April 10 – “Why Debates are Vital”: Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates for the past 30 years, will talk about the importance of debates in modern politics. She played a major role in bringing the 2008 presidential debate to the Ole Miss campus. Brown will be joined by Overby and Wilkie, both of whom covered many debates during their journalism careers.

April 17 – “Tales of Outrageous Injustice”: Radley Balko, investigative reporter with The Washington Post, and Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the UM School of Law, document how questionable testimonies by “expert witnesses” in state courts have sent innocent people to prison in their book “The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist.” They will discuss how institutional racism and inadequate forensic evidence have influenced the judicial system in Mississippi.

Facility Gives UM Tennis Competitive Edge

Hester's major gift to Forward Together campaign helps offset construction costs

Bill Hester (second from right) lettered on the Ole Miss tennis team from 1967 to 1969. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A major gift to the University of Mississippi from attorney Bill Hester, of New Orleans, is helping give the Ole Miss tennis teams a competitive edge.

Hester, who started playing tennis at 6 years old and lettered at Ole Miss from 1967 to 1969, recently donated $100,000 to the Forward Together campaign for Ole Miss athletics. The gift will help offset construction costs associated with the new $11 million indoor tennis facility. 

An earlier $300,000 gift from Louis and Lucia Brandt of Houston, Texas, helped jump-start construction on the 52,000-square-foot, two-story building. Located southeast of the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletic Performance Center on Manning Way, the facility features six indoor tennis courts for practice and competition, grandstand bleacher seating for 300 spectators, fan amenities and a spacious lobby.

“The new indoor facility will help the coaches get better recruits and take this program to a whole different level, which everyone is looking forward to,” said Rebel tennis player Zvonimir Babić, a senior from Zagreb, Croatia.

Billy Chadwick, an Ole Miss Hall of Fame men’s tennis coach and longtime friend of Hester, agrees.

“The sport has grown,” Chadwick said. “The SEC is recognized as the premier tennis league in the nation. This new building will put us now in a position where we are competitive with the top teams in the nation from the facilities standpoint. It’s an absolutely fantastic facility.”

Hester grew up in Jackson, where he won the state high school championship two years in a row. After high school, he enrolled at Ole Miss – also the alma mater of his mother, Rosa, and sister Katie  – where he played freshman and varsity tennis for four years – the last two in the No. 1 position – and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1969.

He served in the U.S. Army almost three years before returning to Ole Miss for law school, receiving his juris doctorate degree in 1974. After law school, he joined The Kullman Firm in New Orleans, where he has practiced labor and employment law for more than 40 years.

Hester continues to play tennis regularly and competes annually in Southern and national tournaments. In fact, he and his late father, International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee W.E. “Slew” Hester, are four-time USTA National Finalists in father-son doubles.

“One of my most favorite tennis stories involves (Ole Miss alumna) Eleanor Shaw and the Hesters,” Chadwick recalls. “Slew used to play mixed doubles with Eleanor and won a Southern mixed doubles championship.

“I will say it was 35 years later when Bill played with Eleanor and again won a Southern mixed championship title, making Eleanor the only player to win a Southern mixed doubles title with both a father and son. The name Hester is synonymous with Mississippi tennis.”

Hester said the sport has changed significantly since his college days.

“Our coach, John Cain, was an All-American running back at Alabama, and at Ole Miss, he was primarily a football coach,” he said. “The so-called ‘minor sports’ of tennis, golf, track and field were all coached by a football coach. That was their sideline.

“Now, these sports have moved into the major category with full-time coaches and full-time assistant coaches, which was unheard of when I was in school.

“It’s much more competitive,” he continued. “In any given year, you’ll have five or six SEC teams in the top 15 of Division I schools. But when I was in college, I think USC won the championship every year that I was eligible to play, but that’s not the case now.

“In the four years that I played, we flew on an airplane one time: to the SEC tournament in Gainesville at the University of Florida. Now the team flies to tournaments and competitions all over the country. It’s totally different; it’s a big deal now.”

Additionally, when Hester played for Ole Miss, tennis was not a scholarship sport. . Now, it’s not only a scholarship sport but the competition is all year; hence, one reason for the new facility.

“By getting the new indoor, we can practice regardless of the weather conditions,” Babić said. “Help from supporters of the Ole Miss tennis program, like Bill Hester, has a tremendous impact on our tennis and actually our lives.

