Outstanding teachers in college named
Dance performed at Kennedy Center
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VOL. 5 NO. 1
Alumnus creates Rock 'n' Roll exhibits
UM offers state’s ﬁrst degree in African American studies
Truman Scholar tackles labor issues P A G E 11
New tools make archaeology quicker PAG E 13
Kennon Observatory goes high-tech PAG E 14
The Dean's Column PAGE 2
The Ventress Order PAG E 15
The University of Mississippi
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
Hopkins. olumbia University, Yale and the Univer“The world is different today,” said sity of California-Berkeley offer baccalauCharles Ross, interim director of the reate degrees in African American African American Studies Program. “We studies. Now so does The University of don’t have overt segregation, African Mississippi. Americans have the right to vote and social The 42-hour academic major, which privileges have changed. Now young peocomplements the 18-hour minor in African ple have the opportunity and responsibility American studies available at UM since to study the past and build upon that to 1970, provides students with an interdiscicontinue the betterment of society that genplinary understanding of the history, culerations before started.” ture, and political and social institutions of Objectives of the African Americans new program are to in the United States, encourage students especially in Missisand faculty to examsippi and the South. ine the African“The number of American experistudents taking ence, facilitate a culAfrican American tural and intellectual studies courses has atmosphere on camincreased significantpus favorable to such ly over the years. studies and to develThis new major has op a program of long been requested research and commuby students, and nity service. now we have the Associate professor Charles Ross talks to a class about It is activities such resources to offer it,” African American contributions during the U.S. as these that enable said Glenn Hopkins, Revolution. Donald R. Cole, dean of the College UM’s assistant to the chancellor for multiof Liberal Arts. cultural affairs, to predict that the program Approved by the College Board last will grow quickly. spring, the new degree program brings “At The University of Mississippi, we together the knowledge and methods of the are uniquely positioned to attract quality humanities, arts and social sciences. “Interfaculty and students to this program,” Cole disciplinary study, with its different persaid. “Given the history of race relations spectives and research methods, is a poweron our campus, we have a responsibility to ful tool for understanding, as we have seen promote the study of the African-American with the Southern Studies and Internationexperience.” al Studies programs in the college,” said
THE DEAN’S COLUMN Research: Diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc. —Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language ecause this definition does not quite fit some work in the academy, e.g., creative writing and painting, we talk about “research and creative activity” when discussing the work of the faculty. While the prestige of any university is clearly connected to the national reputation of the research and creative activity of its faculty, the reason faculty members engage in this demanding, frustrating, challenging, complex and, if successful, intellectually fulfilling work is not to build the prestige of the university. It is to satisfy that impulse to know, to create, to understand, which attracted them to the academy in the first place. For many faculty members their work is simply part of who they are—they could no more abandon it than they could stop breathing. We all benefit from this dedication to research and creative activity, especially students. For research and creative activity are intertwined with teaching. A classroom that features simply a recitation of facts or techniques can be a deadly dull place to be; we have all, unfortunately, been there. But a classroom led by a teacher who is intellectually alive, who has the habit from his or her own work of raising questions, challenging assertions and provoking thought, will more often be a classroom that has the excitement of discovery and possibility. We have all, very fortunately, been there, too. We bring you in this newsletter a report on the research and creative work of a few members of the faculty and the accomplishments of some students who were taught and, in some cases, inspired by our faculty. We hope in this way to emphasize the close connection between research and creative activity and teaching. Support for research and creative activity comes to faculty members in many forms — grants, equipment and release time, to name a few. Most important is time. The summer research grant program in the College of Liberal Arts was created to provide modest grants of $6,000 to faculty members in the summer so that they might have time for their work. Thanks to help from our alumni and friends, we were able to support 25 faculty members last summer; we had an additional 40 applications that we would have funded had we had the resources. My deep gratitude to everyone who helped last year. I especially thank Katherine Black, who supported this summer program the past two years, and Stacy Davidson, who allowed us to redirect to this program a gift he made earlier. The point I wish to leave you with is simply this: To support research and creative activity is to support good teaching. Both benefit our students. And that is why we are here.
Glenn Hopkins Dean
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College of Liberal Arts Founded in 1848 with four professors, the College of Liberal Arts is the oldest and largest academic division of The University of Mississippi. The college offers a broad and comprehensive course of study, including most areas of knowledge in the humanities, fine arts, natural sciences and social sciences.
