Law School to Host Tribute to Sen. Thad Cochran

Contributions will benefit Mississippi students pursuing legal education

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran

OXFORD, Miss. – Former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has left a lasting legacy on the University of Mississippi, as well as the state and nation. To honor his many contributions to the state, the UM School of Law is hosting a Nov. 11 tribute to the longtime political leader and public servant.

The event will raise funds to support the Thad Cochran Endowment at the School of Law, which will provide scholarship opportunities for future students.

“Sen. Thad Cochran is one of our most esteemed alumni, and we are very excited to honor him next month for all his accomplishments and the work he has done for the state of Mississippi,” said Susan Duncan, law school dean. “We hope everyone will contribute to this endowment so his legacy will continue to impact Mississippians for many years.”

Cochran’s education at the university set the foundation for his many years of leadership and service.

In 1963, he was installed as an officer of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society. A year later, he was elected Honor Council chairman by the law school’s student body, all while serving as editor-in-chief of the Mississippi Law Journal. He earned his J.D. in 1965.

Education shaped Cochran’s life from the beginning. His father, William Holmes Cochran, was a high school principal and his mother, Emma Grace Cochran, was a teacher.

During his time in law school, Cochran studied international law as a Rotary Foundation fellow at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He has been awarded honorary degrees from five other colleges and universities.

The Thad Cochran International Law Fellowship will recognize the impact of international education by providing Mississippi resident students at the law school with opportunities to study abroad and gain new ideas and perspectives. The former senator hopes these students enjoy the transformational and inspirational perspectives that he gained in his international experience.

Cochran was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972. After serving two terms in Congress, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978, replacing retired U.S. Sen. James O. Eastland, beginning his career that spanned nearly four decades.

As a senator, Cochran was instrumental in the selection of 23 federal judges and served as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Throughout his career, he has touched every higher education institute in the state in some way through his advocacy. He developed a relationship with Hinds Community College through the service of his parents, with Mississippi State University through his work on agricultural research and with his alma mater, which will house and preserve his congressional records.

While he wanted the institutions to succeed, his focus was on the students, working to ensure that Mississippians could get education to become productive and fulfilled citizens.

Through the Cochran Endowment scholarships, Mississippi residents who are community-oriented law students dedicated to service and cultural development will be able to earn Ole Miss degrees.

The school’s Thad Cochran Dean’s Strategic Initiative Fund will recognize his legacy and carry on his mission of training attorneys with the knowledge, skills and temperament to serve the court on and off the bench.

Before his career as a public servant, Cochran practiced law in Jackson, served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and worked as an educator. He taught military law and naval orientation at the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, with a focus on public policy issues.

The Thad Cochran Military Promise Program will provide law scholarships for students seeking legal careers in the military. It also will provide scholarships for veterans seeking additional legal education and resources for training law students to assist current and former military personnel with legal issues.

On April 1, Cochran retired as the 10th-longest-serving senator in American history. During this year’s UM Commencement, he was honored with the Mississippi Humanitarian Award, which is presented to those with a major impact in shaping the state.

Contributions also will support the preservation, processing and management of the Thad Cochran Collection in the Modern Political Archives, part of the University Libraries’ Department of Archives and Special Collections.

This summer, Cochran donated to the university more than 3,500 linear feet of physical records and 5 terabytes of electronic records spanning the last 45 years of his career. This resource will provide researchers an opportunity to explore correspondence, reports, photographs and recordings, offering insight into some of the most significant political events in recent history.

“Sen. Cochran is one of the university’s foremost champions and advocates,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “He also represents what we hope all Ole Miss graduates will become: an intelligent and hardworking leader with excellent character.

“It’s an honor Sen. Cochran has donated his papers to the University of Mississippi library archives – the contributions raised through the tribute event will ensure we can properly preserve these landmark papers for generations to come. Additionally, the scholarship endowment will allow us to offer talented, bright Mississippians exceptional educations in the field of law.”

