McLean Institute Hosts Virtual Reality Experience

Public will get a glimpse of technology work conducted in the Delta

Vince Jordan, CEO of Lobaki, works with Clarksdale students to create a technology hub in the Delta. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement will host a virtual reality experience for students in the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program Thursday (Aug. 24) at the Innovation Hub at Insight Park

Vince Jordan, CEO and president of virtual reality production company Lobaki, will join the 15 Innovation Scholars and Innovation Fellows from 5 to 8 p.m. The students will learn from Jordan, a seasoned entrepreneur, about how he is engaging the community in his work.

Lobaki has established The Virtual Reality Center and Academy in downtown Clarksdale as part of the Indigo Impact Initiative. The goal is to revitalize the Delta through technology and entrepreneurism through partnerships with Meraki Cooperative, the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center and the city of Clarksdale, including Clarksdale Public Schools.

“We are excited to see how this new development in Clarksdale can impact entrepreneurship and economic development throughout Mississippi,” said J.R. Love, Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development project manager.

Jordan began the program in Clarksdale this summer to get young people interested in technology, hoping to make the town a tech hub for Mississippi.

“We had good success with this program this summer and are looking forward to expanding it during this school year in the community and the region,” Jordan said.

“Virtual reality is where web design was in the early ’90s and smartphones in the early 2000s. It is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and economic development in Mississippi and beyond.”

The event is open to the public. Formal remarks will be given at 5:30 p.m. by Jordan and Albert Nylander, McLean Institute director and UM professor of sociology.

Jordan also will visit other units at Ole Miss, including the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education.

For more information, contact Love at jrlove@olemiss.edu.

Archaeology Field School Led by UM Professor Gets National Attention

Carter Robinson mound site also to be featured this fall in American Archaeology magazine

UM undergraduate student Ben Davis, American University graduate student Erin Cagney and UM undergrads Conor Foxworth and Emily Warner excavate the burned wall of structure that dates back to the 1300s at the Carter Robinson site in Virginia. Photo by J.C. Burns

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students participated this summer in a four-week field school excavating the remains of a Native American house at the Carter Robinson Mound site in Ewing, Virginia.

The field school, led by Maureen Meyers, assistant professor of anthropology, returned to a house on the site that was partially excavated in 2007 and 2008.

“We knew from the past work that there were three houses built on top of one another in this location, which is unlike any of the other houses at the site,” Meyers said. “This year, we uncovered about half of the second house.

“To my surprise, we found burned walls and logs in really good preservation. We uncovered these walls, mapped and photographed them, and excavated posts from this house and the house above it.”

The site also will be featured in American Archaeology magazine later this fall.

Archaeologists first identified the site, which is privately owned by the Robinson family, in 1962. Meyers began excavations there in 2006 and held field schools at the site five times over the last decade.

Meyers has identified and partially excavated remains of six houses at the site. To date, more than 90,000 artifacts have been recovered from excavation, including ceramics, lithics, animal bones, botanical remains, building material from burned walls and other smaller items, such as shell beads.

This year, the group recovered ceramic sherds, mostly deer bones, drills, projectile points and flakes from making stone tools.

A collection of drilled items and drills were found at the Carter Robinson site. Submitted photo

“This site is unique because it is located at the edge of the Mississippian cultural world,” she said. “The Mississippian culture and time period is recognized by archaeologists as a time when Native Americans were organized into hierarchical societies known as chiefdoms.

“Their sites generally consist of villages with an earthen mound, a plaza and a village of square houses surrounding the mound and plaza.”

The Mississippian cultural time period, from A.D. 900 to 1550, is located predominately in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, western North Carolina and southern Kentucky. The Carter Robinson site is one of two Mississippian mounds in southwest Virginia.

“It’s an important site for understanding interaction at cultural frontiers, for understanding craft production in prehistoric societies and understanding the role of craft production and frontiers in the formation of inequality in societies,” Meyers said.

Work at the site has been funded by a UM College of Liberal Arts Summer Research Grant, a National Geographic Society Exploration and Research Grant, a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid, a Virginia Academy of Sciences Research grant and a University of Kentucky Dissertation Enhancement Award..

