MMRI Researcher Highlights Advantages of UM Engineering on Italian TV Show

… Leonardo Macelloni uses 15-minute interview to promote the Ole Miss experience


Leo Macelloni (right), research professor in the Mississippi Minerals Research Institute, confers with visiting scholar Simona Caruso (left) in the geophysical lab aboard the research vessel Urania while surveying offshore Sicily. The project is a joint venture of the University of Mississippi and University of Rome, with Ole Miss providing the cutting edge ocean exploration equipment.

OXFORD, Miss. – Fifteen minutes was all the time Leonardo Macelloni had, but it was also all the time he needed.

Interviewed recently on one of Italy’s national television shows, the University of Mississippi researcher praised his employer for its advanced technology, cutting-edge research opportunities and cordial people.

“I am really proud and happy to be affiliated with Ole Miss,” said Macelloni, a geophysicist in UM’s Mississippi Minerals Research Institute. “Of course, I wore red and blue on the program to show my support for the university.”

He appeared on the two-hour program at the request of a colleague at the University of Rome, where Macelloni was a visiting professor this summer. The show’s theme focused on why Italians often choose to emigrate elsewhere for educational advancement and career opportunities. A University of Rome alumnus, Macelloni spoke of his own experience.

“I discovered the university while completing my master’s thesis six years ago,” he said. “The University of Mississippi has one of the most advanced tools for deep-sea exploration anywhere in the world. We’re also involved in installing the first sea floor observatory in the Gulf of Mexico. These things, plus the beautiful, historic campus and warm faculty and students, appealed to me very much.”

Although he finished his degree in Italy, Macelloni’s research interests led him back to MMRI, where he has been employed for the past five years. He and his advising professor in Rome have been instrumental in bringing at least five Italian scientists to experience education in the UM School of Engineering.

“One Italian scientist went to work for an oil company, another works in Norway and a third is completing his doctorate at the University of South Carolina,” Macelloni said. “Two more master’s students arrived here in July and will remain on campus through the spring 2011 semester.”

While he probably won’t become a celebrity as a result of his brief TV appearance, Macelloni feels certain that some of those who saw and heard him will investigate UM. And that’s enough for him.

“When Italian scientists start looking for a university to further their education, I want them to consider coming to Ole Miss,” Macelloni said. “Why go anywhere else when what they seek can probably be found right here?”

For more information about the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute, go to or call 662-915-7320.