“The whole team is very grateful for the donations, and we hope to cheer our donors with some big wins.”

Chadwick said Hester simply has a giving spirit.

“I’m so glad he’s getting this recognition because it’s really well-deserved – not only for the fact that he gave us a nice gift, but through the years he has been one of those forces that just elevates the program and the entire university.

“I’ll never forget our matches against LSU: Bill and his wife, Lorraine, were always in the stands. It was great to see a smiling face in Baton Rouge and it meant so much to the team. They were, and continue to be, fantastic supporters and outstanding ambassadors for the university.”

To support Ole Miss athletics with a gift to the Forward Together campaign, contact Keith Carter at jkcarter@olemiss.edu, call 662-915-7159 or visit http://givetoathletics.com/forward-together/.

Newell Turner to Receive 2018 Silver Em

UM's highest award in journalism goes to editorial director of Hearst Design Group

Newell Turner

OXFORD, Miss. – Newell Turner, a former University of Mississippi magazine student who rose to become the Hearst Design Group editorial director, will be presented the Silver Em, the University of Mississippi’s highest award in journalism, at a campus event April 18.

Turner is responsible for the collective editorial direction of ELLE DECOR, House Beautiful and Veranda magazines. He served five years as the 22nd editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, and in 2012 under Turner’s leadership, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award for general excellence – the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar – and was a finalist in the category in 2013.

The Silver Em is usually given to a native or resident of Mississippi who has excelled in the field of journalism and media, said Samir Husni, professor and director of the Magazine Innovation Center. Turner was one of his early magazine students.

When Dorothy Kalins, then-editor-in-chief of Metropolitan Home magazine, visited Ole Miss in the mid-1980s, she was impressed by Turner’s passion for the magazine industry.

“Newell, who was in my class, asked her a few questions that left an impact on her,” Husni said. “When she went back, she called and said, ‘Samir, I have an assistant position. I would like to offer it to Newell.'”

Husni said he encouraged Turner to take the job, saying, “If you are going to be in this profession, those opportunities don’t knock twice.”

Turner took the job and eventually became editorial director of the Hearst Design Group, a leader in the publishing world with the development of innovative editorial production models and business strategies across print and digital platforms.

Turner has reported on interior design, architecture, product design and the lifestyles of upscale consumers throughout his 30-plus year career, which has included positions at House & Garden and Metropolitan Home magazines. He was also the founding editor of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens and its sister publications: Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens and Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Southern studies with advanced work specializing in magazine design, all from Ole Miss. Turner is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and a trustee on the board of the New York School of Interior Design.

“The roster of Silver Em honorees ranges from difference-makers at the national level to those who made their home state and communities better places to live and work,” said Charles Mitchell, associate dean of the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “Newell Turner has certainly earned a place in this distinct group.”

The Silver Em award dates to 1958, and recipients must be Mississippians with notable journalism careers or journalists with notable careers in Mississippi.

The April 18 Silver Em event and dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. It coincides with the Magazine Innovation Center’s ACT 8 Experience, set for April 17-20. The theme of the 2018 annual magazine industry conference is “Print Proud, Digital Smart.”



1958 – George W. Healy Jr.

1959 – Turner Catledge

1960 – Kenneth Toler

1961 – John Oliver Emmerich

1963 – George McLean

1964 – William B. Street

1965 – Purser Hewitt

1966 – Hal C. DeCell

1967 – Paul Pittman

1968 – Hodding Carter Jr.

1969 – Willie Morris

1970 – T.M. Hederman Jr.

1971 – Joseph R. Ellis

1972 – Wilson F. Minor

1973 – Mark F. Ethridge

1975 – H.L. Stevenson

1976 – William Raspberry

1977 – Joe L. Albritton

1978 – James A. Autry

1979 – James Nelson

1980 – Mary-Lynn Kotz

1981 – Curtis Wilkie

1982 – Harold Burson

1983 – John O. Emmerich

1984 – Hazel Brannon Smith

1985 – Charles Overby

1986 – W.C. “Dub” Shoemaker

1987 – Charles Dunagin (2)

 – Larry Speakes (2)

1988 – Edward Fritts

1989 – Rudy Abramson

1990 – Hodding Carter III

1991 – James L. McDowell

1992 – Rheta Grimsley Johnson

1993 – Dan Goodgame

1994 – Robert Gordon

1995 – Jere Hoar

1996 – Gregory Favre

1997 – Stephanie Saul

1998 – Lerone Bennett

2000 – Jerry Mitchell

2001 – Bert Case

2002 – Ira Harkey

2003 – Jim Abbott

2005 – Otis Sanford

2006 – Dan Phillips

2007 – Stanley Dearman

2008 – Ronnie Agnew

2009 – Stan Tiner

2010 – Terry Wooten

2011 – Patsy Brumfield

2012 – Greg Brock

2013 – W. Randall Pinkston

2014 – Fred Anklam Jr.