Hosts for the event include: former state Supreme Court Justice and Mrs. Reuben Anderson; former Gov. and Mrs. Haley Barbour; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Canizaro; Mary Ann Connell; Mr. and Mrs. Roger Flynt; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Franke; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fritts; Martha Scott Poindexter and Robert Guenther; Mr. and Mrs. Keith Heard; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Howorth; Rachelle M. Johnson; former U.S. Circuit Judge Grady Jolly; MSU President and Mrs. Mark Keenum; Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat; Delta State University President and Mrs. William N. LaForge; Mr. and Mrs. William Lewis Jr.; former U.S. Sen. and Mrs. Trent Lott; Mr. and Mrs. Alwyn Luckey; Former Gov. and Mrs. Ray Mabus; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Overby; Ambassador John Palmer; former U.S. Rep. and Mrs. Chip Pickering; Mr. and Mrs. Clarke Reed; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Frank Sanderson Jr.; U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Michael Smith; Mississippi College President and Mrs. Blake Thompson; Chancellor and Mrs. Jeffrey S. Vitter; U.S. Sen. and Mrs. Roger F. Wicker; Curtis Wilkie; and Mr. and Mrs. Williams Yates Jr.

“Thad Cochran was an outstanding, fair-minded senator from Mississippi for 40 years,” said Wilkie, a UM alumnus and journalism professor. “He’s also been a loyal alumnus of Ole Miss for nearly six decades, so it’s appropriate that his public service and dedication to his home state are being honored by these endowments to the law school.”

For tickets or more information about the event, contact Suzette Matthews at or 601-937-1497. To donate, visit

Archives and Special Collections Displays Jack Reed Sr. Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Couple’s Gift Honors Late Professor Charles Noyes

Harvey and Di Ann Lewis make donation to support UM libraries

The late Chuck Noyes (right) and his close friend and colleague, John Pilkington, senior professor of American literature, examine documents in the Archives and Special Collections department of the J.D. Williams Library. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Harvey and Di Ann Lewis, of St. Petersburg, Florida, are supporting the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library while honoring the late Charles E. Noyes, professor emeritus of English.

“Dr. Noyes and I had a very professional and personal relationship while I was executive vice chancellor and he was my associate vice chancellor,” Harvey Lewis said. “His in-depth knowledge of the university and long years of managing the Friends of the Library membership and fundraising with Dr. John Pilkington (distinguished professor emeritus of English) were noteworthy.

“Di Ann and I grew to love Chuck and Ruthie (his wife), and we appreciate Chuck’s great sense of humor and ability to write.”

The Lewises married in 1961 when Harvey Lewis also graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in banking and finance. He continued his education at the University of Arkansas, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. He worked in leadership at the University of Central Florida, UM and MSU.

Di Ann Lewis earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University. She was director of special education, gifted and reading for the Lafayette County School District and later joined Mississippi University for Women as an assistant professor of education.

She also served eight years as executive director of Gear Up Mississippi with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

The Lewises hope their gift to the Charles E. Noyes Library Endowment Fund will provide a steady stream of income that library Dean Cecilia Botero can use to enhance the library’s collections and update its technology.

“Generous gifts such as this one allow the library to provide our students and faculty with exciting new resources that further advance their studies and research activities,” Botero said.

Noyes, a Natchez native, spent most of his youth in Memphis, Tennessee, where he attended Rozelle Grammar School and Central High School. He completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Missouri and earned a doctorate at the University of Texas. He was a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

Noyes served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of major. His service included the post of assistant chief of staff of the Third Army Airways Communications Wing, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska.

Before joining the Ole Miss faculty, Noyes taught at the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee. His career in the classroom focused on Restoration and 18th century English literature.

He also served UM in the roles of provost, acting vice chancellor, associate vice chancellor and director of the summer session.

Noyes, who died in 2008 at age 91, is widely credited with providing invaluable assistance within the UM administration during and after the university’s tumultuous integration in 1962, when he composed speeches for then-Chancellor J.D. Williams.

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat described Noyes as being “among the most loved people at Ole Miss.”

“Chuck Noyes established extraordinary relationships with students, staff, faculty and alumni for more than 50 years,” Khayat said. “Blessed with a keen mind and a clever wit, he was known among his students for his life-enriching teaching style and within the community for his remarkable personal relationships.

