Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Honored for 3D Printing Research

Jiaxiang Zhang awarded Best Oral Presentation at annual pharmaceutical meeting

Jiaxiang Zhang

OXFORD, Miss. – Jiaxiang Zhang, a University of Mississippi graduate student in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the annual meeting of the Controlled Release Society in New York City last month.

Zhang’s presentation focused on combining 3D printing with hot-melt extrusion, a process that melts and mixes polymers and drugs into rod-like shapes. Once formed, the rods can be delivered immediately into a 3D printer to create personalized drug dosages in the forms of tablets, capsules and films.

“Without Ole Miss, I wouldn’t have gotten this award,” Zhang said. “I’m thankful that the university has the facility and equipment for these projects and for the unprecedented freedom to explore new ideas, materials and designs.

“This award is not only for me, but also to encourage young scientists who want to help improve the lives of others through this field.”

Mike Repka, Zhang’s adviser and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery, has worked with Zhang for four years on his 3D printing research.

“Jiaxiang delivered an animated, yet clear, presentation that showed his interest in the topic and that he was deserving of this recognition,” said Repka, who is also director of the Pii Center for Pharmaceutical Technology. “His novel ideas have been great for our discussions and presentations at various conferences.”

After earning his pharmaceutical engineering degree from Northwest University in his home country of China, Zhang continues to grow his expertise. He hopes that this award, along with the resources within the School of Pharmacy, will help him solve problems facing the pharmaceutical industry.

“I was excited when I found out I got the award,” Zhang said. “The first thing I thought about was to inform Dr. Repka that our work was being recognized.

“He supported my research and inspired me throughout my study, from the big concepts to every single detail in the research. This affirms our academic efforts.”

Forensic Chemist Named 2018 Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus

Randall Clark earned his doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the School of Pharmacy

Randall Clark

OXFORD, Miss. – Randall Clark, a 1973 University of Mississippi graduate with a doctoral degree in medicinal chemistry, has been named the School of Pharmacy Department of BioMolecular Sciences’ 2018 Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus Award honoree.

Clark earned degrees in both biology and chemistry from Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia, before completing his Ph.D. under the direction of late Ole Miss professor Ronald F. Borne. He has spent his 45-year academic career at Auburn University, where he is a professor of medicinal chemistry, mentoring more than 50 master’s and doctoral students.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for this award,” Clark said. “Just receiving consideration for an award of this magnitude is a significant achievement.

“The previous recipients are all very successful individuals, and many, many very productive and talented people have passed through the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy.”

Clark will deliver the Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus Lecture at 11 a.m. Friday (Aug. 17) in Room 2066 of the Thad Cochran Research Center. His presentation is titled “Forensic Chemistry of New Psychoactive Substances: Regioisomer Differentiation in Cannabinoid, Cathinone and N-BOMe Drugs.”

“It’s a great privilege for our department to be able to recognize our alumni leaders in pharmaceutical sciences with the Joe Sam Distinguished Alumnus Endowment,” said Kristie Willett, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. “Having Dr. Clark back on campus provides our students and current faculty with a unique opportunity to expand their professional network and learn about cutting edge research in medicinal chemistry.”

With a research interest in forensic drug chemistry, Clark has received more than $2.5 million in research funding over the last 10 years from the National Institute of Justice, the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 scientific publications.

Clark has served as the faculty chair of Auburn athletics’ drug testing oversight committee for the last 20 years. His research group has contributed more than 1,000 mass spectra of new druglike substances to the National Institute of Standards and Technology mass spectra database.

He is the recipient of Auburn’s Alumni Professorship, Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship and the Sandra Kent Gilliland and David Louie Gilliland Endowed Professorship in recognition of outstanding research and teaching accomplishments. In 2012, he was awarded a New Zealand Government International Fellowship to present a series of workshops and lectures on forensic drug science.

John Rimoldi, professor of medicinal chemistry and environmental toxicology at the UM School of Pharmacy, served on the award’s selection committee and knew Clark was a perfect fit for the accolade.

