M Partner Deploying Volunteers Across Mississippi

Charleston, Lexington, New Albany focus of ambitious initiative

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter speaks at the M Partner announcement in March 2018. The university will send 150 M Partner volunteers to work Saturday (Oct. 13) in Lexington, Charleston and New Albany. Photo by Photo by Thomas Graning/ Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – More than 150 volunteers will work Saturday in Charleston, Lexington and New Albany during M Partner Community Day to tackle some of each city’s major priorities. M Partner is the University of Mississippi’s hands-on new approach to addressing community needs in the state.

M Partner, which was unveiled in March, was outlined in the university’s comprehensive strategic plan, Flagship Forward. It is the result of a meeting of leaders from all UM campuses to create an ambitious new approach to the university’s longstanding commitment to improving quality of life in Mississippi.

M Partner Community Day engages students in the three partner cities through volunteer projects.

“This Community Day of Service embodies the tenets of M Partner and gets to the core of our university’s commitment to building healthy and vibrant communities,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “It is extremely rewarding to see our students so overwhelmingly and enthusiastically embrace this tremendous opportunity.

“I am excited about this community collaboration and the experiences our students will gain as well as the measurable impact this M Partner event will have upon our partner communities.”

Besides the day of service on Saturday, business development forums are set for Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct. 16 and 17) in New Albany and Charleston. These forums are hosted in partnership with the Entrepreneur Center at the Mississippi Development Authority, as well as the university’s Insight Park and McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement.

Transportation and lunch will be provided at the business forums. To register, email mclean@olemiss.edu or mlcoope4@olemiss.edu.

Vitter laid out the vision for M Partner in his November 2016 inaugural address, noting the considerable potential in channeling the talents of the university to support towns and cities as they work together to improve community life. Service efforts such as M Partner Community Day will be complemented by faculty members teaching academic courses that align with priority projects identified by community members.

The work to this point is only the beginning. M Partner will act as a pilot program for up to two years. The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement has a lead role in M Partner, and administrators have been working to find community goals for the program through ongoing discussions in each of the three cities.

M Partner programs began over the summer, when students in the McLean Institute’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development initiative worked with youth from each M Partner city to help them understand how the entrepreneurial mindset can be used to address challenges. Faculty members from the Ole Miss departments of Sociology and Anthropology and Management; the School of Law; and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College worked with those students.

Community partners including the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center, Mississippi Development Authority – The Entrepreneur Center and the Mississippi Main Street Association have pitched in as well.

Locals have spoken passionately about what they love about their cities, as well as their economic development, education, community well-being and beautification ideas in meetings the institute has conducted with partner cities over the last few months, said Laura Martin, M Partner director and associate director of the McLean Institute.

“We are thrilled that M Partner Community Day will be an opportunity to contribute to the beautification projects identified by each community,” Martin said. “And we are excited for our student volunteers to see how their efforts in this day of service are connected to a much larger community-university initiative.”

Volunteers will be sent to each community to help with beautification and landscaping, and they will even work Charleston’s Gateway to the Delta Festival, said Michaela Cooper, the AmeriCorps VISTA supporting M Partner.

Some Ole Miss students from these towns will talk with volunteers and leaders about life in their towns and the importance of this day to them personally to provide perspective to the helpers, Cooper said.

“On days of service, it is vital that we constantly think about how to maintain the sustainability of these partnerships and how to bring lessons learned from our partner communities back to our campus,” Cooper said. “We plan to accomplish this by making this not just a day of community service, but also a day of reflection and a call to action.”

More information about the M Partner program is available at http://mpartner.olemiss.edu/.

Retired FedEx Vice President Shows Unwavering Support for UM

Mike Glenn continues to mentor and provide opportunities for Ole Miss students

Rose Flenorl (left), Mike Glenn, Donna Glenn and Mary Haskell gather at the Ole Miss Women’s Council’s Rose Ceremony in 2017. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – Organic chemistry was the game changer for Mike Glenn, retired executive vice president for market development and corporate communications at FedEx Corp. and a committed University of Mississippi alumnus.

The Memphis native came to Ole Miss in 1974 as a pharmacy major. He made it through his freshman year, but his attempt at organic chemistry as a sophomore made him realize pharmacy was not for him.

“I changed my major and entered the business school, which was a much better fit for me,” Glenn said. “Most of the classes, except for accounting, came fairly easily for me.

“It’s funny when you think about it. If it were not for the challenges I had with organic chemistry, I would have never had a career with FedEx.”

Glenn credits what he learned as a student in the business school with giving him the skills and knowledge he needed to move through the ranks at FedEx into senior leadership.

“My experience at Ole Miss, and specifically in the business school, provided an excellent academic foundation for my professional career,” he said. “The basic marketing principles I learned in the business school were the same ones we applied at FedEx to build the brand and grow the business.”

