Gretchen Bunde Named Kramer Award Outstanding Teacher

Students nominated composition and rhetoric instructor for her excellence in teaching

Jane Magruder Walman, who represents the family of the Kramer Endowment (left) is pictured with Kramer Award recipient Gretchen Bunde and Chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Robert Cummings. Thomas Graning/University Communications.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Department of Writing and Rhetoric awarded the X.A. Kramer Jr. Award for Outstanding Teacher to Gretchen Bunde.

Bunde, an instructor in composition and rhetoric, was nominated by numerous students for her long history of excellence in teaching.

“Gretchen dedicates herself to improving the writing and thinking of her students,” said Alice Johnston Myatt, assistant chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and chair of the awards committee. “Her work as an exemplary writing instructor goes beyond the classroom.”

Bunde also leads a teaching circle to support professional development of teachers and serves on several committees, including curriculum, assessment and planning, Myatt said.

“I was surprised and humbled to receive the Kramer award,” Bunde said. “The DWR is filled with extraordinary educators, and I know that working with them makes me a better teacher every day.

“I’m so glad to know that my students can tell how much I care and genuinely enjoy teaching them how to become better writers.”

In their nominations, students highlighted that Bunde instilled confidence in their writing abilities, encouraged active learning and built a community in her classroom.

“With the frequency of each paper, I was able to expand my writing abilities with practice,” one student said. “The way in which she organizes her assignments helps me to create and develop good papers.”

Another student highlighted the safe environment Bunde creates for open dialogue.

“She always had group discussions and encouraged everyone to respond,” the student wrote. “She would ask us to respond to recent events in pop culture and the world around us, and then asked us to propose a solution.

“It really made me think about myself and the choices I had made in the past that may have not been the best.”

The award includes a $1,000 stipend and engraved crystal memento.

Bae Magruder established the Kramer award in 1986 in memory of her brother, X.A. Kramer Jr. The Kramer endowment supports the university’s writing and rhetoric program.

Nominations for the award open Feb. 1 of each year for instructors who taught in the preceding calendar year.

UM English Professor Receives Carnegie Fellowship

Adetayo Alabi to spend summer developing curriculum at Nigerian university

Adetayo Alabi, associate professor of English, will spend this summer developing courses at Kwara State University in Nigeria as a Carnegie Fellowship recipient. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi professor has received a prestigious Carnegie fellowship to help with curriculum development at a Nigerian university.

Adetayo Alabi, associate professor of English, was awarded the funding by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. He will spend the summer at Kwara State University in Malete, Nigeria, assisting Mary Kolawole, chair of English and dean of KSU’s postgraduate school.

“Professor Kolawole and I will review the curriculum of the English department, teach their postcolonial and world literature postgraduate program, and be involved in graduate student and early career training and mentoring,” Alabi said. “We will also facilitate workshops on graduate admissions, career progression and publishing in North American universities and carry out research in African literatures and cultures.”

Alabi’s achievement speaks to the high caliber of the department’s faculty, said Ivo Kamps, UM chair and professor of English.

“Professor Alabi is one of our more experienced faculty members, and as a native Nigerian, it should be relatively easy for him to share his knowledge about curriculum development with the faculty at Kwara State University in Nigeria,” Kamps said. “It’s wonderful that Professor Alabi is willing to give of his precious time over the summer to help improve education in his home country.”

The goal is to review and expand the graduate program curriculum in the Department of English at Kwara State to align it with best global practices, Alabi said.

“The fellowship allows me to train and mentor Kwara State graduate students and early career staff in my research areas and facilitate the students’ research, publishing and international exposure,” he said. “It will also enhance education and research collaboration between the University of Mississippi and Kwara State University following a memorandum of agreement signed by both institutions in 2015.”

Alabi earned his doctorate in English from the University of Saskatchewan, master’s degrees from both the University of Guelph and the University of Ibadan and a bachelor’s degree from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. His teaching and research interests include postcolonial studies, literary theory and autobiographical genre in comparative black studies.

A respected author, he has written several books and articles. His publications include “Telling Our Stories: Continuities and Divergences in Black Autobiographies” (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2005), “I of the Valiant Stock: Yoruba Bridal Chant and the Autobiographical Genre,” “Yoruba Creativity: Fiction, Language, Life and Songs” (Africa World Press, 2005), “When a Mouth Is Sweeter than Salt: Toyin Falola and the Autophylographical Genre” (Africa World Press, 2005) and “Theorizing Blackness.’Marvels of the African World: Cultural Patrimony, New World Connections and Identities'” (African World Press, 2003).

