CHANCELLOR’S 3 THINGS TO KNOW
As we approach the end of the academic year, the flurry of activity on campus has been so exciting and welcome. Lunching with the Ole Miss Rifle team after their third-place finish at the NCAA Championships was such a treat, as was visiting with some of our medical students who volunteer their time and talents at the Jackson Free Clinic. In recent weeks, I was honored to meet 42 incoming members of our Class of 2025 at Jackson Academy’s Scholarship Day, and Kurt Allen and his team at the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport to explore new partnerships. This semester, we have learned, grown, and continued to embrace the spirited culture of our beloved university. Be sure to check out the special section at the bottom of this e-newsletter highlighting year-end achievements.
Here are 3 Things to Know right now:
- Twice as Nice: The coming weeks will bring twice the Commencement celebrations as we hold ceremonies honoring the classes of 2020 and 2021. We’re thrilled that Jonathan T.M. Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, will address the Class of 2021 on May 1; and Patrick Willis, one of the most decorated players in Ole Miss football history, will speak to the Class of 2020 on May 8. Commencement is the apex of the student experience, and we’re excited to honor our graduates with these in-person ceremonies. And, I encourage you to check out some wonderful and inspiring Journey to Commencement stories about our Class of 2021 graduates.
- Passing the Torch: The 104th annual ASB Banquet marked the turnover of our student government leadership as we said thank you to the departing officers and ushered in a new leadership team. A robust, resilient and active student government is essential to the success of our campus community. Thank you to the outgoing executive officers – Josh Mannery, Abby Johnston, Gabby Hunter, Gianna Schuetz, Jake Fanning and Katelin Hayward – for their exceptional service and leadership. Congratulations to the incoming ASB officers – Morgan Atkins, Richard Springer, Autumn Fortenberry, Alex Mabry, Grace Dragna and Katelin Hayward. I’m excited for all of us to work together on behalf of the university and support you as you help to shape our future.
- Prioritizing Wellness: To embrace our ongoing commitment to building a healthy campus community, we launched the inaugural Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge in the month of April. The 19-day series of events offered prizes for self-care activities and participation in wellness events. I was pleased to see students respond enthusiastically to this effort and look forward to this being a regular initiative. We’re committed to supporting our students’ mental, physical and emotional health because we’re here to help them succeed academically and personally!
Until next month, take care!
Glenn F. Boyce
Reading Across Mississippi
Jumpstart, a UM-based organization that trains college students to teach preschool children from resource-challenged families, is broadening its efforts to ensure the state’s children are well-prepared for kindergarten by expanding into Jackson and Meridian.
Thanks to a $600,000 gift, the UMMC School of Nursing will house a new space designed to promote self-care and resilience-building skills for both nurses and their patients.
Best in the Business
Ole Miss Rifle’s Marsha Beasley and Jean-Pierre Lucas were named Coach of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year by the College Rifle Coaches Association.
As the spring term concludes, we’re celebrating the outstanding achievements of our students and faculty. Ole Miss is honored to be the home of their academic and research pursuits, and we’re humbled to support their successes. Here are a few highlights.
HALL OF FAME AND TAYLOR MEDALISTS: Exceptional students earned university recognition this month, including the 2021 inductees in the Hall of Fame, 2021 Taylor Medalists (university’s top academic honor) and recipients of Who’s Who. The Hall of Fame highlights students for outstanding contributions to all aspects of campus life. Honorees included Asia Harden, who served as vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., a member of the Columns Society, and as editor-in-chief of the Ole Miss yearbook.
SUPERB STUDENT SCHOLARS: Two Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students, Qing Ivy Li and Austin Wallace, are the university’s 17th and 18th students to receive Goldwater scholarships — one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics.
INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: Two UM seniors, Lennis Barlow and Matthew Travers, have been named UM’s first-ever Yenching fellows. The fellowships will allow them to study for two years in Beijing with scholars from around the world, beginning in September. The program brings together young people who have demonstrated a talent for leadership and innovation in an interdisciplinary master’s program.
TRANSFORMATIVE TEACHING: Patrick Alexander, associate professor of English and African American studies, is the recipient of the 2021 Elsie M. Hood Award, which was established in 1965 to honor UM faculty who make a positive impact in the classroom and is the university’s highest teaching recognition. Dr. Alexander’s nominees lauded him as a teacher who has enlightened and inspired his students.
SEC LEADERSHIP: Greg Tschumper, professor of chemistry, has been named winner of the 2021 SEC Faculty Achievement Award for the University of Mississippi. Dr. Tschumper is an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of physical chemistry and computational quantum chemistry.
SEARCHING BEYOND EINSTEIN: Leo Stein, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, will use his new Faculty Early Career Development Program National Science Foundation award to further explore Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and pursue unlocking the universe’s gravitational secrets. CAREER grants are some of the most prestigious and competitive awards that NSF offers, and Dr. Stein’s CAREER award is the university’s sixth in the last six years.
INNOVATIVE DISTANCE TEACHING: Katerina Berezina, assistant professor of nutrition and hospitality management, received the 2021 Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching, an award that recognizes faculty members who go above and beyond in applying creative uses of educational technologies in their online classrooms. Berezina was recognized for creating an online environment that immerses students in different technologies and achieves high engagement by seeking student input.
ACING EDUCATION LEADERSHIP: Phillis George, assistant chair and associate professor of higher education, was named a 2021 fellow of the American Council on Education. She is among 52 college and university leaders inducted into the 2021-22 class of the ACE Fellows program, considered the gold standard for higher education leadership development.
FURTHERING STEM EXPLORATION: Three students from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College were selected for National Science Foundation fellowships that recognize and support the research-based pursuit of master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM fields. Jax Dallas, William Meador and Larry Stokes were selected for fellowships that include three years of financial support through the foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. They are the first UM students to be offered the prestigious fellowship since 2015.
LEADING IN TEACHING & LEARNING: Tracy Case Koslowski, associate director of the UM Intensive English Program, was selected by the U.S. Department of State for a six-week English language specialist virtual project focusing on integrating critical thinking into the English-as-a-foreign-language classroom in China. She was chosen for the program through the Regional English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Her project is one of some 200 that the English Language Specialist Program supports each year.
EXPANDING INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS: For the second time in three years, seven accomplished UM students have been named as recipients of the prestigious David L. Boren Scholarship from the National Security Exchange Program: Brantley Damon, Miller Greene, Isabel Spafford, William Bradford, Jordan Evans, and Ivy Gerrell. Ella Lawson was selected but has decided to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps instead.
HONORING SERVICE TO STUDENTS: JoAnn Edwards, speech instructor and director of forensics in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, and the late Jacqueline Certion, former assistant director of the Foundations of Academic Success Track, or FASTrack, program in the College of Liberal Arts, were selected as this year’s honorees for the Frist Student Service Award, a prestigious campuswide award for student service. The two employees — the university’s head debater and a late administrator fondly remembered as “one of the brightest lights on our campus” — were chosen from dozens of nominations submitted by students, alumni, faculty and staff.