Meyers has published multiple book chapters and articles about the site, including the most recent issue of Southeastern Archaeology. She has trained more than 50 students at the sites over the years through field schools, and three Ole Miss students are working on master’s theses using data from the site.

Dalton Capps, a graduate student in anthropology from Columbus, is building his thesis based on lithic tool productions from the site.

“I am looking at how the different structures that have been excavated at Carter Robinson differ when it comes to lithic production,” Capps said.

He also participated in the field school as an Ole Miss undergraduate student in 2015.

“I have always loved going out into the field, so I jump at any opportunity I get to go out into the field,” he said. “It was nice to be able to concentrate on one house in such detail for an entire field season.

“The most interesting finds for me were the large amount of shell and the few drills that we found. In 2015, we found some very interesting ceramics, including what may have been part of a human effigy.”

Capps also will analyze the finds from this site from previous excavations years in which Meyers has brought students to the field school.

Barbour to Receive Geographic Visionary Award

UM's Mississippi Geographic Alliance to honor former governor Sept. 7

Haley Barbour

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Geographic Alliance at the University of Mississippi will honor former Gov. Haley Barbour with its MGA Geographic Visionary Award at the fifth annual awards ceremony Sept. 7.

News analyst, White House correspondent and author Ellen Ratner will be the keynote speaker. The event is set for 6 p.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.

“Knowing geography is essential to understanding history,” Barbour said. “If you don’t understand history, you are doomed to repeat it.” 

Barbour will join Ambassador John Palmer (2013), George Schloegel (2014), U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (2015), and William Winter and Leland Speed (2016) as Geographic Visionary award recipients. The award honors a Mississippi business or civic leader who recognizes the importance of global understanding and awareness for Mississippians and/or promotes understanding about Mississippi in other parts of the world.

The Jess McKee Award for Distinguished Service to Geography Education also will be presented at the event to Steven White, a teacher at Pearl High School.

“I am very pleased to congratulate Gov. Barbour on this well-deserved recognition of his leadership,” said UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, who plans to attend the event. “From economic development to disaster preparedness and recovery, Gov. Barbour has had a tremendous impact upon the state of Mississippi.

“He understands that success in the modern world depends upon being able to work globally. His leadership has enhanced Mississippi’s global stature and positioned our state to compete for and win important economic development projects.”

As governor, Barbour helped connect Mississippi to the world through his work in recruiting major international companies, including Toyota, and by investing in manufacturing. He was nationally recognized for his swift response during Hurricane Katrina, and he received the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award and the Gulf Guardian Award for his work in helping to rebuild Gulf of Mexico ecosystems.

“His national and international reach along with his long history of supporting education, make him an excellent fit for the Geographic Visionary award,” said Carley Lovorn, assistant director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance.

“Exports support tens of thousands of jobs in Mississippi. As foreign investment continues to increase in our state, it is more important than ever that we recognize Mississippi leaders who help connect us with the global economy. The MGA Geographic Visionary Award does just that.”

White, a National Geographic Certified Educator and MGA teacher consultant, has held numerous education leadership positions in the state, including officer positions in the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies and the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. He was Rosa Scott High School’s Teacher of the Year 2012-13, the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year 2003-04 and winner of the Jesse Palmer Award for Mississippi Social Studies Educator of the Year in 2015.

In recent years, he has served on staff for the Pre-Service Geography Conference, a geography education conference for education students around the state. He has also served as a judge and scorekeeper for the state-level National Geographic Bee and is a three-time winner of educational and technology grants for enhancing classroom geography education.

He is past president and assistant director of the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies and team leader for public policy for the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. In 2013 he was one of eight in the nation to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award for K-12 educators at the National Conference on Geographic Education.

Mississippians interact with people, companies and governments around the world. The state exports billions of dollars in products to more than 100 countries each year.

The Mississippi Geographic Alliance, part of National Geographic Society’s Alliance Network, helps prepare Mississippians to interact with the world by increasing geographic literacy through geography education services including outreach to civic leaders and policymakers, awareness raising among the general public, and professional development for K-12 educators.

All proceeds from the MGA Geographic Visionary Awards will go directly toward funding MGA programs in the state, including giant map programs for students and professional development for K-12 teachers.

