Slavery Research Group to Present Map Project

New online resource to be unveiled at Oxford-Lafayette County Heritage Foundation meeting

This map of Oxford from 1862, along with many other maps of north Mississippi, is available for online access. Members of the UM Slavery Research Group will demonstrate how to access these maps Nov. 13 at the Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center.

OXFORD, Miss. – A partnership between the University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group and the Oxford-Lafayette County Heritage Foundation and has resulted in a new online resource that will make historic maps of Oxford and Lafayette County available to the public.

An unveiling of the online maps will be presented at the heritage foundation’s annual meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 13) at the Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center. The session is free and open to the public.

The Slavery Research Group has partnered with heritage foundation, the UM Center for Archaeological Research, the city of Oxford and the UM Geoinformatics Center to form the Historic Maps Project. The group has discovered and pulled together maps of Oxford and Lafayette County dating from 1835 to the present, including Civil War-era and early 20th century maps.

“Some of these maps were only recently discovered and made available to us, so we are excited about sharing these with the broader university and Oxford-Lafayette communities,” said Jeffrey Jackson, associate professor of sociology and co-chair of the Slavery Research Group.

The project involves the digitization and online display of these maps, which are aligned and layered onto each other so they can be used for research purposes to better understand the area and its history. The group plans to add more maps and historical information in the future, and the LOU community is invited to help add material to the online resource.

“These maps are just the beginning,” Jackson said. “We want to invite the community to add more maps, more historic information and more local history to this database so that it can be used as a tool for research on local history and a resource for local citizens interested in learning more about their own family histories and how they are related to the broader history of north Mississippi.”

The maps are housed on the Burns-Belfry website, and a tutorial detailing how to navigate the site will be conducted at the meeting.

The meeting is open to the general public and everyone is invited to attend. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, visit

Wild Mushrooms Topic for November Science Cafe

Biologist Jason Hoeksema will discuss ecology and culinary potential of fungi

Several varieties of wild mushrooms will be discussed during the November Oxford Science Cafe. Submitted photo by Jason Hoeksema

OXFORD, Miss. – The ecology and edibility of wild mushrooms is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s third meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at Lusa Bakery and Cafe, 1120 North Lamar Blvd. Jason Hoeksema, UM associate professor of biology, will discuss “Wild mushrooms: Ecology, edibility and more.” Admission is free.

“What is a mushroom? What is its natural function for fungi? Which ones are delicious and which ones will make you ill or worse?” Hoeksema said. “In this presentation, we’ll answer all these questions.

“We’ll start with a discussion of fungal ecology, especially focusing on how fungi obtain food and the really interesting ways that fungi can change the ecology of plants and nutrient cycling.”

Hoeksema’s 45-minute presentation also will examine the role of mushrooms in the life cycles of fungi.

“Finally, we’ll discuss strategies for finding and safely enjoying wild mushrooms in northern Mississippi,” he said.

A Science Cafe organizer said Hoeksema’s discussion should be most interesting.

“I’m eagerly waiting for Dr. Hoeksema’s presentation,” said Marco Cavaglia, professor of physics and astronomy. “The world of mushrooms is so fascinating.

“When I was a kid, I spent many weekends mushroom hunting with my dad. Nowadays, when I hike in the woods of Mississippi, I’m still mesmerized by the variety and beauty of wild mushrooms.”

Hoeksema received his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of California at Davis, respectively. A member of the Ole Miss faculty since 2006, he teaches courses in ecology, evolution, statistics, microbiology, mycology and ornithology. He also occasionally leads mushroom field trips for the public.

His research addresses questions regarding the ecological and evolutionary consequences of species interactions – such as mutualism, parasitism and competition – on populations and communities, with a focus on interactions between plants and mycorrhizal fungi.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-7046.

UM Hosts Former Wikipedia Executive, Journalist and Internet Activist

Sue Gardner to deliver insights on social media and technology Nov. 13 on campus

Sue Gardner, a journalist, executive and internet activist, speaks at 7 p.m. Monday (Nov. 13) in the Overby Center for Politics and Southern Journalism. Photo by Victoria Will

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will host journalist, executive and internet activist Sue Gardner on Monday (Nov. 13) for a discussion of “How the Internet Broke Democracy, and What We Can Do About It Now.” 

