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Circle & Square Vol. 1, Number 2 | Summer 2019

Profiles in Courage


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Spring 2019 4-5

Sharing Stories, Sharing Love


Come Together: Oxford


Fresh Food & Ideas


The History of Double Decker


Sisters, Students & Store Owners


A Dog’s World


Active Minds


Beauty in Architecture


Oxford: Then & Now


Profiles in Courage


Withstanding the Test of Time


A Journey Through the Tunnels


Leadership at the Roots

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Circle & Square Meet the Team Magazine Coach Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Design Coach Darren Sanefski Editor-in-Chief MacKenzie Ross Copy Editor Angela Rogalski Contributer Mark Dolan Writers Abby Vance Ainsley Cullum Kennedy Pope Laura Ellis Royal Lee Catherine Collins Tara Hawkins Kathryn Abernathy Anne Merrill Jones Caroline Stewart Cameron Sadler Audrey Muse Maddie McGee Madison McGrath Olivia Russo Price Waltman Sarah Smith Dotsie Stevens Designers Lee Catherine Collins Tara Hawkins Maddie McGee Photographers Lee Catherine Collins Sarah Smith Laura Ellis Royal Megan Suttles Olivia Russo Abby Vance Anne Merrill Jones

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sharing stories sharing love Oxford resident, Lee Habeeb, shares his experiences and beliefs on the beauty of sharing stories. STORY | Sarah Smith ove. Love. We write a lot about love,” Lee Habeeb, host of Our American Stories shared. Our American Stories is a podcast and radio show that features people from all over the United States uniting through a common good: the threads that make them American. The stories they share, according to Habeeb, are about love, faith, courage and redemption. His faith bleeds heavily into what he does with the station. The stories told can be anything from Dungeons and Dragons to Down syndrome. It is a universal station about humanity and what makes us human. It’s stories about patriotism and why we love America. A special emphasis is put on celebrating small towns like Oxford Mississippi. Habeeb used to be a political commentator and a producer of political activist Laura Ingraham’s radio show. His conservative values, however, did not stop him from wanting to find a common ground for all Americans. He questioned why we, as a nation, tell so many stories about freedom and enterprise, yet never do we discuss God, children with special needs and the sanctity of life. The platform for Habeeb to discuss these topics which touch all American hearts was Our American Stories. Habeeb was born into a family of immigrants from Lebanon and Italy. He attended the University of Virginia Law School and was raised in New Jersey. His upbringing profoundly impacted how he saw life and thought people should make it through life. Although, he faced adversity and people speaking poorly about him. “Victimhood was not allowed in the Habeeb family,” Habeeb said. “The second


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you own that life doesn’t owe you a damn thing, you take control of your life.” His mother encouraged him to “get to know him,” if a boy said something mean to him. She wanted him to get to know people who were different than he was. He is a firm believer that relations amongst individuals and why disparities exist is not due to race, stereotypes, or “isms,” but rather due to behaviors. He explained it was important to ask questions, not to call names. Hence, the importance of empathy through listening to know one another’s stories. He emphasized this by telling us how everyone deserves a chance in this world through a touching story about people with Down Syndrome. This lead to the discussion of abortion amongst Down Syndrome kids and how people jump quickly to that decision instead of realizing that they are discussing an actual human being. Habeeb also shared that he had asked his liberal friends what was good about Trump and what he had done well, they could not say. He asked his conservative friends what was good about Obama and his presidency, they could not say. “I can’t take it anymore,” Habeeb said. “Cause it’s bullshit.” Next, Habeeb shared a story about Dolly Parton who could have fallen into a pit of victimhood for her life, but instead, she rose above and stayed strong through the power of empathy. He said that it was her empathy that won her place in country music with “I Will Always Love You” as a farewell to Porter Wagoner, her mentor for years. It is empathy that allows one to see the other side and understand why they do what they do, which according to Habeeb makes them more understandable as a whole through his experience. Habeeb shared that one reason America has such a beautiful national ideology is because it is built on grit. That’s what made it what it is today, and Habeeb believes that’s what makes successful people different. “Commit early,” Habeeb said. “Make the decision, I will not quit.” Grit is what is memorable. Habeeb talked with admiration about Henry Ford, a young racer who realized how he could make vehicles available to everyone. For the first time, the rich and the poor had the same thing. “One man, amongst many changed this,” Habeeb said. Habeeb gave the charge that if someone wanted something or desired to meet someone to ask and have the audacity to call and take the first step. He emphasized how putting yourself out there is showing that you are making an effort. He then explained the beauty America has in affording its citizens opportunities that are not afforded elsewhere. He posed the question that if America was truly so evil, why were tens of millions of men, women and children trying to get in? He spoke out against an entitled mentality and emphasized the importance of good parenting, financial responsibility and role of the church in daily life. He championed for the freedom of choice given to Americans. While these choices may shed light on differences among us, establishing the common ground will stitch us back together as Americans at heart.


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Kristian Stanfill leads the band during one of the opening songs of the night.

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COME TOGETHER Four students unite the Oxford and Ole Miss community through a night of worship in the Pavilion. STORY | Price Waltman and Cameron Sadler n April 9, the vision of four students to see revival come to the Ole Miss campus and Oxford community came to life. Come Together: Oxford is the first ever worship event to be held in the Pavilion. The students’ vision was simple, yet profound: “To see Jesus change lives in the Oxford community.” With Passion Worship and renown pastor Louie Giglio coming to deliver the message for the evening, roughly 4,000 students and members of the community came in support. Whether out of curiosity, excitement or both, people flocked to the Pavilion in anticipation to see how the event would unfold. Two of the founders of Come Together: Oxford shared their stories of the event from conception to completion with us. Can you tell us how the idea of Come Together: Oxford got started? Gabby Puglisi: “Thomas (Barr) was in charge of Greek Night of Worship which is a worship night that includes all Greek organizations. He decided that God was calling him to do something bigger, not to just reach Greek organizations but everyone on our campus and in our community.”


What were your goals for the night of Come Together: Oxford? Gabby: “Our goal was to unite our community in ways that had never been seen in Oxford before: to break down barriers in race, ethnicity, age, sex.” What was the role of prayers in Come Together; what did it look like to pray for an event this large? Olivia Miller: “Prayer was a vital part of this event, and without it, we really believe it would not have been possible. We really spent a lot of time before and after our meetings coming to God. First, we had to raise $140,000. Secondly, we prayed for people to actually come to the event so that it wasn’t all for nothing. Not that our success is in numbers, but to instigate revival in Oxford.” What role did the community play in your planning of the event? How well did the city of Oxford receive the idea of a revival? Olivia: “Without the community’s support, this night would not have been possible. Many local businesses were our sponsors, and without the support of both campus ministries and churches throughout Oxford, we would not have been able to reach our desired audience.” Did you have any surprises along the way? Good or bad? Gabby: “I think the biggest surprise was what we originally thought everything was going to cost and then figuring out what it actually was going to cost in the end.” If you were to change anything, would you? Olivia: “Like any first-time event, there are for sure things to improve. Over the course of this next year we will have a lot more time to prepare; this year we only had about two and a half months. I think we will be able to really focus on fine details and hopefully bring even more people together.” Are there plans to have another Come Together: Oxford in the future? Gabby: “Originally, I had planned to move away for a job opportunity in California. However, recently God has specifically called me to stay in Oxford and to grow Come Together into the full potential that God wants it to be.” Olivia: “We are trying to rest in what God is doing now through this current Come Together, however, after seeing God move that night, we cannot help but be really excited for this God-willing annual event.”

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Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta closes the night with his sermon.

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FRESH food & ideas An Oxford couple make their dreams come true with a developing option for delicious dining, locally-sourced produce, and much more. STORY | Lee Catherine Collins


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The lit, sheet metal and wood sign in front of the business.

ur whole plan was to retire,” she says to me smiling as she steps over crates of jars with the lids screwed on tight. Sawdust covers the floor, but the pitched ceiling catches my eye with huge, rough beams criss-crossing above us. Kim Stewart leads me around, showing me the kitchen where her husband Lee is smoking meat, cooking crawfish in a steaming pot. She shows me the pretty wooden picnic tables out front, the funky furniture under sheets back inside. Stewart Farms Fresh is that huge, bright red barn you have been noticing off of Highway 6 just outside of town. The eclectic, wood and metal sign spells it out for you in the front. Husband and wife duo, Lee and Kim Stewart love a project. February of 2018, they bought a house in hopes of personalizing it to their liking - adding a pool and deck, maybe purchasing some land. Not long after, Kim noticed the land next to their home was for sale, and, suddenly, it clicked. “I love to cook. He loves to grill out and smoke all kinds of meat. We both love fresh food, fruits and vegetables. We put everything we love in one building.”


We always wanted to do something here because we love Oxford. This has just kind of evolved. Kim Stewart

Boiled shrimp prepared by Lee Stewart.