2015 – Bill Rose

2016 – Dennis Moore

Alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. Pens ‘Black Panther’ Superhero Novel

Film is expected to soar at the box office for opening weekend

UM alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. has written a novel for Marvel to reintroduce its 1960s superhero ‘Black Panther,’ the main character in a new blockbuster film.

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi alumnus Jesse Holland Jr. was tapped by Marvel to reintroduce the world to the 1960s “Black Panther” superhero franchise through a new novel ahead of this weekend’s release of the blockbuster film about T’Challa, ruler of Wakanda. 

Holland, a Holly Springs native who graduated from the university in 1994 with a degree in journalism, was tasked in 2016 with retelling the story through a 90,000-word origin story novel based on material in six comics. The goal was to create a new world for the main character, T’Challa, set in modern times.

The novel was released last fall as part of efforts to promote the new $200 million movie, which stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, and features Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o. Rap megastar Kendrick Lamar produced the soundtrack. 

Being asked to write the novel, “Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?” was a dream come true, Holland said. 

“I’ve been reading comic books my entire life,” Holland said. “When I was at Ole Miss, me and my friends would drive from campus all the way to Memphis to comic book shops on Wednesday or Thursday nights when the new ones came out and pick them up. 

“I told Marvel I’d love to take it on and they offered to send me some Black Panther comic books for research, and I said, ‘Don’t bother. I already have them all in my basement right now.”

The movie is poised for a majorly successful box office opening weekend. Drawing attention as one of the first superhero movies to feature a person of color as the main character, it follows the release of “Wonder Woman,” which featured the first female superhero star on the big screen.

Audiences are clamoring for something different from traditional Hollywood superhero movies, and there’s a much broader appeal than normal that is driving the high expectations, Holland said. 

“This is not a recycled superhero story,” he said. “It is not the third different actor playing the same character. This is something that is completely new, completely different as far as superhero movies go.

“One of the things we are going to see behind the success of this character is that we as Americans don’t need to see the same story over and over. We are accepting of new heroes and new mythologies, and in fact we’re more accepting of heroes of all colors and genders. America is ready for a different type of hero.”

In the film, T’Challa returns home to the isolated, but technologically advanced, African nation of Wakanda to succeed the throne that was recently vacated when his father, the king, died. The country is able to be technologically advanced because it’s the only source of an advanced metal known as vibranium.

When another nation attempts to invade Wakanda to take the ultrarare material, T’Challa is forced into a role as his nation’s protector. 

Jesse Holland Jr.

He is a complicated character, Holland said. 

“When people ask me about T’Challa, I tell them to imagine if the president, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the pope were all the same person,” Holland said. “On top of that, he’s a superhero.

“His superhero outfit is bound with vibranium, which makes him almost indestructible. He also takes a special herb that gives him super powers.”

“Black Panther” is drawing high marks from critics. The New York Times called it, “A jolt of a movie,” and said it “creates wonder with great flair and feeling partly through something Hollywood rarely dreams of anymore: myth. Most big studio fantasies take you out for a joy ride only to hit the same exhausted story and franchise-expanding beats. Not this one.”

Over six months, Holland wrote the updated origin story based on a 2005 version.

“It’s actually pretty cool to not have to start from scratch and to take a storyline by an absolutely great writer like Reginald Hudlin,” Holland said. “He based his work (in 2005) on the great work that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby started with.

“To be able to take that work and make it your own and be able to add and subtract and mold it to something you’re happy with is just fabulous.”

Doing this kind of work is nothing new for Holland. Disney Lucasfilm Press commissioned him to write the history of the Star Wars franchise’s newest black hero, “Finn.” He told his story in the 2016 young adult novel “Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn’s Story.”  

He’s also penned award-winning nonfiction. His book “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slavery in the White House” (Lyons Press, 2016) won the 2017 silver medal in U.S. History in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. 