Dr. Glenn Hopkins, dean Janice Murray, associate dean Dr. Ronald Vernon, associate dean Dr. Holly Reynolds, assistant dean C. Perry Moulds, assistant to the dean, advancement Mandy Peterson-Ferrington, advancement associate AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES Dr. Charles Ross, Director AEROSPACE STUDIES Lt. Col. Kevin R. Petesch, Chair ART Dr. Nancy Wicker, Chair BIOLOGY Dr. Murray Nabors, Chair CHEMISTRY Dr. Charles Hussey, Chair CLASSICS Dr. Aileen Ajootian, Chair ECONOMICS Dr. Mark VanBoening, Interim Chair ENGLISH Dr. Joe Urgo, Chair GENDER STUDIES Dr. Mary Carruth, Director HISTORY Dr. Robert Haws, Chair INTERNATIONAL STUDIES Dr. Michael Metcalf, Director JOURNALISM Dr. Samir Husni, Interim Chair MATHEMATICS Dr. Tristan Denley, Chair MILITARY SCIENCE Lt. Col. Joseph Blackburn, Chair MODERN LANGUAGES Dr. David Hargrove, Interim Chair MUSIC Dr. Steven Brown, Chair NAVAL SCIENCE Capt. Ronald Zaperach, Chair PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION Dr. Michael Harrington, Chair PHYSICS Dr. Thomas Marshall, Chair POLITICAL SCIENCE Dr. Richard Forgette, Chair PSYCHOLOGY Dr. Michael Allen, Chair SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY Dr. David Swanson, Chair SOUTHERN STUDIES Dr. Charles Wilson, Director THEATRE ARTS Dr. Scott McCoy, Chair This publication is funded by the Ventress Order, an organization established by The University of Mississippi Alumni Association in cooperation with The University of Mississippi Foundation to support the College of Liberal Arts. Active membership in The University of Mississippi Alumni Association helps make this newsletter possible. Active members have **** on their mailing labels. Please contact the Dean’s Office, College of Liberal Arts, if you have any questions or comments. The University complies with all applicable laws regarding affirmative action and equal opportunity in all its activities and programs and does not discriminate against anyone protected by law because of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, handicap, or status as a veteran or disabled veteran. 10/04-2143C
Top teacher pushes students to stretch their minds ailed for his unfailing enthusiasm and positive influence on graduates and undergraduates alike, English professor Ben Fisher was named the 2004 Ben Fisher Outstanding Teacher for the College of Liberal Arts. “While Dr. Fisher’s enthusiasm for his subject is evident to everyone, it is his concern for his students that sets him apart,” said Glenn Hopkins, dean of the college. “As one nomination letter put it, Dr. Fisher’s ‘primary desire is not to impart his own knowledge but rather to give his students the tools and ambition they need to educate themselves.’ His influence on students thus continues long after graduation.”
Fisher said he “was very pleased and humbled to be chosen to receive the award; it’s a great honor to share company with the talented colleagues who have been honored in the past.” During his 25-year tenure at UM, Fisher has taught a wide range of courses, from American literature and advanced composition to literary Gothicism, Victorian fiction and Edgar Allan Poe. “Dr. Fisher’s teaching is renowned on campus,” said Joseph Urgo, chair of the English department. “He brings an extraordinarily high level of commitment to student achievement. At the same time, his reputation for rigor attracts students who expect to be challenged, and who know they must prepare for a classroom that will stretch their intellectual acumen.”
Freshman teaching award goes to political scientist political science professor who is an expert in international conflict and regime change has managed to captivate UM freshmen in his course IntroTimothy Nordstrom duction to International Relations. His efforts have earned him the College of Liberal Arts’ top teaching award for first-year students. Timothy Nordstrom, winner of the 2004 Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen, said, “It’s a nice feeling to be recognized, but the best part of this whole experience is that I got to watch my first class of seniors I taught as freshmen graduate in May.
That’s the true benefit in all of this.” “To involve freshmen, who often come from high schools where rote learning is the standard, in an intellectually stimulating experience that requires critical analysis is difficult,” liberal arts Dean Glenn Hopkins said. “We’re fortunate to have outstanding teachers such as Dr. Nordstrom teaching our freshmen.” “Professor Nordstrom is both an excellent teacher and researcher,” said Richard Forgette, chair of political science. “Leading journals have published his works on international conflict and international organizations, and he also excels at making these abstract ideas accessible and engaging to first-year students.”
Classroom ‘natural’ wins Yates Award for teaching English aylor Hagood, a UM graduate instructor and doctoral candidate in English, is the inaugural winner of the annual Lawrence “Shaky” Yates Taylor Hagood Award for Best Teacher of freshman English. The award was created by an alumnus and his wife to honor Yates, a former English professor whose stern teaching style is said to have vexed students during his tenure from 1946 to 1953. Professor Yates “was tough on his students ... but we learned more from him than anybody else. It’s our desire to offer what we can to encourage the Shaky Yates of this world for all time,” said Carl Odom of Hattiesburg, who along with his wife, Jeannine Sheats Odom, founded the award. “Hagood is among our most promising Ph.D. candidates and has proven to be a natural teacher: very effective, conscientious and challenging to his students,” said English department Chair Joe Urgo. “We think he may be a Professor Yates in the making.” Said Hagood, “I am not interested in dumbing down the material. I make lectures and discussions as challenging as I can, and it does not bother me if things are complicated or if students fail at first to grasp the nuances of thought and analysis I am trying to teach them. “Initial confusion and complexity force learning, force students to push beyond the often simplistic constructions of understanding they have when they first come to the university setting.”