The importance of interacting well with people and treating them professionally and respectfully were also skills Glenn learned while in school, he said. In turn, he has served as a guest lecturer for the MBA program and presented FedEx case studies to undergraduate students.

“I served on the business school advisory board and also provided guidance to a number of students as they were preparing for their careers,” Glenn said. “The most fulfilling part has always been the interaction with the students.”

Glenn is an outstanding supporter of the school and the university, said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration.

“He has given back in many different ways, including talking to students via programs and class, serving on search committees, hiring our graduates and providing financial support,” Cyree said. “Mike is a shining example of what it means to be an Ole Miss Business Rebel and the impact our graduates have in the world.”

FedEx is a publicly traded company with annual revenues of $60 billion. Many Ole Miss business students vie for positions within the company.

“When I spoke to our FedEx intern class each year, it was always fun for me to identify the interns from Ole Miss and let them know how proud I am to be an Ole Miss graduate,” Glenn said.

Glenn showed his partiality toward Ole Miss when asked what sort of advice he might offer a high school student considering the university.

“We have the most beautiful college campus in the country, outstanding academic programs, an increasingly diverse student population with a wonderful school spirit,” he said. “I continue to be impressed with our leadership, faculty and staff, and the school’s vision for the future.”

Because of his enthusiasm for the university and so many graduates have been or are employed by FedEx, Glenn said it is important for the company to have a visible presence on campus. This enthusiasm resulted in the company’s sponsorship of the FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Support Center and additional financial support for other academic programs.

“Mike Glenn is a truly exceptional individual who has a tremendous impact on every endeavor he undertakes, from effecting change at a global company to nurturing the development of students,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Mike is to be commended for his deep commitment of time, energy, passion and resources that have contributed to the transformation of our university.

“We are so grateful for his leadership and his unwavering support as a fiercely loyal member of the Ole Miss family.”

An Ole Miss alumna and former FedEx employee reiterated Glenn’s influence as a leader.

“Mike is an extraordinary leader who always ignited confidence and pride in the employees who worked for him,” said Parul Bajaj, a Clinton native who received her MBA from Ole Miss in 2007 and worked for FedEx from 2007 to 2014 as a senior communications specialist. “Fed Ex is an internationally recognized and respected brand because of his leadership.”

Glenn’s love for Ole Miss is contagious. He and his wife, Donna, met over 30 years ago, as new employees at FedEx. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis. However, throughout their courtship, she came to learn how important Ole Miss is to Glenn and that she would be marrying into the “Ole Miss family.”

Over the years, she has come to love and appreciate the university as well – so much that Glenn often refers to his wife as a “walk-on alumna.”

In 2017, Glenn honored his wife by endowing an Ole Miss Women’s Council scholarship in her name.

“Donna has a degree in journalism, and she is a very talented communications professional,” he said. “After her career at FedEx, she has continued to use those skills in support of numerous charitable organizations in Memphis.

“The scholarship will support a student majoring in journalism, which seems appropriate given Donna’s degree and professional background.”

Glenn credits his education at Ole Miss with giving him the confidence he needed when he began his professional career as a sales representative in the elevator division of Dover Corp. in Memphis, and two years later began taking classes in the evenings to earn his MBA at the University of Memphis.

After completing his MBA, he went to work for FedEx, where he ultimately came to serve in the executive vice president position as well as one of five members of the company’s executive committee.

As a mentor to Ole Miss students, Glenn stresses the cultivation of strong communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team.

“Unfortunately, I have seen many very bright individuals fail to maximize their potential because they lacked the strong communication skills and could not be a productive member of a team,” he said. “Finally, it is never too early for a student to start developing his or her leadership skills.

“My undergraduate work in the business school really prepared me for the MBA program. Ole Miss provides an outstanding college experience, and I really enjoyed my time in the business school. I will never forget how much fun it was and the impact it had on my career.”

McLean Institute Grant Award to Fund Community Engagement

Hearin Foundation provides support for research and service efforts

The University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement welcomed a new group of outstanding students from around the globe this fall, representing majors from across the university. First row from left, Albert Nylander, Hannah Newbold, Navodit Paudel, Kristina Fields, J.R. Love, Laura Martin; second row from left, Michael Mott, Allison Borst, Zachary Pugh, Joshua Baker, Kendall Walker, Curtis Hill; third row from left, Bryce Williams, Elena Bauer, Adam Franco, Arielle Rogers, Virginia Parkinson, Anna Katherine Burress, Ashley Bowen.

OXFORD, Miss – A grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation for the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement will fund research and service aimed at increasing community and economic development in Mississippi communities.

