College of Liberal Arts

- University of Mississippi

Uplift Education Partners with UM to Create Grisham Fellows Program

Uplift students with Dean Stephen Monroe (baseball cap) in the Grove.

Uplift scholars with Dean Stephen Monroe (baseball cap) in the Grove.

By Sortega, courtesy of Uplift Education
June 11, 2014

For nearly five years, Uplift Education’s Road to College program has provided students the opportunity to get the college experience by visiting campuses across the state [of Texas] and nation starting in the sixth grade. Now, thanks to the collective efforts of Uplift board member Donell Wiggins, Uplift South Dallas board member Bruce Ware, Road to College counselors, and the University of Mississippi (UM), Uplift students have the opportunity to participate in the Grisham Fellows Program—a new partnership between Uplift and UM that provides a weeklong joint service-learning and college-going experience on the UM campus.

In the spring of 2012, Mrs. Wiggins and her husband, Phillip Wiggins, who is on the board of the McLean Institute at the University of Mississippi, toured McLean Institute projects in the Mississippi Delta. Dr. Stephen Monroe, Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts, conducted the tour and the three began talking about community service opportunities. From there, the idea grew as Mrs. Wiggins brought it to Mr. Ware, an alumnus of the University of Mississippi, and Deborah Bigham, Uplift Chief Development Officer, and the Road to College team.

Grisham Fellows and VISTA participants help Crenshaw Elementary students and teachers put in raised bed gardens on school grounds to grow fruits and vegetables. Photo by Nathan Latil/Communications | University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts

Grisham Fellows and VISTA participants help Crenshaw Elementary students and teachers put in gardens to grow fruits and vegetables. | Photo by Nathan Latil/Communications

“I was the first member of my family to graduate from college and was given some wonderful opportunities to travel and experience college students from other places. It was a game changer for me; the world became a bigger place. We have outstanding students at Uplift and it is such a pleasure to facilitate this type of experience for them—to pay it forward,” Mrs. Wiggins said.

The University of Mississippi developed the weeklong schedule including service at an elementary school in the Mississippi Delta, a college dorm experience, a college lecture given by the namesakes of the award, Dr. and Mrs. Vaughn Grisham, tours of the campus and Oxford, Mississippi, tours of the Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute, a meeting with Chancellor Dan Jones, a tour of Rowan Oak, home of William Faulkner, and a picnic and concert in the grove as well as many other activities.

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