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Original dance examining racial issues performed by UM students at Kennedy Center
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and progress together, n original dance highbut there is a crucial lighting the racial missing link in the cenpast, present and ter when two dancers future of The University cannot quite reach each of Mississippi was perother. formed in June by UM “It is a powerful work, students at the John F. emotionally and physiKennedy Center for the cally. The movement Performing Arts in came directly out of the Washington, D.C. physical and emotional The 12-minute piece images present in the titled “Before Now and town meetings. This is After Then,” performed the dancers’ story; they by six members of the live this reality every dance troupe Mississipday,” said Mizenko. pi: The Dance CompaRhoden picked the stuny, was among three dent dancers during Janwinners at the Southeastuary tryouts for their ern regional competition abilities to bring their of the National Ameriown voice, style and can College Dance Festiuniqueness to the choreval Association in ography, Mizenko said. March. They were cho- Dwight Rhoden critiques the rehearsal of Brad Howard and Daya Hampton, members of They are Maxie Broom of sen for the Kennedy Cen- Mississippi: The Dance Company Jacksonville, Fla., Jane ter performance from plexions Dance Company, the perform- Oliver Eastland of Greenwood, Daya among 33 universities and 40 dances. “These students have received the ance evolved from candid conversations Hampton of Memphis, Jonathan Brad highest national honor possible, and and town hall meetings with UM stu- Howard of Huntsville, Ala., DeAndre they are not even dance majors,” said dents, faculty and staff, and Oxford and Sanders of Memphis and Roxie Thomas of Tupelo. Jennifer Mizenko, UM associate profes- Lafayette County residents. “This community is dedicated to “I think a little bit of our true selves is sor of theatre arts and artistic director for the dance company. “They were healing old wounds,” Rhoden said. reflected in this dance,” said Eastland, a personally involved in the development “They absolutely understand the need niece of the late U.S. Sen. James Oliver of the piece, and that’s what makes the to tackle past transgressions head-on and Eastland (D-Miss.). “Ever since I was a are very passionate about their efforts at little girl, I’ve been told to do the right dance so amazing.” thing. This is right. Our dance is about Funded by a grant from the National racial reconciliation.” Using a combination of ballet, mod- unity. Through this dance, we are makCollege Choreography Initiative, the National Endowment for the Arts and ern and street dance styles, the perform- ing a step toward reconciliation that is the Mississippi Arts Commission, the ance takes the dancers through different so important to all.” The piece was choreographed during dance debuted as part of UM’s Black eras of race relations in the South, from History Month celebration in February the movements and mannerisms of sub- Rhoden’s two-week campus residency, at a performance sponsored by UM’s missive slaves to protests and police which also was funded by the National Artist Series, William Winter Institute abuse from the 1960s. There are Endowment for the Arts, Dance USA for Racial Reconciliation, and the offices moments when the dancers literally and Mississippi Arts Commission. Rhoof University Relations, Sponsored Pro- push themselves or other dancers for- den has had works commissioned by grams and Multicultural Programs. ward, in an attempt to move into the the Alvin Ailey American Dance TheConceived by Mizenko and renowned future. The performance ends with all atre, Paris Opera Ballet and Pennsylvachoreographer Dwight Rhoden of Com- of the dancers struggling to join hands nia Ballet. FALL 2004
Love of math, Ole Miss add up exactly to scholarship gift our years at The University of Mississippi profoundly affected John Bryant, who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics here in 1962. After a successful career in academe, the Corinth native has shown appreciation to his alma mater with a $10,000 gift to help attract students to the study of mathematics. “The mathematics I John Bryant learned at Ole Miss gave me an excellent foundation from which to build a career,” Bryant said. “I am indebted to professors Roy Sheffield, Noel Childress and Charles Barnes. Roy Sheffield, in particular, took a personal interest in me and my career that I have always remembered and appreciated.” Bryant and his wife, Jenny, have designated their gift for the Roy and Reda Sheffield Endowment in Mathematics. The Sheffields earlier this year donated $300,000, which established the endowment in their name. Bryant said he was inspired by the generosity of his former professor. “I was inspired by Roy Sheffield, upon seeing his and Reda’s generous gift, to give something back to the department that had treated me so well,” Bryant said. “My contribution in itself probably won’t make a great difference—certainly not in comparison to the Sheffields’—but perhaps others will be inspired as I was.” A doctoral graduate of the University of Georgia, Bryant retired in June 2003 after 37 years on the mathematics faculty at Florida State University. Winner of two FSU teaching awards, he became a Distinguished Research Professor in 1995 and was named the Orville G. Harrold Professor of Mathematics in 2000. “I have always had a deep affection for Ole Miss,” he said.
Biology professor, music student receive Fulbright awards s part of the Fulbright Scholar Pro- education, Bagley is the fourth student gram, UM biology professor David Fulbright scholar UM has produced in the last five years. She Reed is expanding his will work closely with research on wildlife popHungarian elementary ulation extinctions as a students to learn the visiting lecturer at Prince Kodaly method. of Songkla University in Named for its founder, Hat-Yai, Thailand, where Hungarian composer he will teach until Zoltan Kodaly, the January. method uses simple Reed’s research inmelodies and folk songs cludes analyzing possito teach music reading. bilities of extinction for Using a highly strucvarious populations and tured curriculum with determining what can be two-, three- and four-part done to stop those popuexercises to develop lations from becoming David Reed music literacy, this methextinct. od has been employed Prince of Songkla Uniwidely since the middle versity is near one of of the 20th century in Thailand’s largest lakes Eastern Europe, resulting in a tropical locale, in a higher level of music allowing Reed to do literacy among the area's fieldwork and collect general population. data on a wide array of “I started crying when species. I found out I won a FulHe will be able to test bright and an opportunia range of theories conty to study in Hungary,” cerning habitat loss and Bagley said. “This fragmentation using the method has real potential islands of Khaeng Sang for success in the AmeriLake, created when the can classroom.” Thai government built a Katie Brooke Bagley Steven Brown, chair dam inside a nature of the music department, reserve, flooding parts of said Bagley has “shown an amazing a virgin rain forest in 1987. “Tropical areas contain most of the ability to teach music. In the field of world’s biodiversity,” he said. “This is music education, she will quickly a great opportunity for me personally become a leader, and we will be very proud to claim Brooke as one of our and for the department.” Also in the College of Liberal Arts, own.” Over the past 57 years, the Fulbright graduate student Katie Brooke Bagley of Forest received a Fulbright student program has offered educational and award to study at the Zoltan Kodaly cultural exchange opportunities around Pedagogical Institute of Music in the world, enabling more than 255,000 people to study, teach or conduct Hungary. A master’s degree candidate in choral research abroad.