The Kwara State University project is among 43 projects that will pair African diaspora scholars with one of 35 higher education institutions and collaborators in Africa to work together in the coming months. The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, in its fourth year, is designed to reverse Africa’s brain drain, build capacity at host institutions and develop long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa, the U.S. and Canada.

It is funded by Carnegie Corp. of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with U.S. International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, which coordinates the activities of the advisory council.

Some 282 African Diaspora fellowships have been awarded for scholars to travel to Africa since the program’s inception. Fellowships match host universities with African-born scholars and cover the expenses for project visits between 14 and 90 days, including transportation, a daily stipend and the cost of obtaining visas and health insurance.

For more information about UM’s Department of English, visit http://english.olemiss.edu/.

Acclaimed Writer Rose McLarney Named UM Summer Poet in Residence

Public reading set for June 29 at Off Square Books

Rose McLarney is the University of Mississippi’s 2017 Summer Poet in Residence. Photo by Nicole McConville

OXFORD, Miss. – Rose McLarney, an acclaimed writer and professor whose work is deeply rooted in the South, is the University of Mississippi’s 10th Summer Poet in Residence.

McLarney will be on campus through July 15 teaching undergraduate classes and working with emerging writers in the Department of English’s Master of Fine Arts program. She also will give a reading at Off Square Books at 5:30 p.m. June 29. A book signing at 5 p.m. will precede the free event. 

McLarney’s two poetry collections came out in a two-year period, and she is working on her third and fourth manuscripts. She said she looks forward to working with students here and soaking up the rich culture of the LOU community. 

“Since the first book was published, following an academic career, I have moved between four states and all around the country,” McLarney said. “Currently, I am at work on my third and fourth poetry manuscripts. I very much welcome the time to write granted by the residency.

“And having the chance to participate in a residency that allows me to stay in the South, where my poetry has always been rooted, will be especially beneficial.”

“Its Day Being Gone,” which is the winner of the National Poetry Series, and “The Always Broken Plates of Mountains” are her first two published collections.

The MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences and Warren Wilson College all have awarded McLarney fellowships. She was the 2016 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at the Frost Place and winner of the Chaffin Award at Morehead State University, and she also won the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award for Poetry.

McLarney’s poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Missouri Review and many other publications. 

She earned her master’s degree from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and has taught there and at other institutions. She is assistant professor of creative writing at Auburn University and co-editor in chief and poetry editor of The Southern Humanities Review.

The LOU literary community looks forward to hosting a talent of McLarney’s caliber, said Beth Ann Fennelly, UM English professor, Summer Poet in Residence director and Mississippi’s poet laureate. 

“We are excited that Rose will be living here for a month, working on her poetry and visiting classes,” Fennelly said. “Her poems are imagine-rich, steeped in the Southern vernacular. She’s from Appalachia and has a deep attention to the natural world and the way we build community through stories.”

Nadia Alexis, a poetry MFA student who helps with the SPiR program, said as a young writer, she is especially looking forward to a chance to spend time with McLarney. 

“In addition to the class visits in which Rose will be doing a range of enriching presentations for undergraduates, MFA students will also have the benefit of meeting with her in a literary salon setting,” Alexis said. “As writers who are in the earlier stages of our careers, I’m excited we’ll have the opportunity to get to know and learn from such a talented, accomplished poet.”

Center for Population Studies Releases State Health and Hunger Atlas

Map addresses food insecurity and poor health outcomes around Mississippi

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies has developed an extensive reference guide to poverty, hunger and chronic health problems in the state, the Mississippi Health and Hunger Atlas.

Modeled after the Missouri Hunger Atlas, the resource is the first iteration of its kind in Mississippi and in the South. This atlas addresses high rates of food insecurity and poor health outcomes, two important issues in the state.

“Alarmingly, while national food insecurity trends are declining, Mississippi’s rates are rising,” said Anne Cafer, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology and co-coordinator of the atlas project.

“For the last 15 years, Mississippi has consistently ranked among the top two states with the highest food insecurity rate. Mississippi also consistently ranks poorly for a number of demographic, economic and health statistics when compared to national thresholds.”