Sponsorships at multiple levels are available. For more information on sponsorships and registration, go to http://mga.olemiss.edu/events/ or call the MGA office at 662-915-3776.

About the Mississippi Geographic Alliance: The Mississippi Geographic Alliance at the University of Mississippi works to strengthen geographic literacy in the state of Mississippi. A member of the nationwide network of state alliances sponsored by the National Geographic Society, MGA uses workshops, online resources and other programs to help educators prepare students to embrace a diverse world, succeed in the global economy and steward the planet’s resources. For more information, visit http://mga.olemiss.edu/, or contact Carley Lovorn at mclovorn@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3776.

Honors College Debuts Exhibit in New Building with ‘America Selfie’

Mississippi native Laura Elkins offers a portrait of America through paintings

Laura Elkins’ ‘America Selfie’ installation debuts Tuesday (Aug. 22) at the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College will debut a site-specific exhibit by painter Laura Elkins this week in some of its renovated space that was dedicated last spring.

The installation, titled “America Selfie,” is a contemporary take on history painting and uses current events, American history, national symbols and both contemporary and art historical imagery to create a portrait of America.

The Honors College will host an opening reception for the exhibit from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 22). The installation also will be a location stop later that evening on the monthly Oxford Art Crawl, from 6 to 8 p.m. The installation, which also will be a stop on the Sept. 26 Art Crawl, runs through Sept. 29.

Debra Young, associate dean of the Honors College, had enjoyed Elkins’ monograph of paintings “Summer in the City,” which she said made her think through gender, power, history and friendship all at once.

This edginess of Elkins’ work matched up with Dean Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez’s plan to use space in the new Honors College to provide a place for interaction and lively discussion. This exhibit demands both, Young said.

“The SMBHC concept of ‘citizen scholar’ has always accommodated the notion of ‘citizen artist’ as one of the manifestations of thoughtful, informed, courageous response and leadership,” Young said. “The artistic talent, linked to this urge to prod and probe – an introduction to Dean Sullivan-Gonzalez’s and his consequent invitation to do something for our new building – was a no-brainer.”

The artist’s monograph “Summer in the City” was published by Enlightening Press in 2015. Upshur Street Books in Washington, D.C. and Square Books in Oxford hosted signings and exhibitions in 2016.

Soon after the signing, Sullivan-Gonzalez invited Elkins to speak to Honors College students as part of a series titled “From the Edge of Inside,” inspired by an editorial in the New York Times by David Brooks. From there, the idea of creating an exhibit that reflects current and historic issues was born.

“These are things that have always been part of America, so I’m looking at the whole picture while using current and art historical imagery,” Elkins said. “I wanted to create a portrait of this bizarre place we live.”

Elkins, an Oxford native, began painting as a child while attending Saturday morning classes at the University Museum and the UM Department of Art. She returned to Oxford after earning a degree in architecture from the University of Virginia to paint full-time.

She was mentored by visionary painter and Mississippian Theora Hamblett and spent time in the acclaimed folk artist’s home and studio. Later, Elkins would share Hamblett’s earlier patronage with renowned art dealer Betty Parsons, who exhibited Elkins’s work in 1980.

Elkins’ recent exhibitions in New York include a 15-year retrospective of “The White House Collection” paintings, “First, She’s a Lady” at Tikhonova & Winter. Allen Frame, in the Creative Independent called it “one of the best shows of 2015.”

Other shows in New York include “Fabrications: Constructing Female Identity” at Dixon Place, and an exhibition and benefit auction for the Film-makers Coop at Next to Nothing Gallery that opens Thursday (Aug. 24).

Elkins lives in Washington, D.C., where 39th Street Gallery will exhibit “America Selfie” in January 2018. Her other exhibitions in the D.C. metropolitan area include “Portraits of US” at Montpelier Arts Center, “United in Passion and Pride” at 39th Street Gallery, “Portrait of Self as Other” at Studio Gallery and three solo shows at The Fridge.

For more information about Elkins, visit http://lauraelkinsartist.com/. Follow her on Instagram at @LauraElkins and on Facebook to see more of her work.

