OXFORD, Miss. – Members of the University of Mississippi community are fondly remembering Lennette Johnson Ivy, a beloved administrator and faculty member who died Oct. 21. She was 63.
Funeral services for the professor emerita and chair emerita of UM’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders were Oct. 27 at Second Baptist Church in Oxford. The Rev. Leroy Wadlington officiated, with burial at Union Hill Cemetery.
Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor emerita of university relations and professor emerita of communication sciences and disorders, described Ivy as “a loving, happy person” who always had a smile, a tear or a hug to share when most needed.
“She made a significant difference in my life and in the lives of so many us here today,” said Kellum, who spoke during the ceremony. “She was there for our students, guiding them, teaching them and mentoring them in their academic, clinical and professional education.
“Her calm, peaceful approach to life and living, her acceptance of all God’s children, her willingness to provide opportunities, guidance and encouragement to her undergraduate and graduate students were remarkable. Her legacy lives on in the lives of her students and graduates. “
Other UM administrators voiced similar reflections about their late colleague.
“Dr. Ivy will be remembered for her many wonderful qualities, including the calm way she conducted her work with others,” said Velmer Burton, dean of the School of Applied Sciences. ” She was genuinely loved by all.
“Her commitment to the university, (School of ) Applied Sciences and CSD provided an exemplary model of professionalism that leaves a tremendous positive impact for years to come. Our school sends thoughts and prayers to her family.”
Ivy joined the UM faculty in 1990 as a part-time clinical supervisor. During the course of her 26-year career, she served the CSD department as a clinical supervisor in speech pathology, acting assistant professor and assistant professor, associate professor and interim department chair.
Under Ivy’s leadership, enrollment in the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs grew significantly, with more than 56 graduate students and 400-plus undergraduates. The graduate program was reaccredited nationally in 2011 with master’s degree graduates in speech language pathology having a 100 percent employment rate.
The department saw significant increases in the number of full-time faculty, clinical supervisors and clinical services offered for speech, language and hearing impaired individuals in north Mississippi.
Ivy obtained a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation to establish a preschool laboratory and specialty clinic for hearing-, speech- and language-impaired children, as well as transition class for kindergarten children with speech, language and hearing disorders that interfere with literacy skills. She also established an in-house server and computer lab.
“We’re proud of where we’ve come and where we’re going,” Ivy once said, regarding the 50-year-old CSD department, which is consistently ranked in the Top 100 graduate programs in speech-language pathology. “Our department’s future is just as promising as its past.”
Brad Crowe, co-director of CSD’s Speech and Hearing Center, remembered Ivy’s dedication to the department.
“She was an ardent advocate for opportunity, and her persistence inspired people to succeed no matter the challenges set before them,” he said.
Ivy also worked as a speech-language pathologist in the Oxford School District, PRN speech-language pathologist at NovaCare (Heritage Manor) in Holly Springs and a graduate research assistant at the University of Memphis.
“Lennette leaves behind a legacy of love,” said Rebecca Lowe, clinical assistant professor and co-director of the clinic. “She will continue to live on through the lives of all those she touched.”
A native of Booneville, Ivy earned her doctorate in audiology and speech pathology from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in communicative disorders from UM and a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders from Mississippi Valley State University.
Formerly a certified teacher in Mississippi, she also was a licensed speech-language pathologist, held an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech-language pathology and was an awarded dyslexia screening consultant.
A 2014 recipient of the Mississippi Speech, Language, Hearing Association Honors of the Association Award, Ivy held three ASHA Awards for continuing education, a travel support for the 2001 University of Wisconsin at Madison Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders and a travel fellowship to ASHA’s 11th annual research symposium on “NIDCD-Sponsored Institute: Genetic Paradigms for the New Millennium.”
A respected clinician and teacher in her field, Ivy was the principal investigator on at least seven state- and federally-funded projects totaling more than $418,818 and made presentations at more than 26 professional conferences and symposiums. She also co-authored at least six peer-reviewed journal articles and two book chapters.
Ivy is survived by her husband, James L. Ivy Jr.; a daughter, Michelle Cowan-Haggard; four sons, Courtney Ivy, James L. Ivy III, Moraye Ivy and Christopher Ivy; four sisters, Mildred Dilworth, Laura Jernigan, Lillian Johnson and Linda Blissett; two brothers, William Dilworth and Frank Dilworth; and 10 grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Dr. Lennette Ivy Memorial Scholarship Fund at Second Baptist Church, 611 Jackson Ave., Oxford, MS 38655 or at University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655.