This project is also headed by John Green, professor of sociology and anthropology and director of the Center for Population Studies, and Rachel Haggard, an Ole Miss graduate student from San Diego.

Cafer worked on the Missouri Hunger Atlas, which has proven useful to an array of community organizers and legislators. Wanting to bring the concept to Mississippi, she quickly found support from community and university stakeholders.

With the help of Green and Haggard, the Mississippi Health and Hunger Atlas was initiated and completed in less than four months.

“The atlas seeks to shed light on county-level variations for a variety of these demographic, health and hunger indicators,” Green said. “Examining these indicators at a county level, patterns, normally overshadowed by standard macro, national, level analysis begin to emerge.

“This atlas is intended to offer a tool for improving assessment of need and performance to promote improved practices and decision-making related to hunger and health in Mississippi.”

The developers have five goals for the atlas:

– Raise awareness regarding the extent and depth of food insecurity and health disparities and needs in Mississippi

– Spread knowledge of what public and private programs are doing to reach vulnerable populations

– Reveal geographic patterns in the state

– Provide need and performance measures that can be updated on a regular basis

– Aid public and private stakeholders to assess their performance and provide a means for improving better resource delivery to the Mississippians they serve

Meeting to discuss the Mississippi Health and Hunger Atlas in the UM Department of Sociology and Anthropology are (from left) Clifford Holley, Rachel Haggard, Anne Cafer and John Green. Submitted photo

“In this atlas, health and hunger indicators are mapped and used to assess need – such as food security rates, obesity rate, etc. – and performance – including SNAP enrollment and primary care physicians per 100,000 people,” Cafer said. “The economic and demographic data are also mapped to provide additional information on county level context surrounding health and hunger.”

“This visual, spatial analysis helps community stakeholders, policymakers, researchers and other practitioners target their efforts and resources to places most in need,” Green said. “Additionally, each county has a separate page, which provides their exact rates and rankings for each of the variables.”

Efforts to produce the atlas were supported by public agencies such as the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the members of the UM Department of Pharmacy Administration.

“It is through partnerships and collaboration that efforts to reduce hunger and health disparities in Mississippi are possible,” Haggard said. “The atlas is a compilation of hard work from these partners and faculty and students as well as the resources provided by the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi.”

The Mississippi Health and Hunger Atlas is available at http://socanth.olemiss.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/154/2017/05/Hunger-Atlas-2017.pdf.

Seven UM Freshmen Receive Omicron Delta Kappa Awards

Honor society recognizes outstanding leadership, community service

This year’s recipients of the Omicron Delta Kappa Freshman Leader Awards are (from left) James ‘JC’ Pride of Jackson, Olivia Lanum of Brandon, Caroline Glaze of Hattiesburg, Leah Davis of Tupelo, Savannah Day of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Summer Jefferson of Cumming, Georgia, and Brock Huerkamp of Arkadelphia. Photo by Ryan Upshaw

OXFORD, Miss. – Seven University of Mississippi freshmen have been inducted into the Alpha Phi chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, a prestigious national leadership honor society.

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

This year’s recipients of the ODK Freshman Leader Awards are Leah Davis of Tupelo, Savannah Day of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Caroline Glaze of Hattiesburg, Brock Huerkamp of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Summer Jefferson of Cumming, Georgia, Olivia Lanum of Brandon and James “JC” Pride of Jackson.

“Each year, the selection process becomes more difficult as the university attracts outstanding students from all over the country,” said Ryan Upshaw, ODK adviser and assistant dean for student services in the School of Engineering.

“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.”

A psychology major, Davis expressed gratitude at the recognition.

“Receiving the ODK Freshman Leader of the Year Award was a very humbling experience for me,” she said. “I was honored to know that the work and service I have done for my beloved university was recognized.

“I am excited for the opportunities that this recognition will bring, and cannot wait to continue to serve my campus!”

Davis is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and is a LuckyDay Scholar. She has participated in the ASB Freshman Council and Black Student Union and is a member of the UM Gospel Choir and Concert Singers. She has volunteered with Green Grove, “Groovin’ at Move-In” and the Oxford Film Festival.

Day is double majoring in public policy leadership and broadcast journalism as a member of both the Honors College and the Lott Leadership Institute. The recipient of a scholarship from the Lott Institute, she served as a legislative aide for the ASB Senate and was a member of the inaugural ASB Freshman Forum program and Lambda Sigma. She also is a news reporter for NewsWatch Ole Miss and has volunteered with RebelTHON and Big Event.

