Ole Miss Alumni Association Names Distinguished Alumni for 2021

Eight to be honored at Homecoming for achievement, service

Those being recognized by the Ole Miss Alumni Association as distinguished alumni for 2021 are (top, from left) Coolidge Ball, Dan Goodgame, Richard O’Ferrall Jr. and Michael Stewart and (bottom) Judy Trott, Bill Gates, Hunter Howell and Gloria Kellum.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Alumni Association will recognize seven distinguished University of Mississippi alumni and a former professor and campus administrator with its highest annual awards as part of Homecoming 2021.

Alumni Hall of Fame inductees for 2021 are: Coolidge Ball (BRL 75), of Oxford; Dan Goodgame (BA 75), of San Antonio, Texas; Richard C. O’Ferrall Jr. (BBA 57), of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee; Michael H. Stewart (BA 75, MCJ 78), of Oxford; and Judy Trott (BSHPE 1961, MEd 64, EdD 72), of Oxford.

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or the university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

Bill Gates (BBA 67), of Oxford, will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period.

Hunter Howell (BSChE 07), of Beaumont, Texas, will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which honors alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

Gloria Dodwell Kellum, of Oxford, will receive the Honorary Alumni Award, which recognizes individuals who, though not UM graduates, have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, support, dedication, loyalty, leadership or service that has enriched the substance of and contributed to the advancement of the university’s or Alumni Association’s missions, reputation or prestige.

“We are excited to celebrate some of the university’s most successful and notable alumni and friends after losing that chance last year due to COVID-19,” said Kirk Purdom (BA 93), the Alumni Association’s executive director. “These inductees stand out both with their accomplishments in their careers and with their service to Ole Miss and their communities.”

The association will host a gala for the honorees on Oct. 7 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. Those interested in attending the dinner must register in advance by calling the Alumni Association office at 662-915-7375.

Coolidge Ball

Ball, an Indianola native, enrolled at the university in 1970 as its first Black student-athlete scholarship player. Ball has continued to cross barriers and set new standards throughout his life. A statue was dedicated to him on May 15, 2021, at the Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss.

Ball, often affectionally called “Cool-Aid,” received the SEC Basketball Living Legend Award, was named to the Ole Miss All-Century Team and was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame. He received the Honorary Citizen Award from the city of Baton Rouge and Legacy Award for Goodwill Ambassador from civic organizations.

He played semi-professional basketball and was recruited by the Harlem Globetrotters. He coached alongside his coach, Kenneth “Cat” Robbins for four years at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

Ball strongly believes in lifelong learning and works with his church and community youth to help them reach their goals in life. He serves as a deacon in his church and cares greatly for all people.

He owns Ball Sign Co. and travels around the country using his artistic talents as a graphic artist and sign painter. Ball married Ruth Adams and they have two children, Telitha and Anthony, and two grandchildren, Marion and Mason.

Ball says it means a lot that he was able to stay in Mississippi to make a home and a difference.

“Ole Miss holds a special place in my heart,” Ball says. “It is my humble honor to be a 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Hotty Toddy!”

Dan Goodgame

Goodgame is editor in chief of Texas Monthly, an award-winning magazine that has covered the Lone Star State for 48 years. Since he took the helm in 2019, Texas Monthly has sharply increased its online audience and revenue; expanded its storytelling through podcasts, videos, books and live events; and optioned a dozen of its articles to Hollywood for development into movies and video series.

Before joining Texas Monthly, Goodgame served as a vice president for Rackspace, a cloud computing company in San Antonio.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author, Goodgame has interviewed and profiled leaders in many fields, including six U.S. presidents, Saddam Hussein, Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch and Tiger Woods. Goodgame served as editor-in-chief of Fortune Small Business, whose subscribers were 1 million owners of entrepreneurial companies.

He earlier worked for Time magazine as White House correspondent, Washington bureau chief and assistant managing editor. He is co-author of the book “Marching in Place,” about President George H.W. Bush.

Goodgame worked for the Miami Herald as Middle East correspondent in the early 1980s, covering the Israel-Lebanon and Iran-Iraq wars. He started his career as a crime reporter at the Tampa Tribune.

Goodgame is a native of Pascagoula, where his parents worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding. After graduating from Ole Miss, he earned an M.Phil. in international relations as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. He played on the university golf team and rowed for his college.

During the past 12 years, Goodgame has served on the boards of Texas Public Radio, the World Affairs Council, Medical Foundation and Sports Foundation. His wife, Marcia, a retired journalist and educator, works part-time for the San Antonio Book Festival. They have two sons, Clayton and Sam.

Richard C. O’Ferrall Jr.