Gardner’s lecture is set for at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Politics and Southern Journalism. The university’s digital media studies interdisciplinary minor and Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies  are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

Gardner is a former director of the Wikimedia Foundation, a role she held from 2007 to 2014, and former director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s website and online news outlets. She advises the Tor Project and First Look Media. 

“Our world has never been more dependent on access to accurate information, and it has never been harder to find amid the ‘noise’ created by a glut of content that often seems designed to mislead,” said Debora Wenger, assistant dean and associate professor at the UM Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “Sue Gardner’s focus on ensuring that we, as citizens, get the information we need to be free and self-governing should matter to everyone, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.”

Robert Cummings, chair of the UM Department of Writing and Rhetoric, said he invited Gardner to campus because of her experience managing a global community-based technology, including Wikipedia, through the Wikimedia Foundation.

“She understands and has wrestled with many of the issues, which define the role of technology in our culture,” Cummings said. 

Judging by her work at the Wiki Education Foundation, Gardner remains committed to education, personal development, diversity, equity and inclusion, said Cummings, who has served with her on that foundation’s board for several years.

“She helped Wikimedia Foundation speak out on the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2011,” he said. “It led to the first ever ‘blackout’ of Wikipedia, and it took a lot of leadership from her to make it happen.

“Since then, she has continued to work within Silicon Valley to advance the agenda of personal freedom on the internet and within tech communities. She has also advocated for gender rights within the tech community, which is no easy task.”

Her topic is an important one, given the large role social media and technology play in people’s understanding of the world around them, Cummings said. 

“I think that she is an important person to speak to students at the University of Mississippi because she can provide insights on how the worlds of technology and social media have affected the health of our democracy,” he said. “In addition, at times we can be very removed from the realities of Silicon Valley, and I think that she can bring insight to our students about those communities.”

For more information on Gardner and her work, go to

BodyTraffic to Perform at Ford Center, Host Workshops this Week

West Coast troupe renowned for blending traditional choreography with contemporary dance styles

Dance troupe BodyTraffic, renowned for combining traditional choreography with contemporary dance styles, is hosting student workshops and performing this week on the UM campus. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts hosts the internationally recognized dance company BodyTraffic for one performance Thursday evening (Nov. 9).

Ticket for the 7:30 p.m. show are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center. They are $30 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $26 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $22 for the balcony level. A 20 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office.

Founded in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, the West Coast dance troupe of six dancers has performed for sold-out audiences in theaters and festivals around the world. BodyTraffic, renowned for innovating traditional choreography into contemporary dance styles, was named “the company of the future” by the Joyce Theater Foundation, one of Dance magazine’s “25 to Watch in 2013” and “Best of Culture” by the Los Angeles Times.

“BodyTraffic is wonderful company that is a leader in the Los Angeles dance community,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “They are able to adapt their programs to work with different groups.

“It’s very important to us to be able to bring companies like BodyTraffic to the Ford Center for more than just a performance. It’s an invaluable experience for Ole Miss students and a way for members of the community to experience the arts in a more in-depth and meaningful way.”

The dance company will also be on campus for two days before the performance, hosting master classes for Ole Miss students in musical theater, jazz, tap and contemporary dance. Additionally, BodyTraffic will host workshops for 21 United, a Down syndrome advocacy and awareness group based in Oxford, as well as an elementary school class from Holly Springs.

The troupe appeals to new audiences as well as dance enthusiasts with their works from choreographers including Kyle Abraham, Hofesh Shechter, Barak Marshall, Richard Siegal and Victor Quijada.

For more information about tickets and upcoming performances, visit

National and Worldwide Rankings Provide UM Benchmarks of Success

University committed to capitalizing on momentum and reaching new heights of excellence

Mississippi’s flagship university, UM has improved upon its standing in business and engineering in this fall’s latest national and worldwide rankings of colleges and universities. The university also is highly regarded around the world for its programs in pharmacology and toxicology, clinical medicine and physics. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss – The University of Mississippi was recently named to the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s College Rankings for 2018. UM also continues to increase its global research standing through gains in the NTU Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities.

Mississippi’s flagship university has improved upon its national standing in business and engineering while its pharmacology and toxicology, clinical medicine and physics research get high marks in worldwide university rankings.