Glaze is an Ole Miss Women’s Council Scholar studying public policy leadership and secondary math education. She is a member of the Honors College, Lott Leadership Institute and the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. She serves as vice president of Pittman Hall Community Council and is a member of ASB Freshman Council and Lambda Sigma. Glaze has volunteered with the Marks Tutoring Project and the Ole Miss Food Bank.

A member of the Honors College and the Lott Leadership Institute, Huerkamp is studying public policy leadership. He has volunteered with RebelTHON and the Big Event and has been a member of the ASB Freshman Council and Lambda Sigma. He will serve on the executive board of RebelTHON 2018.

Jefferson is a biology major as a member of the Honors College. She is the recipient of the Stamps Scholarship, the highest campus scholarship, and is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Jefferson is a team leader and accounting chair for Coaches Against Cancer and has begun undergraduate research in the Department of Biology. This summer, she will intern with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A member of the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence and the Honors College, Lanum is studying mechanical engineering with an emphasis in manufacturing. She is president of the Stewart Hall Community Council and a member of the Engineering Student Body Leadership Council, Society of Women Engineers, Lambda Sigma and the NASA Student Launch Initiative Outreach and Structures Team. She has volunteered with the FIRST Robotics Tournament and will travel to South Carolina next fall to work as a co-op student with International Paper Co.

Pride is studying mechanical engineering with an emphasis in manufacturing as part of the CME and the Honors College. He has volunteered with the Big Event, RebelTHON and Coaching for Literacy. Pride is the recipient of the W.R. Newman scholarship and is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, ASB Freshman Council and Lambda Sigma.

Omicron Delta Kappa is a 103-year-old leadership honor society that has initiated more than 300,000 members at since its founding. The society has more than 285 active chapters at colleges and universities across the United States.

Peaces Create Graduate Scholarship

Gift will help student-athletes who attend professional schools

Ross Bjork (left), UM vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics; donors Judy Peace and Dr. Rush Peace of Macon, Georgia; Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor; and Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, visit about the Peaces’ new scholarship endowment for Ole Miss student-athletes who graduate and attend the schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Law. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – As a University of Mississippi student, Rush Peace had it all: a well-rounded college experience that combined rich academic experiences with the thrill of playing baseball on scholarship under legendary Coach Tom Swayze. And then it was on to dentistry school and a rewarding career.

Peace and his wife, Judy, of Macon, Georgia, want to support other Ole Miss student-athletes who graduate and choose to continue studies at the university’s schools of Dentistry, Medicine or Law. Their blended gift of $60,000 – an outright gift combined with a planned estate gift – has funded the new Dr. Rush Abbott and Julia Robertson Peace Graduate Scholarship Endowment.

“The Peaces have expressed their deep commitment to expanding educational opportunities for Ole Miss students through this unique scholarship endowment,” said Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “We encourage donors to match their passions and interests with needs at our university for a truly meaningful gift experience.

“Our appreciation goes to Rush and Judy for their thoughtful, generous gift that will ultimately help produce stellar dentists, physicians, lawyers and leaders who make outstanding contributions to society.”

Rush Peace’s mother, the late Dorothea Abbott Peace, was an Ole Miss and Chi Omega alumna, and the Peace family lived in West Point. When it came time for her son to attend college, she pointed out that the dentists and physicians in their family all received their strong foundations at Ole Miss. He agreed.

After going on to earn his dental degree and post-graduate training, he enjoyed a 40-year career in prosthetic and pediatric dentistry. He was a pioneer in the Southeast in complete dentistry performed in hospital operating rooms.

He retired from his prosthetic practice and then devoted the past decade to the treatment of medically complex pediatric and developmentally challenged patients. Upon retirement last year, it was determined he had completed more than 11,000 cases in Georgia hospital operating rooms.

“We are truly thankful for the generosity of Rush and Judy Peace,” said Keith Carter, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. “This support will allow graduating student-athletes to pursue higher levels of education and become pillars in society.

“The Peaces exemplify what the Ole Miss family is all about: helping others.”

Rush and Judy Peace return to the Oxford campus for events several times a year and share the inspiration behind their gift.