And that they did. Kim shows me where one day a meat counter will be, where she plans to set up couches and televisions to create a hangout spot for watching ballgames. She explains that they are not a restaurant. Patrons are welcome to stay, eat, and visit, or take their food to go. The big red barn is truly something else. With the capacity to put out restaurant quality food and the space to have something of an old-fashioned grocery store, the place is truly one of a kind.

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ur whole plan was to retire,” she says to me smiling as she steps over crates of jars with the lids screwed on tight. Sawdust covers the floor, but the pitched ceiling catches my eye with huge, rough beams criss-crossing above us. Kim Stewart leads me around, showing me the kitchen where her husband Lee is smoking meat, cooking crawfish in a steaming pot. She shows me the pretty wooden picnic tables out front, the funky furniture under sheets back inside. Stewart Farms Fresh is that huge, bright red barn you have been noticing off of Highway 6 just outside of town. The eclectic, wood and metal sign spells it out for you in the front. Husband and wife duo, Lee and Kim Stewart love a project. February of 2018, they bought a house in hopes of personalizing it to their liking - adding a pool and deck, maybe purchasing some land. Not long after, Kim noticed the land next to their home was for sale, and, suddenly, it clicked. “I love to cook. He loves to grill out and smoke all kinds of meat. We both love fresh food, fruits and vegetables. We put everything we love in one building.” And that they did. Kim shows me where one day a meat counter will be, where she plans to set up couches and televisions to create a hangout spot for watching ballgames. She explains that they are not a restaurant. Patrons are welcome to stay, eat, and visit, or take their food to go. The big red barn is truly something else. With the capacity to put out restaurant quality food and the space to have something of an old-fashioned grocery

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store, the place is truly one of a kind. Oxford has a few grocery stores, but we can all agree that sometimes the pickings are slim when it comes to fresh produce, delicious, carefullysmoked meats, and made-from-scratch casseroles and sides. Especially during football season or when the crowds of students move back into town after summer break, our local grocery stores certainly take a hit. Currently, the couple is cooking a variety of local favorites. Lee prepares smoked brisket, ribs, boston butt, chicken, crawfish, shrimp, and occasionally other seafood like crab and oysters. Kim is a cook herself, and not the kind to take any shortcuts. She prepares from scratch macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and a variety of other delicious sides. But these two are dreamers. They are always looking toward the future. Kim says that maybe later down the road, she would like to build a greenhouse and another barn to serve as a wedding venue. In the near future, the couple is excited about football season and serving tailgaters with meat and sandwich trays and other take-and-go treats. They want the place to frequently feature live music and be a fun, family atmosphere inside and out. The couple hopes to finish the inside of the barn soon, but the timing is not solidified because they are doing much of the work themselves, between cooking and other jobs and endeavors. But get ready. Stewart Farms Fresh is already a unique, fun atmosphere with some mouthwatering eats, so the final product is sure to impress.

The big, red barn located off of Highway 6.

Patrons at the farm are served their food.

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Double Decker, Double the Memories STORY | Kennedy Pope and Abby Vance

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Ole Miss student Angela King sells jewelry at her booth during the 2018 Double Decker Arts Festival.

ouble Decker has been an Oxford local tradition since it started in 1994 as a small festival and has now become an annual tradition that brings thousands of people to experience what Oxford has to offer. In 1994, Mayor Robyn Tannehill, who served as the Tourism Director at the time, realized that Oxford did not have any sort of festival and saw the potential for the town to showcase its music, food and art. “We do music, food and art so well,” Mayor Tannehill said, “Why don’t we have a celebration to showcase what we do best?” When Mayor Tannehill was hired as the Tourism Director in June of 1994, she started planning, with a small budget, for the first Double Decker festival that would take place in April of 1995. “It was met with a good bit of push back from the Mayor and City Leaders at the time,” Mayor Tannehill said. “They decided not to give us any funding for the festival, so I went and got money from Budweiser and Coca-Cola and asked for the city to match what they had given and they did.” The first Double Decker festival was planned with around $30,000, which may seem like a lot of money to some, but to Tannehill, that would only cover the cost of staging musicians. So, Tannehill got


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creative and used two 18-wheeler beds as stages. “Being the Art and Interior Design major that I am, they were so ugly I couldn’t take it,” Tannehill said. “So I staple-gunned burlap all the way around them.” Tannehill homemade every sign, banner and A-frame for the festival and looks back at all the memories she made during that first year to make Double Decker a success. “The one thing we did well then that has contributed to its success is that we set the bar real high,” Mayor Tannehill said. Back in 1995, Oxford wasn’t quite as busy as it is now in April, so Double Decker was set for the last weekend in April. Double Decker’s first festival saw 9,000 people and has grown tremendously over the years. “We were thrilled with 9,000 people,” Tannehill said. “But last year [2018] we had 60,000.” Even though 24 years have passed, allowing room for growth, the tradition of Double Decker remains the same. “It was very important to me that this festival be free,” Tannehill said. “There are so many things in Oxford that cost so much money and it is critical to me that this be a festival open to everybody.”

Houndmouth performs during the 2018 Double Decker Arts Festival.

Double Decker has seen tremendous growth in the last 24 years, and for the past five years, Lee Ann Stubbs has been the coordinator for everything Double Decker. Lee Ann Stubbs, Double Decker Coordinator, said, ” I think it is a weekend people look forward to whether it is a family reunion or college reunion and we like to keep it kid-friendly for families. I definitely think Double Decker brings people from outside of Oxford.” One of the main sponsors of Double Decker is the Student Activity Association at Ole Miss as well as Ole Miss athletics. Sponsors give anywhere from 200 to 25,000 dollars. “I start planning the festival in September and sometimes even late August,” Stubbs said. “It takes a lot more time than people think.” Because of a festival this size, there is now a jury that votes on vendors to be selected. This year, 273 people applied to be vendors who will display their artwork, jewelry, wood cutting, food, and more. To get the

weekend started, tow trucks arrive at The Square on Saturday morning at 4 a.m. to bring Double Decker to life. “If you are up at 4 a.m. on the Saturday of Double Decker, come look at The Square and the tow trucks come out,” Stubbs said. “You would not even know it was 4 in the morning.” Similarly to football weekends, the clean-up crew is able to tear down and clean up The Square by Sunday morning, making The Square look as if nothing ever happened. “By the time the next morning you are up for church, you would not know there was a festival there,” Stubbs said. The 24th Annual Double Decker Festival is set to kick-off on Friday, April 26 with art demonstrations and a special “Thacker Mountain Radio Hour” at 7 p.m. The Festival will open on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. following the 5K and 10K run/walk and the Kid’s Fun Run.

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Sisters, Students & Store Owners Students balance work and business with store on the Square. STORY | Kathryn Abernathy and Tara Hawkins

alancing schoolwork, classes and maintaining a social life is difficult enough for most college students. But, for Ole Miss students and twin sisters Marilyn and Katherine Hessler, they added in owning and running a small business. The senior sisters have owned and maintained “I Just Have to Have It” on The Square since March 6th, 2018. They have had their Meridian location since January 20th, 2017. We interviewed Marilyn to get the scoop on why they started the business, the hardships and rewarding moments and what their plans are for the future. Why did you two start the store? We started it on accident actually! We went to market and picked out a few things for us and sold the others and it just never stopped. The demand was so high for cute, affordable clothing in Meridian at the time. Once we realized what was happening we decided to enter the clothing store market and have affordable, cute items that everyone could wear! What has been the biggest challenge? Time! Even though the store is open 11-6, the work doesn’t stop at 6! Our online store is insane and sometimes we are at the store until 2 a.m. shipping out all the orders. What is the most rewarding part? The most rewarding part is seeing people wear the clothes! I love walking on campus and seeing someone wear something that I know was from our store. One time in class someone was wearing something from the store and someone asked them “hey, where did you get that top, it’s so cute,” and they were talking about the store and how it was their favorite in Oxford. I thought it was really cool because they didn’t know I owned the store and was sitting right there. Little things like that make it all worth it! What is unique about the Oxford store? What’s unique about the Oxford store is that it is managed by all college students! Our oldest employees are 22. I think everyone feels welcome in the store because we aren’t pushy and hard sellers at either of our stores. We have people come in just



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to hangout because they like the atmosphere and we won’t bother and pester them into buying stuff they don’t want. How many employees do you have? Meridian has 13 and Oxford has 11. How have you managed to balance school and running a business? Honestly, it’s so hard. I have had to skip class because someone got sick and couldn’t work. Sometimes in class I would get important phone calls that I couldn’t answer. I have had to miss school a lot for working or having to drive to Meridian to work or working at a show or going to market. It is so hard doing both and

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trying to find a balance. It’s a struggle. Yesterday, I had to decide between doing homework that was due at midnight or working at the store getting new merchandise steamed, priced and out, shipping out all the orders, getting ready for all the new arrivals and new orders for the next day so it wouldn’t be overloaded and so I stayed at the store until 11 then went home to do my homework. What’s going to change or happen next year since you and your sister are seniors? I’m not actually graduating, but my sister is! So I’ll be in Oxford in the fall and Katherine will be at the Meridian store. We are also looking into future locations this year.


