CHANCELLOR’S 3 THINGS TO KNOW
April at Ole Miss is fast and fun — a sprint to the finish before we close out another fantastic academic year. Convocation will be Saturday, May 13, and we’re eager to welcome alumna Stephanie Hickman, president and CEO of Trice Construction Co., as this year’s Commencement speaker. Stephanie, a 1991 graduate of the UM School of Law, has had an outstanding career as a labor attorney, utility executive, and lobbyist. Under her leadership, Trice Construction has transformed from a small residential construction company to an award-winning utility infrastructure contractor. Our graduates will learn a lot from her story and the legacy she has built with her life. We look forward to her address, and we’re excited to welcome Stephanie home to Ole Miss. Here are three things to know right now:
- Brilliant Students
I’m thrilled to share that junior Madeleine Dotson of Mobile was named a Truman Scholar. The distinguished national program awards merit scholarships to students who pursue careers in government or public service. And, for the second year in a row, we have three new Goldwater Scholars in a single year. Congrats to Christian Boudreaux of Oxford, Noah Garrett of Madison, and Alyssa Stoner of Gulfport. The Goldwater Scholarship supports sophomores and juniors who show promise of becoming the nation’s next generation of research leaders in science, engineering and mathematics. We also welcomed an impressive group of 10 seniors into our 2022-23 Hall of Fame: Preston Antes, Jilkiah Bryant, Andy Flores, Kelly Li, Preston McWilliams, Rabria Moore, Sepp Cecil, Logan Thomas, Margaret Walker, and Morgan Whited.
- Top Teachers
We honored two of our most dedicated teachers at the annual Honors Convocation. Jason Ritchie, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received the 2023 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award for his brilliant and caring presence in the classroom. We also presented the inaugural St. Amand Outstanding Teaching Award to Lou Burney, lecturer in accountancy instruction, who brings joy and enthusiasm to every class.
- All Roads Traveled
I traveled to Itawamba and Northwest community colleges earlier this month to meet with students. After serving in leadership roles for more than a decade at a Mississippi community college, I’m proud of how the University of Mississippi creates solid pathways and support services for transfer students. Their success is why we’ve been named each year to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Roll, and it contributes to why our transfer graduation rates are above 70%. And, during our recent Evening of First Generation Excellence, we recognized a group whom I deeply admire, our first-generation college students. First-gen students arrive on campus facing many unknowns, and their path to graduation requires a high degree of grit, persistence, and drive.
Don’t miss the special section at the end about our robust research enterprise — it’s incredible how our university applies our research to educational advancements, real-world applications, and economic growth. Until next month, take care!
Glenn F. Boyce
A record 16 Language Flagship seniors are headed abroad to hone their language skills after being accepted for the Chinese and Arabic capstone year programs. No other Flagship university will send as many students to capstone this year.
Through an $11.5 million grant, the University of Mississippi Medical Center established the Molecular Center of Health and Disease. This center will help scientists better understand human genetics and how it plays a factor in disease, potentially allowing for earlier interventions and cures.
Ole Miss women’s golf senior Chiara Tamburlini was recognized as the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year, marking the first time since 2016 that an Ole Miss women’s golfer claimed SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year status.
The University of Mississippi’s research enterprise is robust and growing. After earning the top-tier R-1 status in 2016, we’ve expanded on our strengths. As world leaders in several niche fields — including botanicals, cannabis, and telehealth — we seek unique opportunities to apply our research to educational advancements, real-world applications, and economic growth.
Investing in Talent: We’re committed to helping University of Mississippi researchers pursue opportunities and maximize their skills and talents. This commitment involves raising awareness of funding opportunities, guiding faculty, staff, and researchers through the proposal process, and advocating with our committed partners in Washington. And, we encourage our people: in the past 12 years, 12 UM faculty members received National Science Foundation Early Career Development awards – the definitive start-up award for promising early career STEM researchers.
Leading in Healing: As the state’s only academic medical center, the University of Mississippi Medical Center provides essential services to Mississippians and contributes to major research initiatives. In FY 2022, UMMC research funding totaled $107.3 million. Since pioneering the world’s first human-to-human lung transplant in 1963, and as an internationally recognized innovator in HIV treatment in the early ‘10s, UMMC remains at the forefront of emerging health care needs, including pediatric trials in cannabis-derived drugs to treat seizures and its National Telehealth Center of Excellence.
Biomedical Capabilities: Our expertise in the biomedical sciences spans education, research, and economic impact. It touches on multiple strengths in the School of Pharmacy, such as advanced manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, innovations in personalized medicine, and the recently launched National Center for Cannabis Research and Education. It includes researchers in biomedical engineering who are examining cytoskeletal diseases, including cancer and heart disease as well as new treatments for metastatic breast cancer. We’re also home to the Nano-Bio and Immunoengineering Consortium and D3B — the Center of Diagnostics, Design, Devices and Biomechanics — which combines industry and academic experience toward the creation of innovative medical devices and technologies.
Out of this World (Literally): UM researchers have three experiments aboard the International Space Station, and since 1965, we’ve been home to the Center for Air and Space Law that provides excellence in global legal scholarship and practice in fast-changing fields. The center publishes The Journal of Space Law (the original in its field) and The Journal of Drone Law and Policy, which focuses on law and regulations governing unmanned aircraft. An exciting new collaboration is on the horizon: The Federal Aviation Administration recently welcomed the University of Mississippi as an Affiliate Member of ASSURE, the Alliance for System Safety of Unmanned Aircraft Systems through Research Excellence. We are one of 26 of the world’s leading research institutions in the program.
Addressing Threats: The National Center for Physical Acoustics, located on the Oxford campus, plays a leading role in the establishment of infrasound stations around the world that monitor large explosions for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Acoustic data can also be used to predict hurricanes, track tornadoes, and warn airline pilots of remote volcanoes. In addition, DSS-Wise, one of the nation’s premier support systems for water infrastructure security, was created at the University of Mississippi by the FEMA-supported National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering.
Scientific Influence: Our research doesn’t sit in a silo — we’re actively engaged with the greater scientific community. One method to determine the impact of research is “relative citation ratio,” a metric endorsed by the National Institutes of Health that considers the number of citations a paper receives to measure its scientific influence. Our relative citation ratio has grown from 1.3 to 2.5 in 10 years, outpacing the national average of 2.0.
Expertise and Impact: Researchers near and far respect the expertise of our researchers, and the impact of UM research ripples across the global research community. Our impact is growing. Look no further than the numbers — citations of our researchers’ work have risen 110% over the past decade. During this time, University of Mississippi research has been cited at least 70,000 times.