First-Year Pharmacy Students Receive White Coats

115 students take the Pledge of Professionalism at annual ceremony

UM pharmacy students take the Pledge of Professionalism at the School of Pharmacy’s annual White Coat Ceremony Aug. 10 in the Ford Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For 115 first-year pharmacy students, the school year unofficially began Thursday (Aug. 10) at the White Coat Ceremony, where each received his or her white coat, a symbol of professionalism.

The annual event is an opportunity to formally impart the seriousness of a pharmacist’s responsibility to new pharmacy students. The students will wear their white coats to classes, assemblies and rotations throughout their four years in pharmacy school, demonstrating to themselves and to the public their professional commitment.

“The White Coat Ceremony provides an origination point for student pharmacists as they begin to see how their practice will impact their patients,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Patients must always be at the forefront of our decisions as pharmacists.”

Many family members and friends attended the event at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Donna Strum, associate provost for academic affairs and professor of pharmacy administration, provided comments on behalf of the university.

“I ask you now to make a personal pledge to use your knowledge, your strength, your caring and your compassion to do all that you can to be worthy of the trust that your patients will place in you,” Strum said during the ceremony.

David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy, helps a student with his white coat during the annual ceremony Aug. 10 at the Ford Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Before receiving their coats, each student signed the Pledge of Professionalism that binds them to the responsibilities of a pharmacist. The document will be framed and hung in the pharmacy school.

“We are extremely proud of these students for completing their pre-pharmacy curriculum with such success, and we look forward to seeing their accomplishments in the professional program,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “The class of 2021 is exceptionally talented, and it’s a privilege for all of us in the School of Pharmacy to begin working with them on their journey toward becoming practicing pharmacists.”

Mississippi students in this year’s class of first professional year students are: Zachary Ryan Lawrence of Ackerman; Bailey Estes Boyd of Amory; Shannon Marie Buehler of Bay St. Louis; Lien Thi Kim Phan of Belden; Drew Ryan Boudreaux and Brennan Cole Hilton, both of Biloxi; Coy Austin Fitts of Blue Springs; Peyton Sara Elizabeth Black, Simone ElisabethAnna Black and Shandra Nichole Bouzemann, all of Brandon; Taylor Hayes of Caledonia; Hoa Van Pham of Clinton; Tori Clearman and Jonathan Newbaker, both of Collinsville; Jerrod Paul Bradley, Anna Kathryn Weathers and Leah Nicole Wilson, all of Columbus; Bradley Nathaniel Hastings and Brandon Nhek, both of Corinth; Jonathan Christian Wiggins of DeKalb; Sophia Marie Beddoe of Diamondhead; Jessie Bates of Falkner; Connor Hays Ainsworth of Florence; Miriah B. White of Flowood; Lindsay Leann Hedge of Forest; Katelyn Nicole Miller of Glen; Erin Alyssa Pounds of Golden; Kimberly Paige Porter of Grenada; Fenil Patel and Morgan Marie Woodard, both of Hattiesburg; Kristen Leigh Black of Houston; William Jackson Haines of Iuka; Stella Abiola Kelvyn-Olowola and Sydney Hamilton Watson, both of Jackson; Emily N. Wright of Laurel; Jonathan Michael McAdory of Louisville; Jonathan Gaston Box and William Alan Haygood, both of Madison; Abigail Rose Pearman, Logan Rae Satterfield, Christopher Lamar Waldron and Lelia Claire Calcote, all of Meridian; Krista M. Clifton and Shelby Diane Miller, both of Mooreville; Alicyn Gail Pyles of Moorhead; Bradley Howard of Moss Point; Anna Lee Warren of Mount Olive; Katelyn McKenzie Brown, Zachary Paul Myers and Alexis Taylor Rountree, all of Ocean Springs; Nathan Robert Allen of Olive Branch; Ashten Michelle Carter Anderson, Skylar Britt, My’Andra Brown, Emily Paige Cork, Niasha Naomi Davis, Rachell Denney, George Walton Ewing IV, Sean Harrison, Mary Clara Hayes, Kristen Leigh Hollingsworth, Billy Charles Huff III, Savannah Brooke Jackson, Jennah Lee, Sara Elizabeth Magyar, Morgan Mallette, Katelyn Victoria Mitchell, Lam Anh Nguyen, Hannah Jane Osowski, Madison Parker, Mary Kathryn Pearson, Laura Vaughn Phipps, Taylor Paige Richardson, William Joshua Stepp, Mary Paige Thrash, Jontae Deion Warren, Catherine Grace Wilson Jacob Ryan Smith, all of Oxford; William Luke Pannell of Pontotoc; Natasha Marie Lewis of Port Gibson; Gabrielle D. Arceo, Alex Brooks, Michelle R.A. de Almeida and Valerie Nicole Tatum, all of Ridgeland; Hoby Brice Mullins of Roxie; Taylor Paige Adcock of Sallis; William Berry Waters of Saucier; Ashley Nicole Foster and Lauren Bailey McPhail, both of Southaven; Kristen Adare Phipps of Taylorsville; Jeremy S. Ross of Tillatoba; Cassidy Lane Barnett, Carlos Logan Magana and Drake Wilson, all of Tupelo; Amber Madison Forsman of Vancleave; Zarah I. Drake of Vicksburg; and Danny Yang of Winona.