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Late professor, longtime secretary recognized for student service
nalism department, died of n graduation day this cancer April 21 shortly after spring, Hanh Nguyen Bulreceiving news of the award. lion and Marjorie Potts “For students and faculty to wore caps and gowns and sat believe me deserving of this among UM’s top administrahonor is one of the most overtors and professors. whelming compliments I can Bullion, the widow of UM ever expect to receive,” said professor Stuart Bullion, Stuart Bullion Bullion, who joined the jouraccepted a faculty Frist Stunalism faculty in 1997. dent Service Award May 8 “There is no greater satisfacon behalf of her deceased tion than knowing that you spouse. Potts, senior secrehave made a difference in the tary for the Department of lives of young men and Theatre Arts, received the women. This great honor equivalent honor for staff. gives me hope that I have The Frist Awards annually Marjorie Potts done this. I will forever be recognize one faculty and one staff member for going beyond the proud, grateful and humbled.” Potts, considered a substitute mom call of duty in service to students. Winfor the more than 100 theatre arts ners receive a plaque and $1,000. Bullion, 56, former chair of the jour- majors, was honored for her “motherly
attention, motivation and dedication to student service.” Potts said she was shocked when informed she had been chosen to receive the Frist Award. “I’m still in shock,” Potts said. “As a woman, secretary and allaround good person, Margie is bright, attentive and works harder for students than anyone would expect,” said sophomore Allen Aline of Wichita Falls, Texas. “I don’t know how to explain it, but she makes being a part of the theatre arts department and Ole Miss better.” The Frist awards were established in 1995 with a gift from the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr. of Nashville. Also receiving a Frist award this past spring was law professor Tom Mason, who lost his battle with cancer in April.
New doctoral fellowship one more step in making UM epicenter of Faulkner study
hanks to a gift from an alumnus and his wife, UM offers the nation’s only doctoral scholarship for students studying the life and work of Nobel laureate William Faulkner. Campbell and Leighton McCool of Oxford have established a $100,000 endowment to create the Frances Bell McCool Endowment for Faulkner Dissertation Fellowship. The scholarship honors McCool’s mother, an Ole Miss alumna who died in 1994. “Leighton and I strongly believe in what Chancellor Robert Khayat has done in the past seven years and his commitment to enhancing the national reputation of Ole Miss,” said Campbell McCool, a 1985 UM grad. “We wanted to do something to help. “We chose to establish a Faulkner scholarship in the English department and the writing program because we PA G E 6
truly believe it is one of the areas where Ole Miss has a growing national reputation and can go head-to-head with any school,” he added. Frances Bell McCool, a 1959 UM graduate, taught high school mathematics for more than 30 years in Jackson and New Orleans. “Frances McCool was a wonderful student and teacher. It is so fitting that her children have chosen to honor her by enabling others to become great teachers,” said Chancellor Robert Khayat. The first McCool Fellowship was awarded to Taylor Hagood of Ripley, Miss., for the 2004-05 academic year. Hagood, a UM graduate instructor and doctoral candidate in English, also is this year’s inaugural recipient of the Lawrence ‘Shaky’ Yates Best Teacher of Freshman English award.
Frances Bell McCool
College welcomes new chairs, director AEROSPACE STUDIES. Lt. Col. Kevin R. Petesch is commander of the Air Force ROTC and chair and professor of aerospace studies. He earned his B.S. in computLt. Col. Kevin R. Petesch er science and business administration at the University of Dubuque and his master’s in computer information systems at St. Mary’s University. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in management information systems from UM. During his 22-year career, he has been commander of the 97th Communications Squadron in Altus, Okla., and deputy group commander of the 692nd Information Operations Group spread across the Pacific, in addition to an assignment to the Pentagon. GENDER STUDIES. Mary Carruth is director of gender studies and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and an adjunct assistant professor of English. She holds a B.A. in English from Centre College and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in English from Louisiana State University.
Her research interests are early American and women’s literature, autobiography and feminist theories. Before joining the UM faculty, she was assisMary Carruth tant director of women’s studies at the University of Georgia. She also taught English and women’s studies at the University of New Orleans and Xavier University. JOURNALISM. Samir Husni, Hederman Lecturer in Journalism, is serving a third stint as the department’s interim chair. He assumed responsibilities as chair in Samir Husni January, when former chair Stuart Bullion became too ill to continue. Bullion died April 21, following a bout with cancer. An internationally renowned magazine expert, Husni heads the magazine service jour-
nalism program. His Ph.D. is from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and his master’s is from the University of North Texas. He has taught at UM since 1984. MODERN LAN G U A G E S . David “Scotty” Hargrove is interim chair of the department for 2004-05. He joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology as chair in Scotty Hargrove 1991 and served 12 years in the position. He received his B.A. in English, political science and history from Mississippi State University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from the University of Georgia. After founding a comprehensive community mental health center in Hattiesburg and Laurel, he joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he was director of the clinical psychology training program. His research has been in rural mental health and health care, and family systems theory.