“The University of Mississippi stands out nationally with unique academic programs and learning experiences, and we are committed to achieving even higher levels of excellence,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “We will accomplish this goal by increasing the value of our degrees, expanding the impact of our research and boosting the competitiveness of our students, faculty and staff.”

Ranked as the nation’s 10th fastest-growing public doctoral institution in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2017 Almanac, Ole Miss is the state’s largest university with 23,780 students.

The university is also included in the elite category of R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification. This group represents the top 2.5 percent of public and private institutions of higher education in the country.

“Rankings provide important benchmarks for our university to continue our focus upon growing our reach and enhancing our international pre-eminence,” Vitter said.

The university has climbed steadily in the overall ranking of the 800 best research universities in the world, moving up nine spots from a year ago. The NTU Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities evaluates achievements in scientific research by using objective indicators. Research productivity, impact and excellence were measured to assess the performance of scientific publications.

UM ranked No. 76 in the U.S. and No. 321 worldwide among public institutions in the NTU rankings.

The university’s pharmacology and toxicology research ranked No. 152 among public institutions worldwide, while physics ranked No. 217 and clinical medicine came in at No. 242.

In four of the last five years, the university has also improved its overall U.S. News and World Report ranking. This year, UM comes in at No. 73 among public institutions and saw a rise in its rankings in engineering and business administration.

UM has climbed steadily in the overall ranking of the 800 best research universities in the world, moving up nine spots from a year ago. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

The university’s peer assessment and first-year student retention rates also were at all-time highs.

“The improvements in the business school and School of Engineering rankings are a positive sign that their efforts to provide outstanding programs to our students are being noticed,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor. “I am consistently impressed with how our faculty and staff create an amazing, engaging and caring environment in which our students can learn and realize their full potential.”

The School of Engineering’s undergraduate programs are tied for No. 113 among public universities. This fall, the engineering school raised its admission requirements, and the overall quality of the programs continues to improve.

The recent addition of the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering program included a fall 2017 inaugural class of 54 students with an average ACT of 30.9.

The School of Business Administration’s undergraduate ranking rose four spots in this year’s rankings to No. 65 among public universities.

The school, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary on campus this fall, is committed to continuing the momentum, said Ken Cyree, UM business dean.

“I am proud of our commitment to adding value to our students and helping them prepare for the competitive workplace and for success,” Cyree said.

UM is also ranked among the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s best U.S. universities, coming in at No. 78 among public universities.

This ranking constitutes a comparative assessment of more than 1,000 colleges and universities, measuring factors such as university resources, student engagement, outcomes and environment. The findings are based on surveys on success and learning completed by 100,000 college students.

The surveys ask students whether sufficient resources are available to teach them properly and whether their teachers and classmates challenge and engage them. It tries to answer whether the college has a good academic reputation and what kind of campus community is in place.

The ranking also aims to help prospective students decide how likely they are to graduate, pay off loans and get a good job.

Ranked among the nation’s 10th fastest-growing public doctoral institutions, UM is the state’s largest university with 23,780 students. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

The university scored high in student satisfaction surveys found in the Wall Street Journal rankings – 87.9 percent of students said if they could start all over again, they would still choose Ole Miss. More than 80 percent said they found the university successful in helping secure internships that prepared them for their careers, as well.

In national rankings by other sources, the university achieved several additional accolades, including the School of Law ranked as the No. 22 best value law school in the country by National Jurist magazine and the School of Accountancy’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral program all ranked No. 8 in national rankings published by the journal Public Accounting Report. The master’s program leads the SEC in rankings, while the undergraduate program comes in second.

Efforts by faculty, staff and students to excel in their pursuit of knowledge places UM in an exceptional position to continue leading the way in learning, discovery and engagement, Vitter said.

“As we continue to measure our success on a national and global stage, I am committed to a future marked by even greater achievements and contributions by our strong, vibrant university,” he said.

Private Giving Offers Students More than Expected

UM scholarships enhance education experience

Abby Bruce stands at 17,060 feet in front of Montaña de Siete Colores in Cusco, Peru. Photo courtesy Abby Bruce

OXFORD, Miss. – Since she was 5 years old, Abby Bruce, of Saltillo, has wanted to be fluent in Spanish. Thanks to an endowment created by a private gift to the University of Mississippi, the senior will graduate with a degree not just in Spanish but also in international studies.