“Dr. Clark is most deserving of this award,” Rimoldi said. “He has built a distinguished career at Auburn University and is a leading authority in forensic drug chemistry and analysis. 

“His commitment to student mentoring and graduate education in medicinal chemistry is remarkable and inspiring.”

The award’s namesake, Joseph Sam, was an influential part in educating future scientists in the field of drug development and discovery. He served as one of the first chairs of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, as well as dean of the university’s Graduate School and vice chancellor of research. In honor of his spirit and inspiration, the Joseph Sam Distinguished Alumnus Award was created in 2009.

“Dr. Sam was a constant figure in the labs and other pharmacy facilities,” Clark said. “He took a personal interest in all the graduate students in the program and provided encouragement to everyone. He and the members of the pharmacy family at Ole Miss made my four years in graduate school a most enjoyable experience.”

Alumna Establishes Endowment in Sister’s Memory

Gift will fund scholarships and other assistance for students in School of Applied Sciences

A planned gift from sisters ZonaDale Taylor (left) and the late Bonita Lyons will help support the School of Applied Sciences. Photo courtesy ZonaDale Taylor

OXFORD, Miss. – Bonita Lyons’ giving spirit is evident in the sentiments shared on her Facebook page.

“Hers was a life of purpose disguised as work,” posted Cory Major, who worked with Lyons in her capacity as director of academic status and retention services for the University of Memphis, a position the University of Mississippi graduate held for 16 years until she retired in 2008.

“She drew people to her and they left all the better for having known her. Some may forget what she said and what she did. But she will never be forgotten because of how she made us feel.”

Nyrone Hawkins, a student of Lyons’, wrote: “Doc, you are truly a special lady. Your spirit will always live within me. As I think back over our history together, I am truly blessed. You were the embodiment of Christ’s love. You took young people full of potential and showed them unconditional love … you were the picture of His love to so many of your children.”

Lyons of Memphis, Tennessee, received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education in 1969 from Ole Miss and a doctorate in education from the University of Memphis in 1977. She had no biological children, yet when she died in May 2017, she left a legacy among the young people she mentored and treated as her own, many of whom called her “Mom.”

Her legacy continues at Ole Miss, where generations of students will benefit from a scholarship endowment established in her memory.

With a $100,000 planned gift, Lyons’ sister, ZonaDale Taylor of Collierville, Tennessee, has established the Dr. Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy Endowment. Half the gift creates a scholarship for transfer students pursuing a degree in the UM School of Applied Sciences; the remainder is available as an emergency fund for students facing unforeseen financial crises.

“We always said we would do something together for Ole Miss,” said Taylor who earned a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in home economics at UM in 1961. “You always think you have a lot of time and, although we had never signed an agreement, we had often discussed what we wanted to do.

“After her unexpected death, I wanted to fulfill the actions that we had discussed because our time at Ole Miss was a very important phase in our lives.”

Like her sister, Taylor spent part of her professional career as an educator, teaching at Mississippi State University and later at McNeese State University. Over time, both educators witnessed financial crises among their students.

“My sister often worked with students with limited means who were struggling academically,” Taylor said. “As a result, she started a program early on, where she would pass the hat in the office when somebody couldn’t get a book or needed to pay a fee or had other unexpected expenses.

“Using that example, I’ve requested that Ole Miss use these funds to help those in similar situations who don’t necessarily have the higher grade-point averages. While advising students, we both worked with people who really wanted a degree and whose grades were average because they were either working one or more jobs, or they had children to support and they just couldn’t meet basic needs. They had ability but they just didn’t have much time to study. We discussed this need many times.”

The sisters, who grew up in New Albany, just 30 miles from the Oxford campus, would attribute their philosophy of giving to their parents. For example, their mother always emphasized the importance of helping others and of preparing for life by first obtaining a college degree.

Their father set an example of generosity by planting a larger garden in order to share food with older people in the community.