“Ole Miss is hallowed ground and very special to my heart,” Rush Peace said. “Judy and I are extremely proud of what’s been accomplished here over the years. We enjoy championing Ole Miss in Georgia and are proud that many young people from Georgia come here for their college home.”

College should prepare student-athletes for life after their playing career because not everyone makes it in professional sports, he said.

“Hopefully this scholarship will encourage some to consider dental, medical or law school as options. I felt as this scholarship grows it may even be used as a recruitment tool for athletes interested in attending professional school.”

Peace’s affection for his alma mater also stems from exceptional experiences playing sports and building friendships. The four-sport “Best Athlete” from West Point High School found himself practicing one-on-one with Ole Miss’ well-known and respected Coach Swayze. (Today’s Ole Miss baseball players compete on Swayze Field.)

With his knees knocking with nerves, Peace found himself being called in for a talk after delivering a so-so performance fielding balls.

“Show me your glove,” Swayze demanded. Peace offered up his well-oiled calfskin that had been part of his playing career since junior high school. “You can’t play with a glove like that!”

Swayze left the field, returned with a shovel and buried the glove behind the pitcher’s mound. Decades later when Peace and his wife attended an M Club event, the then-elderly coach asked Peace if he ever dug up his glove.

Moved that his coach would remember him, Peace also chuckled at the memory of the pitcher’s mound exchange and reported that he was happy to leave a part of himself with his alma mater.

Peace also recalled the first week of his freshman year, when he met fellow student Lee Hartwell Rogers, who, too, was planning a career in medicine.

“It was an instant friendship that grew and grew,” Peace said of the now-late ophthalmologist of Tupelo. “We studied together, tutored student-athletes and both joined Sigma Chi fraternity. We remained close friends until his death and now continue to travel to Ole Miss with his wife, Merrell Rogers.”

The Peaces divide their support between their alma maters. Judy Peace graduated from Mercer University, where the couple also have established a scholarship endowment and support athletics.

“My mother wasn’t able to attend college during the Depression,” said Judy Peace, explaining her dedication to help provide educational opportunities. “My mother was well-read but she still felt handicapped because she didn’t have a college education.

“I have always felt if someone needed extra help to pursue their college dreams, Rush and I should give them that boost.”

The Peace Graduate Scholarship Endowment is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations; mail a check with the name of the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or visit online at https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/. To learn more about creating a scholarship fund, contact Ron Wilson, a development officer for the UM College of Liberal Arts at jrwilso3@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1755.

UM Physicists Part of New Effort to Explore Nature of Matter

Muon g-2 experiment has begun its search for phantom particles using a well-traveled electromagnet

Scientists install equipment and prepare the Muon g-2 ring, a 50-foot electromagnet, to take muons at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The work is part of an experiment to determine whether undetected elementary particles exist or if the Standard Model of Physics is complete. Photo courtesy Fermilab

OXFORD, Miss. – When scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory fired a beam of tiny particles called muons into a giant electromagnet late last week, it signaled the start of a three-year effort that could yield another landmark discovery in particle physics.

It’s a project with some strong Mississippi ties: Physicists from the University of Mississippi have played key roles in the hardware development and data analysis for the collaborative experiment, and the project’s central component traveled through northeast Mississippi on a monthlong journey from New York to the Chicago suburbs.

The Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab could rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and how it works. On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab’s accelerators, the first step in an effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field.

“The Muon g-2 experiment’s first beam truly signals the start of an important new research program at Fermilab, one that uses muon particles to look for rare and fascinating anomalies in nature,” said Nigel Lockyer, Fermilab director. “After years of preparation, I’m excited to see this experiment begin its search in earnest.”

Another person excited to see the project begin is Breese Quinn, an associate professor of physics at UM and a collaborator in the Muon g-2 project. Quinn has been involved in the project for four years, and his team – including postdoctoral research associate Jenny Holzbauer and graduate student Wanwei Wu – are at Fermilab to help set up the experiment.

The Ole Miss team is responsible for putting together the storage beam chamber for the muon beam and the equipment to steer it.

“They’ve done fantastic work on that,” said Quinn, who will travel to Fermilab this week to spend much of June working on the project. “Those systems are operating beautifully, and they’re currently being tuned up.”

Quinn and his group also are working on studies to help understand the dynamics of the muon beam.

“These studies are really key to this experiment being able to reach the degree of precision needed to provide conclusive evidence of what we’re looking for,” he said.