The McLean Institute welcomes a new group of outstanding students from around the globe this fall, representing majors from across the university. This scholarship opportunity serves to build actionable partnerships across the state to promote entrepreneurship and economic development.

Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute, professor of sociology and principal investigator for the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, program, said he is thankful for the approximately $500,000 provided by the foundation.

“The wonderful people at the Hearin Foundation continue their remarkable record of supporting university students through fellowships to make a difference throughout Mississippi,” Nylander said.

Fifteen students were selected this year to continue a nearly $2 million McLean Institute investment from the Hearin Foundation to bolster community and economic development in Mississippi. This grant will support UM students through 2021.

The CEED Initiative works with Ole Miss students and faculty to implement projects and conduct research that directly affects Mississippi communities. These students join a network of more than 50 UM students and faculty, as well as a collaboration of more than 400 community and business leaders in the state, who embarked on the first CEED project in 2014-18.

The annual entrepreneurship forums, business webinars, youth leadership programs and other activities are focused on spurring economic growth in the state.

“We are thankful to the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation for providing the opportunity to continue working in Mississippi with business and community leaders in partnership with UM students to help move our state forward,” said J.R. Love, CEED project manager.

The program’s annual Mississippi Entrepreneurship Forum, which helps strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, will take place March 8, 2019, at Millsaps College in partnership with other universities throughout the state.

The CEED program supports undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members to research poverty, education, asset building, and health care in Mississippi.

“As a McLean Institute innovation fellow, I am to think critically about the issues of poverty and development in Mississippi, in particular the Delta area,” said Ashley Bowen, a master’s student in computer science from Lambert. “Through sustained community engagement, and by applying strategies in community development, I have been able to positively impact the community and develop myself professionally.”

The McLean Institute also supports faculty research projects through the CEED Initiative. Cristiane Surbeck, associate professor of civil engineering; Kate Centellas, Croft associate professor of anthropology and international studies; David Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management; Tejas Pandya, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Annie Cafer, assistant professor of sociology, all have received funds to conduct projects in Mississippi.

The 2018-19 CEED program includes students from the College of Liberal Arts and the schools of Accountancy, Applied Science, Business Administration, Engineering, Journalism and New Media, Law and Pharmacy.

Other students in the program are: Josh Baker, a junior majoring in economics from Katy, Texas; Elena Bauer, second-year law student, Freiburg, Germany; Allison Borst, junior in biological sciences and sociology, Madison; Anna Katherine Burress, junior in pharmaceutical science, Water Valley; Kristina Fields, junior in psychology, Belden; Adam Franco, senior in public policy leadership, Birmingham, Alabama; Michael Mott, junior in integrated marketing communications and Spanish, Chicago; Hannah Newbold, junior in integrated marketing communications, Roswell, Georgia; Virginia Parkinson, sophomore in marketing and corporate relations, Oxford; Navodit Paudel, junior in general business, Dhading, Nepal; Zach Pugh, sophomore in public policy leadership, Oxford; Arielle Rogers, sophomore in accountancy, Guntown; Kendall Walker, junior in communication sciences and disorders, Tupelo; and Bryce Williams, master’s student in exercise science, Ridgeland.

For more information on the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, visit http://mclean.olemiss.edu/ or contact Albert Nylander at 662-915-2050, or nylander@olemiss.edu.

UM Internship and Career Fair Continues to Grow

Almost 300 students make connections at annual event

Taylor Ann Dean of Northwestern Mutual (center) discusses employment opportunities with a UM student at the recent Part-time Job and Internship Fair at The Inn at Ole Miss. Photo courtesy Garrett Fischer

OXFORD, Miss. – Scores of University of Mississippi business students got a jump start on their careers recently by networking with corporate decision-makers at the third annual Part-time Job and Internship Fair, sponsored by the university’s School of Business Administration and Career Center.

The event at The Inn at Ole Miss attracted more than 280 students and representatives from 32 companies, including FedEx Corp., AutoZone, Viking Corp., Enterprise Holdings, Trustmark Corp. and Northwestern Mutual.

“We had the largest employer and student turnout in the three-year history of this event, and the feedback from both students and employers was incredible,” said Wesley Dickens, coordinator of career preparation and internships for the business school. “The success of the event could not have been possible without the support of the Career Center and the business school’s administration.”

Created in 2016, the fair focuses primarily on internship opportunities, but the school recently partnered with the Career Center to add the part-time job component.

Participating companies filled the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom with decorated booths and tables featuring information about their businesses and special prizes.

“At Enterprise, we are always looking to speak with students and share different ways they can jump-start their careers,” said Natalie Miller, talent acquisition specialist with Enterprise Holdings. “We pride ourselves at Enterprise in helping students transition from student life to work life through our management trainee program and management trainee internship.”

