A University of Mississippi history professor and the president of the Associated Student Body were honored Wednesday (Feb. 24) by the Mississippi Legislature as part of the 23rd annual Higher Education Appreciation Day Working for Academic Excellence program.
John Neff, associate professor of history, and Artair Joel Rogers, a senior public policy leadership and sociology major from Guntown, were selected by UM administrators as recipients for the HEADWAE Award. Neff and Rogers joined 68 other representatives from 34 public and private universities and colleges at the ceremonies. They were welcomed and recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives and given a tour of the Capitol.A luncheon honoring the recipients concluded at the Jackson Convention Complex with Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, chair of HEADWAE, serving as master of ceremonies. Hank Bounds, commissioner of higher education, was the guest speaker.
“The Mississippi Legislature, the corporate community and others involved in higher education are given the opportunity to recognize the academic leadership achievements and celebrate individual students, faculty and staff who embody academic excellence and commitment to the goals and missions at the institutions of higher learning,” Bryant said. “These honorees, through their personal academic achievement, demonstrate that a quality education can be found in Mississippi’s colleges and universities.”
Neff was recently honored as the university’s 2009 Humanities Teacher of the Year, sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and the UM College of Liberal Arts. He joined the UM faculty in 1999 and specializes in American history, particularly the Civil War era. He is the founding director of the Center for Civil War Research at UM, where he is committed to the study of how the Civil War impacted American life.
Rogers, son of Arthur and Inda Rogers, also serves on the board of directors of Students for a Green Campus and is co-chair of the Minority Affairs Leadership Council. A Trent Lott Leadership Institute Scholar, he participated in the Lott Leadership South Africa Exchange. He serves on several university standing committees and is a member of One Mississippi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board and the Columns Society. His volunteer efforts have included work with Down-in-the-Delta Community Service, Sunflower Freedom Project, Oxford Medical Ministries and Freshman Focus Mentor.