A Dog’s World Ole Miss alum turns love for dogs in to career STORY | Olivia Russo and Madison McGrath

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n January, Memphis native and Ole Miss alumnus Chip Brown founded DeltaDog, Oxford’s newest luxury pet hotel, daycare and spa. After 10 years of owning and operating BrownDog Lodge, a pet resort in Memphis, Brown decided to sell his business and relocate to where his passion for dogs all started: Oxford. “I went to Ole Miss in the 90s and at that time I got my own dog and I began training dogs as a hobby,” Brown said. Although Brown started his dog career by training gun dogs in Mississippi, his talents with canines of all kinds include more than just training. “After I graduated, I moved back to Memphis and started my career in commercial real estate and was still training dogs on the side as a hobby but decided after eight years of being in real estate I wanted to go to the dog business and turn my hobby into a career,” Brown said Even though Brown has not trained dogs in years, Ole Miss is where he developed a passion for stimulating the mental and


physical health of all dogs. “Oxford is a place I’ve always enjoyed, it’s where my dog interest began,” Brown said. Although Brown is commuting between Memphis and Oxford to run his dream business, Brown plans to pick up and move his family back to Oxford. “I thought this was a great place to run my business because it’s a growing community and I felt there’s a need for a more comfortable boarding environment for pet daycare,” Brown said. DeltaDog puts pet owners’ minds at ease while they attend vacations, game days, class, work and other daily life activities. Knowing what it entails to own and train a dog while taking classes at Ole Miss, Brown also has made it easy on student dog owners by having pick up and drop off services for day care at DeltaDog. Owners are also able to keep an eye on their pup’s indoor and outdoor activities by watching the webcams on DeltaDog’s website.

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ACTIVE MINDS Student organization seeks to bring awareness to mental health awareness and education. STORY | Audrey Muse and Dotsie Stevens ince its founding in 2016, the Ole Miss Active Minds chapter has changed the conversation of mental health in Oxford. Active Minds is a student lead organization that works to provide mental health awareness and education on Ole Miss’s campus and in the Oxford community. “Through my time in Active Minds and my relationship with the counseling center, I have seen how much time and effort it takes to truly make a difference in this area,” Jessica Tran, Presiden of Active Minds, said. Jessica Tran, 2018-2019 Miss Ole Miss, helped found Ole Miss’s Active Minds chapter during her sophomore year. She now serves as the organization’s president. On March 19th, Active Minds brought the Send Silence Packing movement to the Grove for a second year in a row. This exhibition told the stories of college students across the country who lost their battle with varied mental illnesses. These impactful stories are meant to open conversation on campus about mental health and the importance of addressing these issues for college campuses. To increase efficiency and availability to students, the Ole Miss Counseling Center implemented a new campus policy limiting students


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to 10 counseling appointments during their time as students. Currently, the counseling center has seven full-time counselors for students and one for faculty and staff. Following this policy change, the counseling center plans to hire another full-time counselor next year. “Mental health issues are becoming more and more prevalent in teenagers, and Oxford High has reached out to us about awareness and events,” Tran said. “I think they want to show these students that there are college students struggling with the same things they are. It’s important for them to see that what they are feeling is okay and they can talk about it, we are here.” What started as five people coming together with an idea to change the attitude towards mental health on Ole Miss’s campus has turned into a growing campus organization with successful, impactful campus and community-wide events. With the addition of another full-time counselor at the counseling center next fall, the number of counselors has gone up by three since 2015. The attitude towards mental health at Ole Miss has changed since Active Minds was founded and has started fostering a community of acceptance and growth as these conversations about mental health continue.


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Beauty in the Architecture Oxford and Ole Miss are known for one thing: beauty. From buildings to landscape, we see the gorgeous campus and city everyday. In this issue, we’ve talked about the landscape and now a few of the most notable beautiful buildings we have on campus and in the city, and maybe a few things you didn’t know about these buildings you pass all the time. STORY | Sarah Smith

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The Lyric

Originally owned by William Faulkner’s relatives, this historic theatre is Oxford’s hotspot for music today; however, it was originally used as stables for those visiting the square. Then, in the 1900s, it became a theatre for live performances and silent films. William Faulkner attended the world premiere of “Intruder in the Dust” at the Lyric theatre. During the 70s, it was abandoned and stopped playing films, but in the 80s it was used for revamped office spaces. Finally, in the 2000s, it was turned back to its

former glory as a theatre and began hosting artists from around the world, according to The Daily Mississippian.

The Oxford Courthouse

Located on the Historic square, the white beacon center was built in 1872 after the original burned down in 1864. The Courthouse is now available with tours offered. At the front there’s a Confederate statue seemingly protecting the courthouse that had once burned down but was rebuilt.

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Brandt-Memory House

Housing the UM Foundation, it was once a place where students boarded and ate meals. It is often used as a reception hall for visitors to the University according to the UM Foundation. “The house at 406 University Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi is again the queen of the area, decked out in all her regal splendor,” said Chooky Faulkner in their historical account titled, ‘The House’ published in Jack Case Wilson’s book, ‘Faulkers, Fortunes, and Flames.’

Walton Young House

A typical middle-class home from the Victorian Era, this building was owned by a hardware store owner, Horace Walton, who built the house in 1880. After he passed away, his wife, Lydia boarded the house out to students of the University. Lydia remarried and had two children with her second husband, one of whom would be the most famous resident they had: Stark Young, a well-known novelist and playwright at the turn of the century. In 1997, it became a part of the University Museum, according to the UM Museum.

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The Lyceum

A lyceum is an educational institution, and the Ole Miss Lyceum has seen riots, war, and protests throughout its years on the Ole Miss campus. It is the oldest building on campus and even served as a hospital during the Civil War. It not only has been resilient, but also shows how resilient the school and city are. Despite anything that has come to Oxford, Miss., nothing has destroyed it. Not bullets. Not riots. Not war. It has been classrooms and lecture halls, a library and office spaces of faculty. Its evolution through Ole Miss hasn’t stopped, and it now houses Ole Miss administration.

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Ventress Hall

Built in 1889, this beautiful building with its unique architectural design was originally used to be a library. It’s the quintessential photo-opt at Ole Miss, with the stained glass window and the bright red brick. The building upscales the campus through its unique beauty. It was named after a Mississippi House of Representative, James Alexander Ventress.

Barnard Observatory

Named after Ole Miss Chancellor Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, who during his time at Ole Miss built a top-of-the-line telescope. The telescope never made it to the South due to an interception during the Civil war, but is now housed in Northwestern University. Barnard was a deaf scientist and educator who, after his time at Ole Miss, became President of Columbia University.

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Circle & Square is a publication of the Magazine Innovation Center Magazine Coach: Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Design Coach: Darren Sanefski School of Journalism and New Media The University of Mississippi

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114 Farley Hall P.O. Box 1848w University, MS 38677-1848

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THEN & NOW STORY | MacKenzie Ross

he University of Mississippi and the surrounding areas looked nothing like it did 60 years ago. Some students had to hitchhike home during breaks and most of the stores and restaurants that make up the Square weren’t there. In 1957, Tyce Buntin was a freshman from Charleston, Miss., taking in all that Ole Miss had to offer. “The majority of the students were in-state because it was, you know, relatively hard to get to Oxford from anywhere,” said Buntin. “We were the university that was closest to some so we had students from as far away as Missouri and all of West Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. But, we were all kind of considered local people. I would not call us being a diverse group because we were mostly Mississippi kids.” Buntin, a business major while in school, participated in Greek life and remembers a time when the University wasn’t as big as it is today. “We had about three thousand, give or take a few students,” said Buntin as he glanced through old yearbooks in his dining room. “So you could say you knew everyone by name.” The culture of the University was different in 1957. Female students had curfews, personality positions like Miss Ole Miss were chosen by a kind-of-famous celebrity and the smaller home games were played in Hemingway Stadium while bigger teams were played in Memphis at Crump Stadium. Buntin left Oxford after college but eventually returned to live and reminisce on his time. Through social media including Facebook, many former students and locals can take a look down memory lane. Oxford and Ole Miss historian John Cofield uses his Facebook page with more than 5,000 friends to repost photos,


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The Hoka

The University hosts a dance after playing Mississippi State in football in 1957.



new and old. Many submit photos but other comment on posts, bringing new details to the stories. “In the mid-50s my friends and I, on a Saturday, could go to a 10:30 movie at the Lyric, then go up on the Square to Winters and get a fried hotdog on a hamburger bun with slaw on it,” said Billie Vines Jones. “Best hotdogs I’ve ever had. We’d go back down Van Buren to the Ritz for a 1:30 movie and most likely stay for the serial and the 3:30 movie. In those days, our parents didn’t have to worry about pre-teens walking all over Oxford and being gone most of the day.” Later in to the 1970’s, if you wanted to find someone on a Friday night, your best bet was to drive around the Square and you’d most likely find them “square-squatting” in front of Neilson’s. This was the meet up area for high-schoolers. Purvis’ Pool Hall, where the Library is now, was the hangout for the guys before they would head to the statue and sit, watching the world go by. “There was ‘square squatting’ on the weekends,” said Julie Dalton. “My dad would not let me go anywhere unless I had a destination and it couldn’t be just to hang out at the Square or go ride around but there was an arcade over where Village

Tailor is now. He would let me go there and I would sneak over to the Square and go riding around with my friends. “ Local Sammie Knight could be found in that crowd, playing pool, and remembers when grocery stores were on the Square. “They would deliver,” said Knight. “Tatum and Moore, Fudges, Jitney Jungle and I can’t remember the third one but it was at City Grocery. I remember when traffic around the Square and each of the roads leaving the Square were two way. I remember when four corners was four active gas stations with mechanics in each.” The Hoka was a popular attraction for late night movies. It’s described as a place where you have to bring two sticks, one to hold up your chair and one to beat off the mice. Their cheesecake was pretty popular, too. Although much has changed, the bones of Oxford still remain - a thriving university located on a picturesque campus, local businesses to which patrons loyally flock, a town full of people who value community and the beautiful place we all call home. The details, names of stores and restaurants, the size and scale may have evolved, but the place is still certainly just as grand as it has always been.