Out-of-state students in this year’s class of first professional year students are: Demetra Alexis Leara of Birmingham, Alabama; Sydney Rebecca Harrison of Clinton, Kentucky; Kelsey Regan Lock of Collierville, Tennessee; Mary Katherine Martin of Dothan, Alabama; Caroline Grace Culley of Evansville, Indiana; Elizabeth Grace DeMoss of Gallatin, Tennessee; Douglas Alan Dertien of Germantown, Tennessee; Emily Christine Rusciano of Hammond, Louisiana; Miranda Catherine Craft of Jackson, Missouri; Madison Sierra Kazerooni of Kennesaw, Georgia; Dominique Annabelle Dairion of Little Rock, Arkansas; Kendall Elise Kara of Merritt Island, Florida; Christina Tran of Mobile, Alabama; Meredith Ann Rossi of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey; Barry Cullen Flannery of Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Chelsea N. Suppinger of New Carlisle, Indiana; and Maria Christine Gorla and Caroline Ann Macek, both of St. Louis, Missouri.

NCNPR Signs Collaboration Agreement with Australian University

Research center has partnerships on all inhabited continents

Researchers work in a lab at the UM National Center for Natural Products Research, which has signed a collaboration agreement with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Australia, making the NCNPR part of research collaborations on every inhabited continent.

The agreement will allow the two entities to work together on research and other scholarly activities. The Ole Miss center’s similar partnerships around the world range from numerous research alliances in North America and Asia to collaborations in Brazil and South Africa.

The NICM, which is housed within Western Sydney University, focuses on researching natural products to create new drugs, as the NCNPR does. The centers’ joint endeavors may include co-authoring publications, sharing samples for study and jointly presenting research findings.

“We are pleased to work with another institute that cares about the safety and quality of natural products,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR director. “We’re hoping this global collaboration will produce more research on new products that will be at the forefront of new medicines.”

This agreement will make sharing scientific resources and ideas for solving global health issues faster and easier. Both centers will benefit from each other’s expertise as part of the cooperation; Khan cited the NICM’s focus on clinical research and the NCNPR’s expertise in chemistry and biology as complementary disciplines.

The agreement supports the Australian government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and Global Innovation Strategy, which advance international science and research collaboration, said Alan Bensoussan, director of the NICM.

“This is an exciting opportunity for sharing our capabilities and supporting each other’s research with interlab validations, development of intellectual property and clinical testing of products,” Bensoussan said. “We look forward to future exchanges.”

Since 2000, more than 200 visiting scientists from around the world have come to the NCNPR as part of these research exchanges.

“These partnerships the NCNPR fosters not only help to spread the benefits of research, but they promote international goodwill and collaboration,” said David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy.

Accounting Librarian Wins International Lifetime Achievement Award

Royce Kurtz honored for his work to make materials available for researchers worldwide

The UM Patterson School of Accountancy. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Royce Kurtz, who has shaped the University of Mississippi‘s accounting library for the last 16 years, has been honored with an international award for his efforts. 