“He devoted most of his retirement years to attracting financial support for the library. He was a bright, funny man who quietly gave most of his personal resources to the university. He will be missed and fondly remembered as a loyal son of the university.”

Noyes remained faithful to Ole Miss throughout his retirement years. In 2006, he notified UM officials that he had designated a bequest to benefit the university. He was a noted benefactor of the J.D. Williams Library and was for many years membership chair of the Friends of the Library.

The Ole Miss Alumni Association honored Noyes with membership in its Hall of Fame in 1991, and former student David Arnold and his wife, Barbara, of Yazoo City, honored him by establishing the Noyes Library Endowment.

To make a gift to the Friends of the Library or the Charles E. Noyes Library Endowment Fund, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit; or contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or

Student-curated Exhibit Open at J.D. Williams Library

Display of artifacts spanning 10,000 years available for viewing through summer

The artifacts, which span 10,000 years of native life in Mississippi, will be available for viewing throughout the summer. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi anthropology students have curated an exhibit of stone artifacts that are on display at the J.D. Williams Library.

The exhibit features a grasshopper effigy bead, arrowheads, chunky stones, axes and a ceramic human effigy from the Calvin S. Brown Collection, managed by the university’s Center for Archaeological Research. Brown, a modern languages professor at UM in the early 1900s, acquired objects from archaeological sites across the state for the university.

The curated objects are in a display case in the reading room of the library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections. The exhibit will remain through the summer.

Students curated the exhibit during the fall semester as part of Anthropology 309: Archaeology of the Southeast and Mississippi. They chose each object to display, worked on descriptions for each and designed the display.

Maureen Meyers, assistant professor of anthropology, taught the course to give students a more hands-on learning experience.

“Unlike a traditional paper, this project allowed students to use these valuable collections by identifying the objects and researching each, then learning how to present that information to the public,” Meyers said. “Students found the experience both unique and invaluable because it allowed them to learn about how items displayed and also how they used by native peoples.”

The items on display span 10,000 years of native life in Mississippi.

“When Dr. Meyers approached me with this idea, I felt it was a perfect fit for the department and would showcase an extremely important subject through rare artifacts,” said Jennifer Ford, head of special collections. “In addition, having UM students work on the exhibit was a wonderful experience for us, as it is one of the first student-curated displays held in special collections.”

Ford and Meyers presented the students with information about how to create an engaging exhibit by telling stories and making people want to learn more.

Brandon Fassinger, a senior from Phoenix who is double majoring in history and anthropology, said he enjoyed how the course incorporated real archaeological work in a classroom setting.

Students worked in the archaeology lab when not in the classroom to determine the use and function of the artifacts that would eventually be in the exhibit. Fassinger and his classmates used digital scales and calipers to precisely determine the dimensions and weight of each artifact.

“This part was really my favorite because it was really hands-on and engaging,” he said.

The students then decided which pieces represented cultural aspects of Mississippian society to put on display.

Fassinger said the experience gave him extensive knowledge of Southeastern archaeology and ancient Native American people and was a major factor in his decision to add anthropology as a second major.

“I learned more about archeology from this class than I ever had before,” he said. “I really felt like I was learning how the research was done, and I’ve come to respect the man hours put into these large-scale projects and curation in general.”

For more information on research, educational and outreach programs in archaeology at Ole Miss, visit

Davenport Gift to Support University’s ‘Seat of Knowledge’

UM alumnus designates J.D. Williams Library in estate plans

UM alumnus Bill Davenport has designated the J.D. Williams Library as recipient of his planned gift because of the library’s central role on campus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi was once known as the campus where everybody speaks. Even today, despite smart phones and ear buds, Ole Miss retains its reputation as a place where professors know students by name and strangers are just friends who haven’t yet become acquainted.

That personable atmosphere goes a long way. In fact, for at least one alumnus, it was the catalyst that inspired a $200,000 gift to the J.D. Williams Library.

A personal letter set Bill Davenport, associate dean of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas School of Dentistry, on a path to making a legacy gift.