The goal of the experiment is to precisely measure how much muons wobble on their axis as they spin in a magnetic field. The Standard Model, a landmark, 40-year-old theory that describes three of the four fundamental forces in the universe, predicts how much muons should wobble, but an earlier experiment suggested the wobble may be greater than predicted.

That would mean that previously undetected particles are present, influencing the motion of the muons, Quinn said.

“If new particles exist outside the Standard Model, it would establish that there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy,” he said. “It would be proof of new building blocks of matter, and that’s exciting.”

Getting to this point was a long road for Muon g-2, both figuratively and literally. The first generation of this experiment took place at the DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The results there indicated that the muons wobbled more than predicted, but the experiment could not measure the movement with enough precision to be conclusive. So scientists began planning a new experiment, using the capabilities of Fermilab to boost the experiment’s precision by a factor of four.

Since it would have cost 10 times more to build a completely new machine at Brookhaven rather than move the magnet to Fermilab, the Muon g-2 team transported the fragile, 50-foot-wide superconducting magnet in one piece from Long Island to the suburbs of Chicago in the summer of 2013.

Breese Quinn and his son, Aidan, and daughter, Erin, watch the Muon g-2 ring pass through the G.V. ‘Sonny’ Montgomery Lock on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway on July 15, 2013. Quinn is among the collaborators on a landmark experiment using the massive electromagnet at Fermilab. Photo courtesy Susanne Quinn

The magnet took a barge south around Florida, up the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway and the Illinois River, and then was driven on a specially designed 18-axle truck over three nights to Fermilab. The journey covered 3,200 miles.

As the magnet made its way up the Tenn-Tom, Quinn and his family watched it go through the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Lock in Itawamba County. But getting the magnet to the Chicago suburbs was only half the battle.

“Since it arrived, the team here at Fermilab has been working around the clock installing detectors, building a control room and, for the past year, adjusting the uniformity of the magnetic field, which must be precisely known to an unprecedented level to obtain any new physics,” said Chris Polly, project manager of the Muon g-2 experiment. “It’s been a lot of work, but we’re ready now to really get started.”

Over the next few weeks the Muon g-2 team will test the equipment installed around the magnet, which will be storing and measuring muons for the first time in 16 years. Later this year, they will start taking science-quality data, and if their results confirm the anomaly first seen at Brookhaven, it will mean that the elegant picture of the universe that scientists have been working on for decades is incomplete, and that new particles or forces may be out there, waiting to be discovered.

The first results should be available in about a year, Quinn said. The full run is scheduled to take three years to get full sensitivity and precision from the equipment, though.

“It’s an exciting time for the whole team, and for physics,” said David Hertzog of the University of Washington, co-spokesperson of the Muon g-2 collaboration. “The magnet has been working, and working fantastically well. It won’t be long until we have our first results, and a better view through the window that the Brookhaven experiment opened for us.”

The Muon g-2 collaboration includes more than 150 scientists and engineers from more than 30 institutions in nine countries. The experiment is supported by DOE’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

Learn more about the Muon g-2 experiment at http://muon-g-2.fnal.gov. Take a 360-degree tour of the Muon g-2 experiment hall at http://muon-g-2.fnal.gov/virtual-tour.html.

For more about physics research at the University of Mississippi, go to http://physics.olemiss.edu/.

Four UM Faculty Members Named Liberal Arts New Scholars

Honor encourages continued research, scholarship, publication and creative achievement

Dean Lee Cohen, far left, and Associate Dean Charles Hussey, far right, congratulate UM’s 2017 College of Liberal Arts New Scholars. They are (from left) Jared Delcamp, Joshua Hendrickson, Derrick Harriell and Matthew Wilson. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Four University of Mississippi faculty members have been honored as inaugural recipients of a New Scholar Award in the university’s College of Liberal Arts.

The first recipients are Matthew R. Wilson, assistant professor of theatre arts, Derrick A. Harriell, assistant professor of English and African American studies, Jared Delcamp, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Joshua Hendrickson, assistant professor of economics. Each honoree received a $1,000 cash prize and medal, presented during the College of Liberal Arts graduation ceremony.

“The College of Liberal Arts continues to recruit some of the very best young faculty in the nation,” said Charles L. Hussey, associate dean for research and graduate education and professor of chemistry. “These faculty members represent the ‘best of the best’ in the college and will no doubt prove to be academic leaders in their discipline.”