Kurtz, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants research and instruction librarian and associate professor, has won the Academy of Accounting Historians’ Hourglass Award for lifetime achievement. The first nonaccountant to win the honor in its more-than-40-year history, Kurtz works with UM’s Patterson School of Accountancy, the AICPA, the Academy of Accounting Historians and accountants around the country to make this collection the best in the world.

“Accounting tells the story of how wealth in America is created and dispersed, and this wealth is the wellspring of all other creative arts,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoy making available to both the community of scholars and practitioners the books, pamphlets, journals and manuscripts that tell the story of accounting profession, and I hope to continue this endeavor for years to come.”

The Hourglass Award is presented annually to “an individual who has made a demonstrable and significant contribution to knowledge through research and publication in accounting history,” according to the Academy of Accounting Historians. Kurtz will receive the award this month in San Diego. 

He has digitized more than 412,000 pages of historical accounting content and made these available on the library’s website for free use by anyone, anywhere in the world.

“Through the library’s digital initiatives, we are making this collection available to scholars and practitioners around the world,” Kurtz said. “I also wish to thank my colleagues in the library who have worked to process and make available this wealth of knowledge.”

The library’s website includes everything published by the AICPA, except material within the past 10 years, which is embargoed, everything ever published by Deloitte and its predecessor firms between 1895 and 2000, publications of the Academy of Accounting Historians, and other accounting-related publications that are out of copyright from 1923 and earlier.

Kurtz recently was praised by SEC Historical Society researcher and curator, George Fritz, for digitizing the materials of the Public Oversight Board. Kurtz, at the instigation of Fritz, was able to acquire the archived website of the defunct board, an independent body that oversaw the self-regulatory function of auditors of companies.

He not only copied that defunct website, but he improved upon it by adding many new items. 

Dale Flesher, a professor and associate dean of the Ole Miss accountancy school, was among those to nominate Kurtz. Flesher, who won the Hourglass Award in 2014, said Kurtz provides “extraordinary” service to students and faculty and brings world-class knowledge to his job. 

“Following the procurement of the AICPA collection, Dr. Kurtz’ clientele expanded to include thousands of accounting researchers throughout the world,” Flesher said. “He routinely fields anywhere from 500 to 900 phone calls and emails per month from accountants and accounting researchers throughout the world; many of those seeking help are interested in accounting history.

“Dr. Kurtz knows more about accounting history publications than any person alive.”

Ralph Eubanks to Serve as Visiting Professor at UM

Alumnus and author will teach courses in Southern studies and English

Ralph Eubanks

OXFORD, Miss. – Author and journalist Ralph Eubanks returns to the University of Mississippi this fall, this time as a visiting professor. The Mount Olive native will teach a Southern studies course this fall and an English course during the spring semester.

His Southern studies course, SST 598: Special Topics, examines the American South through the art of photography as well as through the work of writers who have found their inspiration in photography. James Agee and Walker Evans’ “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” will serve as a foundational work to examine ways the visual record of the American South is tied to writing about the region, including novels, poetry and journalism, particularly magazine journalism of the 1960s in magazines such as Life and Look.

What connects the reading for this course – and will be the focus of class discussions – is how authors turn to photographs as a way to tie together the region’s visual and verbal traditions, Eubanks said.

“I spoke at the center last year about the work of Walker Evans and James Agee and the impact it was having on my own writing about the Mississippi Delta,” he said. “At the time, I was teaching a class of photography and literature at Millsaps College, but I realized at the end of the class that I spent a great deal of time focused on the South.

“So when I was asked to teach at Ole Miss, I decided to adapt that class to focus exclusively on the South.”

Eubanks said he hopes students will learn how history is embedded in visual images, as well as how to read a photograph.

“Photographs are time capsules of history and can tell us a great deal about how the people and places captured in them,” Eubanks said. “Also, I hope they will see how photographs can be a testament to the relentless melting of time.

“As Susan Sontag said, all photographs are ‘memento mori’ (a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember that you have to die’). A photograph captures another person’s – or a place’s – mortality, vulnerability and mutability.