“A number of factors went into this decision,” said Davenport, a Corinth native. “First and foremost, I loved Ole Miss. It opened up a whole new vista to a small-town country boy. I loved the school and the students, and the majority of the professors were truly motivating and inspiring. I always wanted to give something back.

“As everyone says, you can’t really describe your attachment to Ole Miss after going to school there.”

Davenport, who’s active in the Ole Miss Alumni Association and has made other contributions to the university, said he began to consider a major gift after he received a letter from the late Charles Noyes, then chair of English, when the Friends of the Library philanthropy was being organized.

“The library is the cornerstone of the university and is truly the most visible icon for education and life-long learning,” Davenport said. “The personal letter was what convinced me as it included comments regarding my time in his sophomore literature course.

“I was hooked. I never figured out how Dr. Noyes even remembered me.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed gratitude for Davenport’s planned gift.

“The J.D. Williams Library is a hub of excellence for our university,” Vitter said. “It enables the superb quality of education that our students receive. As one of our most highly-valued resources, it can have a tremendous transformative effect on turning students into scholars and scholars into informed citizens who will make an impact on our world. ”

William Davenport

In high school, Davenport thought he wanted to become an electrical engineer until he took chemistry under an engaging teacher. He entered Ole Miss as a chemistry major but changed his focus once again after taking a required biology elective taught by the late Georgia St. Amand, whom he says was extremely inspiring.

“After that course, chemistry lost its luster to me, so I switched to biology,” Davenport remembers. “As a biology major, I encountered her husband, Dr. Wilbrod St. Amand, also in the biology department, who became a great mentor and friend to this day.”

Even then, UM’s personable atmosphere influenced Davenport’s life: His relationship with the St. Amands, as well as having the opportunity to be a teacher’s assistant in the biology labs, guided his decision to become an educator.

Davenport graduated from Ole Miss with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology in 1969 and 1971, respectively. He taught biology at Arkansas State University for a year before enrolling at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he earned a doctorate in 1976.

While completing his doctorate remotely, Davenport joined the UM Medical Center faculty and taught the first seven dental school classes from 1975 to 1982 before transferring to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry in New Orleans, where he taught for the next 20 years.

“Serendipitously, in 2002, the opportunity came to come to UNLV in Las Vegas and help start the new dental school,” he said. “Salaries were very good, benefits even better. Thinking I would work a few years in Vegas and move on, but I blinked and here I am 16 years later.”

Davenport said he designated his planned gift for the library because he believes it is the center of knowledge, initially for the entering student and secondarily for the lifelong learner.

“The library is the seat of intellectualism,” he said. “I hope that my gift will provide the library with funds to contribute to the ever-changing technology and methodology that will attract and benefit the students that will be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Private gifts provide critical support to the library, more than ever as public institutions constantly struggle with budget issues, said Cecilia Botero, library dean. Gifts such as Davenport’s help the library cover costs associated with digital and paper subscriptions and increasing numbers of journals used as resources by students on a myriad of different career paths.

“I am so grateful that Dr. Davenport chose to support the library with his generous gift. It will help sustain our services in countless ways,” Botero said.

Though distance has kept Davenport from returning to campus, he fondly remembers his days at Ole Miss.

“I was there in Archie’s heyday. What could be more exciting than that!” Davenport exclaimed, adding that being in the Grove during football season was a special time as was participating in the Army ROTC band, being active in his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, eating at Grundy’s and Mistilis, and bowling at Kiamie’s.

For information on designating a deferred gift to Ole Miss, contact Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or To support the J.D. Williams Library, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or

Special Collections Fall Lecture Series Begins this Month

Lunch lectures on varied topics slated throughout the semester

Jennifer Ford, head of Archives and Special Collections, prepares a copy of Shakespeare’s Second Folio for viewing at the J.D. Williams Library. The acquisition of this copy, published in 1632, is the topic of one of several lectures scheduled throughout the semester. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Libraries’ Department of Archives and Special Collections will feature guest speakers on a variety of topics during its Fall Lecture Series.