Miller, an Ole Miss alumna, brought fellow team member Ronan McBrearty, also a UM alumnus, to help work the company’s booth.

“When I was a store manager with Enterprise, Ronan was the intern,” she said. “The unique thing about Enterprise is that we promote 100 percent from within, so we are all able to speak to the exact role that we are hiring for in the process.”

Students praised the school’s efforts to help connect them with potential employers.

“Working with the business school’s career preparation office was a very rewarding experience for me,” said Samantha Herbert, a senior from Huron, Ohio, majoring in management information systems. “Initially, I had no idea where to start looking for internships, but Mr. Dickens immediately got me started by critiquing my resume, looking for the right internships in the right places and assisting me with my application.

“My status went from ‘Alternate’ to ‘Primary.’ Eventually, I was offered an internship with International Paper because of the help and advice I was given.”

Recruiters praised the quality of talent available at the event.

“We want the best and brightest students for banking and for Trustmark, so that is why we recruit at schools like Ole Miss,” said Rita Floyd, first vice president and director of organizational development for Trustmark Bank. “Our corporate internship program hopefully piques students’ interest in banking and our management development associate program gets them trained and placed where they can be a productive, effective member of the Trustmark team.”

The Chief Emissary Officers, a student-leadership organization within the business school, served as hosts and ambassadors to help facilitate a dialogue between the students and companies.

“The Ole Miss Part-Time Job and Internship Fair was a huge success for the Lafayette-Oxford-University Volunteer Connection,” said Marlee Carpenter, volunteer coordinator for the organization. We gathered lots of interest from students who are genuinely passionate about building relationships, giving back and serving in the LOU community.

“Because of the fair, we have 40 new faces to match with nonprofit organizations.”

The fair continues to gain momentum in connecting business students with opportunities, said Meg Barnes, the school’s director of career preparation.

“We doubled participation of students in this year’s event,” Barnes said. “We look forward to expanding this fair based on this year’s response and the career outcomes.”

University Endowment Builds to All-time High of $715 Million

Strong investment returns, generosity of alumni and friends spurs growth

The University of Mississippi’s permanent endowment grew in its latest fiscal year to an all-time high, thanks to generous support from private donors. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s permanent endowment grew in its latest fiscal year to an all-time high of $715 million, thanks in part to the seventh consecutive year of new gifts of $100 million or more.

Private support totaled more than $115.8 million from 30,332 donors, giving the university essential resources to continue providing exceptional experiences for students, faculty, researchers, health care patients and providers, citizens served by outreach efforts, and visitors to all its campuses.

“Private investments are essential to fuel the work of our flagship university,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“The generosity of our alumni and friends ensures the university has resources needed to sustain and expand nationally prominent programs, and it enables us to deliver on our Flagship Forward strategic plan to improve learning, health and the quality of life in Mississippi. We remain grateful and inspired by their support.”

Total private giving to the Oxford campus grew by 6.5 percent over the previous year. Private support for academics increased more than 10 percent. 

Eighty-seven percent of the private giving will provide current funding for donor-directed areas or directly affect those areas, while the remaining 13 percent was added to the university’s endowment, which also grew through returns on its investment strategies.

State support as a percentage of total revenues available for the university’s operations was 12.4 percent, making private support all the more crucial.

“Ole Miss alumni and friends are making major investments that transform students’ lives and continually enhance the quality of our programs,” said Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development. “Gifts to higher education also have a far-reaching impact on the economy of Mississippi and beyond, and the resources ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Healthy growth of the university’s endowment reflected the increase in funds invested and managed for the university, said Wendell Weakley, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. The endowment benefited from a 10 percent return on its investments.

Private giving helps UM maintain margins of excellence in a range of fields across all its campuses. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“The endowment has now reached the historic high of $715 million, and we are on our way to realizing our long-range goal of a $1 billion endowment,” Weakley said. “We are extremely grateful to our donors who provide this permanent stable funding that can be counted on year after year and will advance the university’s mission for generations to come.”

Some of the largest gifts included: $5 million for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College; $4.25 million for several programs including Bridge STEM, Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiative, College Ready Literacy, Center for Mathematics and Science Education, First Generation Scholars, Principal Corps, Upstart in the School of Dentistry and more; $4 million for new endowed chairs in geriatrics and palliative care at the Medical Center; $2 million for the College of Liberal Arts‘ departments of mathematics and sciences; $2 million for professorships in surgery and pulmonology at the Medical Center; $1.5 million for expansion of pediatric care at the Medical Center; and gifts of $1 million or more for a faculty chair in the Patterson School of Accountancy, the Flagship Constellations, Southern Foodways Alliance and the Forward Together campaign for Ole Miss athletics.

