skip to main content
College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

UM Educator and Student Honored as William Winter Scholars

Theatre & Film, Southern Studies representatives chosen for 35th Natchez conference


Teresa Simone and Sela Ricketts will represent the University of Mississippi as William Winter Scholars at the 35th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration from February 22 to 24 in Natchez, Mississippi.

Teresa Simone

Teresa Simone

Simone, an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Theatre & Film who joined the faculty in 2023, and Ricketts, a Southern Studies graduate student with an emphasis on documentary expression, were selected to attend the 2024 humanities conference. This year’s theme of Rites, Rituals, and Religion in the Deep South examines life and death during presentations on religious traditions, burial rituals, cemetery history, mourning practices, and historic holidays in the Southern Experience.

Sela Ricketts

Sela Ricketts

Each year students and faculty are selected to be William Winter Scholars at the Natchez conference in honor of Mississippi’s Governor from 1980 to 1984. The late Winter (BA history and political science 43, LLB 49) served as the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration Director of Proceedings from its founding in 1990 through 2017. The award carries with it prestige and public acknowledgment of how highly recipients are regarded by their institution.

“The College of Liberal Arts is proud to send Dr. Simone and Ms. Ricketts from our university to this year’s Natchez Celebration. They were selected enthusiastically by a faculty and staff committee to participate in the conference,” said Donald Dyer, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs for the College and distinguished professor of modern languages.

Elise and William Winter

Alumni William (BA history and political science 43, LLB 49) and Elise (BA history 48) Winter, Mississippi’s 58th governor and first lady.

“It looks to be, once again, an exciting and important gathering of students, faculty, and scholars interested in literature, history, and film.”

The two-and-a-half-day celebration will feature presentations that parallel an evolving historical American narrative of the living and the dying based on both “Old World” traditions combined with a profound sense of democracy, race, and ingenuity. Most of the conference is free of charge and held at the Natchez Convention Center. The full event agenda is posted at