Every day, in classrooms and labs across the UM campus, students are moving closer to earning college degrees. For many, higher education is a critical step toward realizing a lifelong dream, one made easier to attain by the generosity of Ole Miss alumni and friends.

Like Bruce, two other UM students – Miranda Craft of Jackson, Missouri, and Mikayla Johnson of Mooreville – are finding that scholarships have enabled them to have a better-than-expected college experience. And these are just three examples of the more than 2,600 Ole Miss students on scholarship during the fall 2017 semester.

This year, Bruce received the Alfred William Milden Scholarship, which is designated for rising seniors majoring in the fields of ancient or foreign language.

“The scholarship has enabled me to pursue my language study even further and to have the means to travel to study the language intensely,” Bruce said.

Upon receiving the award, Bruce felt compelled to write the Milden family a personal thank-you note, attaching several pictures of her study abroad experience in Peru last semester. Pictures included sights such as Machu Picchu, one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”

“Those are experiences that you have to search for and, as always, it’s nice to have a little more financial support,” said Bruce, who wants to return to Latin America soon. “After you’ve immersed yourself once, you crave that adventure again.

“And I now have a good group of Columbian, Mexican, Peruvian and Chilean friends – connections that make me want to return even more.”

Bruce, a member of the Croft Institute for International Studies and Phi Kappa Phi honor society, hopes to have a career in which she can communicate in Spanish.

“Even if the job itself doesn’t use Spanish, I’d like to live somewhere that utilizes that language, whether that’s a different country or a region of the states with a large Hispanic population,” she said. “I want to continue to improve.”

During her time at Ole Miss, Bruce has been a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College as well as an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority.

Craft is the recipient of the Everett-Williams Memorial, which has enabled her to pursue a pharmacy degree by eliminating the financial burden of tuition.

“This scholarship has given me additional aid toward my dream of becoming a pharmacist and impacting the medical field,” said Craft, a member of the American Pharmacists Association, Phi Mu sorority, Phi Kappa Phi honor society and Kappa Epsilon, a professional pharmacy fraternity.

The scholarship has also given Craft experiences that she believes will be valuable to her career path.

“The highlight of the scholarship was being able to attend the monthly dinners and meet leaders in the context of Oxford and the university while being inspired by their different outlooks on life,” said Craft, adding that she also appreciates her scholarship’s mentorship component.

“It has changed my outlook on life by giving me the opportunity to interact with strong leaders on campus.”

Johnson, recipient of the Mildred H. Center Council Scholarship, said her dream of attending medical school would not be possible without financial support.

The scholarship is granted to students through the Ole Miss Women’s Council and is endowed by the R.H. and Mildred Center Foundation. Johnson applied for the scholarship as a high school senior and has been a recipient since her freshman year. She is also the recipient of the Rural Physicians Scholarship that the University of Mississippi Medical Center awards.

“I hope to practice pediatrics and come back to Pontotoc,” Johnson said. “I didn’t really have the means and Ole Miss wasn’t really in my plan. I just applied to see what would happen.”

As an OMWC scholar, Johnson meets weekly with her mentors to discuss anything from test grades to career plans. She also has developed strong relationships with fellow scholars, for which she is thankful.

“We met before the first day of school our freshman year, so it was nice to see a familiar face because I didn’t know anybody coming here,” Johnson said. “Also, I’ve enjoyed the relationships with Nora Capwell (OMWC program director) and Suzanne Helveston (OMWC career and leadership director) because it’s nice to have someone to talk to.

“I feel like those relationships are definitely going to go past my time at Ole Miss.”

The OMWC recently introduced the Global Leadership Circle, a philanthropy program that provides opportunities for donors to sponsor students hoping to pursue international studies or internships. Johnson plans to use the scholarship to study abroad next summer.

“I’ve been talking with Nora, and there is a chemistry class offered in Paris that would allow me to study the chemistry of food and also the culture,” Johnson said. “I’m a chemistry minor and so if I get to travel for this class, it will definitely be the highlight of my program.”

Johnson is a member of the Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi honor society, American Medical Student Association and American Medical Women’s Association.