O’Ferrall, who grew up in Jackson, was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and served as rush chairman and president. In 1993, he was selected by Mississippi Alpha of Phi Delta Theta as alumnus of the year.

He was also in the Naval ROTC unit at Ole Miss and upon graduation was commissioned as an ensign at the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia. Upon graduation from NSCS, he was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.

“I had no idea I had been nominated for this award,” O’Ferrall said. “My Ole Miss relationships have been such an important part of my life, and I love the university. I was humbled, honored and overwhelmed.”

Beginning at age 11, O’Ferrall had opportunities to spend many transformative summers as a camper and, later, as a counselor at Lookout Mountain Camp for Boys in Mentone, Alabama.

In January 1959, he purchased Alpine Lodge Camp for Girls along with his mentor, Coach Rufus Hyde, of Dallas. When O’Ferrall completed his military service that year, they opened Alpine Camp for Boys on Lookout Mountain. Hyde retired in 1962 and O’Ferrall became sole owner of Alpine Camp for Boys.

O’Ferrall married Alice Gandy in 1972, and together, they dedicated their lives to providing young boys with a well-rounded Christian camping experience every summer. Thousands of young men have become part of the Alpine family, and there are third-generation campers experiencing Alpine Camp. The O’Ferralls’ daughter and son-in-law, Carter Breazeale (BFA 01) and Glenn Breazeale (BAccy 00, MAccy 02), serve as the camp directors.

Alpine Camp for Boys is accredited with the American Camping Association. O’Ferrall has served as the Southeast regional director of Christian Camping International and was recognized in 2007 by the Association of Independent Camps as the recipient of the Honor Award for the Southern Region for his significant contribution for the betterment of independent camping for children.

The O’Ferralls have two daughters, Toy Harmon and Carter Breazeale, and four grandchildren. They are active members of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.

Michael H. Stewart

Stewart is president of Wildrose International, which operates full-service kennels in Oxford, Dallas and Hillsborough, North Carolina, with additional training facilities in Colorado and Arkansas. Wildrose specializes in producing its trademark British retrievers, “The Gentleman’s Gundog” and “Adventure Dog,” Labradors that complement a family’s sporting lifestyle.

He is best known for his appearance on Ducks Unlimited TV’s “World of Ducks” along with Ducks Unlimited online retriever training features with Drake and Deke, the organization’s mascots since 2001.

“It’s truly an honor to be included in the Ole Miss Hall of Fame, which includes many influential and distinguished members of the Ole Miss family,” Stewart said.

Stewart and his dogs have appeared in more than 75 national television programs on hunting and training gundogs. He has produced two comprehensive training DVDs and published a book in 2012, “Sporting Dog and Retriever Training, the Wildrose Way.” In conjunction with Purina ProPlan, Stewart produced a video series on “Starting Your Pup the Wildrose Way” along with three Emmy Award-winning lifestyle testimonials.

Wildrose was featured as the cover article of Forbes magazine’s April 2009 edition as one of six luxury, recession-proof businesses and again in Forbes Life in 2013.

Wildrose has been recognized twice in Garden & Gun magazine articles as “Best in the Sporting South.” The Wildrose Way training methodology has been featured in Ducks Unlimited Magazine, AARP and the Purina Pro Club newsletter.

Stewart is publisher of the Wildrose Journal, the largest online magazine dedicated to the sporting dog lifestyle, and founder of the Wildrose Service Companion Foundation, a Mississippi-based nonprofit providing assistance dogs for therapy and service to individuals with special needs. He was inducted into the Mississippi Wildlife Hall of Fame in 2018.

A law enforcement officer for 25 years, Stewart retired as chief of the UM Police Department in 2000. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Stewart retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2005 as a commander after more than 20 years of service.

Judy Trott

Trott was born in Blue Mountain and moved to Oxford in the third grade. Her father died when Trott was in the fifth grade, and her mother worked at the J.D. Williams Library and supported the family. That experience instilled in Trott the importance and need of a good education.

After graduating from UM in 1961, Trott taught for two years then earned a master’s degree in guidance and education in 1964. While working in 1966 as a counselor at Catonsville High School in Baltimore, she was traveling in Europe and received a wire from Katharine Rea, Ole Miss dean of women, asking if she would serve as Panhellenic adviser.

“I thought, well, OK, I’ll go back; I’ve had my big-city living,” she said. “I returned from Europe, threw my stuff in the car and got back to Oxford just before recruitment started.”

Rea served as a mentor to Trott and helped guide her through her doctoral degree. Trott served in many positions during her 35-year career at Ole Miss including assistant dean of women, director of residence life and director of student services. She became dean of students in 1985, helped the campus transition through the Americans with Disabilities Act and retired in 2001.