Law student honors English chair with scholarship endowment M alumna and Columbus native Martha Kirkley, a 1967 English graduate, created the Lindsay McCauley Kirkley Scholarship through the Ole Miss Women’s Council Scholarship Program. In turn, she and daughter Lindsay Kirkley of Columbus, a firstyear UM law student who graduated in May with a degree in English, recognized English chair Joseph Urgo, her mentor and former professor by adding his name to the scholarship. “Lindsay was my chief motivation for giving the scholarship: her character, compassion for others, and her conta-
gious zest for life and learning,” said Martha Kirkley. “Since Dr. Urgo had been such an incredible mentor for her, I decided to combine the honor.” Daughter Lindsay added: “Dr. Urgo has a wonderful gift when it Dr. Joseph Urgo (left), Lindsay Kirkley, Martha Kirkley and Dean Glenn comes to bringing stu- Hopkins dents, who have diverging ideas and a lot more capable than I thought. Dr. ideologies, together into a class discus- Urgo never doubted my abilities, and sion where both students feel equally his confidence in me strengthened my heard and respected. I learned that I am own confidence.” FALL 2004
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Art alumnus makes his career a study in art and music
or Kendall Christian, the decision to work at the legendary Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, seemed natural. “It’s been a great job. The people I meet and the artists I see are amazing. The use of art and music together is not new; in fact, it’s a natural fit. They are both very expressive media that work well together,” said Christian, who has worked at the museum more than 10 years and handles exhibit fabrication and design. “We design exhibits for all types of music—pop, blues and rock ’n’ roll. Our curators collect artifacts from the artists, and we come in and build something that reflects the life and times of that person and their music.” Christian, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design in 1989, credits UM art faculty for his success. “My professors taught me how to be creative and how to solve problems. But they also taught me not to limit my career options. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Don’t block yourself into being only a graphic artist, painter or designer. If a job comes up that’s not what you want, don’t rule it out. You may not know what you want until you try it,” he said. Christian is looking forward to coming back to Oxford for the first Art Alumni Reunion on April 29-30, 2005, scheduled to coincide with Oxford’s annual Double Decker Festival.
“I grew up in Oxford, and the culture of my Southern hometown still amazes me,” he said. “My love for Oxford and Ole Miss has not changed.” The purpose of the two-day reunion is to encourage alumni to return to campus and get reacquainted with the department and to greet old friends. Events planned include a gala dinner featuring renowned artist Bill Dunlap as emcee, alumni-led lectures, an alumni art exhibition, a faculty art exhibition and an open house featuring new facilities in Meek Hall. “The reunion will be a unique opportunity for alumni to see recent improvements in the art department and to reconnect with former faculty and friends,” said Nancy Wicker, the department’s chair. For more information about the reunion, contact Mandy Peterson-Ferrington, the department’s advancement associate, at 662-915-5944.
Permanent e-mail ith a permanent e-mail account, you can have an e-mail address that never changes and is affiliated with Ole Miss. Even when you change jobs or e-mail providers, your permanent email address remains the same. Since the Ole Miss Alumni Association owns the permanent e-mail domain, you will never have to change e-mail addresses again. The best part, this service is provided to you with multiple levels of SPAM protection. As long as you keep your forwarding information current, you’ll never have to miss an e-mail again. (Notification of availability will be sent via e-mail.) Please take a moment to visit the Online Community at www.alumniconnections.com/olemissalumni/. You can update your address, submit a class note or just look around. You may also visit our home page at www.alumni. olemiss.edu and click on the Online Community icon. All questions and comments regarding the Ole Miss Online Community should be sent to email@example.com.
At the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Kendall Christian stands in front of a prop used in the Pink Floyd exhibit. The prop represents the cover of Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' album.
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English faculty’s word power wins prose, poetry awards
epartment of English faculty who teach writing and who prepare students to be published authors are showing us how it’s done with great success. Three of the department’s faculty members received significant awards for their recent work. Professor of English Ann FisherAnn Fisher-Wirth W i r t h won the Salem College Center for Women Writers’2004 Rita Dove Poetry Award for her poem “Rain.” Adam Gussow, assistant professor of English and Southern studies, won the Society for Southern Literature’s C. Hugh Holman Award for Seems Like Adam Gussow Murder Here: South-
ern Violence and the Blues Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 2002). UM writer-in-residence B a r r y H a n n a h was honored with the PEN/Malamud Barry Hannah Award. Given annually since 1988 in memory of Bernard Malamud, the award recognizes excellence in the art of short fiction. Recent publications by two faculty members relate personal experiences that connect with many readers. Aw a r d - w i n n i n g poet Beth Ann Fen Beth Ann Fenelley n e l l y , an assistant professor of English, published Tender Hooks (W.W. Norton & Co.), the result of her spirited and unblushing observa-
tions of new motherhood. A professor for 18 years, Ben McClelland gives us Soldier’s Son (University Press of Mississippi, 2004), which was published as part of the Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography series. The memoir describes his emotional quest Ben McClelland to “know” his father, who was killed shortly after being captured during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. “One mark of distinction at a research institution is the expectation that faculty members make significant contributions to the academic area of their teaching,” said Joseph Urgo, chair of the English department. “We are a productive faculty, committed to bringing into the classroom the results of our own research and creative activities.”