For information on endowing a scholarship at UM, contact Sandra Guest, vice president of the UM Foundation, at 662-915-5208, or visit

Gloria Kellum Lauded with New Scholarship Fund

Political science group honors longtime UM administrator

Family members gather around Gloria Kellum (fourth from right) at a recent reception hosted in her honor by the UM Department of Political Science Advisory Board. The board acknowledged Kellum’s long-term service to the university by establishing a scholarship endowment in her name. Photo by Bill Dabney/UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – The advisory board for the University of Mississippi’s Department of Political Science has honored longtime administrator Gloria Kellum by establishing a scholarship endowment in her name, recognizing her service to the university.

Board member Rod Taylor of Rosemary Beach, Florida, nominated the former vice chancellor for university relations for the honor due to her supportive role in the board’s formation some 15 years ago. The board has been instrumental in helping secure internships for students, providing scholarships through other named endowments, underwriting various programs for the department and more.

“When I asked who agreed with this nomination, everybody’s hand shot up immediately as if I’d thrown a Twinkie out in front of a bunch of third-graders,” recalled board president Tom Becherer of Alexandria, Virginia. “Dr. Kellum had a hand in just about all of the amazing changes that have happened at this university since my graduation in 1986 and well before I came here.

“We all love this place, but I don’t believe anybody loves it more than she does.”

Taylor agreed: “It’s hard for me to imagine how there could be anybody to whom Ole Miss owes a greater debt of gratitude than Gloria Kellum.”

The Gloria D. Kellum Scholarship Endowment in Political Science will be awarded to eligible students within the department, based on merit.

“I’m very honored and very humbled,” Kellum said. “The scholarship was such a sweet surprise to me. Student scholarships are so very important, so I thank the Political Science Advisory Board for its leadership on behalf of our students because that’s what it’s all about.

“Every time a scholarship is established, the donor is really thinking about our students, which is the focus of what we all do at this university.”

Kellum has worn many hats since she and her then-future husband, Jerry, joined the faculty in 1966 and has been instrumental in helping the university mark a number of milestones.

The Kellums have two daughters, Kate Kellum of Oxford, and Kelly Kellum Weems of New Orleans – both Ole Miss graduates – and three grandchildren, all of whom attended a recent reception in Gloria Kellum’s honor along with many members of her extended family, friends and coworkers past and present.

“When you think about Gloria and all that she’s meant to Ole Miss, many words come to mind: teacher, administrator, incredible fundraiser, organizer, leader and friend,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Energetic, dedicated, smart, loyal, visionary and inspirational – all those words and many more can be used to describe Dr. Gloria Kellum and her decades-long relationship with the University of Mississippi.”

As an administrator, Kellum chaired UM’s sesquicentennial celebration, directed two major capital campaigns and provided leadership to improve race relations. On the academic side, she helped grow a small speech pathology and audiology program into a nationally accredited educational and clinical program, and taught hundreds of students.

“So much of the success and growth of Ole Miss during my years as chancellor can be credited to Gloria,” Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said. “Her impact upon the university is unparalleled. Her legacy is record enrollment, record fundraising, increased academic excellence and so much more.

“All the momentum we have today is built upon the foundation that Gloria helped establish with other leaders at the university.”

Under her direction, the Commitment to Excellence Campaign attracted a stunning $525.9 million in private gifts, followed by the MomentUM campaign, which upped the total raised in private funds during Kellum’s tenure to some $800 million. The campaigns produced one-of-a-kind partnerships such as the 2+2 Scholarship Initiative with Northwest Mississippi Community College, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.

“It was a time of great change and a time of true renaissance for us,” Kellum said, crediting the widespread evolution to a number of factors: Khayat’s leadership, vision and strategic planning; the extraordinarily gifted faculty and staff who worked together and were committed to making the university the best it could be; a strong economy; and the devoted involvement of alumni and friends.

“It was a golden time for me to be a part of,” she said. “Now, Chancellor Vitter and his wife, Sharon, have created an extraordinary team of people who are really making a difference. They have joined together our academic campus, athletic department and medical center all into one cohesive force. And it is a force to be reckoned with.

“I’ll tell you this: The future of Ole Miss will be one of great promise.”

Lee Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, praised the board’s initiative in establishing the Kellum Scholarship.