The New Scholar Award will be presented annually to untenured, tenure-track faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts who are within six years of their initial tenure-track academic appointment and who have demonstrated exemplary performance in research, scholarship and/or creative achievement. Depending on the quality of the pool of nominees, up to four awards will be available, with one each chosen from the areas of natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and fine and performing arts.

Individuals may receive the award only once, but recipients will retain their eligibility for the College of Liberal Arts Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement, which is normally awarded to post-tenure, senior faculty.

“New scholars must be nominated by the department chair and/or tenured professorial rank colleagues in cooperation with the chair,” Hussey said. “Nominations will remain active for two years. A faculty committee chosen by the dean of the College of Liberal Arts or his designee will select the award recipients.”

Wilson said that for the college to acknowledge his work as an actor, director and choreographer makes him feel at home and proves that the administration is committed to a forward-thinking mission that addresses the plurality of the modern university and the needs of the modern world.

“My only concern in accepting this position was whether I would be able to stay connected to the world of theater practice and keep my professional career viable while based in Oxford,” he said. “My first two years here have worked out better than I had even hoped, and this award is a recognition of what I have been able to accomplish through the support of the university.”

One of Wilson’s specialties focuses on Italian Renaissance masked comedy called “commedia dell’arte.” This was the style of the Ole Miss Theatre production of “The Tooth-Puller” and is the subject of his scholarly book chapters and published plays.

“Each year, I travel to conferences and other universities to perform my ‘The Great One-Man Commedia Epic’ and to lecture on the history and theory of commedia dell’arte,” he said.

“Currently, I am in northern Italy, teaching commedia at a workshop in Siena, which includes several of our theatre arts majors, and traveling to historic theaters and museums for further research. My stipend is proving useful and well-timed in helping to subsidize this research trip.”

Hendrickson said he was surprised and humbled by the award.

“Maintaining an active and growing research agenda requires a lot of time and effort,” he said. “To be recognized as a recipient of this award when I know that there are countless others on the faculty working hard toward similar goals is an honor.”

Hendrickson’s research is predominantly focused on monetary theory, history and policy. He studies the effects of monetary policy on the economy, both in the present and during important historical events.

“My most recent work, for example, shows that the inflation that the British experienced during the Napoleonic Wars was due, in part, to the monetization of government debt by the Bank of England,” he said. “Other recent work examines how inflation affects the production decisions of firms and whether low interest rates can potentially cause boom-bust cycles in investment.”

To be recognized by the university is very rewarding, Harriell said.

“I believe in this university, the English department and our M.F.A. program,” he said. “Additionally, I work hard to sustain the level of excellence that has been set. For the university to acknowledge this means that my carrying of the torch is not being overlooked.”

Harriell’s second collection of poems is a historical collection highlighting the lives of celebrated heavyweight African-American pugilists Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson.

“My third collection is a collection that investigates my own past, as well as my adjustment to Mississippi and the South,” Harriell said.

Delcamp said he was so focused on his field’s research that he really hadn’t considered anyone outside of it taking notice of progress being made.

“To be acknowledged by people outside my own small research world was very fulfilling,” he said. “To be given an award like this certainly has instilled a sense of pride in the work my group has done. It was great to see people outside my field taking note of how hard we have been working.”

Delcamp’s research focuses on dye-sensitized solar cells. These solar cell materials are made from very robust, cost-effective, nonhazardous materials and can be mass produced at a fraction of the cost of solar cells commonly seen on rooftops.

“My group focuses on one specific component of these solar cells that is known to be the performance-limiting material,” Delcamp said. “We are using synthetic organic chemistry to offer new materials, which can be competitive in terms of performance to traditional solar cells while maintaining the tremendous cost advantage.

“So far, my team owns a number of records in this field, and we look forward to breaking them soon.”

For more information about the College of Liberal Arts, go to http://libarts.olemiss.edu/.

Ford Center Gift Brings Jazz to Oxford

Marty and John Dunbar establish $25,000 Jazz Series Fund

Marty and John Dunbar established the Jazz Series Fund at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts with a $25,000 gift. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will bring nationally recognized jazz artists to the University of Mississippi, thanks to the establishment of the Jazz Series Fund by Marty and John Dunbar.

The Oxford couple donated $25,000 as an initial gift, in hopes of encouraging others to contribute to the fund in the future. Marty Dunbar is an Ole Miss alumna.

