College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Award Recipients to be Recognized During Black Alumni Reunion Gala

Alumni Association to present slate of honors at sold-out event

FEBRUARY 24, 2018 BY MDIGGS

Donald Cole | Photo by Robert Jordan/ Communications

Donald Cole | Photo by Robert Jordan/ Communications

The Ole Miss Alumni Association is recognizing 13 distinguished alumni as part the University of Mississippi’s 2018 Black Alumni Reunion.

The awards include the Dr. Jeanette Jennings “Trailblazer” Award, The Rev. Wayne Johnson Community and Civic Award, the Alumni Achievement Award and the Celebrated Athlete Award.

The Alumni Association hosts a sold-out gala for the honorees at 6 p.m. Saturday (March 3) at The Inn at Ole Miss. Leadership, lifetime achievement and legacy awards also will be presented at the event.

“The Black Alumni Reunion, as well as the gala, have grown tremendously,” said Kirk Purdom, the association’s executive director. “The 2018 awards gala will be our largest ever, and it offers an opportunity to celebrate history and honor some outstanding alumni, in addition to providing classmates a great opportunity to reunite.”

The Dr. Jeanette Jennings “Trailblazer” Award recognizes Ole Miss alumni who served a vital role in the progress of black faculty, staff, alumni and/or students on the Ole Miss campus. Jennings came to UM in 1970 as the university’s first black faculty member.

Donald Cole (PhD mathematics 85) and Jacquline Vinson (BBA 01, MA 10) are the 2018 recipients.

As the university’s assistant provost and associate professor of mathematics, Cole plays an active leadership role in policymaking, teaching, research and diversification at UM. More than 40 minority doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines are attributed to his grants, teaching and mentorship.

Vinson is project coordinator for the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation IMAGE program and co-principal investigator of the Bridge STEM program. She was married to the late Theopolis P. Vinson and continues her husband’s legacy on the Ole Miss campus with a scholarship endowment in his name for minority students in the School of Education.

The Rev. Wayne Johnson Community and Civic Award recognizes exceptional service by Ole Miss alumni through commitment to their community in a civic, ministerial or volunteer capacity. An Oxford native, Johnson was instrumental in founding the Oxford Development Association.

Dr. Ali

Dr. Rashad Ali

This year’s recipients are Dr. Rashad Ali (BA chemistry and zoology 81, MD 85), Barbara L. Howard (BA biological science 92, MEd 94) and Reginald H. Turner (BBA 92).

Ali, who has more than 27 years of experience as an OB-GYN physician and is a highly regarded surgeon, is chief executive officer of the Family Health Center of Laurel. He continues to show his concerns for health care in Mississippi by collaborating with the nonprofit housing organization Community Connections Inc., and has contributed more than $250,000 to ensure that quality housing is available to qualified residents of south central Mississippi.

Barbara Howard

Barbara L. Howard

Howard is founder and director of Hearts Desire Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides educational resources to the community. One of her major projects is the Books to Prisons Ministry, where she provides Christian literature to prison libraries for incarcerated men and women. She is an assistant professor at Jackson State University and author of the books “Wounded Sheep: How to Calm a Storm” and “Wounded Sheep: How to Heal Church Hurt.

Turner has more than two decades of experience in academia as a professor, academic dean, chief academic officer, chief student affairs officer and, ultimately, as president of Westwood College-Northlake in Atlanta. He has earned numerous awards including Adjunct Faculty of the Year, Staff Member of the Year and Administrator of Year. Turner has been inducted into Morehouse College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. International Collegium of Scholars and awarded a congressional medal for Outstanding Community Service.

The Alumni Achievement Award recognizes Ole Miss alumni for exceptional achievement in their chosen professional field. This award acknowledges the entrepreneurial spirit, corporate prowess and dedication to succeed exemplified by alumni or former students.

Rose Jackson Flenorl (BAEd 79) and Markeeva Morgan (BSEE 01) are recipients of this award.

Turner has more than two decades of experience in academia as a professor, academic dean, chief academic officer, chief student affairs officer and, ultimately, as president of Westwood College-Northlake in Atlanta. He has earned numerous awards including Adjunct Faculty of the Year, Staff Member of the Year and Administrator of Year. Turner has been inducted into Morehouse College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. International Collegium of Scholars and awarded a congressional medal for Outstanding Community Service.

The Alumni Achievement Award recognizes Ole Miss alumni for exceptional achievement in their chosen professional field. This award acknowledges the entrepreneurial spirit, corporate prowess and dedication to succeed exemplified by alumni or former students.

Rose Jackson Flenorl (BAEd 79) and Markeeva Morgan (BSEE 01) are recipients of this award.

Morgan is a senior manager for avionics, guidance, navigation and control, and software at the Boeing Co. after serving nearly two decades in military and federal civil service. He is a PMI-certified project management professional who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in management, leadership and organizational theory at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Morgan is pursuing a doctorate in systems engineering from George Washington University.

The Celebrated Athlete Award recognizes former Ole Miss student-athletes or coaches for success in the field of athletics after their UM tenure. This year’s recipients are Peggie Gillom-Granderson (BSW 80), Terrence Metcalf (BBA 16) and Robert “Ben” Williams (BBA 76).

Gillom-Granderson led the Ole Miss women’s basketball team to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women State Tournament Championships in 1978 and ’79. She is Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer with 2,486 points and rebounder with 1,271 rebounds, and also served 16 seasons as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor. As an assistant coach for USA Basketball, she helped guide the 1999 U.S. Pan American Games team to a bronze medal and the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Metcalf, a fan favorite on the Ole Miss Rebel football team from 1997 to 2001, is assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Pearl River Community College. He was selected the 2001 SEC Most Valuable Lineman and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 2001. Metcalf was inducted in the Class of 2017 SEC Legends. After playing seven seasons with the Chicago Bears, he finished his pro career in 2010 with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Metcalf, a fan favorite on the Ole Miss Rebel football team from 1997 to 2001, is assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Pearl River Community College. He was selected the 2001 SEC Most Valuable Lineman and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 2001. Metcalf was inducted in the Class of 2017 SEC Legends. After playing seven seasons with the Chicago Bears, he finished his pro career in 2010 with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.