“I applaud the board’s efforts and believe it is incredibly fitting that this scholarship is named in honor of Gloria, which further extends the tremendous impact she has had upon every aspect of our extraordinary flagship university,” he said.

How would Kellum describe her own relationship with Ole Miss?

Vitter knows her hallmark comment: “She would simply say, ‘Life is grand.'”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Gloria D. Kellum Scholarship Endowment in Political Science by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting or contacting William Kneip at 662-915-2254 or

Pharmacy Students Partner with McLean Institute to Make a Difference

CEED initiative allows participants to broaden their education while helping communities

Anna Katherine Burress

OXFORD, Miss. – Many pharmacy students are attracted to the profession because of a desire to help people and to build healthier communities. At the University of Mississippi, several pharmacy students have partnered with the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement over the last three years to get a head start on their goals.

Brittany Byrd, a third-professional-year student from Minneapolis, Minnesota; Kate Sackett, another PY3 from Canadian Lakes, Michigan; and Anna Katherine Burress, a sophomore in the early-entry pharmacy program from Water Valley, have participated in the Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED, initiative.

“We have been able to recruit outstanding UM students, like this group from the School of Pharmacy, who desire to participate with other university students and community partners in critically thinking about solutions to some of the state’s challenges,” said Albert Nylander, director of the McLean Institute and a UM professor of sociology.

With financial support from the McLean Institute’s Hearin grant, students work to build community partnerships to promote entrepreneurship and economic development.

“I decided to attend Ole Miss specifically for the great early-entry pharmacy program that it offers,” said Sackett, who chose pharmacy as her career path because of her passion for patient care and improving communities’ overall health. “The CEED program gave me the opportunity to meet with local Mississippi community leaders to collaborate and develop ideas to help improve their communities’ knowledge of health care, chronic diseases and medication management.”

Sackett was the first CEED student to work directly with the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center in Charleston. Through a summer internship under the direction of Dr. Catherine Woodyard Moring, Sackett was part of the assessment and planning team for the opening of the state-of-the-art health center.

Brittany Byrd

She completed her CEED work in 2016, but it has been carried on by a team of CEED students, including Audrey Dayan, a 2017 Ole Miss graduate with a degree in psychology, of Oxford. Dayan is a CEED innovation scholar who worked closely with Moring and the Charleston K-12 schools to help collect data on school health councils. The data were collected in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education.

Sackett plans to complete her pharmacy education and specialize in pediatric care to help improve the health of future generations.

Byrd was part of the CEED planning team that conducted the inaugural Entrepreneurial Learning Center in Charleston this summer. However, instead of working this summer in Charleston, Byrd, a member of the Mississippi National Guard, was deployed to South Carolina for three months during a training exercise.

Two fellow students, Austin Carroll, a senior biochemistry major from Madison and a CEED innovation scholar, and Robert Patterson, a graduate student in health promotion from Como and a CEED innovation fellow, picked up the project and worked with nearly 20 youth at the Charleston Day Club, which is a part of the National Charleston Day Organization.

J.R. Love, McLean Institute project manager of CEED, and other students in the program supported Carroll and Patterson on a rotating system.

“I chose to attend Ole Miss because of my interest in having a career in pharmacy and knowing I will have the support of my family living in Mississippi,” Byrd said. “I knew always wanted to help others, and I thought that a career in pharmacy would offer the ability to have direct access to the community while achieving this goal.”

The CEED program has proven indispensable to Byrd’s academic success, she said.

“I have been fortunate as a CEED innovation fellow to interact with many business owners and community leaders across the state,” she said. “One skill I have learned while in CEED is the ability to establish networks to attain common goals.

“My intent is to continue working with community partners as I finish my education in pharmacy, and be able to use those skills to further assist the public in many ways.”

Burress plans to continue the work set forth by her peers in the CEED program. Health care is a major factor in economic development in Mississippi and around the United States.

“Being a part of CEED has been an eye-opening experience for me,” Burress said. “CEED has allowed me to see real-world issues and how we, as students, can positively impact local markets now and into the future in Mississippi.

Kate Sackett of Canadian Lakes, Michigan. Submitted photo

“CEED has helped me meet other students from other fields of study. I am grateful to be working closely with them because I believe it will help me grow personally and prepare me for my future career.”