“We did things very differently, my sister and I, but our final goals were very much the same regarding the importance of education,” Taylor said. “We’ve always tried to provide assistance to the people who need help in attaining an education.”

On completing coursework for her degree from Ole Miss, Taylor had an immediate job offer.

“I was not even able to walk to get my diploma because I had started to work as a home economist for Mississippi Power Co. in Meridian before the ceremony,” she remembered.

“I loved my job. I had a little company car and went to several small towns near Meridian, visiting schools to present programs and also visiting homes to teach people how to use the features of an appliance that they had purchased from the power company.”

In 1964, after almost five years in Meridian, Taylor accepted a position in Birmingham, Alabama, writing articles about household equipment, housing and home furnishings for Progressive Farmer magazine. It was during this time that The Progressive Farmer Co. was developing a new magazine for urban residents, and she became one of the founding editors of Southern Living magazine, which boasts a circulation of 2.8 million.

A few years later she married and joined her husband, Charles, a chemical engineer with PPG Industries, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Taylor began working toward a master’s degree at McNeese State University.

Upon completion of this degree, she was recruited to teach at Mississippi State University, giving her husband an opportunity to pursue a master’s degree at his alma mater.

After completing his degree, the couple returned to Lake Charles, where she joined the Home Economics Department at McNeese and Charles returned to PPG. A few years later, they were transferred to Pittsburgh. There, she became manager of consumer and public affairs for Beecham Products USA, which would later merge with GlaxoSmithKline.

After retirement and 23 years in Pittsburgh, the couple moved to Collierville to be closer to her sister and their aging parents.

“We are deeply grateful to ZonaDale Taylor for her longtime interest in and support of higher education,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “ZonaDale has enjoyed an exceptional career, and we are proud to count her among the esteemed alumni of our great university.

“ZonaDale and Charles’s compassion for students who face financial crises will truly meet a need in (the School of) Applied Sciences, where we had very limited resources to assist in the past,” she said. “They have a true understanding of the impact that such a resource can have on a student’s ability to complete their education due to an unexpected change in their financial status.

“Many students transferring from community colleges face financial challenges as well. The Lyons and Taylor endowment will therefore be especially beneficial to these students and will help enable them to receive an education that will serve them well throughout their lives. We greatly appreciate ZonaDale’s generosity.”

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.

For information on including Ole Miss in long-term estate planning, contact Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu.

Additionally, the Dr. Bonita Lyons and ZonaDale L. Taylor Legacy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment 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.

Business School Closes Centennial Celebration at Jackson Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Uses NSF Grant to Study Interpersonal Communications

Graham Bodie and colleagues study conversations about everyday stressors, levels of support

Graham Bodie

OXFORD, Miss. – Graham Bodie believes that if people can feel that they’re being heard during times of stress, their lives will improve. With that in mind, he is working to find the best way to teach critical listening skills that could enhance lives.

A visiting professor of integrated marketing communications at the University of Mississippi, Bodie is conducting his research through a three year-grant from the National Science Foundation.

UM received the grant from the NSF’s Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences as part of a collaborative effort to study what happens during conversations about everyday problems. Penn State University and the University of Minnesota also were awarded grants in support of the collaboration, which seeks to clarify how discussing everyday stressors with others conveys support and leads to different emotional outcomes.

Bodie’s work will look at how a listener’s supportive comments influence the way a person talks about their stressful experience.

“My academic background is in how humans process information and how they behave as listeners, particularly within the context of talking about stressful events,” Bodie said. “What do we say that allows others to better understand their unique stressors and ultimately to cope with those events?

“How should we best train people in this capacity? What can listening to others teach us about ourselves, our society and our world?”

Bodie previously conducted research on listening and the social cognitive foundation of human communicative behavior. This project will expand on the nuances of what people do when they offer support to others, a facet that he said has not been thoroughly explored.

“Although there is work on specific features of supportive messages, it tends to be hypothetical, asking participants to imagine they receive support,” Bodie said. “Likewise, although there is work that pairs people together to talk through stressful events, most of this work explores general impressions of the conversation – how supported they felt after the conversation.”