“I am so pleased Special Collections has such a distinguished panel of speakers scheduled for the fall,” said Jennifer Ford, the department’s head. “The presentations address subjects which are both thought-provoking and varied in nature, with something to appeal to everyone.”

The series run through November. Each lecture will be held at noon in the Department of Archives and Special Collections, on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. All programs are free and open to the public. Guests are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch to the events.

For more information, contact Ford at or 662-915-7408.

  • Sept. 21 – “Mississippi in the Work of Sherwood Bonner.” Katie McKee, UM associate professor of Southern studies and English, will discuss Sherwood Bonner, a 19th century literary figure from Mississippi who is the subject of McKee’s forthcoming monograph.
  • Sept. 28 – “Tracking RFK Through the Delta: Digging Through Documents and Knocking on Doors.” Ellen Meacham, UM instructional assistant professor of journalism, will discuss her research for the upcoming work “Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi,” which focuses on Robert F. Kennedy’s historic trip to the Mississippi Delta.
  • Oct. 5 – “We Believed We Were Immortal.” UM journalism professor Kathleen Wickham will discuss her new book, “We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration Crisis at Ole Miss.” Wickham will discuss her research, which focuses on the work of 12 journalists during that time and the unsolved murder of French reporter Paul Guihard.
  • Oct. 10 – “From Shakespeare’s London to Faulkner’s Oxford: The Unlikely Journey of Edwin Booth’s Second Folio.” UM theatre arts professor Rhona Justice-Malloy will discuss the acquisition of Shakespeare’s Second Folio by the university. The acquisition of the folio, owned by actor Edwin Booth, was made possible in 2016 thanks to a donation from the Gertrude Ford Foundation.
  • Oct. 19 – “Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.” Pamela Junior, director of the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, will discuss the museum’s exhibits, history and future.
  • Oct. 31 – “The Bell Witch of Mississippi: Slavery and the Supernatural.” Amy Fluker, visiting assistant professor of history, will discuss the folk tale of the Bell Witch and its connections to Mississippi, the supernatural and slavery.
  • Nov. 8 – “Make Me a Hummingbird of Words: Salvos into the Word of Micro-Memoirs with Beth Ann Fennelly.” Mississippi poet laureate and English professor Beth Ann Fennelly hosts this session, part craft talk, part reading. She will share strategies that informed her new book, “Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs.” She crosses genres, combining the brevity of poetry and the truth-telling of nonfiction in her storytelling form.
  • Nov. 15 – “Living, Making, Being: Houses and Craft Production at a 14th Century Native American Village in Southwestern Virginia.” Maureen Meyers, UM assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, will discuss her excavations at the Carter Robinson site over the last decade. The excavation of six houses on 14th century mound and village site has yielded finds such as shell beads and gaming stones. Meyers will talk about households of people who lived at the site, craft production and what recent excavations have revealed.

Librarian Leaves Impressive Legacy at University

Gift provides access to vast database of government documents

Veteran librarian Laura Harper has established a Government Publications Fund to give Ole Miss students access to a broader scope of information. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Veteran University of Mississippi librarian Laura Harper may have left campus, but her legacy remains in the form of a treasure trove of information older than the Titanic and far below the surface of Google.

Harper recently retired after 45 years at the J.D. Williams Library, but she continues to have such a strong desire for students to be able to access government information that she personally paid for subscriptions to databases that contain such documents as the unpublished transcripts of congressional hearings dating back to 1824, congressional research from 1830 forward and interactive, digital maps of Mississippi as early as 1867 through 1970.

“Laura’s gift will provide added depth to our already extensive collection of government information,” said Ashley Dees, research and instruction librarian and longtime co-worker of Harper’s. “Her gift highlights Laura’s longstanding commitment to providing students and the UM community with access to government information.”

The recent database subscriptions plus her previous financial support for the library’s Information Commons, Art Store, STUDIOone and Friends of the Library bring Harper’s total giving to Ole Miss to more than $150,000.

Harper takes her gift in stride.