$577,000 grant takes forensic chemistry to the next level with powerful new tools
ecent innovations in DNA analysis, a powerful tool in forensic services, have forever altered the procedures used in criminal investigations around the globe. The University of Mississippi’s degree program in forensic chemistry recently received a healthy endorsement: a two-year $577,000 grant through the Department of Education for program development and high-tech equipment to aid in the analysis of DNA evidence and the identification of substances from criminal investigations involving poisons, drugs and arson. Awarded through congressional appropriations with the help of Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the grant also will help bring forensic science experts
through their chemto lead workshops and semistry departments. It is inars for the benefit of stuthis aspect of the prodents, said Murrell Godgram that tells frey, UM director of forenprospective students sic chemistry. and employers that “This funding will UM “operates on a afford students training much higher level,” with state-of-the-art equipsaid Charles Hussey, ment and give them the Assistant Professor of Chemistry opportunity to meet and Jason Ritchie (left) and a former stu- chair of the chemistry and biochemistry network with some of the dent conduct an experiment in Ritchie's UM laboratory. department. top forensic scientists in the “We were chemistry-based when world,” said Godfrey, who is also an assistant professor of chemistry and almost no one was taking this approach, and we were ahead of the game because biochemistry. About 100 students are majoring in the techniques employed by the modern the 31-year-old program at UM, one of crime lab are almost exclusively based only a handful of universities nation- on chemical science. It gives us the wide offering forensic science degrees opportunity to really be distinctive.” FALL 2004
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Civil War fascination on the rise with students he number of students enrolling in Civil War courses at UM has risen steadily over the past five years. History professor John Neff joined the faculty in 1999. Fifty students took his Civil War course that year, and last spring more than 100 students enrolled, most of whom were not history majors. “John Neff is a gifted classroom teacher who has greatly expanded the deep interest in the Civil War, that already existed on this campus,” said Bob Haws, chair of the history department. “He is extremely interested in taking his knowledge of the Civil War to the larger community through the excursions he has organized to places like Shiloh and the Civil War Film Series he has organized on campus.” Neff ’s father, a collector of books on Abraham Lincoln, took the family on vacations to Gettysburg. Those formative years led Neff to study the Civil War, and he received his doctoral degree from the University of California-River-
John Neff's interest takes him to places like Shiloh and others of Civil War significance.
side in 1998. His first book, Honoring the Civil War Dead: Commemoration and the Problem of Reconciliation, will be published early next year.
“Teaching here, I have learned so much more about the Civil War,” Neff said. “The students here are far more sensitive to the significance of the war in our nation’s history and the history of this region, so I’ve had to learn more.” An important local example for Neff is the University Greys, Confederate troops made up of UM students and local citizens. That none of the 136 members of the unit returned to complete his degree helps put the war into perspective for Neff ’s students. “The University Greys were roughly the same ages as my students,” Neff said. “They are a great source to help show the students the larger issues of the Civil War.” “In his Civil War Era class, I not only learned more about the Civil War, but I also learned what it took and what it meant to be a historian. This class made me excited to be a history major,” said a former student.
Ranking puts economics department near top of Southeastern Conference
recent ranking of economics departments around the world places UM’s Department of Economics at No. 4 among Southeastern Conference schools, ahead of Georgia, Kentucky and LSU, among others. Only Florida, Vanderbilt and Alabama rank above Ole Miss, with Alabama and Ole Miss almost tied. According to the study, published in the Journal of the European Economic Association, the UM department is ranked above such powerhouses as the University of Kansas, University of Massachusetts, University of Miami and Notre Dame. “This is an exceptional accomplishment given that we are one of the smallest departments in the SEC,” said
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department chair Mark Van Boening. “This shows that we have an outstanding and very hard-working faculty, so our students are learning from worldclass professors.” The study is based on impactweighted publications in the top 30 economics journals. The weighting is based on the number of times the journals are cited. A paper in the most highly cited economics journal, the American Economic Review, for example, is weighted heavier than a paper in the Journal of Econometics, the sixth most influential journal. Since the study does not adjust for department size, smaller departments must be especially productive to rank high, according to Van Boening.
“We expect our students to pass exams, and our department’s ability to do nationally recognized research is much like passing an exam given to us by our peers around the country,” said William Shughart, Barnard Distinguished Professor and Robert M. Hearin Chair in Economics. “Success in the world of academic research assures our students that we know what we’re talking about.” “The fact that we have such an active intellectual community in economics also helps us to attract promising new scholars to Oxford, such as Andrew Young of Emory University and Hui-chen Wang from the University of Michigan, who joined the UM faculty this fall,” Van Boening said.
DM editor is Newsweek political columnist hile most student journalists dream of writing for national publications, Laura Houston, former editor of Laura Houston The Daily Mississippian, is living that fantasy. Houston is among five college journalists selected by Newsweek magazine to offer young voters’ perspectives of the 2004 presidential campaign. From UM, Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan, the five student journalists are charged with localizing national issues to provide Newsweek’s readers with a comprehensive picture of political life on college campuses. Each week one of their columns runs on Newsweek.com and others appear occasionally in the magazine’s print edition. “Laura’s work on The Daily Mississippian made clear that she had a natural gift for telling Ole Miss students’ stories and that she had a keen interest in national affairs,” said program coordinator Jonathan Darman, a writer for Newsweek.com. Response to Houston’s columns has been tremendous, ranging from angry letters to requests for autographs. “It’s been heartwarming, flattering and encouraging to receive all the feedback, both good and bad,” she said. Houston is a senior journalism and history major from Tupelo. Her work has appeared in The Clarion-Ledger and Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, as well as The Daily Mississippian. She also received one of 20 prestigious Pulliam Fellowships this year, allowing her to work with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists at the Arizona Republic.
Truman Scholar tackles labor issues during internship in Central America
Joel Fyke's fluency in Spanish enabled him to befriend these Guatemalan children during his sixmonth internship in the Central American country.