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Profiles in Courage

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Profiles in Courage INTRODUCTION | Maddie McGee hen we think about Oxford and Ole Miss, typical images may first come to mind: the Square during Double Decker weekend, the Grove packed with tailgaters before an SEC match-up, the Lyceum dotted with red tulips, hundreds of students rushing past heading to class. While these are some of the most recognizable pieces of our little slice of Northern Mississippi, we often focus on only these images, forgetting that they aren’t the only stories our town has to tell. There are entire groups of people in Oxford that often are forgotten about in favor of the undergraduates, football stars and sleek Southern artists, writers and restaurateurs who often make news. In an attempt to tell the stories of these hidden populations, journalism professor Mark Dolan and his Honors 102 class embarked on a semester-long project, centering their focus on the elderly community in Oxford. They found their story at the State Veterans Home. Just off of South Lamar Boulevard, away from the Square teeming with culture and nightlife and the Circle laced with tradition and academia, sits the State Veterans Home. Here, veterans from wars ranging from World War II to Korea to Vietnam live. They bear the wounds of war, both physically and mentally. But they’re also full of stories and memories about the conflicts they were involved in and their lives before and after the years they gave to their country; accounts of growing up in a sharecropping family or the devastation of losing friends while overseas. For Dolan, the connection to the Veterans Home was about more than just uncovering this hidden population in Oxford. It was more personal. Dolan’s mother is one of two female veterans who call the facility home. Both his mother and father were Korean War veterans, serving in the Navy. “When I look back on their lives, I’m always intrigued by their military careers,” he said. “There weren’t a lot of women like my mom, who left New Orleans after high school and decided she wanted to join the Navy.” During this semester-long project, Dolan made the decision not to tell his students about his personal link to the Veterans Home. “I didn’t tell them during the whole thing and I still haven’t told them,” he said. “I didn’t want to in the beginning because it would have complicated the project, and I didn’t want them to think ‘Well, the only reason why we’re doing this project is because of the professor’s mom.’” Their project resulted in eight profiles of veterans, each with different experiences and vastly different stories to tell. “It really hits home when you hear their stories,” Dolan said.


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“You’re sitting there talking to a man in a wheelchair about his memories and sometimes, they’re very vivid with things in the past but then not so well with the things that happened ten minutes ago.” Andrew Plugge, Assistant Administrator at the veterans home, also noted the significance of getting a record of each of these unique stories because at their core, they all share a common thread. “It is so important because each veteran has a different story, but they all at some point made the choice to drop their lives and serve their country,” he said. The project also had a personal connection to Plugge. “Both of my grandfathers went overseas to fight in WWII and came back injured,” he said. “Neither of them, much like many that share a similar story to them, wanted to bring those horrors back to their family so we never discussed any of it. When I get to hear and read these stories I feel much closer to both of my grandfathers, who both meant so much to me.” It is personal connections like these, the links between understanding the stories of families and what they have sacrificed that turned the project into more than just a class assignment for some students. “It became this thing that held resonance for them,” Dolan said. “One day, I asked how many of them knew veterans or had them in their families and then they got it. All of those people made it possible for us to be sitting here doing this right now.” Both Dolan and Plugge understood the impact of highlighting a lesser-known community in a town full of frequent newsmakers. “There are not many places left that have a sense of community that equal this little town in Northwest Mississippi,” Plugge said. “Getting these stories out there to the community is a reminder that there are veterans here who still want to be a part of this town and everything it has to offer, and feel like they themselves still have much to offer.” Ultimately, the project encouraged breaking out of the Oxford bubble and redefining what makes news in our town. “In Oxford, we celebrate our own celebrities a lot. There are these familiar faces, almost like Mount Rushmore,” Dolan said. “But I thought, why not these people for a change?” The following pages profile veterans who were forced to drop out of high school after being drafted, veterans who have had near brushes with death, veterans who struggle with PTSD and veterans who have revisited the places where they fought so many years ago. But most importantly, the following pages contain the untold stories of history told by the ones who made it and the hidden populations in Oxford that deserve to be recognized.

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Uncertainty is the Only Certainty STORY | Jake Camp and Bailey Baudier round every corner comes change, every vinechoked tree and sunken concrete bunker an enemy crouching. That’s the mantra 18-year-old Tommy Huckabee repeated from the moment he set foot in Vietnam. He could only plot his future a few yards ahead, looking back and forth, over his shoulders. Huckabee grew up in a military family, on bases in Germany and Japan, attending 13 different schools in 12 years. He was a proud military son. His father, a WWII veteran and POW, teased his son about serving in ROTC while in school. “I told him where he can shove his Army ROTC. He got the last laugh though.” The reasons for the United States involvement in Vietnam felt a little less clear, and like many young men during the 1960s, Huckabee left his family longing for him to return as soon as conditions allowed. He lost his father around his time of first deployment. “I think he would have been proud of me,” he says. Sitting in a recreation lounge at the veterans home, surrounded by board games and shelves of DVD movies, some on VHS, a television drones on. “Well, I cried,” he recalls of the night before he was to leave. “The night before I shipped over there, I cried like a baby.” He wears a favorite red baseball cap, with his name written under the brim so nobody else will wear it by mistake. “Why me,” he asked himself, staring at the impersonal draft notice countless men received in the mail, news which had suddenly gotten ominously personal. Huckabee, “Huck,” as he’s called, left behind a wife and unborn daughter. Huck was the oldest soldier in his outfit when he turned 19, a natural leader who wasn’t afraid. “We sucked it up,” he says of the fear. He spent 18 months in Vietnam, battling that fear, as his outfit fought an enemy, often in jungle combat. A close encounter with two enemy soldiers who crawled into his bunker left him lucky to be alive. “I could feel the presence of another person in the bunker with me,” he explains of the men who carried explosives in their satchels.


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Tommy Huckabee was the only survivor. “I was the only one that came out of that bunker alive that night,” he recalls of killing the men. “It was hot, then it was cold. I once saw it snow in Vietnam,” he recalls, of the weather nearer to North Vietnam, where his outfit would be fighting. “When I got off the airplane in Cam Ranh Bay, they said get back on the airplane you’re going north. What do you mean I’m going north, I said, there’s nothing up there but North Vietnamese.” Surviving meant adapting, and adapting was necessary. Nature was as potentially lethal as any attack form the North. He saw typhoons, soldiers pelted with stones by rock apes, the mysterious and some say mythical jungle creatures reportedly seen by soldiers in the Vietnam, even a tiger dragging a young soldier out of his foxhole. Huck described a cold night in the compound when he suddenly heard screaming. He rose up to see an 18 year-old solider being clawed by a tiger. Huck yelled for him to grab his M16, but the soldier couldn’t reach it. “All I have are my grenades in my jacket,” the soldier desperately shouted. “Just hit him in the head with it,” Huck bellowed back. So the soldier did and managed to save himself before more help arrived. Whether from nature or the North Vietnamese, the dangers of the war crept in the shadows, only at times showing their faces. The jungle itself was an enemy. He rose in rank from private E-1, the lowest private, to captain 0-3, similar to a lieutenant in the Navy. Uncertainty was the only certainty. Back home, reunited with his wife and family who were living in Tennessee then, Huck finally held his daughter, who he had only known in photographs. Huck continued to serve his country for years to come, as a member of Psychological Operations, where he traveled East Asia and the Pacific spreading messages of hope to those under dictatorial regimes. “Every time I hear the National Anthem play, I am so proud to be an American,” says Huck, eyes twinkling.