“I thought, ‘Why not?'” she said – modest words for this “extraordinary librarian” known for her “helpfulness and her ability to find anything you’re looking for,” according to letters from colleagues who recommended Harper for the prestigious 2011 Bernadine Abbott Hoduski Founders Award, which she won.

The American Library Association’s award recognizes librarians who may not be known at the national level but have made significant contributions to the field of government documents. Other recommendations describe Harper’s work as “second to none” and laud her knowledge as “extensive.”

Those comments are all true, said Cecilia Botero, library dean.

“From my perspective, Laura’s gift to the university is the manifestation of her deep devotion to promoting access to government information and her desire to ensure that the UM community and the people of the state of Mississippi are offered the best opportunity to make use of that wealth of information,” Botero said.

So what’s available? Oliver North, Iran-Contra, the different impeachment investigations, Watergate, Supreme Court nomination hearings, and the Lincoln, Kennedy and McKinley assassinations, just for starters.

“Even the documentary, day-by-day, most detailed history and correspondence of the Civil War is there in full text,” Harper said. “All of the words in the reports are searchable – people, places, battles.

“By searching the text of hearings in the early 1950s, for instance, you can trace the rise of McCarthyism … and its fall in 1954 during the historic, 36-day live telecast of the Army McCarthy hearings, when the senator was asked by lawyer Joseph Welch, ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?’ You can also type in the names of witnesses such as Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett or Will Geer to read their testimony in earlier investigations of communism in Hollywood.”

Students researching these and other topics may be tempted to turn first to Google, but they’ll be hard pressed to find the most in-depth information, Harper said.

“Government documents are by their nature a sort of difficult area, requiring a little more effort to try to research them,” she said. “You need to invest some time and get people to help you.

“I would hope that students who graduate from Ole Miss would learn to value the library and the librarians for their expertise as professionals, and that they realize they can do a better paper and learn to do their research in a more sophisticated manner if they will go and talk to a librarian.”

Harper witnessed thousands of students succeed in her tenure at Ole Miss, which included 17 years in the Reference Department, 11 library directors/deans and six chancellors.

“When a faculty member chooses to make a financial gift to the university, it speaks volumes about their commitment to the meaningful work that we do and the endearing qualities of this institution,” said Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “For more than four decades, Laura Harper was committed to helping our students broaden their educational opportunities.

“Now, through her gift, she will continue to reach generations of students as they work to realize their educational goals through study and research. For her time and for her generous contributions, we are very grateful.”

After earning her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Louisiana State University, Harper’s first professional job as a librarian was in the public library in her hometown of Monroe, Louisiana. Then, she and her late husband moved to Oxford.

“A newlywed, I thought I would work here only two years or so and we would move on after my husband finished his doctorate,” she said. “But we stayed here when he got a job at Blue Mountain College. Later, after his death, I had the opportunity to become a department head, when the legendary Annie Mills retired as head of Government Publications.”

As the regional depository for Mississippi, Government Documents provides guidance to smaller depositories and serves the entire state. The library’s catalog provides access to almost a million volumes of government publications, 40 percent of which are available in full text online.

Before retiring, Harper moved to Technical Services, where she managed processing and cataloging of documents, as well as answered reference referrals.

“It has been a privilege to have been part of the library and the Ole Miss family for so many years,” Harper said. “I will miss being a part of the next chapter in the library’s history but hope to watch from the sidelines as a member of the Friends of the Library board.”

The Laura G. Harper Government Publications Fund 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 For more information, contact Angela Barlow Brown, development officer for the J.D. Williams Library, at or 662-915-3181.

Randalls Establish Endowment for AICPA Collection

Fund will help UM to preserve materials and make them available online

Lee and Kathy Randall established a $30,000 endowment for AICPA collection support.

OXFORD, Miss. – Lee Randall loves the University of Mississippi. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Ole Miss in 1971 and after retiring from Entergy as vice president and general auditor, Randall wanted to give back to his alma mater.

Randall and his wife, Kathy, of New Orleans, have created the Lee and Kathy Randall AICPA Collection Support Endowment for the J.D. Williams Library in the amount of $30,000.

