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!