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Pete STORY | Louise Klinke and Evelyn Smith ames “Pete” Ketchum is not only a Vietnam War veteran, but also a victim, a survivor, and a hero. At 74, he wears a gray, knitted T-shirt, a baseball cap embroidered with the Purple Heart award insignia at the crown. He has small shoulders, inflamed and twisted joints caused by a war fought half a century ago. An eye patch covers his left eye, his right eye is brilliantly blue, and from his wheelchair he recounts growing up in Mississippi. As a young boy who grew up on a farm, Ketchum was expected to die on that same farm, until the day he was drafted into the Army. A day just like any other, Ketchum finished his work in the family cotton field and ended the day’s work by retrieving the family’s mail. On the walk to the mailbox, he could feel uneasiness in the pit in his stomach. Although the day’s work was over, his life was only beginning. That day, Ketchum received his draft notice and was sent to Seattle for basic training. Not a day went by someone wasn’t trying to kill Pete. Sleepless nights trekking through steamy, sucking mud and monsoons that would last for 30 days are a stark contrast to the temperature-controlled veterans home, where he watches the rain from a window. He was reluctant to make friends during the war – Americans, soldiers, brothers yes, but never friends. “You couldn’t get close to nobody in the service. If you did, they’d get killed,” he explains. He recalled his first enemy raid–– the slosh of the wetlands, shooting and yelling loud enough to make your ears ring, and the sensation of a bullet, how it felt to be hit one, two, three, six times – desperately crawling through hell to find some sliver of safety only to have his eye shot out when looking for his enemy.


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Not a day went by that someone wasn’t trying to kill Pete. His injuries, the physical torment, and strain caused Ketchum to end his stint. Drafted to serve for a year, Ketchum went home after eight months, physically unable to take one step further due to his injuries. Ketchum’s mind stayed in Vietnam though. “All that, the killing, the mosquitos, the leeches, the snakes, the weather, it sticks with you.” He turned to alcohol to ease the pain that the war left in him. “I couldn’t get the war off my mind,” he says. Booze seemed the best medicine, the only medicine he could find. Slowly, alcohol became as debilitating as the shot that took his left eye, and he battled to stay sober over the years. Not a day went by that somebody wasn’t trying to kill Pete. Ketchum no longer allows the things in his life that once tried to kill him, be it the Viet Cong or booze, to bear any weight. He breathes life, a survivor. “I just enjoy people,” he says. “I always have. Everybody always says I’ve got a good personality, and it’s just my way. I don’t know how to put it to you. I just like people.” His biggest battle now is against time. Ketchum laments the passing of family members – relatives fighting cancer, some winning, others losing. He says he knows his time will come, and any day now cancer will find him too. “I have lived a good life,” he says quietly. Despite the battles he has fought and continues to fight, Ketchum never forgets to count his blessings, starting and ending every day with a smile. Amid declining health, physical and emotional battles, death remains his least fears. “Once you’ve seen death as much as I have, death doesn’t faze you no more,” he says. “To me, death is part of living.

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All Is Not Lost STORY | Canaan Vaughan and Steph Gardiner arl McGehee grew up the son of sharecroppers before he enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. McGehee was one of eleven children who picked cotton under the hot Mississippi sun helping his parents, who paid back most of the what they made in rent before buying groceries. He despised the long and laborious hours, the sharp stems of the cotton bolls which wore his tiny hands raw. “I was getting off that farm,” he recalls. McGehee enlisted in the National Guard while still in high school – his mother signed him up– and he performed his service on Monday nights for two hours while still taking classes. Just the promise of a larger escape he was looking for. It never felt like work. Marching in formation felt better than working rows of cotton. Four of his family members were in the military, three older brothers in WWII and a brother who served in Korea. Enlisting was the natural thing for him to do. Earl McGehee ends his stories on positive notes. His smiles and chuckles fill a small, quiet room at the veterans home like a grandfather doting over grandchildren. McGehee saw his share of trauma, first in Mississippi, later on a battlefield. Two stories loom large. The first took place along a stretch of U.S. Highway 315 in Sardis, Miss., when McGehee was a teenager. There he lost his sister in a car crash. She was in the passenger seat, and the driver of the car, a preacher’s son, crossed the center line around a wide curve, colliding head on with a gravel truck. They were travelling to a summer revival camp. “She was waiting on the road for an ambulance,” he said, his voice cracking, referring to the long wait she had for help on that day in July of 1957. In those days, some counties drove hearses instead of ambulances to transport the injured to hospitals – a cruel omen, because she died an hour later after finally arriving in Memphis. “She didn’t have any external wounds, but a rib had


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punctured her lung,” he explains tearfully, an otherwise stern face awash with emotion. “She drowned in her own blood.” He recalled vividly each moment of the incident as if the intervening years had only sharpened his memory. He did not want his sister’s death to corrode his soul. “I just made the military my family,” he says. In Vietnam, he was stationed in Angkor, Matran, Benoit, Bentuie, and Danang, never in any one place very long and spending most of his time in the air. A second major trauma happened when his lost an entire crew of fellow servicemen in Vietnam. He was not present when it happened though. He did not see the plane go down. He did not see the tens of acquaintances, friends, brothers go down in a puff of smoke and vanish into oblivion in the warm April of 1967. Instead, McGehee had to feel their deaths from afar, adapting suddenly to not being able to see them ever again. McGehee speaks in quiet, reverential tones when talking about those men, as if explaining the incident opens scars that aren’t quite healed. These days, he keeps in touch with his military friends and relatives. His brother visits him from time to time, along with McGehee’s surviving sister. Fellow veterans drop by now and again. His cell phone got sent through the laundry and so he’s lost some of their numbers. The death of his crew in Vietnam tested his faith in God. “My commander on that plane was a God-fearing man, and I wondered why he had to die. Until this day I wonder, but as you grow older and you continue to pray, it boils down to the fact that we’re all going, and He chooses when we go.” McGehee has had a trying life, both in the heaven-onEarth some think our home should be, as well as in the Vietnam he fought to get to. One day, he says, he’ll see his real home, heaven. And so he is not afraid to die. “There is a beautiful place somewhere waiting for me, and I’ll be sitting right there holding His hand.”

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Hey, Sport STORY | Meagan Harkins


ther than a little difficulty hearing and a crease in his left knee from a shard of ricocheted metal during World War II, Boyd Moore is as sturdy as the freight he hauled for most of his life as a truck

driver. At 95, his routes are different now. Week after week at the Mississippi State Veterans Home he wheels his chair to church services and social activities, determined to keep going down whatever road lies ahead. He’s seen and felt a lot- exploding bombs and the heartache of being jilted by the girl he planned to marry. He once saw a whole graveyard of sunken ships in the Pacific. He lost his father when he was just 10. He worked in the fields, part of a sharecropping family. “One hundred, well, 95 years, could snap me like that,” he says, referring to all he’s seen and life’s aches and pains. As a young boy, a barber in his hometown greeted him with “Hey, Sport,” and he’s been known as Sport ever since. “That’s where that name came from and it carried me all the way through overseas- Sport Moore, Sport Moore,” he says. On his journey home from Japan, Moore found himself closest to death. A 50-gallon drum of fuel caught fire during the night, burning the whole barrack. Moore was asleep on the second floor when he awoke to smoke. He had time to throw one of his two duffle bags out the window before jumping out. Moore grew up in Hudsonville, Miss. with five siblings. His family owned the only car in town, a black 1933 Chevrolet. Moore had never before seen a ship until he found himself working on one, travelling the South Pacific just 21 months after Pearl Harbor. His face turned a little white as he recalled their stop in Hawaii, where sunlight glistened off the water just right to reveal a field of sunken ships. “That gave you goosebumps just seeing, not seeing anybody, but just seeing the ships,” Moore recalls. His father was a mail carrier and farm owner. His mother, in his aunt’s words, “wasn’t good for nothing but having babies.” In 1935, the year the Social Security Administration was founded, 10-year-old Moore and his siblings were notified at school that their father had died in an accident on his mail route 17 miles away. “We knew what death was,” he murmurs. “We just didn’t understand what death was.” He insisted the war never bothered him and knew he would not die overseas. “We were such young kids, I didn’t even know what the war was about,” Moore says of his failure to understand what he was fighting for. No foot soldier, Moore drove a truck, navigating the jungles, mountains, and plains of New Caledonia, New Guinea, the

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Philippines, and Japan. “Of course, truck drivers got killed, too, that was a dangerous job.” He knew for years prior to the service that war would be his fate, and so he was glad to be drafted to join others his age. He recalls a good friend sobbing as he was drafted in the summer of 1943, while Moore remained unfazed. After staying at Camp Shelby for a week, they loaded trains for Virginia and Moore did not recognize a face among the men he would fight a world war with. At that point, Moore admitted he had a bit of his buddy’s tears in him. The train stopped in Memphis, where his girlfriend lived. “Boy, I wanted to go off and see her so bad, but I didn’t go.” He recalls travelling solely overnight, protecting the secrecy of the war. “You couldn’t even light a cigarette at night. Everything was secret,” Moore says. “You couldn’t talk about where you thought you were going.” When in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, his lieutenant granted him permission to visit his brother, also stationed there. Moore spent a few days with him, as he recalled, hunting and drinking coffee. “In the Army, that’s all you do is drink coffee,” Moore laughs. One of his most scarring experiences, he got lost on the way back. “Me, a soldier, getting lost,” he says, slightly embarrassed. On August 15, 1945 Moore worked on deck cleaning rifles when their boat was rocked by a large wave and his rifle bounced into the sea. Their supplier told him he would not need another, informing Moore that the war had ended. From then on, their assignment was to destroy Japanese weapons. As fast as they could, they “took the bulldozer and laid the rifles down, ran over them,” he says with a faint grin. It was not until Christmas Eve of 1945 that Moore received the order to go home. “I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would be when I did get in the Army,” he explains, looking back. “It was a good Christmas.” Moore raced home to be reunited with his girlfriend, to find out that she had married another man. “She said she wrote me a letter, a ‘Dear John’ letter as they call it,” he recalls. “I didn’t ever get it, of course.” Once home, Moore again became a truck driver, hauling freight. He enjoyed a 67-year marriage to his wife, Geraldine, “Ginga” as she was affectionately called, their four daughters, six grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. A “sport” is defined as “a person who behaves in a good or specified way in response to a trying situation.” Moore is always that, whether driving his truck or navigating the hallways of the veterans home, responding with grace and style to whatever lies ahead. “It might raise my blood pressure a little bit, but then I wasn’t worried about it,” he says.