Likewise, the Medical Center’s Campaign for Children’s Hospital campaign enjoyed a third successful year with $10 million raised, which brings the total giving in the campaign to more than $66 million toward its ambitious $100 million goal. This campaign supports the construction and renovation of facilities and recruitment of 30-40 doctors and researchers.

Work has begun on a new seven-story, 340,000-square-foot tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital that will also house the Children’s Heart Center.

Gifts to the campaign represent “an outpouring of love and support that runs deep and wide across all of Mississippi,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We have outstanding physicians and the best staff, and they have a passion for caring for patients. What we need now are the facilities to match that quality of care.”

Financial resources provided by alumni and friends of the university ensure students will have the tools necessary to be successful. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Ole Miss athletics also enjoyed a successful FY 2018 both on the field and in investments made by alumni and friends. Cash gifts exceeded $30 million for the fourth consecutive year. The Forward Together campaign stands at $176 million, with plans to complete this $200 million campaign in FY 2019.

“Rebel Nation represents one of the most loyal fan bases in college sports,” said Keith Carter, deputy athletics director for development and resource acquisition. “The support shown year in and year out allows us to enhance our facilities to help our student-athletes compete at the highest level, while also providing a high-quality experience for our fans.

“We express our thanks to loyal donors and fans, and we look forward to the upcoming year as we close out the Forward Together campaign and begin new endeavors.”

To make gifts to the university, go to https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ for academics, https://www.umc.edu/givenow/ for the UM Medical Center or http://givetoathletics.com/forward-together/ for Ole Miss athletics.

Part-time Entrepreneurs Make Innovative Employees

Study conducted by UM business school team finds that side businesses yield valuable job skills

UM business professors (from left) Tony Ammeter, Walter Davis and Clay Dibrell have studied how part-time entrepreneurs bring value to their primary employers. Their findings promise to change how employers and others view employees who run side businesses. Photo by Chad Hathcock/UM School of Business Administration

OXFORD, Miss. – Employees who operate their own businesses on the side often pick up valuable skills that they put to use at their primary jobs, according to a study conducted by three business professors and a former doctoral student at the University of Mississippi.

The study concludes that having part-time entrepreneurs as employees benefits the company – a position often opposed by the corporate world and general public.

“From our study, we discovered employees running side businesses learn a unique set of skills and abilities through entrepreneurial experiences,” said David Marshall, assistant professor of management at the University of Dayton and graduate of the UM School of Business Administration‘s doctoral program.

“Our hope is that more company leaders begin recognizing the value these employees can provide their employing organizations and spend more time finding ways to capitalize on these unique skills and less time discouraging part-time entrepreneurial pursuits.” 

Marshall worked on the project with Walter Davis, Ole Miss associate professor of management; Tony Ammeter, associate provost and associate professor of management and MIS; and Clay Dibrell, executive director of the university’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Their findings are detailed in “Learning off the Job: Examining Part-time Entrepreneurs as Innovative Employees,” which is being published this fall in the Journal of Management.

The authors hypothesized that part-time entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for individuals to acquire knowledge and skills that make them more likely to engage in innovative behaviors. By analyzing a sample of 1,221 employee responses across 137 organizational units, they provided evidence to support their hypothesis: that employees who run side businesses exhibited greater innovative behaviors in their primary jobs than those who did not.

“Our research found that some individuals – those who are higher in a trait called ‘learning orientation’ – are more likely to transfer new skills from their entrepreneurial ventures to their workplace,” Davis said.

The professors found individuals who are higher in learning orientation understand that ability and mastering skills is something that can be improved through learning and experimentation. Given the part-time entrepreneur’s desire for learning, the subsequent trials and failures in pursuit of their entrepreneurial dream lead to the development of knowledge that individuals with a lower learning orientation will not have opportunities to develop.

“Persons high in learning orientation seek to master new skills through learning and experimentation,” Davis said. “This is important, because innovation can be risky and often entails mistakes and failures.

“Persons who are high in learning orientation are willing to take the risks needed to innovate.”

The authors stated that future research should explore additional ways in which part-time entrepreneurs contribute to their employing organizations. For example, a part-time entrepreneur may exhibit greater management and leadership abilities and be more willing to work outside his or her routine set of tasks to accomplish organizational goals, they said.

“One of the things we found, that might be surprising, is that leaders should consider supporting employee desires to work as a part-time entrepreneur,” Ammeter said. “Encouraging employees to engage in outside entrepreneurial activities may result in some employees eventually leaving to pursue full-time entrepreneurship, but many others will remain and transfer entrepreneurial knowledge to work-related tasks and procedures.”

The professors point out that leaders of organizations are interested in training their employees to be innovative, suggesting that such skills can be learned through entrepreneurial activities outside the workplace. The authors said they hope the findings continue to push scholars to consider the important interaction between participation in outside entrepreneurship and employment inside the firm.