“I’d like my students to think about how the visual image of the South has evolved over time and reveals time’s impact on the landscape as well as how visual images both crush – and reinforce – Southern myths.”

Second-year Southern studies master’s student Holly Robinson enrolled in the course because she thought it would be a good way to brush up on her image-analysis skills ahead of her thesis research.

“I’m a popular culturist, so I enjoy looking at visual imagery more than books because there’s a lot more to say about an image, and things aren’t as concrete, so you can be really speculative in your analysis, which always leads you to a more interesting idea-place,” Robinson said.

Eubanks’ class for the English department is “Civil Rights and Activism in Literature,” which is slightly different from a class he taught at Millsaps. It will examine works of literature that turn their focus on the image, life and reality of black life during the civil rights movement as well as in today’s second wave of activism.

“One change this time is that I am teaching Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son,'” Eubanks said. “I believe that Richard Wright’s work, particularly the social realism of his work, deserves a re-examination.”

Eubanks is the author of “Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past” (Basic Books, 2003), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post Outlook and Style sections, the Chicago Tribune, Preservation and National Public Radio.

He is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a fellow at the New America Foundation. He is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia and served as director of publishing at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 2013.

Last year, he was the Eudora Welty Visiting Scholar in Southern Studies at Millsaps College in Jackson.

Eubanks, who received his bachelor’s degree at UM before earning a master’s degree in English language and literature at the University of Michigan, is looking forward to spending an extended amount of time on the Ole Miss campus.

“Although I spend a great deal of time in Oxford, it is different being a resident of the university community and being a visitor,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the community for a while.

“Plus, this academic year is exactly 40 years after my senior year at Ole Miss, which was the last time I spent an extended amount of time on campus. It’s good to come full circle.”

McLean Institute ELC Program Helps Students Improve Communities

Entrepreneurial leadership classes taught in three Mississippi counties

Charleston middle school students got information on starting a business and healthy living, mentoring and even free book bags as part of the Entrepreneurial Learning Center program this summer. The traveling program was sponsored by the UM McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Nearly 60 elementary and middle school students in Mississippi have been exposed to entrepreneurial leadership skills this summer, thanks to a traveling program sponsored by the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi.

The Entrepreneurial Learning Center began meeting in Charleston in late May. It moved to Marks in June and to Vardaman for mid-July and August. Sessions lasted about four hours a day for four weeks in each location.

Rising sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in Charleston were introduced to various health care topics at the request of Dr. Catherine Woodyard, executive director of the local James C. Kennedy Wellness Center.

“Dr. Woodyard, who has worked with the McLean Institute for several years, asked us if we would consider coming to Charleston,” said J.R. Love, project manager for McLean’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, program. “We’re touching on everything from exercise to diseases, and what it looks like to get into the health care profession as a doctor or nurse.”

Community partners from local health care-related enterprises, including a pharmacist and business owner, served as guest presenters. The goal is that students are continuously learning, developing healthy habits and participating in experiences that build an entrepreneurial mindset.

“The goals of ELC were to provide a transformative experience for our participants and increase knowledge on the concepts of entrepreneurship,” said Robert Patterson, a CEED Innovation Fellow and graduate student from Como. “I believe that this program did successfully meet its goals in promoting entrepreneurship and establishing community development.”

Allison Ford-Wade, UM professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, described the inaugural ELC as “a wonderful experience.”

The local students said that they learned a lot during the program.

“I learned a lot about health and starting a business, “said Terrance Marco, of Charleston.

Robert Patterson, standing, engages Charleston students in a discussion about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and community as part of the inaugural Entrepreneurial Learning Center program. Submitted photo

The Mississippi Development Authority assisted Nash Nunnery, project manager at MDA’s Entrepreneur Center, with providing valuable tools for the students in Charleston and Marks. One of the guests, Allen Kurr, vice president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, shared with students in Vardaman about the importance of building your brand in business.

Danna Johnson, program coordinator of Catholic Charities in Vardaman, said the ELC-Vardaman “Victory Project” is exciting.

“Eric Williams from Orange Theory Fitness in Oxford was invited to the camp and made a presentation to the students about health and wellness,” she said.