Trott is a member of School of Education Hall of Fame and a 1998 recipient of the Frist Student Service Award, which recognizes unwavering dedication and service to students. She also received the National Fraternity Outstanding Panhellenic Award, the Cabel Award and the Shield Award.

She is a past member of Mortar Board, Lambda Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa, and is a past president of Phi Kappa Phi. She is a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity and has served on Alpha Psi House Corp. intermittently for 50 years.

She is a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where she serves on the pastoral committee and sings in the choir.

Hunter Howell

Howell is an engineer and manager at ExxonMobil. He resides in Beaumont, Texas, with his wife, Kelly, and their sons.

An Oxford native, Howell earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2007. He was a Taylor medalist, served as the Engineering Student Body president, studied in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and played trombone in the Ole Miss Band.

Howell serves as the technical services department head at the ExxonMobil Beaumont Refinery, where an upcoming expansion is expected to increase capacity by more than 65%. He manages a staff of engineers and technical specialists in the areas of process safety engineering, capital project development and energy efficiency.

Earlier in his career, Howell spent nine years at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery as an engineer and supervisor, followed by four years in Houston as a crude oil supply chain optimizer and a global adviser in the corporate mergers and acquisitions division. As lead recruiter for ExxonMobil on the UM campus, he has hired more than 30 Ole Miss engineering, business and accounting students.

Howell actively serves on the Engineering Advancement and Advisory Council and the Chemical Engineering Advisory Board. He has served as a guest lecturer on leadership and professionalism in the School of Engineering and has contributed to chemical engineering curriculum development.

Family ties have long supported Howell’s love for his alma mater. A third-generation Ole Miss engineer, Howell followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who both earned their civil engineering degrees from the university.

Bill Gates

Gates graduated from University High School in 1963 and enrolled at Ole Miss that same year. Having worked from an early age helping his father, who served as director of athletic publicity from 1938 to 1976, Gates was already familiar with campus.

After graduation, he entered the insurance business in 1968 in Jackson. He formed the Insurex Agency in 1975 in Memphis and, in 1985, he formed what later became Menard, Gates and Mathis. The firm grew in size to become one of the top five property casualty insurance agencies in the area. Gates sold the agency to USI in 2007 and retired in 2011.

Long involved with the Rebel Club of Memphis, Gates served on the board and as president.

He was involved in radio and TV broadcasts in the Memphis area and worked with university officials to move the radio broadcasts of Ole Miss athletics to three radio stations, expanding the broadcasts to include basketball and baseball along with football. He worked in a number of other areas on behalf of Ole Miss athletics.

Gates has been an advocate of the School of Business Administration for decades. He has been a member of the Business School Advisory Board since 1983 and is a member of the executive committee over fundraising. He became a member of the Business School Order in 1984 and laid the groundwork for establishment of the 1917 Order, which recognizes the year the business school was founded.

He has served on the boards of many civic organizations including as a volunteer for the Memphis-area Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts and other nonprofit organizations.

“Knowing the accomplishments of this university and its noted alumni, what an honor it is to be the recipient of this prestigious award,” Gates said. 

Gloria Kellum

Kellum, originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in speech language pathology from Louisiana State University. She became an Ole Miss Rebel in 1966 when she joined the faculty in the Speech and Theatre Department to establish the speech and hearing program, which became a separate department, and establish a nationally accredited graduate program that is in its 55th year.

In 1975, Kellum became the first woman and youngest faculty member to receive the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, and the university provided her with a sabbatical to obtain her Ph.D.

Her leadership extended beyond campus to state and national professional organizations. She received honors from the Mississippi Speech and Hearing Association and the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Additionally, she was inducted into the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction.

Her administrative service to the university began in 1994 as co-chair of the Sesquicentennial Committee with Robert Khayat (BAEd 61, JD 66). When he became chancellor, he appointed Kellum as chair of the Sesquicentennial and, later, as vice chancellor of university relations.

Kellum says it was a privilege to be part of the administrative team that raised more than $750 million from alumni and friends. During this era, the university established the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy, the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and the William Winter Institute, hosted the Open Doors events and renovated the Oxford-University Depot.

Three named scholarship endowments will carry on Kellum’s legacy of providing opportunities for Ole Miss students.

“My love of Ole Miss began in 1966 when I joined the faculty and has grown stronger each year as I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to meet and work with the wonderful people of Ole Miss,” she said. “I’m thankful for this recognition, which must be shared with my loving family and the alumni, students and colleagues who worked tirelessly as a team to provide Ole Miss students with extraordinary opportunities.” 

Kellum and her late husband, Jerry (BA 65, MA 69), met on their first day of work at Ole Miss and were married 53 years. They have two daughters, Kate (BA 91) and Kelly (BSW 95), and three grandchildren.