Burress said she hopes to complete her Doctor of Pharmacy and be making a difference in a community within 10 years.

“I would like to be working in a hospital setting somewhere in Mississippi,” she said. “In my spare time, I hope to be an active member of my community, and I would like to be a part of the mission trips, as a pharmacist, that my church offers so that I can serve others.”

Goals of the CEED initiative provide valuable experience and opportunities for pharmacy students, said David D. Allen, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

“Many of the pharmacy school’s community health initiatives involve supporting underserved regions like the Mississippi Delta, so these collaborations with the city of Charleston are incredibly exciting,” Allen said. “It’s gratifying to see our students carrying out our mission of improving the lives of others.”

For more information on CEED, contact the McLean Institute at or 662-915-2052.

Triplets Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

Juniors Ann Weston, Katherine and Will Sistrunk each earned the honor

Triplets Katherine, Will and Ann Weston Sistrunk were inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Sunday, October 29. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi chapter of Phi Kappa Phi honor society inducted 270 new members Sunday (Oct. 29), including three juniors from the same family.

Ann Weston, Katherine and Will Sistrunk, triplets from Springfield, Missouri, were inducted into the most selective interdisciplinary honor society at the university. All three are members of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

“The invitation to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi is a great accomplishment and it is especially exciting to be inducted with my siblings, as I owe much of my success to the guidance and support of Katherine and Will,” Ann Weston said.

Ann Weston is a public policy leadership major and is seeking minors in Spanish and intelligence and security studies. She plans to pursue a career in global health policy upon completion of graduate school.

Also a public policy leadership major and a pre-nursing student, Katherine is minoring in Spanish and society and health. She wants to combine her love for public policy with a career in a health-related field.

Will is majoring in biology and pursuing minors in chemistry and society and health. He plans to attend medical school after graduating from Ole Miss.

“Being nominated for Phi Kappa Phi is an awesome honor and reward for me academically,” Will said. “It also is a reflection of the great opportunities I have had at Ole Miss, from advising in the Honors College to meeting with professors who are always willing to help. I am excited for all that Phi Kappa Phi has to offer.”

To receive an invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi, juniors must have completed at least 72 credit hours and rank in the top 7.5 percent of their class. All three made the cut.

Deb Wenger, Phi Kappa Phi chapter president and assistant dean for partnerships and innovation in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, said this is the first time she is aware of triplets inducted into any chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

The Sistrunks come from an Ole Miss family. Their parents, William and Camille Sistrunk, are university alumni and Mississippi natives, and when it came to the three choosing a college, UM was always a consideration.

“As we were considering colleges, we initially had varying ideas on where we wanted to go and what we wanted to study,” Katherine said. “At first, I thought it was a definite possibility that we would end up at different schools. But, as we continued to visit other universities, Ole Miss kept calling us back.

“Ever since we were little, we have called Mississippi our second home. Ole Miss has brought us friendships and memories, and we ultimately chose Ole Miss because it was not only where our family went to school, but because it felt like home.”

UM was where the three siblings felt most comfortable and could each pursue the major of their choice.

“We are all very close but independent and different in our own ways, and it was a great thing that we each decided Ole Miss was the right place for each of us,” Katherine said. “Aside from Ole Miss having so many outstanding academic and extracurricular opportunities in which to participate, choosing Ole Miss was like coming home, and I couldn’t image what my college experience would have been like without my family by my side.”

But it wasn’t just the culture and the legacy aspect that drew them in. The Sistrunks said the scholarships offered through Ole Miss were the most generous of any institution to which they applied.

“Ole Miss has been everything we expected and much more in providing an excellent academic environment in which our kids are thriving, and we are very grateful for that,” the triplets’ father, William, said. “We are excited that they are planting roots in Mississippi.”

The university has since allowed each of them to academically perform to the best of their abilities.

“I am motivated to achieve by the desire to one day be able to be a successful professional and say that I am an alumni of the University of Mississippi, and with that, hopefully give back to the university that has given me so much,” Ann Weston said.

Ultimately, their independent achievements allowing them to come together in Phi Kappa Phi has made the family closer than ever.

“To me, my sisters being at the same college has been a great resource and comfort,” Will said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. However, I know wherever they go, they will succeed.”