This grant will allow Bodie to work with data from four previous studies, which includes more than 450 videotaped conversations of a person describing a stressor to another, while the listener provides support.

The research conducted with this grant fits in with the university’s Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation research initiative, where researchers identify factors that impair the well-being of individuals and work to implement programs to build stronger, more vibrant communities.

“Dr. Bodie and his team’s recent National Science Foundation grant award demonstrates the opportunities we have to increase knowledge and improve practice and policy through cutting-edge research,” said John Green, constellation team leader and director of the UM Center for Population Studies. “As an active part of the Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation and a committed member of the steering committee, Dr. Bodie is contributing to the University of Mississippi’s leadership in scholarly endeavors that will improve people’s lives.”

The research will examine how variations in these particular types of interactions result in differences in how the distressed person continues to express their thoughts and feelings throughout the interaction.

“What is missing is an understanding of how messages unfold over the course of a conversation to regulate the emotions of a person in distress,” said Denise Solomon, principal investigator and professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State. “Our project will focus on studying the conversation linkages between one person’s supportive messages and the other person’s cognitive and emotional responses in an effort to map those dynamic patterns.”

The investigators will analyze every element of these conversations and develop strategies to show how emotion and cognitive processing are affected during the course of an interaction. The researchers have predicted that distressed individuals who are responsive to high-quality supportive messages during an interaction leave the conversation with an improved emotional state and a new understanding of their issue.

“The main prediction is the interaction between support quality and how disclosers talk about their event,” Bodie said. “I feel like if people can feel heard in times of stress, their lives will improve, and I want to know how we can best teach these skills toward bettering our lives.”

The researchers hope their findings will ultimately be able to assist support providers and counselors, while also leading to additional research to determine why some individuals or relationships show different levels of responsiveness during supportive conversations.

“The novelty in this research is mapping responsiveness within interactions onto important conversational outcomes, which opens the door to new questions about why those patterns differ between people and between relationships,” Solomon said.

“We also envision that the tool kit we develop can be used to illuminate the dynamics of other types of consequential conversations, such as in conflict negotiations or attempts to influence a partner’s health behavior.”

Other investigators on the project include Susanne Jones, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Minnesota, and Nilam Ram, professor of human development, family studies and psychology at Penn State.

Funding for this research was provided through grant no. 1749474 from the NSF Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences.

Alumna Credits Ole Miss with Helping Her Win Miss Tennessee

Christine Williamson to compete in Miss America pageant next month

Christine Williamson

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi alumna Christine Williamson has spent countless hours with children of the Children’s Miracle Network. Christine’s passion for helping others is a big part of why she won Miss Tennessee, said her sister, Christal Williamson.

“She really cares about the children there,” said Christal, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Tennessee.

She touched the heart and changed the life of one child so much that when the child passed away, the parents asked Christine to sing at the funeral.

“It was really hard for her to keep it together,” Christal said.

Christine Williamson, 22, grew up in Memphis. After high school, she attended UM as a broadcast journalism major. While at Ole Miss, she was a news anchor for NewsWatch and a member of Phi Mu sorority.

After graduating in 2017, she enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to pursue a master’s degree in business with a certification in data analytics, which she has put on hiatus for now.

She began competing for Miss Tennessee just five years ago. The first year, she was Miss Memphis and didn’t make the top 15. Then she was named Miss Smoky Mountains the next year and jumped all the way to earning second runner-up.

Her third year, she fell back slightly as Miss Mountain Empire by getting third runner-up. Last year, she was able to get first runner-up as Miss Scenic City. Finally, she won the title this year as Miss Chattanooga.

“It was five years of determination and hard work,” Christine said. “Lots of hurt and disappointment, but there were a lot of reflection and understanding that it’s not about instant gratification. It’s about what you learn on the way to achieving your goal.”