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The Unorthodox Giver STORY | Demarius Evans and Ben Rhoads ndrew Pates was in a kitchen onboard the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk making a ham and cheese sandwich with mayonnaise, when an explosion occurred and he lost consciousness. When he came to, he heard the cries of his friends, and the banging of metal against metal. Engines had exploded, and his commanding officer ordered the hatch closed to Machine Room No. 1, sealing off the fire. Six persons were killed and 38 injured in that fire, which occurred while the ship was in the Pacific, about 700 miles east of the Philippines. “They sacrificed those guys down there. I was supposed to be down there, too. And I would have been down there,” Pates says, staring at a tile floor. “I don’t know.” The smell of burning hair, burning flesh, and smelling salt, which was placed under his nose to wake him up after the explosion, all trigger Pates’ post-traumatic stress disorder. “War is so unnatural,” Pates says, reliving the experience. “Six of my friends died that day.” A lieutenant ordered him to put his friends’ bodies in bags, but he refused because he was in shock. “When you go through hell, you know there’s a heaven,” says Pates, 68. He faced struggles after the service. Pates was overlooked for a job as the director of a correctional library. When he tried to get the job, they froze it for close to four years. Even though he was the only one of the three applicants and had gone to law school, he was overlooked, he believes, because the other two applicants were white and he was not. Pates shrugs it off, laughing. “Craziest white folks I have ever seen.” His post-traumatic stress disorder was a big weight in his life, and he briefly turned to alcohol and drugs to lessen his pain. But he quickly sought help before these habits


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became too engrained and was able to stay clean and sober. Through it all, Pates never let anything keep him from living a life of fulfillment. His passion was teaching. His time spent at Coahoma Community College and Texas Christian University molded him into a giver. He taught prisoners how to write writs so they could appeal their cases in court. He taught his friends how to write poetry for their girlfriends. He taught middle school for many years. No matter who he was teaching, Pates taught his pupils to love learning and showed how much he cared about them. “I would always look them in the eyes and tell them I love them. I let them see that I have a personality. I told them everyone makes mistakes.” Whatever situation he was in, he always used his gift of teaching to shine some light into people’s lives. He provided hope during tough times for prisoners in jail, his friends onboard the Kitty Hawk, and the kids in his class who may have had a rough life at home. He attended law school in California for a time, and he even worked for the Salvation Army. Pates’ story is one of selflessness and optimism. Even during the Vietnam War, he found ways to make life a little more doable, a little less horrific. Then, after the war, he was able to appreciate the situation he was in, which encouraged him to help others even more through teaching and mentoring. Pates has his own story, but his story involves more than just himself. It involves all the lives he touched before, during, and after serving in Vietnam. Because of this, his story is more like that of his friends and family, his students, and those prisoners he worked with. “Everybody has a history, H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, and you too have a history,” he says.

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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? STORY | Gillian Littleton and Hope Stewart he Mississippi State Veterans home may be where Lee Rice spends his days, but his heart stays on a dancefloor decades ago, twirling his sweetheart, Christina, as the Shirelles performed “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” “We met at a dance, a USO dance,” recalls Rice of the night in 1963 that he asked his future wife to dance at the urging of a fellow service member. He’d seen her earlier that day, at a drive-in Dairy Queen, the beginning of a romance that would last a lifetime. Had it not been for his military service, he might have never met Christina, the woman with whom he would build his life. Whether it’s to the memory of his wife, or to his years in the service during the Vietnam War, this soft-spoken veteran stays humble and dedicated, two human qualities which gives his life meaning and have helped him weather life’s struggles. Unswerving dedication insulated him from life’s traumas, especially those impacting his generation in the military, such as the loss of fellow servicemen in the jungles of Vietnam. Living is a little like running an obstacle course, Rice says – and the will to survive is sometimes the only thing that gets a person through life - day by day, moment by moment. Serving in the Air Force as an Airman First Class, he learned the values of pride, determination, and dedication that he would carry with him throughout his life. Though he never went to Vietnam, Rice and his company men were on one occasion expected to complete an obstacle course to prepare them for possible deployment. With tasks that may have seemed trivial to some, more reminiscent of a Boy Scout camp than a military action, the men learned through experience that in order to succeed, the had to have drive and courage, and to never give up. One such formative experience involved a rope swing, a pond, and a cluster of shivering, drenched men. “Most of us guys during that time we were not very physically trained for that kind of stuff and just about everyone including myself fell in the pond of water--we didn’t make it across,” Rice chuckles. At the time, the men were only able to see the tasks as preparations for war, however, they would in turn become preparations for life itself. The drive to make it across the rope swing, the desire to evade the freezing water, taught the men to not give up when faced with a challenge for which they were unprepared.


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Experiences like these gave Rice the tools and the mindset to be successful in his life and marriage. His military pride was reflected in his steadfast presence beside Christina during their almost 50-year marriage, especially in the trying times of her last days. She faced an extended illness and he was there to care for her, until the end. Growing up in rural Minnesota, Rice didn’t know what he wanted to do with his future. He couldn’t see past the dairy cows and beef cattle his family raised. His path became clearer amid escalating tensions between North and South Vietnam. Young men were being drafted in record numbers in the mid-1960s. Rice faced a difficult choice, whether to enlist or wait for a draft notice in the mailbox. Burning his draft card and fleeing to Canada, as some men did, was never an option, and he didn’t want to disgrace the service of his three uncles who served in World War II, so he enlisted. “I went ahead and went because I thought at least I would have a choice of the Navy or the Air Force,” he explains. Rice feared jungle fighting in Vietnam. In joining the Air Force, he hoped to protect himself from the trauma that plagued so many of the men who returned from jungle combat, including relatives and friends. His brother, Larry, however, did go to Vietnam, and the horrors of war changed the man. “Being in Vietnam affected how he thought about things,” recalls Rice. “The first time I saw him when he came back was in Minnesota and he just wasn’t that outgoing or friendly. I think the war did that to him. He was a little standoffish and not part of the group sometimes.” The war affected all of his brothers, those who are united to him by service and not blood, those who live in the State Veterans Home. The grief he feels at seeing how the war had changed his brothers remains seared in his mind and heart alongside the memory of Christina, a memory he will never forget. “Of course you think about her. You don’t think about her all the time, but you do think about her. You can’t dwell on that because that’s part of your life and that’s gone, but you have memories and you’ll always have your memories. They’re always there.” Rice is assured in his faith that someday the Almighty will bring him together once again with Christina and his brothers. Until that day, Rice does as the military taught him. “They teach you how to survive,” he says.

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AYoung Soldier’s Journey STORY | Lacey Loft and James Michaels


illiam Strickland, former Memphian, was just 16 when he was drafted into the Army during World War II. Prior to the draft he lived in a small house near Bellevue Baptist Church with his parents and his six mostly older

siblings. Growing up was tough, though nothing like what he would see during World War II. On his first day of elementary school, a teacher struck him across his chubby cheeks, leaving him wondering what he did to deserve it. The memory still burns in his mind, and he has trouble making it through a Sunday school class without being reminded of that slap. William Strickland has seen his share of frightful happenings, but he remembers the positives most. When he can’t locate a positive, he creates it. Whether arranging worship services for veterans or recalling the war, his ever-present optimism is contagious. He was drafted in high school. Never having to attend another class delighted him at first, although looking back he bemoans his lack of education. What he lacks in education, he makes up for in life experience. Strickland was drafted in 1941. He boarded a train not knowing where he was headed. He saw oil derricks from the passenger window, and guess he was headed west. “I landed in Camp Fannin, Texas, which was an Infantry Replacement Training Center. I thought at that point I had reached the lowest point in my life.” Not long after his arrival to Camp Fannin, the camp managers swung open the doors and began mocking him for being assigned kitchen duty. It was a grueling time, but Strickland completed his training, eager to participate in combat. In 1944, after he turned 19, Strickland joined the infantry, and his spirits lifted. “I joined the 104th infantry division” he recalls. “I was so proud of my division. We were called the Timberwolves, commanded by General Terry Allen. I joined in Weisweiler, a small town that had just been taken.” In Weisweiler, Strickland’s platoon began to search the newlyseized area for German soldiers. They were investigating cold cellars of area houses, discovering one was occupied. Inside they found an old German couple along with three little girls of varying ages, and two German soldiers that didn’t have any fight left in them, he says. “The grandmother was just absolutely terrified, just shaking, thought we were about to kill her, and it was pretty obvious what it was on her mind, although we couldn’t communicate. I saw that, and I put my rifle behind me, and held out my hand.” They escorted the family out of the home, getting them away from the combat area and out of immediate danger. This left a lasting impact on Strickland, and years after the war he sought to locate the couple whom he had rescued. He and an interpreter scoured the neighborhood, but the couple could not be found. Hours searching and no results, just before giving up completely,