Their mother, Camille, agrees.

 “My husband and I are very proud of Ann Weston, Katherine and Will,” she said. “We are very blessed that they are happy and healthy kids and students who have always academically challenged themselves and each other.”

Marc Lerner is UM’s 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year

Honoree will discuss research into Swiss folk hero William Tell

Marc Lerner, associate professor of history, will deliver the UM 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year lecture on Swiss folk hero William Tell at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Bondurant Hall auditorium. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Marc Lerner, associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi, will give the 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year Lecture on a popular figure in folklore at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Bondurant Hall auditorium. 

Lerner will discuss “The International William Tell: Highlighting Popular Culture in a Transatlantic World,” focusing on his research about the Swiss folk hero. The lecture is free and open to the public.

This year’s Humanities Teacher of the Year said he was shocked when he heard that he won the award, which is sponsored by the UM College of Liberal Arts and the Mississippi Humanities Council

“I am deeply touched that the committee thought I was worthy of the honor,” Lerner said. “I know that there are many instructors who work very hard for their students and who deserve the recognition for doing a great job in the classroom.

“It is gratifying to be around such hard-working and supportive colleagues, who are great teachers and conduct such stimulating research. We are all fortunate to be inspired by the bright and enthusiastic students at this university.”

Lerner, who has been teaching at Ole Miss since 2005, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in history from Columbia University.

He regularly teaches courses on the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Age of Revolution and on nationalism. His research interests are focused on revolutionary Europe in a comparative perspective, republicanism and the shift to a modern political world, as well as Tell, among other topics. 

Lerner has been a star teacher for many years, said Donald Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. 

“He is very deserving of the recognition and the opportunity to give the 2017 lecture,” Dyer said. “His colleagues and his students agree that he is a compassionate, caring and engaging teacher of history and other topics. He has been teaching classes in the Honors College for several years as well.

“The college is proud of his skills and his teaching acumen, and he is highly deserving of the Mississippi Humanities Council Award.”

The William Tell story came to European prominence in the late 15th century as a foundational legend that sought to explain the origins of Swiss liberty. The different versions of the story agreed on some fundamental elements: Tell was a virtuous citizen of Canton Uri who was oppressed by the tyrannical Gessler after refusing to bow down before the symbols of Gessler’s authority. 

Gessler then capriciously forced Tell to shoot an apple off his own son’s head.

“Ultimately, Gessler paid the price for his tyranny as Tell’s shot led to the independence of the Swiss Cantons and Gessler’s death,” Lerner said. “There was no agreement, however, on some other important elements of the story: Did Tell lead the revolt? Did he take part in the foundational oath? Was Gessler local or imposed by an outside power?”

Most often, the Tell story broke down into one of two categories, either supporting the elite leadership of the Swiss republics or arguing for more popular input into politics. Either message was easily extended beyond the Alps: Tell acted in defense of his family against the foreign tyrant and continued to respect the authority of the local elite, or he was a popular revolutionary who planned an insurrection to overthrow aristocratic rule. 

During this period of revolutionary transformation, the figure of Tell evolved into a proxy in an ongoing battle between those who saw true liberty as self-rule, free from the intervention of foreigners, and those who saw liberty as an egalitarian principle.

Lerner’s lecture is an extension of his ongoing research about the international forms of Tell’s story to better understand a global Age of Revolutions from 1750 to 1850 through studying cultural productions. The story was used and manipulated by a variety of participants and he can track this story of liberty into all corners of the Revolutionary world, Lerner said. 

“The development of a wider international perspective allows us to look more deeply at the Revolutionary period itself and the globalized world it created,” Lerner said. “Too often, historians observe fundamental revolutionary processes only in a single country.

“The Age of Revolution did not start and stop in Paris or Philadelphia; rather it was a transnational phenomenon. Revolutionary and counterrevolutionary ideals, principles and problems were not bound by national borders.”

Each October, the Mississippi Humanities Council honors outstanding humanities instructors at state institutions for higher learning as part of National Arts and Humanities Month. College presidents or academic deans nominate professors for consideration, based on the excellence of their humanities work in the classroom.

Each nominee receives a cash award from the Mississippi Humanities Council and is asked to prepare and deliver a public lecture on a humanities subject during October or November.