“We find entrepreneurs who are interested in having their own business and want to work with a larger company do best working for companies which focus on innovations,” Dibrell said. “For these same employers, we find some of their most outstanding employees often have side businesses.

“In effect, the innovative company and entrepreneurial employee both win.”

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.

Jones Creates Scholarships in Wife’s Memory

Endowment will help students earn degrees from School of Business Administration

The late Ann McCully Jones, of Richton, is being memorialized through a new scholarship endowment at the University of Mississippi. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – On the first day of every month for 46 years, Ann McCully Jones and her husband, Frank, repeated their wedding vows. After he lost his partner in life, Frank Jones carried out what the couple had spoken of many times: funding University of Mississippi scholarships.

Jones, of Richton, has established the Margaret Ann McCully Payne Jones Memorial Scholarship Endowment with a gift of $800,000 for School of Business Administration students. First preference for the need-based scholarships will be given to freshman students from the Christian-based French Camp Academy, Baptist Children’s Village or Palmer Home for Children.

“Ann was always looking for ways to help individuals who were having difficult times because she experienced a host of life’s trials herself,” Jones said. “Ann and I had talked many times of helping those needing the most hope, and we wanted this scholarship to assist students in the years ahead who otherwise might not be able to attain their full potential.

“We hoped and prayed that these future recipients would be successful in their chosen endeavors and, as their lives unfolded, they would be able to pass on help to other young men and women. Our desire was that each person helped would in turn help others to reach their destiny. It is our intent that they join us in caring and carrying forward a legacy of helping others.”

Henry Jones, of Brandon, the oldest of the couple’s three sons, said anyone who knew his mother, who died in August 2017, recognized her priorities. “She loved God, her family and Ole Miss, and she was very happy when any two of those loves could be found together.”

Ann and Frank Jones were not Ole Miss students at the same time. Frank graduated in 1959 with a degree in chemistry and biology. Ann pursued a major in business education, graduating magna cum laude in 1965 and as a Taylor medalist and Phi Kappa Phi member, while being involved in Mortar Board academic honorary and Delta Gamma sorority.

Frank Jones originally planned to attend West Point Military Academy, but a neck injury prevented him from taking advantage of that opportunity. Ole Miss was the only other school he would consider.

After two years in the Army Chemical Corps, he enjoyed seven-and-a-half years working with the Pepsi Cola Corp. in New York and traveled extensively over the country. The call to come back to Mississippi and join his father in the funeral profession ended the Pepsi Cola involvement.

Ann Jones joined a host of other family members who chose to make the Oxford campus their college home, and an uncle advised her to seek out the Ole Miss business school. She was born in Waco, Texas, while her lawyer father, John Triplett McCully, served as an Army Intelligence officer. The family returned to DeKalb, where she graduated from DeKalb High School before going on to Ole Miss.

Her mother, Margaret Payne McCully, was an Ole Miss graduate and a high school English teacher at DeKalb High School and Murrah High School in Jackson.

The Joneses first met in New York City at a Marble Collegiate Church function following a message by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and then spent the afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with friends Lester and Janaan Clark, of Hattiesburg. Dedicated to a career that took her all over many states as a business trainer for IBM, Ann McCully initially wasn’t to be distracted by romance, and Jones said it took him five years to persuade her to marry him.

“Ann was blessed with great intelligence and typing speed,” her husband said. “The business world offered an opportunity for her to earn a much better salary than teaching, which was her mother’s profession. She loved traveling with IBM, which was a good company to work for.”

McCully left IBM and returned to Mississippi to plan her wedding. Later, she helped her husband with his Standard Oil agency and Chevron jobbing businesses before the couple, upon the retirement of Frank’s father, joined the family business, Jones & Son Funeral Home. The couple expanded the funeral home to other locations in south central Mississippi.

Besides raising their three sons – Henry, John and Walt, who all earned their first degrees at Ole Miss and were Sigma Chi members, like their father – they were extremely active in the First Baptist Church of Richton through the music and children’s programs, as well as in community organizations. Second preference for the scholarship is directed to Richton High School students.

Ann Jones was well-known for being an enthusiastic ambassador for Ole Miss.

“A constant recruiter to Ole Miss, she gave many of my south Mississippi friends their first exposure to Oxford and the Grove,” said son Dr. John Jones, of Indianola. “Mom was a faithful woman and a Rebel.”

“What I cherish about my mom was her passion and commitment to the things she loved,” said son Walt Jones, of Fort Worth, Texas. “She loved the Lord, her family, friends and Ole Miss.

“Everyone she met knew they were important to her and that she valued their relationship. She taught me how to love people well and to love Ole Miss!”

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter thanked Frank Jones not only for the endowed gift but also for the thoughtful designation of the scholarships.