John Dunbar hopes that this gift, with the support of Friends of the Ford Center, will bring some of the nation’s best jazz musicians to perform in Oxford over the next year and offer master class sessions for music faculty and students from the university and local high schools.

“We want to support excellence in jazz in Oxford and Ole Miss,” he said. “We have enjoyed performances by the faculty and students of music at Ole Miss over the years, such as Michael Worthy and The Mississippians, and have met so many talented people there.

“We see this as a special educational opportunity and we hope the series will be enjoyed by our community in Oxford and Ole Miss, so we are pleased to partner with Julia Aubrey and the Ford Center for this series and hope it will gain traction and continue for years to come.”

Plans are already made to present three jazz groups next season, thanks to the Dunbars, said Aubrey, Ford Center director.

“Their support enhances the quality of life in Oxford with professional musical offerings that will provide both valuable education for our music students and fine entertainment for our community,” she said. “We are expanding our offerings next season and this new series brings exciting energy to our programming.”

Next year’s Jazz Series includes Cyrus Chestnut, Julian Bliss and the Birdland All-Stars, all of which are headliners at prestigious jazz venues and festivals around the world.

“This is a dream come true and I am truly grateful for the Dunbars’ vision and generosity,” said Michael Worthy, associate professor of music. “I will work hard to maximize the educational outreach opportunities that will come with the Jazz Series, and I am excited for Ole Miss students to have more opportunities to interact with world-class jazz musicians.”

To contribute to the Jazz Series Fund, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

Chris Offutt Wins Kentucky Literary Award

UM professor, author honored for 'My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir'

Chris Offutt, UM associate professor of English and screenwriting, has won the Kentucky Literary Award. Submitted photo by Melissa Ginsburg

OXFORD, Miss. – Chris Offutt, University of Mississippi associate professor of English and screenwriting, has won the Kentucky Literary Award for his book “My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir.”

The Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership recently announced the award. The Kentucky Literary Award is a celebration of the state’s writing, and eligible books include those from Kentuckians or books with a substantial Kentucky theme. Fiction and nonfiction books are recognized in alternating years, this year being the year for nonfiction. 

Offutt, a Kentucky native, is an award-winning author and screenwriter.

“All my books are set in Kentucky or are about people from Kentucky,” Offutt said. “That this particular award is from my home state means more to me than any other honor.” 

The New York Times calls the book “A generous reminiscence … ruminative and melancholy … Offutt somehow manages to summon compassion for his father. That, ultimately, is what makes this memoir so unexpectedly moving.” 

“Chris Offutt cuts his relationship with his dead father open and reveals it to the world in ‘My Father the Pornographer,'” said Jonathan Jeffrey, KYLA selection committee member. “In this angst-ridden memoir set in Appalachian Kentucky, Offutt tackles the often difficult relationship between a strong, driven father and a son yearning for a ‘normal’ father-son bond. 

“The fact that Chris Offutt’s father was a prolific pornographic and science fiction novelist only increases the anguish. The unique nature of this memoir intrigued all the members of the selection committee, but it was Offutt’s crisp, honest prose that resulted in it winning the award.” 

The award announcement was made at the Knicely Conference Center at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest Meet the Authors Reception on April 21, the night before the main Book Fest event. Offutt was recognized with a commemorative certificate and a monetary gift received by his sister Scotty Hyde.

Offutt said he’s immensely grateful to the UM Department of English and his colleagues for their support while he worked on the book, which is the first one he’s written while teaching at Ole Miss. 

He has written both fiction and nonfiction, this title being his third memoir. He has written five other books, including collections of short stories and novels. His first book, published in 1992, is a collection of stories called “Kentucky Straight.” 

Offutt has worked as a screenwriter for “Weeds” and “True Blood,” among other TV shows. His new novel, which is to be released next spring, is called “Country Dark.”

The award is much deserved, and the author is a tremendous asset to the university, said Ivo Kamps, UM chair of English. Kamps calls Offutt a supremely talented writer and a sought-after teacher.

“He offers classes in screenwriting, creative nonfiction and fiction, and his students consistently praise him for his dedication and for his ability to bring his vast experience as a widely published author into the classroom,” Kamps said.

“He is known for taking student writing very seriously, and for providing detailed feedback that helps them improve their work and become better editors of their own writing. He does all this with a prodigious sense of humor.”