As Miss Chattanooga, Christine served as a Tennessee congressional advocate and national ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association, raising more than $25,000 for the association. She is also a Tennessee State Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Her experiences at Ole Miss have stayed with her along the way, giving her skills that helped her become Miss Tennessee.

“I’m glad that my undergraduate degree at Ole Miss gave me the on-camera skills for my job as Miss Tennessee,” Christine said. “Going forward, I know how to use those media skills and know how to best promote the issues that I care about.”

Additionally, the close friends she made during her time at UM continue to provide encouragement and support.

“I was really shocked at when I worked at NewsWatch at how much it became like an entire second family and how supportive they’ve been through all of it,” she said.

Her Phi Mu sisters have provided an enormous extended family as well.

Most of all, Christine said, her family has supported her on this journey, and they were able to celebrate when she finally won the Miss Tennessee crown.

“My mom has been my biggest cheerleader and friend through the process, and Christal, my little sister, definitely has been, too,” she said. “My sister was squalling her eyes out … so it showed me how much it meant to her.”

“I was really excited, but mostly excited for her to see her fulfill this goal,” said her mom, Carol.

“I love cheering her on,” Christal said.

Her family continues to provide love, support and encouragement as she prepares for the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They understand all the hard work and effort she has put into the contest, such as going to the gym, practicing speeches and more, because they competed in a few pageants as well.

Christal won Miss Banana Pudding Outstanding Teen in Dickson, Tennessee, Miss Collierville Outstanding Teen and Miss Delta Fair. One year, their mom even competed for Miss Tennessee.

“A lot of people don’t realize how much work it is,” Christal said. “They think you just put on a pretty dress. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes.

I think she has a great shot. She has so much experience over the last five years. I think she’d be phenomenal for the job.”

“We believe she has a really good chance at reaching that goal as well,” her mom said.

Christine said if she was to be named Miss America, her focus would remain on a few key topics: to spread awareness of Alzheimer’s and the Children’s Miracle Network, in addition to character education.

The children and their families at the CMN hospitals have shaped her life, she said.

“I want to really focus on them and give them my everything,” she said. “They’re so strong, brave and courageous, and the families have really changed my life. I’m really excited to spend more time with them hands-on.”

The Miss America pageant is set for Sept. 5-9 in Atlantic City. The final night of the competition will be televised at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Besides Williamson, Asya Branch, a rising junior majoring in integrated marketing communications at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at UM, was crowned Miss Mississippi and also will compete for the Miss America title.

Two UM Pharmacy Faculty to Lead Mississippi Pharmacists Association

Lauren Bloodworth and Phil Ayers working to promote profession across state

Lauren Bloodworth

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Pharmacists Association has welcomed two faculty members from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy into leadership positions for the organization.

Lauren Bloodworth, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, will serve as the organization’s president for the 2018-19 term, and Phil Ayers, also a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, is MPhA’s interim executive director.

“For years, I have been proud to serve alongside our tremendous pharmacy family, and I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the next president of the Mississippi Pharmacists Association,” Bloodworth said.

Phil Ayers

MPhA connects pharmacists from all areas of the profession to one other and with other health care professions to promote pharmacy and patient welfare across the state.

Both Ayers and Bloodworth are graduates of the Ole Miss pharmacy school. Ayers joined the faculty in 1997 after graduating in 1996. Bloodworth graduated in 2000 and joined the school’s faculty in 2008.

David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy and ex officio member of MPhA’s executive committee, said the School of Pharmacy is “very proud” to have Ayers and Bloodworth lead the organization.

“Lauren and Phil are both extremely dedicated to bolstering Mississippi’s pharmacy landscape and are natural fits for these positions,” Allen said.

Law Professor to Lead National Academic Organization

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

Ron Rychlak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about SEALS, visit http://sealslawschools.org/.

David A. Puleo Named New Engineering Dean

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

David Puleo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the UM School of Engineering, visit https://engineering.olemiss.edu/.

Archives and Special Collections Displays Jack Reed Sr. Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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