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he stumbled upon a man tending his garden who spoke English. The man, coincidentally, knew the family and took Strickland to where they now lived. What happened next impacted Strickland more than the original rescue. “Mind you, this is nineteen years later, the old lady’s mind was gone, but the man realized I was the one who helped his wife get up after we went inside to his home,” Strickland explains. “He wanted to do something for me, obviously, but he didn’t have anything. He goes into the attic, gets a cigar, brings it back, and gives it to me. My light came on. I took the cigar, tried to smoke it, of course put it out, and then kept it for many years.” Events and people during the war Strickland remembers vividly. One of his friends, Saul, was the epitome of a combat soldier resourceful, cunning, tough. Saul was Strickland’s squad leader and carried an ornate ceremonial dagger that he took from a German prisoner. Strickland’s squad was once seized by a German patrol at midnight during an assignment to setup foxholes outside of a recently-taken house. “I didn’t do a darn thing but duck down in my hole, scared to death. You couldn’t see well, we’d been badly outnumbered. One man was fatally wounded. He happened to be the medic. They got all the way to the house, and Saul was in there, with the rest of the platoon. They walked right into the house,” he recalls of the ensuing firefight during which both Americans and Germans were wounded. It was Saul that turned the tide of the battle, as he stood on the second floor and reached out of the window and began open fire on the first floor. The platoon eventually backed off with the exception of one member, Saul. No one could find Saul for weeks, and then one day in Weisweiler, Saul appeared as if from nowhere. Strickland learned later that Saul walked off the battlefield after being shaken by the firefight and was rushed to a Belgian hospital, the same one where his brother was employed. He received medical care from his brother, who offered to let Saul stay there and not have to suffer through the dangers of fighting anymore, suggesting he work in the hospital instead. Saul agreed, but after two or three days a change of heart occurred. “He told his brother ‘I can’t do this, I got to go back.’ And he did, he came back to us.” At the end of the war, Strickland’s platoon was returning German prisoners. They were ambushed by German soldiers. “A Kraut popped up and shot Saul, and so I shot him.” Strickland’s friend died the day after the war officially ended. Saul had a wife and an unborn child waiting for him back home. He was looking forward to the war’s end and to seeing his growing family. “That’s just the way it was.” Despite the horrors of war, the tragedies, he dwells on the positive aspects of humanity. “Even in the midst of a vicious war, there was still a place for human kindness,” Strickland says, smiling broadly.


A Way Out STORY | Meghan Dulaney and Kate Stalcup own a maze of hallways retired Army Sgt. Maj. Warner Webb is peacefully rocking in a worn-out recliner. His past is plastered on two walls that comprise his little corner of the world. Behind his carefully made bed draped with an American flag quilt hang three black ball caps, each pinned with military honors, and a fully decorated airman’s jacket is proudly on display. Despite his accomplishments which decorate the walls, Webb is humble about his life. For him, joining the Army was a way to create a stable life, away from the harsh, rural Mississippi poverty he experienced as a child. Webb spent 21 years, the majority of his service, in the airborne division of the United States Army as a jump master paratrooper, an expert who teaches other soldiers how to jump. Continuing to work his way up the military ranks, Webb was later sent out as an Army recruiter with the goal of making sergeant major. Born into poverty in 1929 near Water Valley, MS - way out in the country, he says, in a dog-eat-dog family, he and eight siblings, fought over pieces of cornbread as children. “We lived in an old house, where the wind blew through the walls. We had it pretty rough” he recalls. “Some call it the good old days, but it wasn’t very good for us.” He caught double pneumonia as a child living in that house. Looking back though, life wasn’t so bad, despite having to routinely scrounge for something to eat, he says. He left home with little education as soon as he heard about better ways to live – joining the Army at age 18, and rising through the ranks. He received basic training up North, a culture shock for this Mississippi native. “I had to learn that people had different ways and some of them Yankees are hard to get along with,” he says with a smile. As a Mississippi sharecropper’s son, Webb was not prepared for what he would face in the military. Scoffed at for his southern ways at times, he nonetheless quickly rose in rank to sergeant major. “I was just a green buck sergeant, you know?” Webb recollects, describing the term people give to new sergeants at the lowest rank. “People got in a few fights at times, and I wasn’t very big to be fighting. So, I kind of stayed out of that.


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Everything turned out pretty good. I married my wife. She spent 23 years pretty close to the service.” On another wall are family photos. With adoration in his eyes, Webb smiles at a picture of his wife. “That’s kind of young,” he says of the woman in the photo, who looks in her early 20s. “I think that’s right after we married, you can see the ring on her finger. She’s a little bigger than that now,” he laughs. Another photo shows the two sons they raised, one of whom blessed them with twin granddaughters, and their artwork is proudly scattered around Webb’s side of the room. Veterans benefits have allowed him to support his wife and family. “I have lots of benefits,” he explains, including a place to live. “This right here is not costing me anything. Old lady is proud of that. She just dumped me off up here and forgot about me, I say. Of course, it’s not costing her anything, and so she’s living pretty good off of my retirement. I guess it’s worth it though. She’s been a pretty good old girl.” Webb is grateful for the adventures the Army provided him. “I had three overseas tours. My first one was Japan, then Europe, then Vietnam.” His wife spent a year with him in Europe. “We did a little traveling while we were over there – France and Switzerland. Made a few trips to Spain. We had a pretty enjoyable tour.” Reflecting on his time as a paratrooper, Webb says, “I probably have over 500 jumps. I made jumpmaster pretty quick. There was only about three of us who were qualified, so we had to jump every time the unit jumped.” “I quit counting,” he says of what became routine jumping. “That’s a pretty good day’s work, jumping out of an airplane.” His first jump was the easiest, and after that, “Well, you knew what was happening, and that was pretty rough. The old parachute, T-7 and T-5 - that thing just opened real quick. Sometimes it jerked your shoes off.” After 26 years of service, over 500 airplane jumps, three overseas tours, and earning the highest enlisted rank, Webb retired from the service in 1974. “I guess I couldn’t have done any better anywhere else, because I didn’t have any training to do anything. I was just an old farmer, plowing them mules,” he says, smirking sweetly.

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Withstanding the Test of Time One of Oxford’s oldest churches is home to years of history and is the final resting place of some of Oxford’s biggest names. STORY | Caroline Stewart and Laura Ellis Royal


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ne of the oldest pre-antebellum buildings in Oxford is lined with bricks, boasts stained glass windows and is full of captivating history. This building is home to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, whose congregation dates back to the early 1850s, almost nine years before the first official service was held on Easter in 1859. The Church, now almost 170 years old, is thriving with an active congregation and strong ties to the University that dating back to its formation. On Easter Sunday in 1859, the first official service in the church was led by the University’s Chancellor, Frederick A. Barnard, who was also the first Rector at St. Peter’s. This


relationship formed early ties with the Church and the University which were crucial during the Civil War. As the church was forming, so was the outbreak of the Civil War. Barnard, who was originally from Massachusetts, left the University of Mississippi to teach at Columbia University.

Fortunately, before leaving, Barnard had formed a friendship with General Sherman while at Louisiana State University. Barnard boasted about the beauty of Oxford and Ole Miss to Sherman, and when the Union troops came down to Mississippi he took special care with certain parts of Oxford. “Sherman burned the town of Oxford but made sure not to burn down St. Peter’s or the campus because of how much Barnard talked about its beauty,” Dr. Charles Wilson explained. Wilson was the senior Chair of History, professor of the Southern Studies program at the University of Mississippi, and is a current member at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Sherman burned the town of Oxford but made sure not to burn down St. Peter’s or the campus because of how much Barnard talked about its beauty. Dr. Charles Wilson

Visitors to William Faulkner’s gravesite usually leave a token of their appreciation for the writer in the form of alcohol. It has become an Oxford tradition to do a shot on his grave.