“Ann and Frank were deeply devoted to each other, and that great love spilled over into their view of and concern for people, that is, young people who might have experienced challenges or the loss of their parents,” Vitter said. “This couple shared a desire to help others by providing scholarship resources for them to attend their own alma mater, a place where they both thrived.

“So many young people today need that ‘hope’ of which Mr. Jones speaks, and giving encouragement through access to higher education not only dramatically changes their lives but also enriches our society as a whole. We are grateful for this extraordinary gift.”

Freshman recipients of the Jones Scholarship may retain the award until completion of their undergraduate degree (up to eight semesters) and it can assist graduate students with their MBA (up to four semesters), provided they remain in good academic standing. The School of Business Administration Scholarship Committee will make the selections each year.

Individuals and organizations with the same desire to meet the needs of those less fortunate may make gifts to the Margaret Ann McCully Jones Memorial Scholarship Endowment by sending a check with the fund’s name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting online at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contacting Nikki Neely Davis, executive director of development at nlneely@olemiss.edu and 662-915-6678.

MOST Conference Offers Unique Insight into College Life, Experiences

Nearly 500 high school seniors participated in UM recruiting and empowerment event

By participating in interactive team building activities, students are empowered and learn valuable lessons during the 2018 Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent Conference. Photo by Marilee Crawford/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – As the University of Mississippi’s 2018 Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent Conference came to a close Tuesday (July 17), high school seniors in attendance raved about their three days of pre-college experiences.

“With 465 prospective students here, this was the largest MOST conference we’ve ever had,” said Alexandria White, assistant director of the university’s Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. “Because of the increase in attendance, we had to make some changes logistically in order to better accommodate the students.

“We’re very proud that the responses, both internally from participating students and externally from their parents and others following the conference on social media, has been so positive.”

Several participants said that being on campus transformed them in unexpected ways.

Based on the university’s history, Savion Price, of Macon, wondered whether or not  African-American students really would be welcome at the university. The Noxubee High School senior said he was pleasantly surprised by the inclusive atmosphere he experienced.

MOST mentors said they understand why some students may have reservations about coming to campus and volunteered because they want to help alleviate those anxieties.

“After I came to the 2016 MOST Conference and had a great experience because of my mentor, I felt it was important that I give that back to other high school students,” said Trevor Abram, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Horn Lake. “I want to see other people of color attend this university and to make the same meaningful, positive connections with its staff, faculty and students that I have.”

The attention of MOST mentors was appreciated by the students they guided and has provided helpful information for students as they begin their college search and selection process.

“Since I’ve been here, Ole Miss has definitely moved up on my list,” said Chelsea Smith, a senior from Columbus who plans to major in pre-med and business administration. “The mentors helped us a lot by letting us ask questions and giving us real answers.

The 2018 MOST Conference welcomes 465 high school seniors, the largest group ever, during an academic and activities fair. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“Because of them, I’m planning to stay focused and be responsible wherever I decide to go to college.”

Activities during the event included informational sessions, panel discussions, a talent show, Greek and campus organization presentations, small-group meetings and a closing awards ceremony. But the conference is far more than just “fun and games.”

“There is definitely real substance to the conference,” said Nicholas Crasta, a sophomore biology and political science major from Vicksburg who volunteered as a mentor even though he’d not attended a previous conference.

“There’s been a balance between empowerment activities for minorities and entertainment. Everything’s just been perfectly constructed for the maximum pre-college experience.”

A MOST Conference reunion is scheduled for Nov. 13. Several students said they are already anticipating that meeting as well.

“This has truly been a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anybody,” said Tyreek Hayes, of Madison, a senior at Germantown High School. “They opened more than just their facilities to us. They opened their hearts and let us know we are wanted and welcomed here.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter spoke during a faculty and staff networking dinner and applauded the students’ participation in the conference.

“Our university cares deeply about establishing and maintaining a culture of respect and inclusion,” Vitter said. “This outstanding conference is among those efforts because it is a wonderful opportunity to engage ambitious and exceptional students such as yourselves.

“We hope that after your amazing experience at MOST that we will see all of you back here next year at freshmen orientation.”

Participants at the MOST Conference respond enthusiastically as awards are presented during the closing ceremony in The Pavilion at Ole Miss. Photo By Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Preparations already have begun for the 2019 MOST Conference, White said.

“We send out a post-conference survey as soon as they return home,” she said. “Our committee members have been busy observing and providing meaningful feedback. Based on these, we’ll make improvements and tweaks so that next year’s MOST conference will be even bigger and better.”

A partnership between the Office of Admissions, Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the conference is made possible through the support of the Office of the Provost, Fed Ex, the Caterpillar Foundation, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, FASTtrack and the LuckyDay Scholars Program.