He teaches creative nonfiction writing as part of the Master of Fine Arts program at Goucher College in Townson, Maryland. He is also a race and ethnicity writer for The Associated Press. 

Holland recently saw a screening of the movie, which he said is “fabulous.” He expects the release will create a major payday for everyone involved.

“From everything we’re seeing – all of the sold-out movie theaters, pop-up bars, pop-up art shows and pop-up screenings, it seems like this is going to be a record-breaking weekend for Marvel, and maybe the movie industry,” Holland said. “It’s going to be amazing to see the final numbers.”

Music Professor Returns from Columbia University Fellowship

Thomas Peattie spent fall semester at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America

UM music professor Thomas Peattie attends an event at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America during his fellowship there last fall. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Thomas Peattie, an assistant professor of music at the University of Mississippi, has returned to campus after completing a prestigious fellowship at Columbia University during the fall semester.

Peattie spent the semester at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, part of the university in New York City, which takes scholars from around the world in a variety of fields. The academy’s goal is to “support advanced research in areas relating to Italian culture, science and society,” according to its website.

Peattie, a music historian, was specifically interested in the work of 20th-century Italian composer Luciano Berio, about whom he is writing a book.

“I have always been fascinated by Berio’s practice of taking an existing music work and using it as a point of departure for the creation of an entirely new composition,” Peattie said. “What I continue to find so compelling about this practice is the extent to which these newly fashioned pieces offer a kind of musical commentary on the unrealized potential of the original material.”

During his research, Peattie paid particular attention to Berio’s practice of transcribing the works of other composers, including Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler, which has been largely neglected by scholars, he said. The way in which Berio listened to the music of his predecessors may illuminate more about Berio’s own works, Peattie said.

“This ultimately led me to the conclusion that although these transcriptions rely on an intimate knowledge of an original ‘text,’ Berio’s relationship to these texts is also shaped by an entirely different kind of knowledge, one shaped by the lingering sonic traces of the performed work as remembered and misremembered over the course of a lifetime of listening,” he said.

Peattie described Berio’s impact on modern music as enormous.

“The rich body of vocal, orchestral and chamber music that he created between the mid-1950s and his death in 2003 has played a crucial role in securing his reputation as the most important Italian composer of his generation,” he said. “His works continue to receive frequent performances and have also attracted considerable attention from scholars of 20th-century music.”

Berio’s music has often been described as complex, but this has not prevented it from being accepted or understood even among the most contemporary-averse audiences. This is because Berio’s works “are always informed by conventional categories of harmony and gesture even if they also draw extensively on the advanced musical techniques associated with the postwar avant-garde,” Peattie said.

Outside the academy, Peattie was involved with Columbia’s Department of Music by serving as a guest lecturer at a seminar and giving a talk at the department’s musicology colloquium series. He also was a co-curator of an exhibition at the Italian Academy covering Berio’s relationship with 17th-century Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi; Peattie helped organize a two-day symposium and a concert.

“This experience has already made me a better scholar,” Peattie said after returning to his Ole Miss classroom. “It has given me new ways of thinking about the way in which research is conducted.”

Robert Riggs, chair of the Department of Music, expressed the value of an opportunity to be a guest at another university in addition to being able to spend time free from teaching and service obligations.

“This highly competitive fellowship enabled Dr. Peattie to make significant progress on his new book, and his selection for this honor certainly reflects well on the high quality of research being conducted in our music department,” Riggs said. “Moreover, I anticipate that his future teaching and research will be invigorated by his having been immersed in the vibrant musical culture of New York City.”

Natural Products Center Director Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Ikhlas Khan honored for work to develop standards for dietary supplements

Ikhlas Khan

OXFORD, Miss. – Ikhlas Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, is the winner of AOAC International’s 2018 Harvey W. Wiley Award, which recognizes lifetime scientific achievement.

AOAC International develops global quality standards for microbiological and chemical materials, ranging from food to pharmaceuticals in an effort to ensure public health. Khan, who has been with the university since 1992 and directed the natural products center since 2017, has spent much of his career developing standards for dietary supplements.

“I’m very pleased to receive this award,” Khan said. “AOAC is the top organization for chemical standards, and I appreciate this recognition of my work in this area.”

As part of the honor, Khan will deliver the Wiley Award address and chair the Wiley Award Symposium at AOAC’s annual meeting in August in Toronto.

The Harvey W. Wiley Award has been given to one person a year since 1957, with past recipients including scientists from government, industry and academic institutions from around the world.