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After the Civil War in 1871, Jacob Thompson, a very prominent parishioner at St. Peters, deeded six acres of land to St. Peter’s, which would become the churches cemetery. He set up the deed in a way that only the Vestry and ministers could be administrators of the cemetery. It was difficult keeping ministers at St. Peter’s because of its small congregation, so the Vestry often had to step in to teach sermons. In the 1920s, the diocese of Mississippi made St. Peter’s a mission church, which in turn made the diocese the administrators of the cemetery instead of the Vestry and ministers. At that time, the church was in dire need of many renovations, as a result, the church had a facelift in 1925. According to the church records, this was an exciting accomplishment. After the six acres of cemetery had filled, the city let St. Peter’s bury on their land. William Faulkner was a member of St. Peter’s and a renowned writer from Oxford. He was one of the first to be buried in the new, city-owned part of the cemetery. The city also began to mow the St. Peter’s grass, which the church was all in favor because they had no money. During the 20th century, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church saw many changes within their church, the city of Oxford and on the Ole Miss campus. In 1962, the University of Mississippi was going to end segregation and welcome James Meredith into the school. Unfortunately, not everyone was as welcoming. Preaching before the fateful riot in 1962 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, was the late Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi, Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr. Gray, who was the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi from 1974 to 1993, a position that his father held before him. The late bishop is remembered for his role in the Civil Rights era. As the rector of the church during the 1962 riots, he climbed onto the Confederate monument and asked the students and rioters to return to their dorms and homes. The sermon Gray preached before the riot can still be found in the archives. Throughout 160 years, St. Peter’s has been dealt its fair share of challenges, leaders, and change but has remained strong and faithful in its congregation, community, and religion. Today, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church congregation is the biggest and most active as it has ever been having a total of five different services, including a Hispanic service as well as a student service. Overall, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church plays an important role in the Oxford community by attracting all types of people.

Inside the church sit stained glass windows dating back to before the Civil War.

Family plots and tombstones adorned with statues sit shaded by trees.

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A Journey Through the Tunnels

Oxford’s underground tunnels becomes one of the town’s most unforgettable and unique secrets STORY | Anne Merrill Jones ountless rumors surround the tunnels that run beneath the city of Oxford. Running under St. Peter’s Cemetery, across the city to the woods behind the Chancellor’s House, these tunnels were rumored to be used by James Meredith, the first African-American student, during his time at the University of Mississippi, in the mid-60s. Captivated by the stories told by orientation leaders, many freshman seek out these underground tunnels as yet another thing to check off of their bucket list. However, the tunnels infamous reputation manages to captive students and locals of all ages. The historic tunnels are now covered in graffiti and remain a bragging right among students who have explored the underground trails, but such explorations come with the risk of fines for both graffiti and trespassing. Yet, despite the potential of over $200 in fines, year after year, students continue to seek out the few entrances to the tunnels that remain unlocked and pass on the myth of the University’s secret passageways to those who come seeking adventure after them. What follows is the re-telling of one student’s experience through the tunnels. “I grew up in Pontotoc, Miss., which is about thirty minutes outside of Oxford,” she said, where, on a typical Friday night in high school, it was common to drive down to Oxford to either explore the tunnels or sneack into VaughtHemingway Stadium. Now, a senior at the University of Mississippi, this student lives across the street from an entrance to the tunnels and has gladly taken her roommates and friends on tours of the dark and desolate pathways.


“Whatever you do, the most important thing is to not get caught,” she cautioned when talking about approaching the entrance to the tunnels. The no trespassing signs attempt to ward of curious students, but it poses no threat to those with a thirst for adventure. One of her first tips for exploring these tunnels is doing your research and making sure that, if and when you choose to go, that you dress accordingly. The best choices are a pair of rain boots, as the tunnels tend to accumulate water throughout the seasons, and dark clothing to appear less visible to the public. “It gets really, really dark at some points,” she said, “...so you should always bring a flashlight is you decide you want to do the whole tunnel in one go.” She also suggests bringing a group of friends, as the dark and muddy passageways tend to lean more towards the spookier side of things, especially around the month of October, where your chances of running into another group of explorers is higher. “I’ve never left my mark on the tunnels,” she said, in reference to the graffiti-covered walls. “But it’s been interesting to go back overtime and see new additions. Sometimes people will leave their sorority or fraternity letters, others will write poetry or doodles.” Along the way, other entrances, rumored to be hidden somewhere in the Grove and around the Blind Pig on the Square, but those are shut off. “I guess it’s partly the rush of the thrill and their rumored history that keeps us and other students coming back,” she said. “You’re literally getting to walk through part of the University’s history.”

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Leadership at the Roots

Director of Landscaping, Jeff McManus, leads an award-winning team to horticultural victory. STORY | Maddie McGee, Kennedy Pope and Caroline Stewart


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f landscaping could be considered a sport, then the Ole Miss landscaping crew would be considered the perennial champions. Their coach? Jeff McManus, Director of Landscaping Services. Their five national titles, awarded by publications such as Newsweek, USA Today and the Princeton Review, are proudly displayed on banners outside of their truck shed, like championship flags hanging from the rafters of a basketball arena. McManus said the only thing the crew is missing now is National Championship rings. “I really wanted to get them national championship rings, but I would need about 20 thousand dollars for that,” McManus joked. “But we did get them lapel pins, with five stars and ‘Most Beautiful Campus’ written on them because we’ve done it. We’ve gone from last place to first place in campus beautification.” McManus, who moonlights as a leadership consultant and author when not on campus, has spent 19 years as Director of Landscaping Services at Ole Miss. During that time, he has motivated his crew to change the way they view their work and to get excited about the impact they have on the University. “It’s all about how we can get our staff to buy in,” McManus said. “Before, some of these people were just here to make a paycheck. We all think money is a great motivator, but it’s actually not. So, we set out to turn the culture around.” An Auburn graduate, McManus didn’t plan on a career in landscaping. “I was a marketing major until I took marketing and failed. I was taking a horticulture class at about the same time and really liked the fact that the professor knew all the plant names, but the biggest name he knew was my


name,” he said. “In business, they don't know your name when you’re in a classroom of 500 people.” After switching majors, he worked in Orlando and Miami before moving to Oxford. Former Chancellor Robert Khayat was a big draw to the University for McManus. “The biggest thing he gave us was pride in the way we do things, and that we don't have to be last place in everything,” he said. “We think sometimes that the state of Mississippi has to be last, but he was always like ‘We don't have to be that way’.” Khayat and McManus both shared a vision for the campus, which McManus described as “rough around the edges.” “[Khayat] thought Ole Miss could have one of the top campuses in America, and it was not that way,” he said. “We had somebody say at one time that we had pretty bones, pretty structure, but we didn't have really good detail. We had weeds, a lot of areas with just bare dirt. A lot of things just, as [Khayat] said, were not loved on. He wanted to be sure that the campus looked loved on.” With a crew of about 30 members, McManus has been able to transform a campus previously thought of as rough around the edges into a top recruiting tool. Every year, there are over 10,000 seasonal colored plants and 10,000 daffodils planted. “We create the ‘wow’,” he said. “We create the five-minute connection. Studies show 62% of prospective students will make a decision in the first few minutes of a college visit and then know where they're going. And they're basing that on appearance.” Ole Miss Senior Anastasia Berthold said, “I remember visiting back in

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2014 as a high school senior and seeing the red tulips and violet pansies displayed at the entrance of the University and immediately knew this is where I would be attending the next four years.” Anyone who has visited campus is familiar with this “wow.” You can see it in the bright flowers in front of the Lyceum, the tulips at the entrance to campus on Old Taylor Road, the swaying branches in the Grove on a fall afternoon. The Grove, perhaps the biggest landmark of the university, proves to be an interesting challenge for McManus and his crew during football season. “On a heavy game, there’s going to be around 90 to 100 tons of garbage that come out of the Grove and Circle. That’s thirty thirty-yard dumpsters full of garbage,” he said. “It used to be that it took us all day Sunday to fix it. It took everybody on the staff and we were emotionally drained because you and your team get really excited because they create this beautiful lawn area and then by the time the game's over, it’s just like, ‘Wow what happened?

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Somebody just dumped 90 tons of garbage on my front yard!’” McManus knew he had to fix it because it was becoming demoralizing for his team. They floated around hiring a contractor to clean it but received no bids on the projects. Now, non-profit groups like the Baptist Student Union, ROTC and local sports teams help clean up the Grove in no time. “We knew we'd hit a home run when we played the University of Georgia and one of their alumni came by and he was ranting at one of our staff. I started in on him, so he left and went on his way and I asked my staff, ‘So, what was he upset about?’ McManus recalls. “He goes, ‘Well, he was in here last night around 11 pm, and he said this place was a mess and then he said he came this morning at 7 and everything was clean.’ He said it's not always like that back where he was from and he wants to know where all the garbage is and what happened to it.” It’s unexpected stories like these that McManus attributes to the success of the landscaping crew at the University over the past two decades.


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Circle & Square 114 Farley Hall School of Journalism and New Media The University of Mississippi P.O. Box 1848 University, MS 38677-1848 Magazine Innovation Center Founder and Director Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni Associate Director Darren Sanefski Administrative Assistant Angela Rogalski

Profile for School of Journalism and New Media

Circle & Square Magazine (Spring/summer 2019)  

Circle & Square Magazine (Spring/summer 2019)