Ten UM Freshmen Receive Omicron Delta Kappa Awards

Honor society recognizes outstanding young leaders and community servants

This year’s recipients of the Omicron Delta Kappa Freshman Leader Awards are (back row, from left) Kneeland Gammill, of Memphis; Nicholas Crasta, of Vicksburg; Abby Johnston and Harrison McKinnis, both of Madison; (front row, from left) Bridget McMillan, of Long Beach; Asia Harden, of Greenville; Margaret Baldwin, of Birmingham, Alabama; Swetha Manivannan, of Collierville, Tennessee; and Ariel Williams, of Waynesboro. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Ten University of Mississippi freshmen have been named recipients of Omicron Delta Kappa’s Freshman Leadership Awards.

The annual ODK Freshman Leadership Awards, which identify outstanding freshman leaders and community servants, were presented at the organization’s annual induction ceremony in April. Previous recipients have gone on to serve in roles such as Associated Student Body president and Student Activities Association director, and to be inducted into the university’s student Hall of Fame.

This year’s recipients of the ODK Freshman Leadership Awards are: Margaret Baldwin, of Birmingham, Alabama; Nicholas Crasta, of Vicksburg; Jacob Fanning, of Philadelphia; Kneeland Gammill, of Memphis; Asia Harden, of Greenville; Abby Johnston, of Madison; Swetha Manivannan, of Collierville, Tennessee; Harrison McKinnis, of Madison; Bridget McMillan, of Long Beach; and Ariel Williams, of Waynesboro.

“We created this award in 2010 to recognize the future leaders on our campus and to encourage their continued engagement in campus and community activities,” said Ryan Upshaw, ODK adviser and assistant dean for student services in the School of Engineering. “Each year, the selection process becomes more difficult as the university attracts student leaders from all over the country.

“Our society is excited to be able to recognize their outstanding contributions during their first year on campus. We also look forward to their potential membership in our society later in their college career.”

McKinnis, a chemical engineering major and graduate of Madison Central High School, said he is honored to be a recipient of the award.

“I was very excited when I found out I would receive this award,” McKinnis said. “To be recognized alongside such talented student leaders is truly an honor. I hope more than anything that my actions here on campus will make the lives of students more enjoyable and that they will see Ole Miss with the same love that I do.”

Baldwin, a chemistry major, is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, where she received the Parker Memorial Scholarship. As an incoming freshman, she attended the MPOWER Leadership Conference, and she is a member of the Student Activities Association, Ole Miss Running Club and the Baptist Student Union.

Crasta, a Provost Scholar, is studying biology and political science. He attended the MPOWER Leadership Conference and served as a legislative aide for the Associated Student Body Senate. He is a member of Men of Excellence, the Black Student Union and Lambda Sigma. He is serving as an orientation leader this summer.

A biology and political science major, Fanning is a Provost Scholar and member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. He serves on the Ole Miss Mock Trial Team and is a member of ASB Freshman Forum. He is serving as an orientation leader this summer.

Gammill, a business and public policy leadership major, is a Provost Scholar and member of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence and the Lott Leadership Institute. He is a member of ASB Freshman Forum, the Ole Miss Cycling Team, Alpha Lambda Delta and Lambda Sigma.

Harden is a member of the Honors College and is studying integrated marketing communication. She attended the MPOWER Leadership Conference and is a member of ASB Freshman Council. She was a team leader for the Big Event and is a staff writer for the Ole Miss yearbook and a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and Lambda Sigma.

A member of the Honors College, Johnston is studying public policy leadership as part of the Lott Leadership Institute and the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. She is an ASB senator and an ambassador for the Lott Institute. She also serves as a pre-college programs counselor for the Office of Outreach and a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class.

Manivannan is an international studies and Spanish major as part of the Honors College and Croft Institute. She serves as secretary of the Residential College Cabinet and the UM Collegiate DECA chapter. She is also a member of the Model United Nations team, the Indian Students Association and the ASB Freshman Council.

McKinnis is a member of the Honors College and the recipient of the Stamps Foundation Scholarship. He attended the MPOWER Leadership conference and is a member of the ASB Freshman Council, Lambda Sigma and the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. He is serving as an orientation leader this summer.

An accounting major, McMillan is a member of the Honors College and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, where she serves on the Student Advisory Board. She attended the MPOWER Leadership Conference and serves on the ASB Freshman Council.

Williams is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering as part of the Honors College. She is a member of ASB Freshman Council and Alpha Epsilon Delta, and participated in RebelTHON and the Big Event. She is serving as an orientation leader this summer.

Omicron Delta Kappa is a 104-year-old leadership honor society that has initiated more than 300,000 members since its founding. The society has more than 285 active chapters at colleges and universities across the United States.