“I’m a graduate of Ole Miss and wanted to give something back to the university,” he said. “The collection is a bridge between the library and accountancy, my first love. Hopefully our gift will encourage others to provide support as well.”

The National Library of the Accounting Profession at UM houses more than 200,000 accounting items. Included in this impressive count is the huge library of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the national organization for practicing accountants. This constitutes the largest collection of accounting materials in the world.

“Lee and Kathy Randall’s generous gift will allow the library to increase our digitizing efforts with the AICPA collection,” said Cecilia Botero, UM dean of libraries. “Once digitized, the library makes these resources freely available through the library homepage.

“Making these resources digitally available enables greater access of this important information, not only to our students, but to anyone in the world with online internet access.”

The AICPA donated its century-old collection of books, pamphlets, manuscripts and periodicals to the university in two installments, one in 2001 and the last in 2014. These materials document the social, political and regulatory history of a profession critical to the development of the modern world economy.

The accounting standards set by the AICPA have governed how wealth in the American economy is defined and reported. Such an important responsibility has involved the country’s accountants, business leaders and politicians in long and contentious debates, and many of these discussions are archived in the Ole Miss Accounting Library collection.

The gift from the Randalls will help fund the hiring of a graduate assistant to preserve parts of the collection and support ongoing maintenance of the collection, which is viewed by students and researchers more than 100,000 times each year.

“We are grateful to Lee and Kathy for their generous gift to enhance the AICPA Library,” said Mark Wilder, dean and KMPG Chair of Accountancy. “Through the support of the Randalls, the AICPA Library holdings will be more readily accessible by practitioners, researchers and students throughout the region, nation and world.

“This library has been on our campus for 15 years now and has generated unprecedented national and international visibility for the university and School of Accountancy. The library has played a key role in the Patterson School becoming a mainstay as one of the top 10 accounting schools in the nation.”

By agreement with the AICPA, Royce Kurtz, associate professor and AICPA research and instruction librarian, is digitizing and making freely available older AICPA publications on the internet.

Other items he is digitizing include the Accounting Historians Journal of the Academy of Accounting Historians, an enormous historical collection published by agreement with the accounting firm Deloitte, and a large collection of items that are old enough to be out of copyright. The library’s full-text digital accounting collections contain 400,000 pages from some 8,000 books, pamphlets, and journal articles.

Working accountants, scholars and students from around the world access the library’s digitized accounting materials online more than 90,000 times a year.

Ole Miss doctoral students in accounting regularly use the collection for their research, as do accounting scholars around the world. Their research has been published in some of the top journals in accounting. This service to international scholars is one of the most important benefits of the collection for the university, helping bolster its status as a Carnegie R-1 institution, identifying Ole Miss as a university of highest research activity.

“Processing and digitizing is an ongoing task,” Kurtz said. “The Randalls’ generous donation will enable me to begin preservation of the VHS video tapes, replace aging scanners and employ accounting students to more speedily digitize and process the collections.”

Having this collection at Ole Miss helps the accountancy school maintain its reputation and ranking as one of the nation’s top schools, Randall said.

“I hope our donation will allow students and researchers to better utilize this collection and that it will be there for many years to come,” he said.

J.D. Williams Library Celebrates State Bicentennial with Exhibit

Observance also includes lectures, video series and more

Greg Johnson arranges a new exhibit featuring the Mississippi bicentennial at the Department of Archives and Special Collections. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Archives and Special Collections in the University of Mississippi‘s J.D. Williams Library will celebrate a historic anniversary of the state with the exhibit “Mississippi: 200 Years of Statehood.”

Mississippi was admitted as the 20th state on Dec. 10, 1817. The library will commemorate that recognition with an ongoing exhibit focusing on the history and culture of Mississippi, opening Jan 9.

“The Department of Archives and Special Collections has pulled together some of our rarest items documenting the state’s 200-year history,” said Jennifer Ford, head of special collections. “Commemorating this bicentennial year has been the focus of the department’s faculty and staff for several months.”