M senior Joel Fyke, 23, of Jackson was chosen from a pool of some 600 candidates to become one of 75 students nationwide—and the only student from a Mississippi college or university—to receive the 2004 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. A member of the honors college and the Croft Institute for International Studies, Fyke receives a $26,000 prize, $2,000 for the senior year and the remainder for graduate study. According to the Truman Foundation, Truman Scholars are students who aspire to effect change through governmental or nonprofit leadership positions. Fyke’s abilities as a catalyst for change are self-evident. At UM, he founded an English tutoring service for local Mexican workers, participated in the William Winter International Conference on Race and the Trent Lott Summer Leadership Institute, and served as a delegate to the national Model United Nations Convention. In December, he returned from a six-month internship in Guatemala, where he provided technical support for COVERCO, the Commission for the Verification of Corporate Codes of Conduct, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to moni-
toring Guatemala’s labor conditions. “As technical adviser to COVERCO, I applied previous experience with Web design and database creation to COVERCO’s need for a more effective method of dissemination for their reports and a dynamic database that records labor conditions,” he said. “I worked with this small group of dedicated individuals who were all passionate, competent and had a long-term vision for sustainable monitoring and verification in Guatemala.” COVERCO President Dennis Smith said, “Joel is interested in how power functions in the human community. He is concerned about how communities put limits on power and demand accountability, especially of the powerful.” As a Truman Scholar, Fyke said he wants to focus his attention on labor relations in Latin America. To that end, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in international studies from Ole Miss in December, he hopes to enroll in Columbia University’s graduate program in international affairs. “The six months I spent in Guatemala introduced me to the excitement of work in labor rights at a grass-roots level,” he said. FALL 2004
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Neuroscientist paves new road for chronic pain research
enneth Sufka does more than perform empirical pain research in the lab. He has developed a theory of chronic pain that has been validated by European scientists and opened the Kenneth Sufka door to the idea that such pain might be relieved without the use of drugs. A UM neuroscientist in the departments of Psychology and Pharmacology, Sufka knew chronic pain was debilitating and highly maladaptive and that it was due to a property of the nervous system called neural plasticity, which is a process where cells of
the nervous system (neurons) dynamically alter their connectivity and communication. Armed with that knowledge, he theorized that reversing chronic pain might be possible by manipulating these neuroplastic processes within the spinal cord’s transmission pathways. Sufka’s interdisciplinary research in psychology, philosophy, neural science and evolutionary biology suggested a possible novel mechanism for treating chronic pain. He admits he was unsure whether anyone would validate his idea that chronic pain could be relieved without the use of powerful medications, which often have serious side effects and can be addictive. Earlier this year, German and Austrian clinical scientists confirmed
Sufka’s theory of pain modulation in both animals and humans. Their study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, now leads Sufka to believe that a variety of novel pharmacological and alternative treatments for chronic pain, such as acupuncture and massage, can one day be utilized effectively in pain treatment clinics. “Today, we have the knowledge necessary to allow scientists and drug companies to move in a new direction for the development of novel strategies for the relief of chronic pain,” he said. “We have a whole new perspective, a whole new avenue for science to pursue. It is just a matter of time before we are able to make good on the hopes of helping those who suffer from chronic pain.”
30 years in the trenches of journalism come to classroom with new Cook Chair urtis Wilkie, a veteran jourDuring that nalist with more than 30 years time, he served of experience covering presias acting bureau dential elections, civil rights and chief in Washinternational conflicts, is The ington, D.C., University of Mississippi’s Middle East Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Chair of bureau chief in Journalism. Jerusalem and Formerly a visiting journalism Southern professor, Wilkie filled the posibureau chief in tion vacated by the death of forNew Orleans. mer Cook Chair John Johnson in “This honor Curtis Wilkie September 2002. is a nice way to “Students will benefit from cap my career,” Curtis’ putting years of experience on a Wilkie said. “Ultimately, I want to be a silver platter for them,” said Samir good teacher, realizing I am not conHusni, interim department chair. fined to the classroom.” Wilkie is a UM alumnus who spent Wilkie has covered eight presidential 26 years as a national and international elections and numerous headline-grabcorrespondent for The Boston Globe. bing world events. He counts covering
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Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign “when nobody gave him a chance” and the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jet in Beirut among his most memorable experiences as a newsman. “He tells stories about what being a real journalist is like,” said Nicklaus Simpson, one of Wilkie’s former students. “You can’t get those in books. His stories can convey information that would take a whole chapter in a textbook.” Said Wilkie, “I try not to tell the students too many of my war stories. I prefer to tell them about my mistakes.” The Cook Chair was made possible through a $1 million endowment established by the Cook Foundation in 1991 and partial funding from the university.
21st century technologies help students dig into state’s past
n the summer heat of a Mississippi Delta cotton field, the practice of archaeology is a hot, sweaty, painstaking business. But in addition to the traditional tools of the trade—shovels, trowels and screens—UM students also used gradiometers, conductivity meters, resistance meters and thermal sensors to make their dig at the Parchman Place Indian Mounds this summer quicker, easier, more accurate and, ultimately, more effective. Thanks to an initiative funded by NASA, UM researchers lead the way in using these remote sensing instruments to paint clearer pictures of archaeological sites, using the data gleaned to see through layers of dirt and history to more fully understand what was left behind. Near the town of Coahoma in the Delta and next to an old channel of the
Students use a down-hole magnetic susceptibility probe to plot the extent of a prehistoric structure's burned floors.