CEED students worked in Marks this summer to establish an Entrepreneurial Learning Center and will continue to work this fall with community members and students in Quitman County. There, County Administrator Velma Wilson worked with CEED students on economic development projects, such as the upcoming Amtrak stop in Marks.

The ELC idea and model were created by the CEED initiative. CEED students are funded through a financial gift from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.

“We are fortunate to have financial support from the Hearin foundation in allowing UM students to connect their desire to see jobs created in Mississippi at the local and state level,” said Albert Nylander, McLean Institute director and professor of sociology.

“Community development, economic development and education were the guiding principles that each of the ELCs was built upon,” Love said. “All of this connects to the work of George McLean, the late owner of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal who started the CREATE Foundation, and Vaughn Grisham, the founding director of the McLean Institute in 1984.”

UM Accountancy School Joins Expanded KPMG Master of Accounting Program

Initiative provides full tuition and job offers for students

The KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program will offer students in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy access to full scholarships, specialized training and job offers upon graduation. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

NEW YORK and OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy is joining the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program, a one-of-a-kind initiative that audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP developed to prepare accounting students for the digital marketplace.

The expansion of the program increases the number of participating schools from two to nine, and increases the number of students from 51 to 135 who will receive full tuition, other support, and KPMG job offers upon graduation. The expansion also includes a tax component at one of the new schools in the program.

The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy and KPMG have enjoyed a tremendous partnership for many years,” said Mark Wilder, dean and KPMG Chair of Accountancy at UM. “We are proud to be offering master’s degrees in taxation and data analytics, as well as in accounting and data analytics. It is a high privilege to work with KPMG to provide innovative graduate programs to help develop future professionals for the data age.”

“KPMG’s expanded investment in the data and analytics program demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the future of the audit and tax professions,” said Frank Casal, KPMG’s U.S. Vice Chair – Audit. “We’re pleased to include prestigious institutions like the University of Mississippi, who share this focus and are equally passionate about their students building advanced skills in accounting, tax and data analytics that they can bring into the marketplace.”

Ole Miss also will integrate the program into its Master of Taxation degree.

“KPMG’s experience demonstrates that harnessing and analyzing the data in a company’s tax filings can create value across an entire organization,” said Jeff LeSage, KPMG’s U.S. Vice Chair – Tax. “Empowering the next generation of tax leaders to unlock those insights aligns with KPMG’s commitment to innovation and helps assure that we’ll remain at the forefront of sharing those innovations with our clients.”

In August 2016, KPMG disrupted the education and recruiting experience for the audit profession by collaborating with the Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business and the Villanova School of Business to launch the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program. Fifty-one students were accepted to the program and will begin their studies at those two schools in the fall of 2017.

KPMG’s program provides each school with access to proprietary KPMG technologies and integrates easily into their academic programs. KPMG will increase the program’s scholarships to 135 students from across the U.S. Those students will work as interns on KPMG audit or tax teams and will join KPMG’s audit or tax practices through an advanced entry program upon graduation.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently awarded the KPMG Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program its “2017 Recruiting Excellence Award,” which recognizes excellence in recruiting best practices, including attracting talent, selection process, training and development of new hires, and retention.

Those interested in learning more about the program, including how to apply, should visit http://www.kpmgmasters.com. A related video may be accessed at https://youtu.be/aN4JTWyrP-A.

Other schools joining the program include:

  • Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business
  • Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business
  • The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business
  • The University of Missouri’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business
  • The University of Southern California, Leventhal School of Accounting
  • Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business

Globally, KPMG International’s Ireland member firm launched a similar program in March with the National University Ireland Galway, and its South Africa member firm is piloting a program at the University of Witwatersrand. Several other KPMG member firms are also pursuing additional similar relationships in their respective countries.

About KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.kpmg.com/us), is the independent U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s independent member firms have 189,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 152 countries.

About the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university and has a long history of producing leaders. The Patterson School of Accountancy is recognized as one of the top accounting programs nationally and produces graduates who hold leadership positions in business organizations nationally and internationally. One of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing universities, Ole Miss is known for its welcoming environment and is regularly ranked as one of America’s most beautiful and safest campuses. For more information, visit http://accountancy.olemiss.edu.