The exhibit will feature a wide variety of items that helped define the state, including 18th century maps of the South by European cartographers, historical Mississippi textbooks, early territorial documents, materials related to the women’s suffrage movement and the civil rights movement in Mississippi, sound recordings, photographs of the state through the years and Mississippi-themed sheet music.

The archives will showcase various items from the display in a monthly video series through the end of the exhibit on Dec. 11, 2017. The department also will host several brown bag lectures and events throughout the year.

Patrons are invited to check the J.D. Williams Library website, as well as the university’s events calendar, during the year for details.

“We are very pleased to be able to reach out to those interested in the history and culture of the state through a physical display, the video project, online media, lectures held in the Faulkner Room throughout the year, instruction, as well as through other programming,” Ford said. “We invite all the public to come experience what our collections have to offer during this seminal year.”

The Department of Archives and Special Collections is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, except for university holidays. For more information, contact Jennifer Ford at 662-915-7408.

UM Presentation Focuses on Eudora Welty and Hubert Creekmore’s Ties

Literary researchers to examine authors' literary and family connections

The J.D. Williams Library features a new exhibit available to the public in their Department of Archives and Special Collections, including items from Eudora Welty and Hubert Creekmore. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The J.D. Williams Library features a new exhibit available to the public in their Department of Archives and Special Collections, including items from Eudora Welty and Hubert Creekmore. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Scholars will explore the literary and family connections shared by Mississippi authors Eudora Welty and Hubert Creekmore during a brown bag event at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library.

The event, set for 11:30 a.m. Oct. 6 in the Faulker Room, features a discussion by literary scholars Suzanne Marrs and Annette Trefzer about Welty and Creekmore, an accomplished poet and author from Water Valley.

The library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections organized the examination of “Eudora Welty and Hubert Creekmore: Literary and Family Connections.” Selected items from the department’s Welty and Creekmore Collections are featured as a part of the exhibition “Hot Off the Press: New and Newly Available Archive Collections,” which is on display in the Faulkner Room through December.

“We are honored to have two such accomplished scholars speak about the connections between two outstanding Mississippi literary figures,” said Jennifer Ford, head of the department. “The Creekmore Collection is one of the treasures of the department, and the current exhibit offered a wonderful opportunity to display items from it for the first time.

“I hope this lecture will spark even more interest into Welty and Creekmore’s work, as well as draw even more attention to the department’s literary collections.”

Marrs, friend and biographer of Welty, is a retired English professor from Millsaps College. She met Welty in 1983 and they were close friends until the author died in 2001. The two met on nearly a daily basis to discuss literature, travel and politics and to welcome visiting writers and scholars to Jackson.

“Eudora Welty and Hubert Creekmore lived just a block or two apart on Jackson’s Pinehurst Street after the Creekmores moved there from Water Valley,” Marrs said. “They read each other’s work, shared an interest in photography and had a family connection: Eudora’s brother married Hubert’s sister.”

Trefzer, an associate professor of English at UM who has taught graduate and undergraduate classes on Welty, has studied American and Southern literature and also has extensive knowledge of Creekmore.

Marrs will discuss connections between the Creekmore and Welty families, and Trefzer will focus on the literary achievements of both authors.

Creekmore, although not as well-known as Welty, was an editor, translator, author, poet and reviewer known as an overall “literary man,” Trefzer said. Besides being the brother of Welty’s sister-in-law, Creekmore served as the aspiring author’s literary adviser when she began writing fiction, Trezfer said.

“When thinking of Mississippi authors, usually William Faulkner comes to mind,” she said. “But Eudora Welty, the award-winning writer from Jackson, also tells fantastic stories about her home state, and she is equally accomplished and prolific with a distinguished achievement of more than five decades of literature.”

Creekmore studied at Ole Miss and graduated in 1927. Welty and Creekmore’s relatives donated some of his works to the Department of Archives and Special Collections. The library is working to digitize Creekmore’s collection, and Ford hopes it will be available online by the end of 2017.

Visitors are welcome to bring lunch to the lecture and can view the “Hot off the Press: New and Newly Available Archive Collections” exhibit from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays through Dec. 16.

For more information, contact Ford at or 662-915-7408.