Mississippi River, the Parchman Place Mounds were home to native Mississippians about 600 years ago, said Jay Johnson, director of UM’s Center for Archaeological Research. The three largest mounds at the site were able to survive more than 100 years as part of a cotton plantation, with one of them serving as the foundation
Next to one of the excavation trenches at the Parchman Place Indian Mounds, students record data from an earth conductivity meter.
for a large farmhouse and one of them barely escaping a bulldozer in the 1960s. Johnson said early records indicated the site originally had five large mounds and more than 20 small mounds that have since been plowed down. Using remote sensing data, Johnson was able to identify the locations of the now-vanished mounds by finding the remnants of at least 30 prehistoric structures at the site. “Remote sensing technology has made it possible to actually figure these sites out,” Johnson said. “They’re so large that this used to be quite a long process.” Second-year graduate student Kelsey Lowe agreed. “This technology is so beneficial to archaeology because it’s such a huge timesaver,” she said. The old way of excavation amounted to sophisticated trial and error. Archaeologists would plot an area of the site and look for a concentration of artifacts or certain soils or scars on the surface. Then they’d dig a one-meter square straight down. If they hit something, they were in the right spot. If not, they dug another hole.
Remote sensing eliminates that process. The researchers have already seen the image of what they’re looking for on a computer screen before they ever pick up a shovel. Using a gradiometer, a hand-held device that measures subtle variations in the magnetic field of the soil, the researchers scanned for traces of the prehistoric mounds. Using that data, as well as data from resistance meters, and ground-penetrating radar, Johnson produced a computerized image of the area that showed clearly where the old walls of the houses and temples of the prehistoric community were buried. This summer, students continued the work of the past two years and made some new discoveries, Johnson said. A layer of white found in the wall of a temple was at first thought to be ash from burning the structure down. Instead, this summer’s dig revealed the white to be white clay the Mississippians had to have hauled in to the site to make the temple wall. “White is an important color in this society, so this is pretty significant,” Johnson said. FALL 2004
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illiam Lee Kennon dreamed of establishing a serious astronomical observatory on the Ole Miss campus and no doubt would be thrilled that the building bearing his name is enjoying a new “golden age” of classes, student research and public viewing nights. Kennon, chair of physics from 1912 to 1952, lobbied for years for construction money before finally getting a WPA grant in 1938 to build both Lewis Hall, home of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Kennon Observatory. The observatory’s large dome houses a 15-inch refractor built in 1893 in Dublin, Ireland. The smaller dome, which originally held a 5-inch refractor bought by Chancellor Frederick A.P. Barnard, features a modern reflector outfitted with a powerful new astronomical camera. This equipment is increasingly used by students, with a growing enrollment in basic astronomy courses. “We have about 500 students a semester,” said Donald Summers, professor of physics and astronomy. “It’s the largest class in the department.” Public viewing nights—held about six times a year—draw scores of people from the community and across north Mississippi. The large refractor remains popular with visitors. Although most of the department’s two-dozen smaller telescopes are easier to use, the 110year -old instrument evokes awe in visitors. “We must have had a thousand people show up to see Mars last year,” Summers said. “We had to stay open late to allow everyone to get a look.” Lean budgets during the ’60s left little money for equipment or repairs, and the observatory began to deteriorate. But two Chancellor’s Partners grants in the late 1990s revived the state’s oldest operating astronomical facility. The first grant upgraded nearby outPA G E 1 4
Century-old telescope, Kennon Observatory enjoy new ‘golden age’ for astronomy
Research scientist Steve Bracker uses the Kennon Observatory's venerable 15-inch refractor to gaze into the cosmos.
door lights, cutting the amount of light pollution by a quarter, and the second funded a 20-foot-tall concrete pier for a telescope in the small dome. The National Science Foundation then provided money for a 12-inch reflector outfitted with a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) camera. The camera—which must be cooled to –40 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize distortion and static—can snap impressive images of deep-space wonders. To view photos taken using the device, go to www.phy.olemiss.edu/Astro/ CCDImages. “This semester, we’re starting a special lab section in conjunction with the [Sally McDonnell Barksdale] Honors College,” Summers said. “The honors students will come over and work on projects using the CCD camera, photographing objects of interest and learning how to determine their distance and ages.” Electricians have upgraded the wiring in both domes and are designing
a new drive system for the 15-inch refractor. The next step is to disassemble the large telescope so its yellowed lenses can be cleaned and realigned to their original clarity. “The last time the lenses were disassembled, they didn’t get them back together quite right, so the images are just a little fuzzy,” Summers said. The department hopes to raise money to complete the project soon. When the refractor is back in prime working order, Kennon Observatory will represent both the past and the future of academic astronomy, said Thomas Marshall, chair of the department. “Under the big dome, the old telescope is a good example of where astronomy was at the end of the 19th century, just over 100 years ago,” he said. “And with the CCD camera in the small dome, we can use the latest technology to produce some really remarkable images of things you wouldn’t be able to see with the old telescope.”
The Ventress Order The Ventress Order is an organization established by The University of Mississippi Alumni Association in cooperation with The University of Mississippi Foundation. Named in honor of James Alexander Ventress, a founding father of the University, the Order administers substantial gifts for the benefit of the College of Liberal Arts to encourage its recognition as one of the outstanding education centers in the United States. As professions in todayâ€™s society assume more diverse and complex roles, so must The University of Mississippi College of
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